Safavid dynasty

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The Safavid dynasty, (Azerbaijani: Səfəvilər dövləti, Persian: دودمان صفوی, romanized: Dudmâne Safavi[1]) It was an Turkic dynasty,[2][3][4] that ruled the Iran between 1501 and 1736.

Safavid Empire
Xanədani Səfəviyyə (Safavid dynasty)[5] Dövləti Qızılbaş (Qizilbash State)[6]
1501–1736
Flag of
Flag of Safavid Iran
(1576–1736)
The Safavid Empire under Abbas I the Great
The Safavid Empire under Abbas I the Great
CapitalTabriz (1501–1555)
Qazvin (1555–1598)
Isfahan (1598–1736)
Common languages
  • Azerbaijani (poetry and army)[7]
  • Persian (official) [8]
Religion
Shia Islam
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
Shahanshah 
• 1501–1524
Ismail I (first)
• 1732–1736
Abbas III (last)
History 
• Established
1501
• Disestablished
1736
Succeeded by
Afsharid dynasty

Origins[change | change source]

Before the Safavids, Iran was ruled by the Aq Qoyunlu, a Turkic[9][10][11][12] tribal confederation. The Safavids, unlike their predecessors, the Aq Qoyunlu, were not of Turkic descent. The Safavids, was of Iranian[13] (possibly Kurdish[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]) origin. Also, the origin of the dynasty was based on Kurdistan.[22]

E.J. van Donzel says;[23]

Several dynasties, such as the Marwanids of Diyarbakir, the Ayyubids, the Shaddadis and possibly the Safawids, as well as prominent personalities, were of Kurdish origin.

History[change | change source]

The state was founded by Ismail I in July 1501 in Tabriz, declaring himself Shah.[24] Ismail's rule is one of the most vital in Iranian history. Prior to accession to the throne in 1501, Iran had not existed as a unified country under native Iranian rule since it was conquered by the Arabs eight and a half centuries ago, but was controlled by a number of Arab caliphs, Turkic sultans and Mongol khans. Although many Iranian dynasties came to power during all this time (Tahirids,[25] Saffarids,[26][27][28][29] Samanids[30][31] etc.) it was only during the Buyids period that most of Iran returned to Iranian rule (945–1055).[32] Founded by Ismail I, the state was one of the largest Iranian empires and among the most powerful of its time;  present-day Iran, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia and most of Georgia;  He ruled parts of the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, as well as present-day Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.[33][34][35][36]

The Safavid shahs established the Twelver school of Shia Islam as the official religion of the empire.[37]

Family tree[change | change source]

Paternal lineage of the Safavid dynasty;

  • Firuz-Shah Zarrin-Kolah (a Kurdish[38] noble man.)
  • Avaad
  • Qotb al-Din Mohammad
  • Salah al-Din Rashid
  • Qotb al-Din Abu Bakr
  • Amin al-Din Jebrail
  • Safi-ad-din Ardabili (a Kurdish[39][40][41][42][43][44] poet, mystic teacher and Sufi master.)
  • Sadr al-Din Musa
  • Sheikh Khvajeh Ali Safavi
  • Sheikh Ibrahim Shāh
  • Sheikh Junāyd
  • Sheikh Ḥaydar
  • Shah Ismail I (Founder of Safavid dynasty, grandson of Kurdish mystic Safi-ad-din Ardabili.[45])
  • Shah Tahmasp I
  • Shah Ismail II[a]
  • Shah Mohammad Khodabanda[b]
  • Shah Abbas I/Abbas the Great
  • Mohammad Baqer Mirza
  • Shah Safi
  • Shah Abbas II
  • Shah Suleiman I/Sam Mirza/Safi II
  • Sultan Husayn
  • Shah Tahmasp II
  • Shah Abbas III

References[change | change source]

