Agreeable News from Persia: What 18th and early 19th century American newspaper readers knew about contemporary events in Iran

With Daniel T. Potts

Zoom Webinar

British Institute of Persian Studies Seminar Series

Wednesday 22 February 2023 06:00 PM (GMT)


Contrary to what most people imagine, 18th and early 19th century newspapers carried a considerable amount of news reports about contemporary events in Iran. In this talk early American newspapers will be surveyed, showing that the demise of the Safavid dynasty, the rise and progress of Nader Shah, successive wars with the Ottomans, the civil strife that led to the emergence of the Zand and Qajar dynasties, the First and Second Russo-Persian Wars, the power struggle following Fath ‘Ali Shah’s death and the activities of American missionaries at Urmia, were all covered in detail. Additionally, articles dealing with non-political Persian topics were published. The transmission of news from Iran, eastern Turkey and the Caucasus was effected via ships’ captains who carried European newspapers to America, a situation that meant news events were reported months after they occurred, and contradictory reports were commonplace. All of this changed with the introduction of the telegraph.

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