Safi of Persia

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Shah Safi
Mirza (royal title)
Shahanshah of Iran
Schah Safi.jpg
Reign 28 January 1629 – 12 May 1642
Coronation 28 January 1629
Titles Shahanshah, Sahib-i-Qiran, Sultan bar Salatin [1]
Born 1611
Died 12 May 1642 (aged 30/31)
Predecessor Abbas I
Successor Abbas II
Royal house Safavi
Father Shahzadeh Soltan Mohammad Baqer Mirza
Mother Dilaram Khanum

Sam Mirza (Persian: سام میرزا‎), better known by his dynastic name of Shah Safi (Persian: شاه صفی‎) was Shah of Iran from 1629 to 1642. He was the sixth ruler of the Safavid dynasty.

Early life[edit]

Safi was given the name Sam Mirza when he was born. He was the son of Mohammed Baqir Mirza, the eldest son of Shah Abbas I, and Dilaram Khanum, a Georgian wife.[2] In 1615, Abbas had Mohammed Baqir killed, fearing he was plotting against his life. Over the next few years, the suspicious Abbas killed or blinded his other sons, leaving his grandson Safi heir to the throne.

Reign[edit]

Safi was crowned on 28 January 1629 at the age of eighteen. He ruthlessly eliminated anyone he regarded as a threat to his power, executing almost all the Safavid royal princes as well as leading courtiers and generals. He paid little attention to the business of government and had no cultural or intellectual interests (he had never learned to read or write properly), preferring to spend his time drinking wine or indulging in his addiction to opium. Supposedly, however, he abhorred tobacco smoke as much as his grandfather did, going as far as to have those caught smoking tobacco in public killed by pouring molten lead in their mouths.[citation needed]

The dominant political figure of Safi's reign was Saru Taqi, appointed grand vizier in 1634. Saru Taqi was incorruptible and highly efficient at raising revenues for the state, but he could also be autocratic and arrogant.

Iran's foreign enemies took the opportunity to exploit Safi's perceived weakness. Despite firm initial Safavid successes and humiliating defeats in the Ottoman-Safavid War (1623-39) by Safi's father and predecessor Shah Abbas the Great, the Ottomans, the sworn arch rivals of the Safavids, made incursions in the west in one year following Safi's ascension to the throne. In 1634 they briefly occupied Yerevan and Tabriz and in 1638 they finally succeeded in capturing and gaining a strong foothold in Baghdad and other parts of Mesopotamia (Iraq) which, despite being taken again several times later on in history by the Persians and most notably by Nader Shah, it would all remain in their hands until the aftermath of World War I. Nevertheless, the Treaty of Zuhab which ensued in 1639 put an end to all further wars between the Safavids and the Ottomans. Apart from the Ottoman wars, Iran was troubled by the Uzbeks and Turkmens in the east and briefly lost Kandahar in their easternmost territories to the Mughals in 1638, due to what seems as an act of revenge by their own governor over the region, Ali Mardan Khan, after being dismissed from office.

Safi died on 12 May 1642, and was buried in Qom. He was succeeded by his son Abbas II.

Relations with the Mughal Empire[edit]

Shah Jahan and his sons took the city of Kandahar in 1638 from the Safavids during Safi's rule, after negotiations with Ali Mardan Khan, the governor over the city. This prompted the retaliation of the Persians led by their powerful ruler Abbas II of Persia, Safi's successor, who easily recaptured it in 1649. The Mughal armies were unable to recapture it from the military superior Persians despite repeated sieges during the Mughal–Safavid War. After the war the Mughals finally gave up all attempts to regain Kandahar.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Royal Ark
  2. ^ Sussan Babaie and others: Slaves of the Shah (I.B. Tauris, 2003) p.104
  3. ^ Kohn 2007, p. 338
  4. ^ "The Surrender of Kandahar". Padshahnama. 1640. 

Sources[edit]

Safi of Persia
Preceded by
Abbas I
Shah of Persia
1629–1642
Succeeded by
Abbas II