Abbas II of Persia

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Shah Abbas II
Shahanshah of Persia, Sahib-i-Qiran, Sultan bar Salatin
Abbas II of Persia.jpg
Shah Abbas II
Reign 15 May 1642 – 26 October 1666
Coronation 15 May 1642
Predecessor Safi I
Successor Suleiman I
House Safavid dynasty
Father Safi I
Mother Anna Khanum
Born (1632-12-31)31 December 1632
Died 25–26 October 1666
Khusrauabad, near Damghan
Burial Qom

Sultan Muhammad Mirza (also spelled Soltan Mohammad Mirza), (31 December 1632[1] – 25/26 October 1666) better known by his dynastic name of Shah Abbas II (Persian: شاه عباس دوم‎) was Shah of Persia from 1642 to 1666. He was the seventh Shah of the Safavid Dynasty.

Early life[edit]

Abbas II was born in Qazvin with the name of Sultan Muhammad Mirza.[2][3] He was the son of Shah Safi I and a Circassian, Anna Khanum.[4] He was the oldest of five brothers. Not much is known about Muhammad Mirza's youth, except that he spent his youth in the Safavid harem, and was tutored by his mentor Rajab Ali Tabrizi.[2] He also learned how to maintain order over a state and other royal matters by two other nobles named Muhammad-Ali Beg and Jani Khan Shamlu.


Artwork of Abbas II and his court

On 15 May 1642, at Kashan, Muhammad Mirza was crowned as shah of Iran and chose "Abbas II" as his dynastic name. Since he was less than ten years old when he became shah, the job of governing Persia was placed in the hands of his mother, Anna Khanum, and the grand vizier, Saru Taqi, while Abbas concentrated on his education at Qazvin. Anna Khanum and Saru Taqi worked closely together, and under them Iran was in secure hands. The French traveller Jean Chardin noted their close working relationship, saying:

After one year had passed, Abbas II moved to the Safavid capital of Isfahan. During the same year, the powerful general Rustam Khan, refused to obey Safavid orders, and marched towards Isfahan to depose Abbas II. However, Saru Taqi managed to have him killed at Mashhad.[5]

In 1644, some Bakhtiari tribes rebelled against Abbas II. The rebellion, however, was quickly suppressed by Saru Taqi. Abbas II, like his great-grandfather Abbas I, was famous for the construction of many buildings, such as the famous Chehel Sotoun in Isfahan.[2]

Saru Taqi led a drive against corruption and, as a result, made many enemies. On 11 October 1645 he was assassinated by a group of army officers. He was succeeded by Khalifa Sultan, who held the office of grand vizier until his death in 1653 or 1654.

Unlike his father, Abbas II took an active interest in government and military matters once he began to rule for himself (probably around age 15). In the summer of 1648, Abbas II, who sought to recapture Kandahar from the Mughal Empire, marched from Isfahan with an army of 40,000 men and after capturing Bost, he laid siege to Kandahar and captured it after a brief siege on 22 February 1649.[6][7] Abbas II then appointed the Georgian ghulam ("military slave") Mihrab Khan as the governor of the city.[8] The Mughals attempted to retake the city in 1651 but the arrival of winter forced them to suspend the siege.[6]

The Mughal ruler Shah Jahan then sent his son Aurangzeb with an army of 50,000 soldiers to recapture Kandahar, but although he defeated Abbas II outside the city he was unable to take it.[9] His artillery train proved not up to the task.[10] Aurangzeb attempted to take the fortress city again in 1652. In the meantime, Abdul Aziz, the Uzbek ruler of Bukhara, had entered into an alliance with Abbas II, and in May 1652, he dispatched 10,000 troops to Kabul to harass the Mughal supply lines.[11] Though not strong enough to lift the siege, the Uzbek threatened a Mughal convoy of 2,000 troops who were escorting one and a half million silver coins to the besieger's army at Kandahar.[11] After two months of fighting Safavid resistance,[10] along with the growing activities of the Uzbeks,[6] Aurangzeb was forced to abandon the campaign.

