The safavid empire
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The Safavid Empire. Basics. Today known as Iran – then Persia Unique identity – not Arab Language - Farsi Surrounded by empires on both sides. In the beginning…. Descended from Safi-od Din – 1252-1334 Leader of a Sufi religious order in NW Persia.

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The Safavid Empire

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The safavid empire

The Safavid Empire


Basics

Basics

  • Today known as Iran – then Persia

  • Unique identity – not Arab

  • Language - Farsi

  • Surrounded by empires on both sides


In the beginning

In the beginning…

  • Descended from Safi-od Din – 1252-1334

  • Leader of a Sufi religious order in NW Persia.

  • Tomb and shrine of Safi became home of Esmail’s family

  • Sa fa vid


Esmail isma il

Esmail/Isma’il

  • Age 14 – entered at the head of an army to claim the title of Shah- King of Kings

  • 1500’s Esmail head of the kizilbash

  • By 1501 – controlled Iran and Iraq

  • Ruled until 1524- many considered him a saint

  • When he became shah he forced Persians to convert to Shiia. – Twelver Shiism

  • Controlled all accounts of his rise to power


Twelver shiism

Twelver Shiism

  • 12 Imams after Muhammad beginning with Ali

  • 12th Imam had gone into hiding around 874 to escape persecution

  • 12ers believe that he was still alive and would return to take power and spread the religion.


The safavid empire

Kizilbash – military group known for their red hats

Esmail’s father instructed his followers to wear a distinctive red hat with 12 pleats in memory of the 12 imams

Also a theory that Esmail was a hidden Imam- Divine?

Kizilbash believed that Esmail would make them invincible in battle- super loyal

Sunni Ottomans became the enemy


Battle of chaldiran 1514

Battle of Chaldiran -1514

  • Ottomans deployed heavy artillery and thousands of Janissaries equipped w/firearms behind a barrier of carts

  • Safavids would not use gunpowder b/c they saw the new technology as unreliable and unmanly.

  • Ottomans inflicted devastating casualties on the Safavids but lacked resources to destroy them.


Later

Later…

  • Esmail secluded himself and drank – a lot.

  • Empire became unstable

  • Tahmasp took over

  • Later rulers relied more on Persian bureaucracy than emperors.

  • Abandoned extreme ideology that associated emperor with Allah

  • Kizilbash no longer loyal to shah


Shah abbas the great 1587 1629

Shah Abbas the Great – 1587- 1629

  • Reformed military – slave soldiers and administration

  • Increased use of gunpowder

  • Got help from infidel Europeans

  • Standing army of 40,000

  • 1598 – control of N. Persian by beating Uzbeks

  • Got back territory that the Safavids had lost


Abbas continued

Abbas continued

  • 1599 moved capital to Esfahan – a planned city

  • Manufacturing and foreign trade

  • Carpet weaving, tiles and silks

  • Died in 1629

  • Paranoid that another member of the family would challenge – kept sons confined to palace – killed or blinded relatives he suspected


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