  1. * Afšār, ta·līf-i Iskandar Baig Turkmān. Zīr-i naẓar bā tanẓīm-i fihristhā wa muqaddama-i Īraǧ (2003). Tārīkh-i ʻʻālamārā-yi ʻʻAbbāsī (in Persian) (Čāp-i 3. ed.). Tihrān: Mu·assasa-i Intišārāt-i Amīr Kabīr. pp. 17, 18, 19, 79. ISBN 978-964-00-0818-8.
    • p. 17: dudmān-i safavīa
    • p. 18: khāndān-i safavīa
    • p. 19: sīlsīla-i safavīa
    • p. 79: sīlsīla-i alīa-i safavīa
  2. Blake, Stephen P., ed. (2013), "Safavid, Mughal, and Ottoman Empires", Time in Early Modern Islam: Calendar, Ceremony, and Chronology in the Safavid, Mughal and Ottoman Empires, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 21–47, ISBN 978-1-107-03023-7. "The three Islamic empires of the early modern period – the Mughal, the Safavid, and the Ottoman – shared a common Turko-Mongolian heritage."
  3. Laet, Sigfried J. de (1994-01-01). History of Humanity: From the seventh to the sixteenth century. UNESCO. ISBN 978-92-3-102813-7. pp. 831; "Ṣafawids belonged to a Turkmen dynasty included Shaykh Ṣafī ud-Din, the ancestor of Shāh Ismā'īl 1. Ṣafī ud-Dīn was the founder of the Ṣafawīya Ṣūfī order, which became widespread among the Turkmen tribesmen."
  4. Mazzaoui, Michel B; Canfield, Robert (2002). "Islamic Culture and Literature in Iran and Central Asia in the early modern period". Turko-Persia in Historical Perspective. Cambridge University Press. pp. 86–7. ISBN 0-521-52291-9, ISBN 978-0-521-52291-5. "The Safavid state, which lasted at least until 1722, was essentially a "Turkish" dynasty, with Azeri Turkish (Azerbaijan being the family's home base) as the language of the rulers and the court as well as the Qizilbash military establishment. Shah Ismail wrote poetry in Turkish."
  5. İsgəndər bəy Münşi, "Tarix-i aləm Aray-i Abbasi", səh.28.
  6. İsgəndər bəy Münşi, "Tarix-i aləm Aray-i Abbasi", səh.109.
  7. Floor, Willem; Javadi, Hasan (2013). "The Role of Azerbaijani Turkish in Safavid Iran". Iranian Studies. 46 (4): 569–581. ISSN 0021-0862. "Turkic languages and dialects played a much more important role in Safavid Iran than is generally thought, while Azerbaijani Turkish in particular was widely spoken and written in Safavid Iran. It was not only the language of the court and the army, but it was also used in poetry, even by renowned poets who usually wrote in Persian. The Safavid shahs, many of whom wrote poetry in Turkish themselves, promoted its literary use. Also, Turkish was used in the court's official correspondence, for both internal and external affairs."
  8. Roemer, H. R. (1986). "The Safavid Period". The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 6: The Timurid and Safavid Periods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 189–350. ISBN 0-521-20094-6, p. 331: "Depressing though the condition in the country may have been at the time of the fall of Safavids, they cannot be allowed to overshadow the achievements of the dynasty, which was in many respects to prove essential factors in the development of Persia in modern times. These include the maintenance of Persian as the official language and of the present-day boundaries of the country, adherence to the Twelever Shiʻi, the monarchical system, the planning and architectural features of the urban centers, the centralised administration of the state, the alliance of the Shiʻi Ulama with the merchant bazaars, and the symbiosis of the Persian-speaking population with important non-Persian, especially Turkish speaking minorities".
  9. The Book of Dede Korkut (F.Sumer, A.Uysal, W.Walker ed.). University of Texas Press. 1972. p. Introduction. ISBN 0-292-70787-8. "Better known as Turkomans (...) the interim Ak-Koyunlu and Karakoyunlu dynasties (...)"
  10. Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia, vol. 1. Santa-Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio. p. 431. ISBN 978-159884-336-1. "His Qizilbash army overcame the massed forces of the dominant Ak Koyunlu (White Sheep) Turkomans (...)"
