ʿAbbās the Great (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: The most famous of all Islamic era monarchs of Iran, ʿAbbās the Great was the chief architect of the modern Iranian state. His legacy also includes great achievements in architecture, literature, textiles, and painting.
In 1501, an Iranian dynasty named for their Sufi ancestor Safī od-Dīn established control over the region which constitutes modern Iran. These Safavids were the first native dynasty to do so since the Arab Muslims had overthrown the Sasanian Empire (224-651) nearly nine centuries earlier. Reigning for more than two hundred years, the Safavids developed and expanded a middle Islamic empire between the Ottomans, centered in Turkey to the west, and the Moguls, in the Indian subcontinent to the East. Modern Iran owes to the Safavids the territorial configuration of the country and its national religion, Twelver Shii Islam, which they established as the official religion, thus enhancing Iranian distinctiveness and separateness from their Sunni Muslim neighbors and contributing later to their sense of cultural and political nationalism.
In all, eleven Safavid monarchs ruled over Iran, the last two in name only, from 1722, when a successful invasion and occupation by the Afghans took place, until 1736, when Nāder Shāh...
(The entire section is 1953 words.)
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ʿAbbās the Great (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: ʿAbbās the Great of Persia waged a series of successful campaigns against the encroaching Uzbeks, the Ottoman Turks, and the Mogul Empire. At its height, ʿAbbās’s Persian empire stretched from the Indus River, in the east, to the Tigris River, in the west.
ʿAbbās the Great reigned from 1587 to 1629. Upon assuming the throne, he faced threats from the Uzbeks to the north, the Turks to the west, and the Indian Moguls to the east. ʿAbbās was aware of his dangerous position; the Turkish Janissaries had demonstrated their complete dominance over the ineffective Persian army. He also recognized the many opportunities his position afforded to a leader who acted boldly.
Technically at war with the Turks until 1590, ʿAbbās ignored the threat from that quarter. He stayed on the defensive, believing (correctly) that the Turks were too distracted by rival European powers to threaten his survival. He lost ground to Turkish offensives but maintained his kingdom’s essential geographic integrity.
ʿAbbās concentrated instead on the repeated incursions of the nomadic Uzbeks. Even here, he traded space for time to create an interval in which to reorganize the Persian army into an effective fighting force. ʿAbbās had inherited an...
(The entire section is 663 words.)