Ismail (Shah Ismail) is the founder and first ruler of the Safavid dynasty. The period when Ismail I was ruler is known as one of the most important periods in the history of Iran. Iran has not been a unified country since it was conquered by the Arabs some 850 years ago, before Ismail I unified Iran’s geography in 1501. The Safavid dynasty, founded by Ismail I, ruled for more than 200 years and became one of the most powerful empires in Iranian history. For you, we have answered questions such as who is Shah Ismail and who is Shah Ismail Turki.
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Shah Ismail was born on July 17, 1487 in the city of Ardabil.
The sheikh’s family, which belonged to the Safavid order of Ismail, was allegedly of Turkish, Arab, and Kurdish descent. Ismail’s father, Sheikh Haydar, attacked the state of Shirvan Shahin to avenge his father’s death in 1488. After his defeat, Farwi Yasar, the ruler of Shirvan, withdrew to the fortress of Golestan. After 7 months, he sought help from Akkoyunlu Sultan Yakub Bey, who was his son-in-law. Sheikh Haider is married to the sister of Jacob Bey. However, Yakub Bey did not want Haydar to become stronger, so he sent soldiers to Farouh. Sheikh Haider, who fought with the armies of the Shirvanshahs and Akoyunlu, was killed.
After the death of his father, Ismail was sent to the ruler of Shiraz, Mansur Burnak, along with his mother and brothers. Ismail was a year old at the time. Until the end of his uncle Sultan Yacoub’s life they were imprisoned in Esther Castle in Fars. Sultan Yaqub was murdered by his wife in 1490.
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Ismail Akkoyunlu period
Ismail and his family, who had been imprisoned for 4.5 years, were released by Rustam Bey, who ascended the throne of Akkoyunlu. Rüstem Bey’s goal was to take advantage of them in the fight for power with his brother. During the war, when he saw Ismail’s elder brother Sultan Ali and Qizilbash fighting bravely, Rustem Bey became frightened and demanded that they all be killed. Aware of this situation, Sultan Ali took his brothers and began to flee. However, Sultan Ali, who was eventually taken prisoner, was killed, and Ismail was proclaimed his heir before his death. The Qizilbash, learning that Ismail was wanted, hid him. At Lahikan, Ismail learned the principles of Arabic, Persian, Qur’an, tafsir, and Shi’ite doctrine from the Shi’ite scholar Maulana Ahmad al-Din Lahij, and techniques of war from the Qizilbash chiefs.
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The Journey from Sheikh to Shah and his funeral of Iran
In the summer of 1500, 7,000 Qizilbasis from many different tribes attended Ismail’s da’wa in Erzincan. The Qizilbash army took action in November 1500 to attack the state of the Shirvanshahs. Ismail defeated the army of Frukh Yasar at the Battle of Shabani and captured Baku. Later, Ismail achieved a great victory by defeating the army of Akoyunlu Elvind Mirza at the Battle of Sharuur. He entered Tabriz in the summer of 1501, was crowned, and proclaimed himself “Shah”. Then he founded the Safavid state, and the first thing he did was declare the Shiite community as the official one.
Murad Bey of the Akkoyunlu dynasty gathered a large army and prepared to fight the Kızılbaşs. Murad Bey, who was defeated by Kyzylbash at the Battle of Ilkolak on June 21, 1503, fled to Shiraz. Shah Ismail entered Shiraz on September 24, 1503, and before the end of 1503 he controlled Azerbaijan, Persia, and most of Persian Iraq. He entered Baghdad in 1508, and two years later he defeated the Shaybani Khanate.
The Safavid dynasty, founded and led by Shah Ismail, ruled for more than 200 years, making it one of the most important empires in Iranian history. At the height of this empire’s power, it ruled most of present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Georgia, along with Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the North Caucasus, as well as parts of Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, and Uzbekistan.
Shah Ismail and Yavuz Sultan Selim
The growing power of the Safavid Empire was disturbing the Ottoman Empire. However, when the Anatolian Kizilbash sided with Shah Ismail, riots and religious reasons on the Ottoman frontier prompted Yavuz Sultan Selim and Shah Ismail to fight. In the Battle of Calderan, which took place in 1514, Yavuz defeated Sultan Selim Shah Ismail. After this defeat, Ismail I, who suffered from a severe depression, tried to stay away from wars and began to ignore state affairs.
Shah Ismail died of internal bleeding on 24 May 1524 at the age of 36.
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