Born in September 1675, Vakhtang begun his rule as a regent, first for his uncle, and then for his brother. Precociously exhibiting features of a real statesman, the monarch conjured major reforms in several aspects of Georgian society, to showcase his fondness for improvement. Culture, economy, legislation, politics and government administration were the most benefited areas – some of them directly executed and monitored by his initiative, upon which he demonstrated his versatile abilities –, although Vakhtang also worked heavily to consolidate his leadership. Unfortunately, early in his reign, he was subject to disgrace. As the Georgian Kingdom of Kartli was a vassal state of the Iranian Safavid dynasty, he needed recognition from the central authorities of the empire to rule; something that Sultan Husayn was eager to grant, but only if Vakhtang embraced Islam, something the monarch refused to do. Vakhtang was then imprisoned.
Vakhtang then tried to reverse his fortunes, by writing letters to catholic monarchs, archbishops and church authorities all over Europe, requesting their help. He appealed to several eminent people, even writing that he was secretly a catholic, but could not be explicit about his beliefs in the territory of the Safavid empire, by virtue of Islamic predominance. Vakhtang even wrote a letter to the Pope, but, in general, the monarch was ostensibly ignored. All his efforts proved to be pointless. With increasing pressure from the central authorities, Vakhtang became severely distressed; so much so, that, in the end, he succumbed to the overwhelming pressure, and converted to Islam.
Adopting the legal name of Husayn-Qoli Khan, Vakhtang found himself forced to absorb several religious, cultural and social aspects of Islam, and temporarily lost control of his kingdom, being obliged to name a regent on his behalf, although he gained political control of another provinces and vassal states of the Savafid empire.
After an absence of about seven years, Vakhtang was requested to return, to put an end to the unrest caused by Dagestani tribes invading the region, something he had successfully executed, although with the help of military leaders of neighboring provinces.
Nevertheless, as political grievances with the Savafid authorities grew severely, Vakhtang became increasingly distressed and disturbed. Secretly, he arranged a political treatise with the Russians, and changed alliances, fomenting the war that would soon disrupt between the two great regional powers, as a means to possibly scape the Safavid despotic rule. By this time, the Ottoman Empire also offered Vakhtang the possibility of an alliance, which he refused, believing the Russians would be more effective.
Fortunately, for Vakhtang, the Safavid dynasty was in a period of great political turmoil. Constant invasions, belligerent altercations and violent rebellions broke out in several regions of the empire, practically dismantling the country. Despite the fact that Vakhtang had family members in important leadership positions of the Persian army, the monarch was – by this time – exceedingly distressed in his efforts to free his kingdom from the oppressive Safavid rule.
Unfortunately, Vakhtang was betrayed by his Russian allies, that preferred not to confront the Ottoman military, that was anxious to reclaim Persian territory. Completely abandoned and without any help, Vakhtang was stripped of his kingdom and his authority. Desperate, he tried to exchange alliances with the ottomans, but it was too late. They already had expressed preference for his brother, putting him as a puppet monarch, head of the Kingdom of Kartli. Disgraced, Vakhtang was granted political asylum by the Russians, who silently loathed him as a shameful, scorned and weak national leader.
Never admitting real defeat, Vakhtang – after some years –, elaborated a plan to return to Georgia, and persuade his comrades to change sides, swear loyalty to the Tzar, and become a vassal state of the Russian empire. Nevertheless, he died on his journey, in March, 1737, never having the chance to fulfil the task.