The Safavid Empire was not a conquest state: Safavid conquest did not imply a change in the form of administration. Safavid history is rife with clashes and wars between the Shi'a Muslim Safavid Persians and the Sunni Ottoman Turks. That, combined with a lavish lifestyle, military spending, and falling revenues resulted in a weak economy. Ultimately, the product of these trends points towards the emergence of a truly global economy. In relation to Safavid Iran’s “more fragile economic circumstance,” the Safavids managed to accumulate a “trade deficit with the Indian subcontinent, which stood in contrast to the country’s position vis-à-vis the Ottoman Empire and Russia.” This is because the overarching economic strategy of Safavid Iran was to generate economic growth by leveraging its geographic position and emphasis on the transit, and not the production, of goods – with the exception of silk. It is in this critical time period where the foundation for modern terms such as “globalization” and “interconnected global economy” was first laid. For this reason, the role which Iran’s economy played during the Safavid era was essential to laying the foundation for the modern global economy as we know it. Secondly, this paper will consult sources which focus on the economic relationship between the Mughal Empire, Europe, and the Safavid Empire during this time period. While some of these goods, services, and materials were absorbed into the Safavid economy, many continued to be exported elsewhere.  Based on these observations, it is important to understand the political, cultural, social, and economic dynamics between west and south Asia during this time as an “interactive continuum” and not as “discrete and self-contained political entities.” Therefore, prior to delving into specific pieces of supporting evidence, we must adopt a working understanding of the Safavid transit economy as one which had a far larger impact on the developing global economy than previously thought.. Safavid Iran generated economic growth by capitalizing on transit trade, or the business associated with the passage of goods and services through a territory to their final destination. Finally, the paper will examine the trade routes used to transport goods and services in and out of Iran. Decline of the Safavid Empire Many factors played into the decline and fall of the Safavid Empire. While Elphinstone’s account was written after the fall of the Safavid Empire, the trade route that passes through Balkh and Iran certainly existed well before his time. Iran had also declined militarily, leaving it more vulnerable to invasion, which came out of the east. In summation, without the mercantilist Safavid transit economy promoting the flow of goods and services from East to West and vice versa, the growth that the global economy experienced during the seventeenth century could have been severely stunted. The Silk Road which led through northern Iran to India revived in the 16th century. 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Read his obituary, share your memories and condolences, get key updates, and see any funeral details on Safavid Empire's personal online memorial on Ever Loved. The dynasty began as a Sufi order but evolved into a major gunpowder empire. Two have already been discussed: gold and silk. According to historians, since time immemorial agriculture has always been the backbone of economy of the country. Over time, thanks to the military might of the foreign trading companies, the overland route gradually became safer. Abbas I also supported direct trade with Europe, particularly England and The Netherlands which sought Persian carpet, silk and textiles. Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later. Now customize the name of a clipboard to store your clips. Proceeds are donated to charity. Finally, we turn to Mountstuart Elphinstone’s (d. 1859) Account of the Kingdom of Caubul to review his observations of an alternative Indo-Iranian trade route via the province of Balkh in modern day Afghanistan. Science and Technology By: Cole Brandser In 1514, the Safavid were not very technologically advanced. “Of Jewels and Horses: The Career and Patronage of an Iranian Merchant under Shah Jahan.”, Levi, Scott C. “India xiii. Stephen Dale states that Iran and Turan, which refers to the land of the Tur, or modern day Central Asia, “raised a surplus of horses that Mughal rulers, commanders, and cavalrymen valued as mounts.” These horses traveled to India via the overland trade routes, such as the Qandahar-Isfahan route, passing through provinces like Balkh along the way. The export aspect of Safavid Iran’s transit economy centered chiefly around the trading of silk. While more “traditional” economies Encouraged trade by developing the Persian infrastructure. Start studying The Safavid Empire (MODERN WORLD HISTORY). It also came to terms with the Tajik aristocracy, which included the established ulama. A majority of these items, too, was not absorbed internally for consumption. But in the seventeenth century the Ottoman threat to the Safavids declined. Silk was a highly valued commodity, especially in the Ottoman Empire and Mediterranean region to the West.  