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Shah Ismail I, was the founder of the Safavid dynasty of Iran, ruling from 1501 to 23 May 1524 as shah (king).

The rule of Ismail is one of the most vital in the history of Iran—before his accession in 1501, Iran, since its occupation by the Arabs eight-and-a-half centuries ago, had not existed as a unified country under native Iranian rule, but had been controlled by a series of Arab caliphs, Turkic sultans, and Mongol khans. Although many Iranian dynasties rose to power amidst this whole period, it was only under the Buyids that a vast part of Iran proper came under Iranian rule (945-1055).

The dynasty founded by Ismail I would rule for over two centuries, being one of the greatest Iranian empires and at its height being amongst the most powerful empires of its time, ruling all of present-day Iran, Azerbaijan Republic, Armenia, most of Georgia, the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, as well as parts of modern-day Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. It also reasserted the Iranian identity in large parts of Greater Iran. The legacy of the Safavid Empire was also the revival of Iran as an economic stronghold between East and West, the establishment of an efficient state and bureaucracy, its architectural innovations and its patronage for fine arts.

One of his first actions, was the proclamation of the Twelver sect of Shia Islam to be the official religion of his newly-formed state, which had major consequences for the ensuing history of Iran. This extreme step, which had no principal in the history of Islamic states, was a rational one, granted that it was the "dynamic ideology" of radical Shi'ism that had roused his supporters.

Furthermore, this drastic act also gave him a political benefit of separating the growing Safavid state from its strong Sunni neighbors—the Ottoman Empire to the west and the Uzbek confederation to the east. However, it brought into the Iranian body politic the implied inevitability of consequent conflict between the shah, the design of a "secular" state, and the religious leaders, who saw all secular states as unlawful and whose absolute ambition was a theocratic state.

Ismail was also a prolific poet who, under the pen name Khata'i (which means "he who made a mistake" or "he who was wrong" in Persian), contributed greatly to the literary development of the Azerbaijani language. He also contributed to Persian literature, though few of his Persian writings survive.

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Shah Ismail I, was the founder of the Safavid dynasty of Iran, ruling from 1501 to 23 May 1524 as shah (king).

The rule of Ismail is one of the most vital in the history of Iran—before his accession in 1501, Iran, since its occupation by the Arabs eight-and-a-half centuries ago, had not existed as a unified country under native Iranian rule, but had been controlled by a series of Arab caliphs, Turkic sultans, and Mongol khans. Although many Iranian dynasties rose to power amidst this whole period, it was only under the Buyids that a vast part of Iran proper came under Iranian rule (945-1055).

The dynasty founded by Ismail I would rule for over two centuries, being one of the greatest Iranian empires and at its height being amongst the most powerful empires of its time, ruling all of present-day Iran, Azerbaijan Republic, Armenia, most of Georgia, the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, as well as parts of modern-day Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. It also reasserted the Iranian identity in large parts of Greater Iran. The legacy of the Safavid Empire was also the revival of Iran as an economic stronghold between East and West, the establishment of an efficient state and bureaucracy, its architectural innovations and its patronage for fine arts.

One of his first actions, was the proclamation of the Twelver sect of Shia Islam to be the official religion of his newly-formed state, which had major consequences for the ensuing history of Iran. This extreme step, which had no principal in the history of Islamic states, was a rational one, granted that it was the "dynamic ideology" of radical Shi'ism that had roused his supporters.

Furthermore, this drastic act also gave him a political benefit of separating the growing Safavid state from its strong Sunni neighbors—the Ottoman Empire to the west and the Uzbek confederation to the east. However, it brought into the Iranian body politic the implied inevitability of consequent conflict between the shah, the design of a "secular" state, and the religious leaders, who saw all secular states as unlawful and whose absolute ambition was a theocratic state.

Ismail was also a prolific poet who, under the pen name Khata'i (which means "he who made a mistake" or "he who was wrong" in Persian), contributed greatly to the literary development of the Azerbaijani language. He also contributed to Persian literature, though few of his Persian writings survive. More

 
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