great-great-grandson of Mehemet Ali, born on the 14th of July 1874, succeeded his father, Tewfik Pasha, as khedive of Egypt on the 8th of January 1892. When a boy he visited England, and he had an English tutor for some time in Cairo. He then went to school in Lausanne, and from there passed on to the Theresianum in Vienna. In addition to Turkish, his mother tongue, he acquired fluency in Arabic, and a good conversational knowledge of English, French and German. He was still at college in Vienna when the sudden death of his father raised him to the Khedivate; and he was barely of age according to Turkish law, which fixes majority at eighteen in cases of succession to the throne. For some time he did not co-operate very cordially with Great Britain. He was young and eager to exercise his new power. His throne and life had not been saved for him by the British, as was the case with his father. He was surrounded by intriguers who were playing a game of their own, and for some time he appeared almost disposed to be as reactionary as his great-uncle Abbas I. But in process of time he learnt to understand the importance of British counsels. He paid a second visit to England in 1900, during which he frankly acknowledged the great good the British had done in Egypt, and declared himself ready to follow their advice and to co-operate with the British officials administering Egyptian affairs. The establishment of a sound system of native justice, the great remission of taxation, the reconquest of the Sudan, the inauguration of the stupendous irrigation works at Assuan, the increase of cheap, sound education, each received his approval and all the assistance he could give. He displayed more interest in agriculture than in statecraft, and his farm of cattle and horses at Koubah, near Cairo, would have done credit to any agricultural show in England; at Montaza, near Alexandria, he created a similar establishment. He married the Princess Ikbal Hanem and had several children. Mahommed Abdul Mouneim, the heir-apparent, was born on the 20th of February 1899.
ABBAS I. (c. 1557–1628 or 1629), shah of Persia, called the Great, was the son of shah Mahommed (d. 1586). In the midst of general anarchy in Persia, he was proclaimed ruler of Khorasan, and obtained possession of the Persian throne in 1586. Determined to raise the fallen fortunes of his country, he first directed his efforts against the predatory Uzbegs, who occupied and harassed Khorasan. After a long and severe struggle, he regained Meshed, defeated them in a great battle near Herat in 1597, and drove them out of his dominions. In the wars he carried on with the Turks during nearly the whole of his reign, his successes were numerous, and he acquired, or regained, a large extent of territory. By the victory he gained at Bassora in 1605 he extended his empire beyond the Euphrates; sultan Ahmed I. was forced to cede Shirvan and Kurdistan in 1611; the united armies of the Turks and Tatars were completely defeated near Sultanieh in 1618, and Abbas made peace on very favourable terms; and on the Turks renewing the war, Bagdad fell into his hands after a year’s siege in 1623. In 1622 he took the island of Ormuz from the Portuguese, by the assistance of the British, and much of its trade was diverted to the town of Bander-Abbasi, which was named after the shah. When he died, his dominions reached from the Tigris to the Indus. Abbas distinguished himself, not only by his successes in arms, and by the magnificence of his court and of the buildings which he erected, but also by his reforms in the administration of his kingdom. He encouraged commerce, and, by constructing highways and building bridges, did much to facilitate it. To foreigners, especially Christians, he showed a spirit of tolerance; two Englishmen, Sir Anthony and Sir Robert Shirley, or Sherley, were admitted to his confidence. His fame is tarnished, however, by numerous deeds of tyranny and cruelty. His own family, especially, suffered from his fits of jealousy; his eldest son was slain, and the eyes of his other children were put out, by his orders.
See The Three Brothers, or Travels of Sir Anthony, Sir Robert Sherley, &c. (London, 1825); Sir C. R. Markham, General Sketch of the History of Persia (London, 1874).
ABBASIDS, the name generally given to the caliphs of Bagdad, the second of the two great dynasties of the Mahommedan empire. The Abbasid caliphs officially based their claim to the throne on their descent from Abbas (A.D. 566–652), the eldest uncle of Mahomet, in virtue of which descent they regarded themselves as the rightful heirs of the Prophet as opposed to the Omayyads, the descendants of Omayya. Throughout the second period of the Omayyads, representatives of this family were among their most dangerous opponents, partly by the skill with which they undermined the reputation of the reigning princes by accusations against their orthodoxy, their moral character and their administration in general, and partly by their cunning manipulation of internecine jealousies among the Arabic and non-Arabic subjects of the empire. In the reign of Merwan II. this opposition culminated in the rebellion of Ibrahim the Imam, the fourth in descent from Abbas, who, supported hy the province of Khorasan, achieved considerable successes, but was captured (a.d. 747) and died in prison (as some hold, assassinated). The quarrel was taken up by his brother Abdallah, known by the name of Abu'l-Abbas as-Saffah, who after a decisive victory on the Greater Zab (750) finally crushed the Omayyads and was proclaimed caliph.
The history of the new dynasty is marked by perpetual strife and the development of luxury and the liberal arts, in place of the old-fashioned austerity of thought and manners. Mansur, the second of the house, who transferred the seat of government to Bagdad, fought successfully against the peoples of Asia Minor, and the reigns of Harun al-Rashid (786–809) and Mamun (813–833) were periods of extraordinary splendour. But the empire as a whole stagnated and then decayed rapidly. Independent monarchs established themselves in Africa and Khorasan (Spain had remained Omayyad throughout), and in the north-west the Greeks successfully encroached. The ruin of the dynasty came, however, from those Turkish slaves who were constituted as a royal bodyguard by Moqtasim (833–842). Their power steadily grew until Radi (934–941) was constrained to hand over most of the royal functions to Mahommed b. Raik. Province after province renounced the authority of the caliphs, who were merely lay figures, and finally Hulagu, the Mongol chief, burned Bagdad (Feb. 28th, 1258). The Abbasids still maintained a feeble show of authority, confined to religious matters, in Egypt under the Mamelukes, but the dynasty finally disappeared with Motawakkil III., who was carried away as a prisoner to Constantinople by Selim I.
See Caliphate (Sections B, 14 and C), where a detailed account of the dynasty will be found.
ABBAS MIRZA (c. 1783–1833), prince of Persia, was a younger son of the shah, Feth Ali, but on account of his mother’s royal birth was destined by his father to succeed him. Entrusted with the government of a part of Persia, he sought to rule it in European fashion, and employed officers to reorganize his army. He was soon at war with Russia, and his aid was eagerly solicited by both England and Napoleon, anxious to checkmate one another in the East. Preferring the friendship of France, Abbas continued the war against Russia, but his new ally could give him very little assistance, and in 1814 Persia was compelled to make a disadvantageous peace. He gained some successes during a war between Turkey and Persia which broke out in 1821, but cholera attacked his army, and a treaty was signed in 1823. His second war with Russia, which began in 1825, was attended with the same want of success as the former one, and Persia was forced to cede some territory. When peace was made in 1828 Abbas then sought to restore order in the province of Khorasan, which was nominally under Persian supremacy, and while engaged in the task died at Meshed in 1833. In 1834 his eldest son, Mahommed Mirza, succeeded Feth Ali as shah. Abbas was an intelligent prince, possessed some literary taste, and it noteworthy on account of the comparative simplicity of his life.
ABBAS-TUMAN, a spa in Russian Transcaucasia, government of Tiflis, 50 m. S.W. of the Borzhom railway station and 65 m. E. of Batum, very picturesquely situated in a cauldron-shaped valley. It has hot sulphur baths (93½°–118½° Fahr.) and an astronomical observatory (4240 ft.).
ABBAZIA, a popular summer and winter resort of Austria, in