When Shah ʿAbbās I died of natural causes in early 1629, there were no sons to succeed him. The focus of his urban design was a new commercial and administrative area, centering on a magnificent central square known as the Meydān-e naqš-e jahān (see ISFAHAN MONUMENTS), surrounded by a royal palace, beautiful mosques and numerous shops. The most dramatic manifestation of this was an uprising in Gilān, staged by a self-styled messiah (mahdi), who exploited religious expectations as well as fiscal grievances. War then loomed between Russia and the Ottomans, who had meanwhile invaded and captured Georgia and Kermānšāh, their hands free because of the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718), which had ended their war against Austria-Hungary and Venice. He brutally repressed all support for Esmāʿil, proscribing Shiʿism and massacring large numbers of its adherents. Still, New Jolfā, prospered under the protection of the queen mother. He expanded commercial links with the English East India Company and the Dutch East India Company. Comparing the Gunpowder Empires During the expansion of the empire, the Safavid regime closely resembled the Aqquyunlu and Timurid regimes that it supplanted. The Safavids never completely lost the mobility that came with moving between winter and summer pastures, and even later shahs continued to prefer the open space of the steppe to the confinement of the city, frequently camping in tents outside the city, in the extramural garden (bāḡ, see also GARDEN). His reign also marks a crucial phase in the evolution of Safavid Persia from a steppe formation to a (quasi-) bureaucratic state. The Safavids never resolved the tension between a religious hierarchy that was in theory only beholden to the Hidden Imam, and a state built around ancient Persian notions of divine kingship. It also came to terms with the Tajik aristocracy, which included the established ulama. His military success against the Ottomans was mostly fortuitous. Between 1715 and 1720, many parts of the country either erupted in rebellion or were threatened by outside forces. In the mid-16th century, several important cities such as Qazvin, Shiraz and Hamadan were still known as Sunni centers, and as late as 1720 an Ottoman observer noted that one-third of the country’s population retained Sunni affiliation. The Safavid empire was better known for it’s art than it’s literature. Outstanding religious figures in the early 17th century include Bahāʾ-al-Din ʿĀmeli (1547-1622), known as Shaikh Bahāʾi, who had come to Persia from Lebanon as a child and who, under Shah ʿAbbās, was appointed šayḵ al-Eslām of Isfahan. The first qollar-āqāsi, Allāhverdi Khan, was the first of the ḡolāms to be appointed provincial governor. Next he turned his attention to the western border areas, undertaking expeditions against Kurdistan and Diārbakr, where an Ostājlu amir was installed as an independent ruler. The staff of the Sultan including bookkeepers etc. Abbas I first fought the Uzbeks, recapturing Herat and Mashhad, in 1598. Esmāʿil also handed the financial administration to the Tajiks by appointing the amir Najm Zargar Rašti as wakil in 1509. By terminating the wars with the Ottomans, Qaṣr-e Širin also put an end to the most imminent threat to Persia’s survival, thus further contributing to the decline of the Safavid army. Over time, many Turks served as bureaucrats while a number of Tajiks held military posts. The empire's rulers, like the Ottoman rulers, were Muslim, yet the Safavid Empire used religion differently to promote order and stability within its realm. However, because this resettlement took place while a brutal war was being waged against the Ottomans, it would be more accurate to see it as part of a much more chaotic and ad-hoc chain of events. As a result of Mongol conquest, and relative religious tolerance of Ilhanids, Shi'a dynasties were established in Iran—Sarbedaran in Khorasan being the most important. The antagonism between the Qezelbāš and court circles that Ṣafi inherited resulted in diminished military expenditure and thus contributed to a weakening of Persia’s fighting spirit. At the same time, the “Isfahan school of philosophy”, represented by Mollā Ṣadrā and other thinkers, became known for its metaphysical speculation. The articulation of the aḵbāri position in Safavid times is associated with Mollā Moḥammad-Amin Astarābādi (d. 1623-24). Its governorship went to a leader of the Ḏu’l-Qadr who would rule the area for the next 100 years. It also came to terms with the Tajik aristocracy, which included the established ulama. In the northeast, he took on the Uzbeks, who had repeatedly invaded Khorasan, taking advantage of Persia’s military weakness. Russia had just won the Great Nordic War (1700-21) against Sweden, and the threat to Russian merchants provided a pretext for Moscow to invade Persia. Shi'a's sacred sites were much closer—in Iraq, captured by the Safavids in 1623 (but surrendered again to the Ottomans in 1639). Considering Safavid Iran an important ally in their tenuous relationship with the encroaching Mughals, the rulers of those states frequently sent envoys to Persia and even included the Safavid shah in their khotba (formal intercessory prayers from the pulpit). The next few years saw continued Safavid expansion across Persia. In later years, ʿAbbās recaptured Kandahar, consolidated his access to the Persian Gulf coast by driving the Portuguese out of Hormuz, regained parts of Kurdistan, and seized important portions of Mesopotamia, including