The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Abbas I

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2494269The Encyclopedia Americana — Abbas I

ABBAS I, of Persia, “the Great,” 7th shah of the Sufi dynasty: b. 1557, acceded 1585: d. 27 Jan. 1628. Sent to Khorasan as nominal governor in childhood, at 18 he was proclaimed shah by its nobles, smarting under the oppression of his father Mohammed Khodabendeh's officers; the father was soon driven from the throne. At this time the Turks had invaded the western Persian provinces, and the Uzbek Tartars occupied and ravaged Khorasan. Abbas first transferred his residence from Kasbin to Ispahan; he then by treaty confirmed to the Turks all their conquests, to gain time for chastising the Uzbeks, whom in 1597 he surprised and routed near Herat, and followed this by the conquest of Ghilan, Mazanderan, much of Tartary, and nearly all Afghanistan. He then declared war against the Turks; and in 1605, with 60,000 men, annihilated their army of nearly double the number at Basra (Bussorah), recovering all the lost provinces, and not only securing complete immunity from Turkish aggression for the rest of his life, but extending his empire beyond the Euphrates. In 1611 he dictated to Achmet I a treaty which gave Persia Shirwan and Kurdistan. In 1618 he routed united Turkish and Tartar armies near Sultanieh, securing more territory; and on the Turks renewing war in 1623 he captured Bagdad after a year's siege. The same year he took Ormuz from the Portuguese; and when he died his dominions reached from the Tigris to the Indus. His internal administration was no less firm and beneficial. He encouraged commerce, built highways, repressed violence, and left the country flourishing as it never has since. He was favorable to foreigners, and two Englishmen, Sir Anthony and Sir Robert Shirley, had much influence over him. He was like Herod in every respect: a jealous and cruel tyrant to his family,– he slew his eldest son and blinded his other children,– his country alone felt his good side. (See Persia). Consult Markham, C. R. ‘General Sketch of the History of Persia’ (London 1874).