  11. Quiring-Zoche, R. "AQ QOYUNLŪ". Encyclopædia Iranica. p. 163—168. "(...) a confederation of Turkman tribes who ruled in eastern Anatolia and western Iran (...)"
  12. V. Minorsky. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 17, No. 3 (1955), pp. 449—462: "There still remain many interesting and important problems connected with the emergence in the 14th century of the Turkman federations of the Qara-qoyunlu (780—874/1378-1469) and Aq-qoyunlu (780—908/1378-1502)."
  13. Blake, Stephen P., ed. (2013), "Safavid, Mughal, and Ottoman Empires", Time in Early Modern Islam: Calendar, Ceremony, and Chronology in the Safavid, Mughal and Ottoman Empires, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 21–47, ISBN 978-1-107-03023-7. "The three Islamic empires of the early modern period – the Mughal, the Safavid, and the Ottoman – shared a common Turko-Mongolian heritage."
  14. Matthee, Rudi (2005). The Pursuit of Pleasure: Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500–1900. Princeton University Press. p. 18, "The Safavids, as Iranians of Kurdish ancestry and of nontribal background (...)"
  15. Savory, Roger (2008). "EBN BAZZĀZ". Encyclopædia Iranica. Vol. VIII, Fasc. 1. p. 8, "This official version contains textual changes designed to obscure the Kurdish origins of the Safavid family and to vindicate their claim to descent from the Imams. (...)"
  16. Amoretti, Biancamaria Scarcia; Matthee, Rudi (2009). "Ṣafavid Dynasty". In Esposito, John L. (ed.) The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford University Press; "Of Kurdish ancestry, the Ṣafavids started as a Sunnī mystical order (...)"
  17. Tapper, Richard (1997). Frontier nomads of Iran: a political and social history of the Shahsevan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-58336-7. p. 39, "The Safavid Shahs who ruled Iran between 1501 and 1722 descended from Sheikh Safi ad-Din of Ardabil (1252-1334). Sheikh Safi and his immediate successors were renowned as holy ascetics Sufis. Their own origins were obscure: probably of Kurdish or Iranian extraction (...)"
  18. Matthee, Rudi (2008). "SAFAVID DYNASTY". Encyclopædia Iranica; "As Persians of Kurdish ancestry and of a non-tribal background, the Safavids did not fit this pattern, though the state they set up with the assistance of Turkmen tribal forces of eastern Anatolia closely resembled this division in its makeup."
  19. Bowering, Gerhard (2015). Islamic Political Thought: An Introduction. Princeton University Press. p. 13, "The Safavids, of Kurdish origin and Turkic-speaking, arose from the Sunni Sufi fraternity of the Safawis organized in Azerbaijan by Safı al-Din (d. 1334) (...)"
  20. Bowering, Gerhard; Crone, Patricia; Kadi, Wadad; Mirza, Mahan; Stewart, Devin J.; Zaman, Muhammad Qasim (2013). The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought. Princeton University Press. p. xii, "The Turkic-speaking Safavids of Kurdish origin arose from a Sunni Sufi fraternity that was organized in Azerbaijan by Safı al-Din (d. 1334) (...)"
  21. Manz, Beatrice Forbes (2021). Nomads in the Middle East. Cambridge University Press. p. 169, "The Safavid dynasty was of Iranian – probably Kurdish – extraction and had its beginnings as a Sufi order located at Ardabil near the eastern border of Azerbaijan, in a region favorable for both agriculture and pastoralism."
  22. Lambton, Ann Katherine Swynford; Lewis, Bernard. (1984). The Cambridge History of Islam. Cambridge University Press. p. 394, "Such evidence as we have seems to suggest that the family hailed from Kurdistān."
  23. E. J. van Donzel (1994). Islamic desk reference. BRILL. p. 222.
  24. Ismāʿīl I, in Britannica, (2011).
  25. Frye, R. N.; Fisher, William Bayne; Frye, Richard Nelson; Avery, Peter; Gershevitch, Ilya; Boyle, John Andrew; Yarshater, Ehsan; Jackson, Peter (1975). The Cambridge History of Iran. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-20093-6. p. 90, "The Tāhirids were culturally highly Arabicized, but they were nevertheless Persians."
