Abbas II of Persia

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

Sultan Muhammad Mirza (also spelled Soltan Mohammad Mirza), better known by his dynastic name of Shah Abbas II (Persian: شاه عباس دوم‎) (born 31 December 1632;[1] died 25/26 October 1666) 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 child of his 5 brothers. Not much is known 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 affairs by two other nobles named Muhammad-Ali Beg and Jani Khan Shamlu.

Reign[edit]

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 were known for their close relations with each others, and under them Iran was in secure hands. The French traveler Jean Chardin even notes their close relationship, saying the following thing about it:

The power of mothers of Persian kings looms large when they [shahs] are at a young age. Abbas II's mother had much influence, which was absolute. They [queen-mothers] were in close contact with the prime minister and would help each other mutually. Saru Taqi was the agent and confidant of the queen-mother; he would gather immense fortunes for her. She governed Persia at her will throught her minister.[1]

Only after one year, however, he 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 shortly suppressed by Saru Taqi. Abbas II, like his great-grandfather Abbas I, was famous for his constructions: Abbas II constructed many buildings, such as the famous Chehel Sotoun in Isfahan.[2]

Saru Taqi led a drive against corruption and 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 took an active interest in government 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] 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 under an army of 50,000 soldiers to recapture it, but although he defeated Abbas II outside the city he was unable to take it.[8] His artillery train proved unable for the task.[9] Aurangzeb attempted to take the fortress city again in 1652. 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.[10] Though not strong enough to lift the siege, the Uzbek endangered a Mughal convoy of 2,000 who were escorting one and a half million silver coins to the besieger's army at Kandahar.[10] After two months of fighting Safavid resistance,[9] and 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.[9] 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 shortly had Parsadan removed from the office, and appointed him as the Master of ceremonies of the Safavid court.

The reign of Abbas II was relatively peaceful, and is 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.[11][12] He was succeeded by his son Suleiman I. He also had a 7 year old son named Hamza Mirza, including two other sons named Ismail Mirza and Mirza Ali Naqi. He also had two unnamed daughters.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Babaie 2004, p. 44.
  2. ^ a b c Savory 1982, p. 76.
  3. ^ Roemer 1986, p. 288.
  4. ^ Newman 2008, p. 81.
  5. ^ Roemer 1986, p. 292.
  6. ^ a b c Mashita & Matthee 2010, pp. 478-484.
  7. ^ Roemer 1986, pp. 299-300.
  8. ^ Chandra 2005, p. 228.
  9. ^ a b c Kohn 2007, p. 338.
  10. ^ a b Burton 1997, p. 266.
  11. ^ Roemer 1986, p. 301.
  12. ^ Babaie 2004, p. 105.

Sources[edit]

Abbas II of Persia
Preceded by
Shah Safi
Shah of Persia
1642–1666
Succeeded by
Suleiman I