What was the importance of the Safavid Empire?
The Safavid Empire was a vast kingdom located around modern day Iran. It left a distinct mark in the area it occupied, and played a decisive role in Middle Eastern history.
A bit of history...the Safavid Empire started off as a small band of Sufi mystics; these mystics, led by Sail Al-Din and called Red Heads, would spread their ideals to the Persian tribes. Ismail would unify the Safavid Dynasty, but would seclude himself after military defeats. His later progeny would re-stabilize the Safavid.
Now, the importance...Centered in Isfahan, the Safavid Empire was a bastion for Shi'ia Islam. Almost all of its members were of Shi'ia Islam, and this brought it into heightened conflicts with its Sunni neighbor, the Ottomans. This limited the spread of the Safavid Empire, and basically Shi'ia Islam; today, Iran is predominantly Shi'ia Muslim.
Under capable shahs like Tahmasp I and Abbas the Great, the Safavid Empire would certainly flourish. Safavid art and architecture was exquisite. Persian would become the official vernacular ( language ) for the Safavids, rather than Turkish. Trading centers and posts would be widely sought after by the Europeans.
Overall, the Safavid Empire wasn't a major player in world history, but it certainly had an effect on the Middle Eastern region, and had a unique culture.
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