5. The Safavid Dynasty (1501-1722)


 I. What were the Origins of the Safavid Dynasty?

     A. Sail al-din (Safi al-Din) (1252-1334)

            - a Turkic Sufi leader who traced his Shi’ite origins

                    back to Ali

            - as his followers, the Red Hats, spread his doctrine

                    among the Turkic tribes a more activist Shi’ite

                    faith was adopted


    B. Shah Ismâ’il (1487-1524)

            1. descendant of Sail al-Din and founder of  Safavid


                    - led his Turkic followers to military victories

                    - by 1501 much of Iran and Iraq had been taken;

                          Ismâ’il proclaimed himself Shah of the

                          new Persian Empire


            2. Establishment of a Theocratic State

                 - Twelve Imam Shi’ism, Ithna Ashari, was

                        declared the state  religion

                - conversion of the Sunni population was



            3. Conflict with the Ottomans

                 - preachers were sent into Anatolia to convert the

                        Turkic tribesman and to encourage them to


                 - 1513 defeat of the Safavid troops at the Battle

                        of Chaldiron halted their advance and

                        confined Shi’ism to Persia


    C. Shah Abbas I (1587-1629)

            - secured the empire’s borders and brought the

                   empire to the height of its glory


II. What was the Political and Social Organization of

     the Safavid Dynasty?   

    A. The Shah

           - adopted Persian court rituals

           - was viewed as having a semi-divine character

           - and claimed leadership over all Islam (Imam)


    B. Warrior Aristocracy

            - desired positions within the government but the

                    Shah preferred to employ Persians

            - they acted as officials in the provinces

                    and were given land in return for service

            - governors were appointed to oversee the provinces


    C. Bureaucracy

            - comprised of Persians

            - advancement based on merit


    D. Military

            - included highly trained slave soldiers

            - some also achieved important positions

                 in the administration


    E. Commoners

            - the majority of the population was Persian farmers

                  and townspeople


III. How Did the Safavid Dynasty Promote Economic

       and Cultural Development?

    A. Support for manufacturing and trade

            1. Workshops set up for important trade goods:

                  silks, textiles and carpets


            2. Trade encouraged

                 - passed laws to protect consumers

                 - improved travel conditions

                 - supported foreign trade


    B. Support for the Arts

            1. Patrons of the Arts


            2. Architecture

                - Isfahan > capital city


            3. Miniature Paintings


IV. What Factors Contributed to the Decline and Defeat

       of the Safavid Dynasty?

      A. Weak Rulers


      B. Internal rivalries


      C. Invasion

            - In 1722 Isfahan fell to Afghani invaders



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