In 1653, however, Shah Jahan sent his favorite son, Dara Shikoh, with a large army and two of the heaviest artillery pieces of the empire, but after a five-month siege the Mughals couldn't manage to starve the city, and the attempt to breach their walls by cannon fire also failed. The Mughals finally gave up all attempts to recover Kandahar.[10] The city would remain in Safavid hands until its fall in 1736.

In 1654, Abbas II appointed the Georgian prince Vakhtang V as the ruler of Georgia. In 1656, the people of Isfahan rebelled against Parsadan Gorgijanidze, who was the prefect of the city. Abbas II quickly had Parsadan removed from the office and appointed him as the Master of ceremonies of the Safavid court.

In 1659, the subjective kingdom of Kakheti rose up against the Safavid Iranian rule due to a change of policy that included the mass settling of Qizilbash Turcoman tribes in the region in order to repopulate the province, after Shah Abbas' mass deportations of between 130,000[12] - 200,000[13] Georgian subjects to Persia's heartlands and massacre of another thousands in 1616 virtually left the province without any even remotely substantial amount of population. This Bakhtrioni Uprising was successfully defeated under personal direction of Shah Abbas II himself. However, strategically it remained inconclusive.[14] The Iranian authority was restored in Kakheti, but the Qizilbash Turcomans were prevented from settling in Kakheti.

The reign of Abbas II was relatively peaceful, and was significant for being free of any Ottoman attack. He died in Khusrauabad near Damghan on the night of 25–26 October 1666, and was buried alongside with his father in Qom.[15][16] He was succeeded by his son Suleiman I. He also had sons named Hamza Mirza, Ismail Mirza and Mirza Ali Naqi, and had two daughters.


  1. ^ a b Babaie et al. 2004, p. 44
  2. ^ a b c Savory 1985, p. 76
  3. ^ Roemer 1986, p. 288.
  4. ^ Newman 2008, p. 81.
  5. ^ Roemer 1986, p. 292.
  6. ^ a b c Matthee & Mashita 1985, pp. 478–484
  7. ^ Roemer 1986, pp. 299-300.
  8. ^ Matthee 2010, pp. 478–484.
  9. ^ Chandra 2005, p. 228.
  10. ^ a b c Kohn 2007, p. 338.
  11. ^ a b Burton 1997, p. 266.
  12. ^ Eskander Beg, pp. 900-901, tr. Savory, II p. 1116
  13. ^ Malekshah Hosayn Sistani, p. 509
  14. ^ [1] I. Javakhishvili, "Essays of Georgian History, Part IV", Soviet Georgia Publishing, Tbilisi 1970, pg 230-233.
  15. ^ Roemer 1986, p. 301.
  16. ^ Babaie et al. 2004, p. 105.


  • Newman, Andrew J. (2008). Safavid Iran: Rebirth of a Persian Empire. London, UK: I. B. Tauris. pp. 1–281. ISBN 1-8451-1830-8. 
  • Babaie, Sussan; Babayan, Kathryn; McCabe, Ina Baghdiantz; Farhad, Massumeh (2004). Slaves of the Shah: New Elites of Safavid Iran. London, UK: I. B. Tauris. pp. 1–218. ISBN 1-8606-4721-9. LCCN 2005272298. 
  • Roemer, H. R. (1986). "The Safavid period". The Cambridge History of Iran. 6: The Timurid and Safavid periods. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 189–351. ISBN 0-5212-0094-6. 
  • Burton, Audrey (1997). The Bukharans: A Dynastic, Diplomatic, and Commercial History, 1550–1702. New York, NY isbn = 0-3121-7387-3: St. Martin's Press. LCCN 97012314. 
  • Chandra, Satish (2005). Medieval India: from Sultanat to the Mughals. II: Mughal Empire, 1526–1748. New Delhi, India: Har-Anand Publications. ISBN 8-1241-0605-3. LCCN 97901412. 
Abbas II of Persia
Preceded by
Shah Safi
Shah of Persia
Succeeded by
Suleiman I