Suleiman I of Persia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Shah Suleiman I
Shahanshah of Persia, Sahib-i-Qiran, Sultan bar Salatin
Suleiman I of Persia.jpg
Artwork of Shah Suleiman I, painted by Aliquli Jabbadar in 1670.
Reign 1 November 1666 – 29 July 1694
Coronation 1 November 1666
Predecessor Abbas II
Successor Sultan Husayn
House Safavid dynasty
Father Abbas II
Mother Nakihat Khanum
Born 1647
Died 29 July 1694

Safi II (1647 – 29 July 1694), (Persian: شاه صفی‎), better known by his second dynastic name of Suleiman I (Persian: شاه سلیمان‎), was the eight Safavid shah (king) of Iran and reigned between 1666 and 1694.

Early Life[edit]

Safi was born in 1647; he was the elder son of the previous shah Abbas II and a Circassian slave, Nakihat Khanum.[1] He had a younger brother named Hamza Mirza, including two other brothers named Ismail Mirza and Mirza Ali Naqi. He also had two unnamed sisters. Suleiman, like his father, was raised in the royal Safavid harem. He was, however, much less experienced and less energetic than his father.[2]


Safi II was crowned on November 1, 1666. The young ruler had been brought up in the harem and had no experience of the world outside. He was also addicted to alcohol and suffered from poor health. The first year of his reign was markedly unsuccessful. A series of natural disasters such as earthquakes in Shirvan, spread of deadly diseases around Iran, combined with devastating raids by the Cossack Stenka Razin on the coast of the Caspian Sea, convinced court astrologers that the coronation had taken place at the wrong time, and the ceremony was repeated on March 20, 1667. The shah took the new name Suleiman I. He had little interest in the business of government, preferring retreat to the harem.

He left political decision-making to his grand viziers or to a council of harem eunuchs, whose power increased during the shah's reign. Corruption became widespread in Persia and discipline in the army was dangerously lax. At the same time revenues increased by the imposition of new taxes and higher taxes. This affected the country's economy and spread poverty, which resulted in many rebellions even in Suleiman's capital Isfahan. In 1672, shah Suleiman offered the former vizier Mohammad Beg to become vizier once again, which he agreed to, but while on his way to Isfahan, he died. According to the French traveler Jean Chardin, Mohammad Beg had been poisoned by Suleiman's vizier Shaykh Ali Khan Zangana.[3] In 1676, Suleiman appointed the Georgian prince George XI as the ruler of Kartli.

Suleiman made no attempt to exploit the weakness of Safavid Persia's traditional rival, the Ottoman Empire, after the Ottomans suffered a serious defeat at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. He even refused the proposals from the European states to form a coalition against the Ottoman Empire. Persia also suffered raids by the Uzbeks and Kalmyks on the eastern and northern (North Caucasus) borders of the empire respectively. In 1688, George XI rebelled against Suleiman, and tried to urge the Ottomans to aid him. However, his request for help was fruitless, and Suleiman appointed another Georgian prince named Heraclius I as the ruler of Kartli, and forced George XI to flee from Kartli. To secure Iranian control over Kartli, he appointed Abbas-Quli Khan as the viceroy of the region.

Suleiman died on July 29, 1694 at Isfahan, either as a result of heavy drinking or gout.[4] When he was on his deathbed, he asked his court eunuchs to choose between his two sons, saying that if they wanted peace and quiet they should pick the elder, Sultan Husayn, but if they wanted to make the empire more powerful then they should opt for the younger, Abbas Mirza. The ennuchs decided to make Sultan Husayn the new shah of Iran. Suleiman also had other sons named Murtaza Mirza, Mustafa Mirza, Sultan Hamza Mirza, Sultan Ibrahim Mirza, and Ahmad Mirza, including a daughter named Shahbanu Begum.

Relations with the Mughal Empire[edit]

Furthermore Aurangzeb's rebellious son Sultan Muhammad Akbar sought refuge with Shah Suleiman I of Persia who had rescued the rebellious prince from the Imam of Musqat and later refused to assist the Mughal Emperor's son in any military adventures against Aurangzeb.[5]


  1. ^ Roemer 1986, p. 305.
  2. ^ Roemer 1986, p. 306.
  3. ^ Matthee 2011, p. 52.
  4. ^ Roemer 1986, p. 310.
  5. ^ Rudi Matthee, Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfahan, (I.B. Tauris, 2012), 136.[1]


Suleiman I of Persia
Preceded by
Abbas II
Shah of Persia
Succeeded by
Sultan Husayn