Born a peasant, Reza Khan was never supposed to become the Shah of Iran—and considering his scandalous reign and brutal downfall, maybe everything would have been better if he hadn’t risen to the top. Behind all the pomp, circumstance, and power, Reza hid unimaginably dark habits. It’s no wonder his reign ended in tragedy.

1. He Was Born A Peasant

Given his bloody rise to power, Reza Khan’s beginnings were devastatingly humble. Born in 1878, his parents were regular civilians; his mother was a Muslim immigrant, while his father served in the Iranian Army. According to the customs of the time, he didn’t even have a last name. Yet while Reza’s infancy started modest, it quickly became infamous.

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