Subscriber Essay: Causes of Safavid Decline

The seeds of the Safavid dynasty’s eventual collapse were in many respects embedded in the Safavid polity to begin with. The Safavids, who ruled Iran from 1501 through either 1722 or 1736 depending on how much of a stickler you want to be, began life as a relatively nondescript Sunni Sufi order, the Safaviyah, in the city of Ardabil, today in northweste…

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