Tahmasp I

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Tahmasp I (February 22, 1514 – May 14, 1576) was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty. He was the son of Ismail I. His reign was marked by foreign threats, primarily from the Ottomans and the Uzbeks. In 1555, however, he regularized relations with the Empire through the Peace of Amasya. One of Shah Tahmasp's more lasting achievements was his encouragement of the Persian rug industry on a national scale, possibly a response to the economic effects of the interruption of the Silk Road ####carrying trade during to the Ottoman wars. The discord in Iran had allowed its enemies, the Uzbek khans in the east and the Ottoman Empire in the west, to seize territory. The Ottomans were at the height of their power during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. They launched four invasions of Iran between 1533 and 1553. Since the Ottoman army possessed overwhelming numerical superiority, Tahmasp avoided pitched battle with them and resorted to alternative tactics. In 1534, Suleiman invaded Iran with a force numbering 200,000 men and 300 pieces of artillery. Tahmasp could only field 7,000 men (of dubious loyalty) and a few cannons. Between 1540 and 1553, Tahmasp conducted military campaigns in the Caucasus region, capturing many Armenians, Georgians and Circassians. These would become an important new element in Iranian society. Tahmasp was an enthusiastic patron of the arts with a particular interest in book illustration. Tahmasp died as a result of poison, although it is unclear whether this was by accident or on purpose. On his death, as expected, fighting broke out between the different court factions.

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