Safavid dynasty

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سلسلۀ صفویۀ ایران
Safavid Royal Dynasty of Iran [1][2][3]
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Flag of Safavid Iran Coat of arms of Safavid Iran
Safavid Empire in 1510
Religion Twelver Shia Islam(state religion)[4]
Government Monarchy
 - 1501–1524 Ismail I
 - 1524–1576 Tahmasp I
 - 1587–1629 Abbas I
 - 1694–1722 Soltan Hosein
 - 1729–1732 Tahmasp II
 - 1732–1736 Abbas III
 - 1732–1736 Nader Afshar
Area 2850000 km2 (1100391 sq mi)
Currency Tuman, Abbasi, Shahi. [5] 1 Tuman = 50 Abbasi. 1 Tuman = 50 French Livre. 1 Tuman = £3 6s 8d.


History of Greater Iran until the rise of modern nation-states Pre-modern

The Safavids (Persian: صفویان; Azerbaijani: Səfəvilər; Kurdish: سەفەوییەکان,Sefewî) were one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Islamic conquest of Persia[6][7] and established the (Twelver) school of Shi'a Islam[8] as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam. This Shia dynasty was of mixed ancestry (Kurdish[9], Azerbaijani[10], Georgian[11], Greek[12]) and ruled Iran from 1501 to 1722.

The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the "Safawiyyah" which was established in the city of Ardabil in the Azerbaijan region of Iran. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavids established control over all of Persia and reasserted the Iranian identity of the region,[13] thus becoming the first native dynasty since the Sassanids to establish a unified Iranian state.

Despite their demise in 1736, the Safavids have left their mark down to the present era by establishing and spreading Shi'a Islam in major parts of the Caucasus and West Asia, especially in Iran.

Genealogy - The Ancestors of The Safavids

Safavids were a mixed ancestry of ethnic Azerbaijani, Kurdish, and Greek[14] lines. In later times, Safavid rulers also embraced Georgian background[15] through intermarriages. The Safavid Kings themselves claimed to be Seyyeds[16], family descendants of the prophet Muhammad, although many scholars have cast doubt on this claim[17]. There seems now to be a consensus among scholars that the Safavid family hailed from Persian Kurdistan[8], and later moved to Azerbaijan, finally settling in the 5th/11th century at Ardabil.

According to some historians[18][19], including Richard Frye, the Safavids were of Azeri (Turkish) origin:[10]

A massive migration of Oghuz Turks in the 11th and 12th centuries not only Turkified Azerbaijan but also Anatolia. Azeri Turks were the founders of Safavid dynasty.

While other historians, such as Vladimir Minorsky [20] and Roger Savory refutes this idea:[21] {| style="margin:auto; border-collapse:collapse; border-style:none; background-color:transparent; width:auto; " class="cquote" | width="20" valign="top" style="color:#B2B7F2;font-size:35px;font-family:'Times New Roman',serif;font-weight:bold;text-align:left;padding:10px 10px;" | “ | valign="top" style="padding:4px 10px;" | From the evidence available at the present time, it is certain that the Safavid family was of indigineous Iranian stock, and not of Turkish ancestry as it is sometimes claimed. It is probable that the family originated in Persian Kurdistan, and later moved to Azerbaijan, where they adopted the Azari form of Turkish spoken there, and eventually settled in the small town of Ardabil sometimes during the eleventh century. | width="20" valign="bottom" style="color:#B2B7F2;font-size:35px;font-family:'Times New Roman',serif;font-weight:bold;text-align:right;padding:10px 10px;" | ” |-


Background - The Safavid Sufi Order

Safavid history begins with the establishment of the Safaviyeh Sufi Order by its eponymous founder Safī al-Dīn Abul Fath Is'haq Ardabilī (1252–1334). In 700/1301, Safi al-Din assumed the leadership of the Zahediyeh, a significant Sufi order in Gilan, from his spiritual master Sheikh Zahed Gilani who was also his father-in-law. Due to the great spiritual charisma of Sheikh Safi al-Din, the order was later known as the Safaviyeh. The Safavid order soon gained great influence in the city of Ardabil and Hamdullah Mustaufi remarks that most of the people of Ardabil are followers of Shaykh Safi al-Din.

Extant religious poetry from him, written in Old Tati[22][23] - a now extinct Northwestern Iranian language[22] - and accompanied by a paraphrase in Persian which helps their understanding[22], has survived to this day and has linguistic importance.[22]

After Safī al-Dīn, the leadership of the Safaviyeh passed onto Sheikh Sadr ud-Dīn Mūsā († 794/1391-92). The order at this time was transformed into a religious movement which conducted religious propaganda throughout Persia, Syria and Asia Minor, and most likely had maintained its Sunni Shaf’ite origin at that time. The leadership of the order passed on from Sadr ud-Dīn Mūsā to his son Khwādja Ali († 1429) and in turn to his son Ibrāhīm († 1429-47).

When Sheikh Junāyd, the son of Ibrāhīm, assumed the leadership of Safaviyeh in 1447, the history of the Safavid movement was radically changed. According to R.M. Savory, "'Sheikh Junayd was not content with spiritual authority and he sought material power'". At that time, the most powerful dynasty in Persia was that of the Qara Qoyunlu, the "Black Sheeps", whose ruler Jahān Shāh ordered Junāyd to leave Ardabil or else he would bring destruction and ruin upon the city.[8] Junāyd sought refuge the rival of Qara Qoyunlu Jahan Shah, the Aq Qoyunlu Khan Uzun Hassan, and cemented his relationship by marrying Uzun Hassan's sister Khadija Begum. Junāyd was killed during an incursion into the territories of the Shīrvanshāhs and was succeeded by his son Sheikh Haydar. Sheikh Haydar married Martha[12], Uzun Hassan's daughter, who gave birth to Ismāil, the founder of the Safavid dynasty. Martha's mother Theodora - better known as Despina Khatun[24] - was a Pontic Greek princess, the daughter of the Grand Komnenos John IV of Trebizond. She had been married to Uzun Hassan[25] in exchange for protection of the Grand Komnenos from the Ottomans.

After Uzun Hassan's death, his son Yāqub felt threatened by the growing Safavid religious influence. Yāqub allied himself with the Shīrvanshāh and killed Shaykh Haydar in 1488. By this time, the bulk of the Safaviyeh followers were Turkish-speaking clans from Asia Minor and Azerbaijan, and were collectively known as Qizilbāsh ("Red Heads") because of their distinct red headgear. The Qizilbāsh were warriors, spiritual followers of Sheikh Haydar, and a source of the Safavid military and political power. After the death of Haydar, the spiritual followers of the Safaviyeh gathered around his son Sultan Ali Safawi, who was also pursued and subsequently killed by Yāqub. According to official Safavid history, before passing away, Ali had designated his young brother Ismāil as the spiritual leader of the Safavid Order[8].

Founding of the dynasty by Shāh Ismāil I