Baghdad. ), in 1512, the Uzbeks regained Transoxania and briefly occupied Herat and Mashad. The ḡolāms, in turn, managed to attain the highest bureaucratic positions, including governorships, marginalizing the local notables who previously had been in control, but in terms of employment and income, they remained wholly dependent on the shah. Local Safavid amirs followed this example and appointed Persian deputies as well. Many prominent Shiʿite clerics were excluded from his inner circle, and a noted Sunni scholar, Mirzā Maḵdum Šarifi, who played a role in the shah’s conversion to Sunnism, was promoted to the eminent post of ṣadr. A few hundred years ago, people called it Persia, and it was a name they knew pretty well. The state employed religious propagandists (tabarrāʿiyān), whose task was to vilify Sunnis. A divine inspiration that promised him victory against his enemies if he followed šariʿa injunctions prompted him to cleanse the town of all blameworthy activities that cause good governance to founder. ʿAbbās Mirzā was next enthroned as Shah ʿAbbās, although Moršedqoli Khan continued to wield supreme authority for some time to come. Nor should the tension and rivalry created by mutual suspicion and divergent interests between the two groups be exaggerated. Rebellious officials were rarely executed but often allowed back into the fold after punishment, and it was customary not to punish the family members of officials who had been deposed. A unified currency system was also adopted for the entire realm, ending a monetary division between the eastern and western halfs of the country. The Safavid Empire was not a conquest state: Safavid conquest did not imply a change in the form of administration. Ḵodā-banda’s weak rule spawned several Qezelbāš revolts, the most important of which occurred in Khorasan. Tabriz was the center of this industry. The relationship of the Qezelbāš to the shah was a mystical one of the Sufi master, moršed, and his disciple (morid). Isfahan at this time became a large, cosmopolitan and attractive city (although the figure of 600,000 inhabitants, given by Chardin [1643-1713], is almost certainly an exaggeration), mixing people of many nationalities who congregated in the city’s bazaars and socialized in its coffeehouses, enjoying two newly introduced stimulants, coffee and tobacco. The Common people were the lowest class on the pyramid in … Thousands of Afšārs were thus relocated, while a great many Qajars as well as Kurds were moved to Khorasan and Māzandarān. Shah ʿAbbās was a great builder. History of the Safavids from Iran Chamber, Artistic and cultural history of the Safavids from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Safavid_Empire&oldid=1023865, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. But other officials, including high-ranking clerics, were no less venal, and as a result little changed after his demise. A Šāmlu was appointed governor of Herat; a Qarāmānlu, was made ruler of the area between Balḵ and Morḡāb, and a leader of the Ṭāleš tribe received Marv (Merv). Road security lapsed, with local governors reportedly aiding and abetting highway brigands, and caravans suffering attack close to the gates of Isfahan. Using traditional forms and materials, Reza Abbasi (1565–1635) introduced new subjects to Persian painting—semi-nude women, youths, lovers. Gilān, still autonomous, managed to resist a Safavid takeover by making common cause with the Ottomans, though it did not fall to the latter. Yet it is also true that the Safavids made many original contributions and their legacy survives in various ways. A stagnating influx of precious metals from the Ottoman Empire, though very much related to European conditions, reflected Persia’s faltering economy as well, and led to the closing of numerous mints in the second half of the 17th century. Originating from a mystical order at the turn of the 14th century, the Safavids ruled Persia from 1501 to 1722. The elegantly baroque, yet famously misnamed, "Polonaise" carpets were made in Iran during the seventeenth century. He recognized the ineffectualness of his army, which was consistently being defeated by the Ottomans who had captured Georgia and Armenia and by Uzbeks who had captured Mashhad and Sistan in the east. Assisted by Crimean Tatars, the Ottomans in 1579 advanced as far as Baku and Darband on the Caspian Sea, blocking maritime traffic by establishing naval supremacy. Only border provinces such as Georgia, Kurdistan and Khuzestan, where the Safavids were forced to negotiate for power with local forces, remained semi-autonomous, controlled by wālis. Much of early Safavid cultural production continued the legacy of previous dynasties. They lost their tax advantages, and especially the Jolfan community suffered, both from the poor economic conditions and from the pressures exerted on them as non-Muslims by the increasingly assertive clerical forces. Ismail I, despite his heterodox Shi'a beliefs, which were not compatible with orthodox Shi'ism (Momen, 1985) patronized Shi'a religious leaders, granting them land and money in return for loyalty. An important consequence of the Ottoman occupation of Tabriz was the forced migration of hundreds of skilled metal workers to Istanbul. Upon news of the fall, Ṭahmāsp (II) proclaimed himself shah in Qazvin. Shah Ṣafi I (r. 1629-42) and Shah ʿAbbās II (r. 1642-66). Shah Ṣafi died in 1642, aged thirty-one, and exhausted from excessive drinking. The revenue this generated for the royal coffers was, however, not necessarily applied to