January 1, 1501 - The Rise and Fall of the Safavid Empire

By Elijah Bryan

BACKGROUND

     The Safavid Empire was a Persian military state located in modern day Iran. Christopher Muscato, a history teacher for Northern Colorado says, “Persia was one of the economic, cultural, and political centers of the world.” In a time period from 1502-1736, Persia was referred to as the Safavid Dynasty, an era where it was one of the best dynasties in the world. In this time period, they were known for philosophies, many inventions, and customs. The empire started in the Safavid order of Sufism, in the city of Ardabil. They slowly gained control over other cities, and eventually the whole of Iran, establishing a national state.

    THE RISE 

     In the 13th century when the Mongols took over all of Asia, they started to trade with Europe. Due to the abundance of trade, Persia became the focus of Iran. When the Mongol Empire faded, many other mini empires were put together to try and take control of Persia. None succeeded in taking control, so Persia was more of a melting pot area, that didn’t see eye to eye. However, in 1502, Shah Ismail I, a 14 year old leader of the then small Safavid Empire, took down the Azerbaijan empire and took the throne. He then declared that the Safavid Empire would now rule Persia, and unified the many empires, and put together a decent military. It is said that the whole of Persia was fully conquered by 1512. He moved the religion from Sunni to Shiʿism, and had gained a major following.  

THE GOLDEN AGE 

     The Safavid Empire had its golden age for about 180-200 years. During this time, art, culture, metalwork, innovation and much more flourished. This took place under Shah Abbas, who took the throne from Shah Ismail. Much of the culture was a mix of the Ottomans, Arabians, and Persians. He also created two new armies, and brought Chinese artisans, (skillful trade workers), to keep production up.   

THE DECLINE 

     The maintenance of the Safavid Empire relied on the constant domination of new areas. They would then have to defend it from the close Ottoman Empire. This would keep the empire on their toes, and humble. In the beginning of the 17th century, the Ottoman Empire would decline, giving the Safavid Empire a false sense of security. Because of the weakness of the Ottoman Empire, the government became corrupt, and moral values declined. In 1726, an Afghan group came and took partial control of the Empire, and in ten years, fully had control.

WORKS CITED

“The Safavid Empire and the Golden Age of Persia.” Study.com. Accessed May 20,

     2020. https://study.com/academy/lesson/

     the-safavid-empire-the-golden-age-of-persia.html.

     To find background about the Safavid Empire

Zeidan, Adam, ed. “Safavid Dynasty.” Brittanica.com. Last modified May 15, 2020.

     Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Safavid-dynasty.

     To find the rise of the Safavid Empire

“Safavid Empire.” BBC.com. Last modified September 7, 2009. Accessed May 20,

     2020. https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/

     safavidempire_1.shtml.

     To find the decline of the Safavid empire.