Shah Isma'il’s Establishes a Persian State

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Safawid rule over Persia originates from Shah Isma'il’s capture of Tabriz after hisvictory over the Aq-Qoyunlu ruler Alwand at Sharur in 1501 A.D. However, before Isma'il could be regarded the successor to the Aq-Qoyunlu in Azarbayjan he would have to defeat the ozbegs and the Ottomans to produce a contiguous Persian State. This would take decades to accomplish. Overall, The Safawid state established by Shah Isma'il relied on three elements to maintain power. The first was the loyalty of the Qizilbash tribesmen—providing a military capacity to the shah in his capacity as head of the Safawid order. The second was the local bureaucracy, recruited especially from members of the urban population of the cities of central Persia. This was an essential part of the machinery of maintaining governing power once the military conquest was over. The third and perhaps the most important element was the State’s new official faith, the Twelver variety of Shi'ism, whose adherents accept a line of twelve infallible imams, beginning with 'Ali and ending with Muhammad al Mahdi. It is likely that a large majority of the Persian people at the time that Shah Isma’il began to establish his influence adhered to the Sunni branch of Islam. The initial years of the Safawid dynasty brought on conversion to Shi'ism as compulsory for the entire population. Why conversion was necessary is not immediately clear, but the form of Shi'ism chosen by Shah Isma'il was certainly not the

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