Historian Arash Khazeni states, “Crossing Balkh, above the snowy ridges of the Hindu Kush were trade routes connecting Afghanistan with Central Eurasia,” which can be seen below highlighted in red. Who is the longest reigning WWE Champion of all time? The primary reason why the impact of the Safavid economy may have paled in comparison to larger nation states and empires is because the economy did not function in a “traditional” sense. Abbas 1 of Persia Abbas 1 of Persia came into power after his predecisor Mohammad had resigned. One of these empires is the Safavids. ECONOMY. Abstract. Our logo, banner, and trademark are registered and fully copyright protected (not subject to Creative Commons). “Commerce, Empire and Faith in Safavid Iran: The Caravanserai of Isfahan.”, Dale, Stephen. See "Terms of Service" link for more information. “Empires and Emporia: Palace, Mosque, Market, and Tomb in Istanbul, Isfahan, Agra, and Delhi.”, Fernee, Tadd Graham. The primary reason why the impact of the Safavid economy may have paled in comparison to larger nation states and empires is because the economy did not function in a “traditional” sense. The empire made Iran … in Turkey, to train administrators to replace the traditional warrior elite. Scott C. Levi, “India xiii. The transport of goods and services used overland and maritime routes, some more well known than others. Indo-Iranian Commercial Relations.”, Mathee, Rudi.  In regards to exports, the Mughals also had the Safavids bested in terms of the amount and type of goods and services exported. Some of these camel caravans used an alternative route by way of modern day Hormuz. How long will the footprints on the moon last?  Furthermore, according to historian Jos Gommans, these horses were “initially sold at the local markets of Balkh, Bukhara and Herat, of which the latter also became an outlet for the minor Iranian market.” Elphinstone goes on to support this claim by stating that the finest horses in Afghanistan originated from Turkistan, north of Kabul and Qandahar, and that details regarding the various breeds to be purchased could be found in Balkh, along with their prices.. Oct 1, 1587. Safavid Iran’s largest trading partner to the East was Mughal India. It is important to note again that “Iran, situated at the crossroads between Ottoman and Mughal territory, lay squarely in the middle of this flow.” In order to better understand this flow, we must first analyze the functions of, and subsequent relationship between, the Mughal, European and Safavid economies in a very basic sense. Islamic Empires to 1600 Ottoman 1289-1923 Safavid Mughal 1526 - 1857 1501-1722 Abbas managed to destroy the rival Turkish Gazilbash tribes, reform the army, and create a prosperous economy based on the trade of luxury goods, especially silk brocades. Rudi Mathee, “The Safavid Economy as Part of the World Economy,” in, Rudi Mathee, “Between Venice and Surat: The Trade in Gold in Late Safavid Iran,”, Linda K. Steinmann, “Shah ‘Abbas and the Royal Silk Trade 1599-1629,”, Muzzafar Alam, “Trade, State Policy and Regional Change: Aspects of Mughal-Uzbek Commercial Relations, C. 1550-1750,”, S. M. Ikram, Frances W. Pritchett, and Barbara Metcalf, “Muslim Civilization in India – Part Two: The Mughal Period, Chapter 17,” in, Derek Bryce, Kevin D. O’Gorman, and Ian W.F. Originally published by Middle Eastern Communities and Migrations Student Research Papers, James Madison University Scholarly Commons, 06.27.2017, under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license. The first Safavid king, Esmāʿīl I (907-30/1501-24), initiated a process of political and religious change in Persia that profoundly affected the economic structure. The Safavid Empire was held together in the early years by conquering new territory, and then by the need to defend it from the neighbouring Ottoman Empire. The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the Safavid order of Sufism, which was established in the city of Ardabil in the Iranian Azerbaijan region. While silk had always