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Biographical Data :

Name :Shah Abbas I
Period :1571 - 1629
Biographical detail : The fifth sovereign of the Saffavid dynasty of Iran.

Iran’s brilliant ruler Shah Abbas 1, whose magnum opus urban planning integrated the political, economic, religious and social elements out of which he built a nation.

He built a magnificent Court in Isfahan that stunned at the sophistication and opulence as the meeting point between east and west. Isfahan was the showcase for Abbas’s vision of his nation and the role it was to play in the world. Iran had become the crux of a new and rapidly growing world economy as links were forged worldwide.

Shah Abbas I established diplomatic and commercial contacts with Europe, China and India. He conveyed his authority through an aesthetic that became characteristic of his reign.

When enthroned in 1588, at the age of 16, Shah Abbas inherited the kingdom riven by war, which had been invaded by the Ottomans in the west and the Uzbeks in the east, and was threatened by expanding European powers such as Portugal along with Gulf coast.

Abbas’s father Muhammad Khudabandah could not check the leaders of the seven Turkish tribes known as Qizilbash (red heads), who had helped the Saffavids come to power. Shah Abbas I made peace with the Ottomans and concentrated on fighting the Uzbeks. He robbed the Qizilbash of their military power by creating two new regiments – a cavalry regiment of people from Caucasus and an infantry regiment recruited from the Iranian peasantry.

Last of all, Shah Abbas I opened his campaigns against the Ottomans in 1602 and by a peace treaty of 1614, he forced them to retreat to the boundaries that existed before the campaign of Sultan Selim I (Ottoman Sultan) in 1580.

Allying himself with the English East India Company Shah Abbas 1 defeated the Portuguese in 1622 and expelled the Portuguese from the Island of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. He became the master of the Persian Gulf.

Shah Abbas I turned Isfahan into one of the most beautiful cities of his time and which enjoyed cultural renaissance – drew inspiration from the old pre-Islamic Persian culture. This was the period of such great painters as Bihzad and Riza-i-Abbari who produced luminous and dream-like miniatures. Isfahan became a magnificent city of parks, palaces, and huge open squares, with imposing mosques and madrasahs. He built the tomb of Imam Reza al-Mashhad.
 (Compiler : M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin)


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