CHAPTER 6 A NEW ERA (KARABAKH IN 16-17 CENTURIES)

In early sixteenth century the grandson of Sheikh of Ardabil Sheikh Ismail, who was a twenty year old young man and the only heir of the family, crossed the river Araxes, then Kura, and with a sudden attack took the famous and flourishing trading Shirvan centre of Shamakhi. During their first attack the Ardabil Turks were thrown back and their Sheikh Heidar was killed. Heidar was the young Ismail’s father. After Shamakh; Ismail captured Baku. Then he fought in a battle in 1501 against another Turkish tribe, Ak-Koyunlu, and defeated them. During this period the Iranian nobility and nation demanded a centralizing policy of their authorities. Ismail’s victories brought him great fame and he easily claimed to royal power, styling himself “Shah” and chose Tabriz as his residence. Soon Fars and Khorossan joined his state. Ismail was an able politician and a keen military commander. Iran did not cease to expand and soon the former territories of the Sassanid Kingdom were reconquered. The state stretched from Asia to the river Dariaye Eje, from the Persian gulf to the Caucasian mountain range. Thus under Ismail a new Safavid inheritance was created and formed, which was called State of Ghezelbashes. Karabakh, as the whole of Transcaucasia, came under the rule of the Safavid Empire, forming one of the administrative units (beglerbeg) of the state, called the Yerevan Khanate*.

But in fact Shah Ismail I assumed the royal title of Shahinshah of Iran. The Iranian was the only state language. The expansionism of Ismail makes it clear that we are witnessing a conscious attempt on the part of his house to reconquer step by step the old Iranian lands and the countries under the Sassanid rule, Ismail did everything to rise to prominence the ancient Persian traditions. They considered Azarbaijan (Atropateni) as an indivisible part of the Safavid inheritance. It was one of the provinces of the country. It is, therefore, unfortunate when, because of political consideration historical falsification is exercised.

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