  26. Robert E. Bjork (2010). (ed.). Saffarid dynasty. The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198662624, "One of the first indigenous Persian dynasties to emerge after the Arab Islamic invasions."
  27. Daftary, Farhad. Historical Dictionary of the Ismailis. p. 51, "The Saffarids, the first Persian dynasty, to challenge the Abbasids (...)"
  28. Meisami, Julie Scott; Starkey, Paul (eds.). Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature. 2. p. 674, "Saffarids: A Persian dynasty (...)"
  29. Aldosari, Ali. Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. p. 472, "There were many local Persian dynasties, including the Tahirids, the Saffarids (...)"
  30. Frye, R. N.; Fisher, William Bayne; Frye, Richard Nelson; Avery, Peter; Gershevitch, Ilya; Boyle, John Andrew; Yarshater, Ehsan; Jackson, Peter (1975). The Cambridge History of Iran. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-20093-6. p. 160, "The memory of the Sāmānids, not only as the last Iranian dynasty in Central Asia, but that dynasty which unified the area under one rule and which saved the legacy of ancient Iran from extinction, lasted long in Central Asia..."
  31. Bosworth, C. E.; Crowe, Yolande (2012), "Sāmānids", Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Brill, "(...) a Persian dynasty which ruled in Transoxania and then in Ḵh̲urāsān (...)"
  32. Savory, Roger (1998). "ESMĀʿĪL I ṢAFAWĪ". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6. pp. 628–636.
  33. Helen Chapin Metz. Iran, a Country study. 1989. University of Michigan, p. 313.
  34. Emory C. Bogle. Islam: Origin and Belief. University of Texas Press. 1989, p. 145.
  35. Stanford Jay Shaw. History of the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge University Press. 1977, p. 77.
  36. Andrew J. Newman, Safavid Iran: Rebirth of a Persian Empire, I.B. Tauris (March 30, 2006).
  37. Roger Savory, "Safavids", Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed.
  38. Syed, Muzaffar Husain; Akhtar, Syed Saud; Usmani, B. D. (2011). Concise History of Islam. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. ISBN 978-93-82573-47-0. p. 204, "(...) a Kurdish noble man named Firuz Shah Zarin Kolah the Kurd of Sanjan."
  39. Maisel, Sebastian (2018). The Kurds: An Encyclopedia of Life, Culture, and Society. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-4408-4257-3. p. 7, "(...) Safavids, a Sufi religious order founded by a Kurdish mystic, Safi ad-Din Ardabili (1252–1334)."
  40. Kamal, Muhammad (2006). Mulla Sadra's Transcendent Philosophy. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0754652717. p. 24, "(...) Shaykh Safi al-Din, a Sunni Sufi master descended from a Kurdish family (...)"
  41. Gelvin, James L. (2008), The Modern Middle East: A History, Oxford University Press, p. 331, "Shah Isma'il (reigned 1501-1520) Descendent of the Kurdish mystic Safi ad-Din (...)"
  42. Tapper, Richard. (1997), Frontier nomads of Iran: a political and social history of the Shahsevan, Cambridge University Press, p. 39, "The Safavid Shahs who ruled Iran between 1501 and 1722 descended from Sheikh Safi ad-Din of Ardabil (1252-1334). [...] Their own origins were obscure: probably of Kurdish or Iranian extraction (...)"
  43. Lapidus, Ira M. (2012). Islamic Societies to the Nineteenth Century: A Global History. Cambridge University Press. p. 492, "Shaykh Safi al—Din [...] a Sunni/Sufi religious teacher descended from a Kurdish family (...)"
  44. V. Minorsky, "The Poetry of Shāh Ismā‘īl I," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 10/4 (1942): 1006–53.
  45. Gelvin, James L. (2008), The Modern Middle East: A History, Oxford University Press, p. 331, "Shah Isma'il (reigned 1501-1520) Descendent of the Kurdish mystic Safi ad-Din (...)"

Notes[change | change source]

  1. One of Shah Tahmasp's two sons.
  2. One of Shah Tahmasp's two sons.