Kurdish Iranian tribe that established a dynasty that ruled western Persia from 1751 to 1794. They belonged to the Lak group of Lurs who had been deported from their central Zagros homeland in Deh Pari to northern Khorasan by Nadir Shah in 1732 but had then fought their way back home under Karim Khan after Nadir's assassination in 1747.
   The Zand dynasty's reputation rests on its founder Karim Khan. He was able to put together an army from the nomadic tribes of the Zagros and establish alliances with the bureaucrats and influentials of such important cities in western Persia as Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, and Kirman. For a while, Karim Khan used the fiction of a Safavid revival and contented himself with the title of wakil, or regent. He rebuilt his capital Shiraz, pursued intelligent economic policies, endorsed the majority Twelver Shiism while manifesting notable religious tolerance, and exhibited commendable humanity as recorded in popular folklore. At one point, Karim Khan even temporarily took the port of Basra from the Ottomans.
   At their height, however, the Zand only ruled over western Persia without completely subduing the Qajars at Astarabad on the Caspian littoral. Karim Khan was also content to allow Khorasan in the northeast to remain out of his control. Karim Khan's incompetent successors fell into internecine warfare and were soon overcome by the Turkoman Qajars from Astarabad. Luft Ali, the last Zand ruler, was defeated and tortured to death by the founder of the Qajar dynasty, Agha Muhammad Khan, who had spent his youth and received his education at the benevolent court of Karim Khan.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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