Abbas I

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Abbas I

Abbas I (Abbas the Great) (äbäsˈ, ăbäsˈ, ăbˈəs), 1557–1629, shah of Persia (1587–1628), of the Safavid dynasty. In 1597 he ended the raids of the Uzbeks, and subsequently (1603–23) he conquered extensive territories from the Turks. He maintained diplomatic contacts with Europe, and with English aid he took (1622) Hormoz from the Portuguese and founded what is now the port of Bandar Abbas. He broke the power of the tribal chiefs and established the Shahsavan [friends of the shah]. At his capital at Esfahan, he erected many palaces, mosques, and gardens and did much to improve public works in Persia.
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Abbas I


Born Jan. 27, 1571; died Jan. 19, 1629. Shah of Iran (from May 1587) of the Safawid dynasty; a leading military commander.

Abbas’ support rested primarily on those Iranian feudal lords interested in supporting a strong centralized power and on the upper merchant class. He conducted a successful struggle against centrifugal tendencies by feudal lords of the Turkic nomadic nobility, who held the leading position in Iran before Abbas I. Abbas I succeeded in partially replacing their base of support, the feudal soldiery, with regular troops recruited in special levies and also in strengthening the state apparatus by drawing on the ranks of settled Persian elements. Abbas I strengthened the economy of the interior of Iran by pillaging conquered regions and forced emigration of Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and other peoples from those conquered regions. He cruelly suppressed popular insurrections—for instance, of 1592 in Gilan and of 1625 in Georgia. He encouraged the development of internal and external trade and commerce. To that end he built roads, bridges, and caravan hostels. In 1597–98 he transferred the capital to Isfahan. Abbas I conducted a successful war against Bukhara and Turkey and restored Iranian suzerainty in Transcaucasia (including Azerbaijan) and in Khurasan. He conquered the Bahrein Islands in the Persian Gulf (1601–02), Kandahar (1621), wrested Hormuz from the Portuguese with the aid of the British fleet (1622), and temporarily conquered Iraq (1623–38). He established commercial and political relations with European countries. Iran achieved its pinnacle of political power under Abbas I.


Iskender-Bek Torkeman. Ta’rikh-i-Alam-Ara-yi-’Abbasi. (The World-Adorning Story of Abbas.) [Books] 1–2. Tehran, 1956–57.


Falsafi, N. Zindagani-i shah Abbas-i avval. (Life of Shah Abbas I), vols. 1–4, Tehran, 1956–62.
Bellan, L. Chah Abbas I. Paris, 1932.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.