caption=" Safavid Map"]]=

Dynasty uniting and ruling over Persia from 1501 -1736. The Safavids were also in charge of establishing Shi' i Islam as the dominating religion in Iran. They patronized the arts. Yet they were conservative societies. Economically they remained tied to agricultural production, local trade, and taxation based on land. They did not undergo the social or religio-political revolutions that rocked Western Europe after 1500 or changes in material and intellectual life similar to that experienced in the West European world during the same period. There were no compelling challenge to traditional Islamic ideals, even though numerous Islamic movements of the eighteenth century did call for reform. From the late 17th century, the state disintegrated. This decline was a result of weak rulers, the interference of women of the harem in politics, rivalries between soldiers and officers, maladministration of state lands, excessive taxation and decline of trade.



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The state religion was Shi'i Islam, and the state engaged in many campaigns in order to advance the religion in areas non shi'i majorities. Methods involved proselytizing and force. But other religions were tolerated, like Christianity which had many adherents in Iran at the time. The Christians were allowed to construct missions and churches. The Safavid state was through long periods a theocracy, with the shah claiming legitimacy as ruler through his religious position. The idea of the shah as a infallible semi-divine figure which had dominated the early years of the Safavid state, was crushed in the battle at Chaldiran in 1514.


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