the army. A major problem faced by Ismail I after the establishment of the Safavid state was how to bridge the gap between the two major ethnic groups in that state: The Qezelbash Turkmens, the "men of the sword" of classical Islamic society whose military prowess had brought him to power, and the Persian elements, the "men of the pen," who filled the ranks of the bureaucracy and the religious establishment in the Safavid state as they had done for centuries under previous rulers of Persia, be they Arabs, Turkic, Mongols, or Turkmens. ʿArabestān (Khuzestan), ruled by the local Shiʿite Mošaʿšaʿ dynasty, was subdued next, and with the seizure of Širvān the following year, all of Persia except for Khorasan was in Safavid hands. The reign of Shah Ṭahmāsp, a ruler of refined taste, saw a flourishing of the arts. He also decreed Shiʿism to be the official faith of the realm, thus endowing his new state with a strong ideological basis while giving Persia overlapping political and religious boundaries that would last to this day. The Safavid dynasty had a diverse ethnic and religious makeup. A legacy of the Central Asian element in Safavid statecraft, such female influence and power was not unprecedented. ; 1460-88), growing into an elaborate, ambitious movement inhabiting the interstices of the territory ruled by the Āq Qoyunlu and the Qara Qoyunlu. The reaction from Isfahan typifies the disarray in court circles by that time. In discussing Persia between 1501 and 1722, several peculiarities of the area and the time should be borne in mind. However the Safavids did have one great poet named Sāib Trabrizi, or Sāib Isfahani. Shah ʿAbbās devised the internal policies that enabled the Safavid state to last for over two centuries—co-opting adversaries and balancing competing forces through accommodation and inclusion—to a new level of pragmatic effectiveness. As the spiritual heir of Sheikh Zahed, Safi Al-Din transformed the inherited Zahediyeh Sufi Order into the Safaviyeh Order. The ulema, convinced of the need for a monarch as the patrimonial head of the body-politic, overwhelmingly acquiesced in the status quo, whereby the secular state wielded ultimate power, served the state in a variety of bureaucratic offices, and paid no more than lip service to the normative notions of Twelver Shiʿism, including the illegitimacy of the secular state. It has been estimated that by the end of Shah ʿAbbās’ reign some one-fifth of high-ranking officials were ḡolāms. Another famous manuscript is the Khamsa by Nezami executed in 1539-43, by Aqa Mirak and his school in Isfahan. The main imports were specie, textiles (woolens from Europe, cottons from Gujarat), spices, metals, coffee, and sugar. Much about the early Safavid order remains unclear. Still, Persia’s meager gold and silver deposits, and its dependence on foreign lands for precious metal, made its economy vulnerable. Georgia, where Shah Ṭahmāsp engaged in a number of campaigns in the 1540s and 1550s, was never properly subjugated. The army divisions were: Ghulams ("crown servants or slaves" usually conscripted from Armenian, Georgian, and Circassian lands), Tofongchis (musketeers), and Topchis (artillery-men). The fate of the Armenian community, whose outward prosperity could not conceal mounting problems, is a case in point. were more strictly enforced, with ordinances issued against them venturing out during rainfall for fear of polluting the Muslim population. The Ottoman Empire was so huge that it occupied the parts of three continents; it spread to Europe, Asia, and Africa. In 1510, Esmāʿil defeated Moḥammad Šaybāni Khan and took Marv and Herat, thus extending his realm from the ancient Mongol capital to that of the successors of the Timurids. In May 1501, Ismail I declared Tabriz his capital and himself Shah of Azerbaijan. Shah Ṭahmāsp was succeeded by his son, Esmāʿil II, who had established his reputation by defeating the Ottomans in 1549. The Safavids were poorly armed, while the Ottomans had muskets and artillery. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the Buwayhids, who were of Zeydi a branch of Shi'ism ruled in Fars, Isfahan, and Baghdad. Here’s a proper structure: House of Osman 1. Large parts receive insufficient rainfall to support agriculture but are well suited to pastoral nomadism. The most important painter to flourish under him was Reżā ʿAbbāsi, an artist of subtle and refined imagery. In 1544, he underwent a definitive transformation. Under a weak shah, rivalry and factionalism, endemic to the system, would paralyze decision-making. Conversely, Esmāʿil’s religious policy made the Qezelbāš waver in their loyalty to him, fearing that a tilt toward Sunnism would mean greater power for Tajik families. ], and then in Azerbaijan until 1502, d. 1504), in the Battle of Šarur, in the Aras valley. When the second Persian "vakil" was placed in command of a Safavid army in Transoxiana, the Qezelbash, considering it a dishonor to be obliged to serve under him, deserted him on the battlefield with the result that he was slain. Main Idea: ◦In the first years of the 16thcentury, the Safavids founded a dynasty that conquered what is now IRAN. Fatḥ-ʿAli Khan’s extortionate policies were legendary and served as fodder for his detractors. Safavid provocations also played a role. This was achieved with the assistance of the Qezelbāš, who venerated their leader as an incarnation of God and were blindly obedient to him, even offering themselves for martyrdom in his cause. 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