A Brief History

A chronology of significant events in the history of the Bahá’í Faith.

The following chronology presents the history of the Bahá’í Faith from its inception in mid-19th century Persia (modern Iran) to its emergence as a world religion with more than five million adherents from virtually every nation and ethnic group on earth.

23 May 1844 – The Báb declares that He has brought divine teachings to prepare humanity for the imminent appearance of a Messenger even greater than Himself. The Bábi religion is inaugurated.

1844–1850 – The Báb’s religious teachings spread rapidly in Iran and come to be viewed as heretical by the clergy and government of the time. The Báb is imprisoned, and more than 20,000 of His followers, known as Bábis, are executed.

9 July 1850 – The Báb is publicly executed in the city of Tabriz, Iran.

August 1852 Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, is arrested for his public support of the Bábi movement. While imprisoned, Bahá’u’lláh receives the Revelation that He is the Messenger foretold by the Báb.

22 April 1863 – Bahá’u’lláh publicly declares His mission in Baghdad, Iraq (then a part of the Ottoman Empire), the city to which He was exiled from Iran. The Bahá’í Faith is inaugurated, succeeding the Bábi religion and embraced by virtually all of its followers.

29 May 1892 – Bahá’u’lláh passes away in ʹAkká (Acre), Israel (then Palestine), still formally a prisoner.

29 March 1888 – The first public mention of Bahá’u’lláh and the Bahá’í Faith in the West is made by E.G. Browne to the Essay Society in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.

1892–1921‘Abdu’l-Bahá, eldest Son of Bahá’u’lláh, serves as Head of the Faith and interpreter of the Bahá’í writings. The Bahá’í Faith spreads to 35 countries, far beyond its Middle Eastern origins.

1893 – The Bahá’í Faith is publicly mentioned in North America for the first time at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

11 April 1912 – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrives in New York, beginning an eight-month visit to the United States and Canada to spread the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.

30 August 1912 – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrives in Montréal, Quebec, for a six-day visit during His historic tour of North America.

28 November 1921 – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá passes away, leaving a will designating His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi (1897–1957), as Guardian and Head of the Bahá’í Faith.

1921–1957 – The Bahá’í Faith spreads to more than 200 countries, territories and colonies across the world. The International Archives Building, the first international building of the Bahá’í World Centre, is completed.

25 April 1948 – The first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada is elected.

18 April 1948 – The Bahá’í International Community is registered as a nongovernmental organization at the United Nations.

30 April 1949 – An Act of Parliament legally incorporates the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada, the first such recognition of the Faith by a sovereign legislature.

2 May 1953 – The Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, US, is dedicated, the first such edifice in the West.

4 November 1957 – Shoghi Effendi passes away in London, United Kingdom.

21 April 1963 – Following instructions in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’ís elected the Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Bahá’í Faith.

1979 – The Bahá’í community of Iran begins to experience an intensified wave of persecution following the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

17 July 1982 – The seat of the Universal House of Justice is completed and inaugurated on Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.

October 1985 – The Universal House of Justice issues The Promise of the World Peace, a letter to the people of the world.

23–26 November 1992 – An estimated 30,000 Bahá’ís gather in New York for the Second Bahá’í World Congress, the largest and most diverse gathering of Bahá’ís in history.

April 2002 – The Universal House of Justice issues its Message to the World’s Religious Leaders.

Today – The Bahá’í community has more than five million members from over 2100 ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Bahá’í communities are established in more than 230 countries and territories, with elected national administrative institutions in over 180 countries.