Shah Abbas – the Great (1597 – 1600)
Larande fell soon after and in Tabriz there was much merry making. The people declared Abbas the best Shah ever and he was officially given the title of ‘Abbas the Great’. While the people enjoyed the victory over the Ottomans (who in truth no real Safavid had ever liked) Abbas the Great had to deal with a new Ottoman army recalled from the Polish war to help in the east.
The latest Ottoman attempt to take back Anatolia
Abbas quickly moved his forces to meet the Turks as they crossed the Bosphorus and poured into now Safavid controlled lands. Scouts first gained sight of the enemy around 10 leagues from the shoreline. Abbas immediately led his army on in an attempt to catch them off guard. The chaos that followed led to a victory greater then Abbas’ previous one.
Abba proving just how great he is…
Unlike the last battle the Ottomans had nowhere to run. Their army routed quickly under the hooves of Ferhan Khan and his cavalry and with nowhere to flee thousands were slain and captured. Of the 23,000 who crossed into Asia Minor 10,000 were held prisoner and sent back to Tabriz - the rest lay dead on the sandy beaches where they had fled.
Despite the crushing nature of his victory the Ottomans seemed reluctant to part with many provinces for peace. They desperately clung onto their lands knowing that losing too much may well remove them as a world power and even regional power. At first Abbas attempted to create a corridor through Sivas, Trabzon and Kastamon to Anatolia but the Turks resisted this and so Abbas settled for Aleppo instead of his corridor. The peace deal cut off the lands of the now non-existent Kingdom of Georgia from the Ottoman menace, preventing further expansion into the east. Abbas had first intended to split the Ottomans in two but accepted this lesser peace with an interesting extra – the treaty of Cyprus was declared null and void. This effectively meant the Mamluk-Vassal States were up for grabs. Abbas wasn’t sure what to do about it but after proving himself the most powerful man in the region land up for grabs couldn’t be bad.
The new map of the area – green shows the lands taken from the Ottomans
Isfahan was also taken from the Ottomans removing the 'slim waistline' of the Empire.
As time passed Abbas began to gain Tahmasp’s unreasonable desire for a nice looking, round and evenly bordered empire. He took this a step further by decreeing that the capital in Tabriz didn’t fit centrally enough into the empire and that the captial would be moved to Isfahan where a grand new city would be built.
The move to the more central aesthetically pleasing Isfahan… again the being pushed back by the Turks bit doesn’t really apply
While most people in the realm bought Abbas little tale about an aesthetic capital and honouring Tahmasp etc. etc. the obvious benefits and presumably the plan of Abbas’ from the started to become clear. In moving the capital he shifted the trade of the Silk Road to a new home in Isfahan. Abbas quickly ordered the capital to be flooded with Safavid merchants which, coupled with practicably no competition soon led to a Safavid monopoly on the trade of the Empire. Only 6 months after the move the trade income of the Safavids had shot up. Abbas was really starting to live up to his title…
Abbas quickly makes use of the new centre of trade created