Safavid dynasty (Scope note)

1501-1722 (AH 907-AH 1135). The family traced its ancestry to Shaykh Safi al-Din who died in 1334 and is buried at the shrine in Adabil in north-western Iran. In 1501 (AH 905) Isma'il defeated the Aq Qoyunlu, seized Azarbaijan and took control of the whole of Persia. He declared Twelver Shi'ism as the state religion of Iran. The Safavids traced their lineage through the seventh Imam, Musa al-Kazim to ‘Ali, the Prophet Muhammad's son in law and his family. In 1514 (AH 920) Isma'il I and his army of Turkmen Qizilbash ('red heads' because of their red caps) suffered a humiliating defeat by the Ottoman Sultan Selim I at the battle of Chaldiran in north-western Iran. His son and successor Tahmasp I was either defending his western and eastern borders or controlling the Qizilbash. The most outstanding ruler of this dynasty was Shah ‘Abbas who drove the Ottomans out of the Azabarjian and established Persian control over the Caucasus and the Persian Gulf. Isfahan became the capital of Safavid Iran. Safavid rule collapsed with the invasion of the country by the Afghan Ghilzays in 1722 (AH 1135).