been a highly sought after Persian commodity, dating back to ancient times, the Safavid era produced one of the most lucrative silk industries of the early modern world. What travels faster in air sound or light and how do you know this? These military tactics, however, had been out dated and made obsolete by the new tactics and strategies of the surrounding empires. During the expansion of the empire, the Safavid regime closely resembled the Aqquyunlu and Timurid regimes that it supplanted. Despite the global scope of these developments, there are very few publications which properly document the role that Safavid Iran’s economy played within this complex system. For the Mughals, a majority of their trade relations with Persia began and ended in Lahore.  Elphinstone claimed that these horses were exported in “considerable numbers.” This could be observed at the Indian fairs or “melas” where the horses imported were Turkoman or “Turki” breeds, from the area north of the Hindu Kush around Balkh. “The City of Balkh and the Central Eurasian Caravan Trade in the Early Nineteenth Century.”, Lambourn, Elizabeth. They relied mainly on the technology and tactics that the Persian emperors before them had left. Elphinstone observed that pastoral nomadic tribes played a central role in this trade as “intermediaries carrying goods and as suppliers of livestock.” The specific livestock being referenced here is the “strong and active breed of horse” that Balkh’s Central Eurasian horse trade became famous for. As such, they were often frequented by traveling merchants and quickly became vital to profitable commercial activity for those merchants. Abbas I also supported direct trade with Europe, particularly England and The Netherlands, which sought Iranian carpets, silk, and textiles. The geographic area that this paper will explore is highlighted below in Figure 1. The silk industry of early modern Iran was one of the cornerstones of the Safavid economy. Thus, in the Mughal era also agriculture was actually the biggest source of income. Al-Kazimiyyah Shrine The Al-Kazimiyyah Shrine was origanly built in 799, but was ordered to be reconstructed in 1508. Safavid Iran possessed vital geographic proximity between the highly productive Orient and consumption hungry Europe. How many eligible voters are registered to vote in the United States?  Shah Abbas then used the far-reaching Armenian diaspora in order to expand the impressive Safavid silk trade well into economies and metropolitan areas all over Europe and Asia. In addition to the caravanserais, an integral part of Iran’s transit economy was the vast network of trade routes used by merchants to transport goods and services in and out of the country.  According to Willem Floor and Edmund Herzig, “to Iran, Qandahar was a very important source of revenue, and its importance may also explain why there were intermittent military conflicts between the Mughals and Safavids over who controlled the city.” By the account of two British East India Company merchants, Richard Steel and John Crowther, in 1614: “Merchants of India assemble at Lahore, and invest a great part of their monies in commodities, and joyne themselves in caravans to passe the mountaines of Candahar into Persia, by which way is generally reported to passe twelve or fourteen thousand camels lading, whereas heretofore scarsly passed three thousand, the rest going by way or Ormus.” Accordingly, we can deduce that Indian merchants used the camel as a technology by which to transport massive amounts of goods overland via the Qandahar-Isfahan route. Therefore, Safavid Iran did not produce enough exportable goods to compensate for the large amount of commodities they were importing from the Indian subcontinent.  Furthermore, differences between the two economies, on a larger scale, can be observed in the vastly different approaches implemented by Mughal and Safavid rulers at the time. Floor and Herzig, Arduous Travelling, 211. The seventeenth century ushered in a plethora of changes in global trade patterns. According to Elphinstone, the environs of Balkh, highlighted in yellow below (Figure 5), encompassed the “the valleys between the Hindu Kush and Oxus River.” Balkh was a key province that included many districts north of the Hindu Kush, and according to Elphinstone, the province had a population of around one million people. )” When conflict between the Mughals and Safavids broke out over control of Qandahar, this served to destabilize the safety of the overland route, thus generating more profits for the maritime route. 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