How Shia Safavids collaborated with the British

Were Safavids Persian? No. Safavids were Azerbaijanis. They did choose Shia Islam and with the force of the sword killed and forced hitherto Sunni Iranians to convert to Shia Islam.

When the Shias took over the power in Iran they massacred thousands of people as they were not ready to abandoned Sunnism and convert to Shiism.

The Iranian great historian, Kasrawi wrote that 20 thousand people were killed in Tabriz, capital of Azerbayjan, as the Sunnis refused to become Shia. The urgent pressure for converting the Sunni Muslim of Iran into Shia resulted in the disintegration of Iran as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Gherghizistan, and all parts of Central Asia seceded from Iran. About three million sq m of Iranians soil seceded from Iran as the residents of these places were not prepared to abandon Sunnis in and convert to Shiism.

This is bigger than Karbala.


The Safavid Shah Abbas converted large pieces of Safavid land traditionally granted to tribal chiefs as assignments into crown lands that he taxed directly. This new military force was trained on European lines with the advice of Robert Sherley ( Sherley was an English adventurer expert in artillery tactics who, accompanied by a party of cannon founders, reached Qazvin with his brother Anthony Sherley in1598. In a short time Shah Abbas created a formidable army, consisting of cavalry, infantry and artillery.

Robert went with his brother Anthony to Persia in 1598. Anthony was sent to the Safavid Persia from 1 December 1599 to May 1600, with 5,000 horses to train the Persian army according to the rules and customs of the English militia. He was also commanded to reform and retrain the artillery. When he left Persia, he left Robert behind with fourteen Englishmen, who remained in Persia for years. Having married Teresia (aka Teresa), a Circassian lady, he stayed in Persia until 1608, when Shah Abbas sent him on a diplomatic errand to James I and to other European princes, the Persian embassy to Europe (1609–1615). He was employed, as his brother had been, as ambassador to several princes of Christendom, for the purpose of uniting them in a confederacy against the Ottoman Empire.


After Shah Abbas ousted the Portuguese from the island of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf in 1622, Bandar Abbas (Port of Abbas) became the center of the East India Company’s trade. But Later the Dutch East India Company received trade capitulations from Shah Abbas. The Dutch soon gained supremacy in the European trade with Iran, outdistancing British competitors. They established a spice-trading center at Bandar Abbas. In 1623-24 Shah Abbas I launched an offensive against Ottomans and established control over Kurdish territories, Baghdad and the Shi’a Holy Cities of Najaf and Karbala.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Persia tried to obtain support among European nations against the expansionism of the Portuguese and the Ottoman Empire. Since France was tied into a Franco-Ottoman alliance alliance however, the Persian embassy to Europe of 1599–1602 and the Persian embassy to Europe of 1609–1615 avoided France. A Capuchin missions was however established in Ispahan under Pacifique de Provins in 1627.

Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier by Nicolas de Largillière (c. 1700).

Trade contacts however existed, and the French trader Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605–1689) is known to have been as far as Ispahan circa 1632.

Relations took an official turn under Louis XIV and Colbert, when Colbert founded the French East India Company in 1664, and subsequently asked Lalain and Laboulaye to go to Ispahan and promote French interests in Persia.[1] The Shah welcomed them as he was delighted to be given an opportunity to counterbalance English and Dutch influence in his country. He provided a three-year exemption from customs duties, and gave France the same privileges as other countries.[1] Further, a trading post was given to France in Bandar Abbas.[2]

Another French trader Jean Chardin (1643–1715) visited Persia and received the patronage of the Safavid monarch Shah Abbas II and his son Shah Suleiman I. Chardin returned to France in 1670. The following year, he published an account of Le Couronnement de Soleïmaan (English translation: The Coronation of Shah Soleiman). He again visited Persia and India between 1673 and 1680.

The Persian embassy to Louis XIV. Ambassade de Persie auprès de Louis XIV, studio of Antoine Coypel, c. 1715

Numerous trade contacts continued to occur between Persia (modern Iran) and France. In 1705, Louis XIV dispatched an Ambassador Extraordinary in the person of Jean-Baptiste Fabre, accompanied by a party including Jacques Rousseau, uncle of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.[2] Fabre died in Persia, but negotiations were taken over by Pierre-Victor Michel, leading to a Treaty signed in September 1708.[3]

Wishing to reinforce exchanges, the Shah sent an Embassy in 1715, led by Mohhammad Reza Beg, the Persian embassy to Louis XIV. The embassy visited king Louis XIV and obtained a new treaty of alliance signed in Versailles on 13 August 1715.[4] Contact were then interrupted with the fall of the Safavid Empire in 1722 and the subsequent troubles, until the end of the century.[5]

Impressed by the Persian visits, the French author Montesquieu wrote a fictional account about Persia, the Lettres persanes, in 1721


Sir Robert Sherley. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 01, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:

1. Sir John Norreys and the Elizabethan Military World
Book by John S. Nolan; University of Exeter Press, 1997
Subjects: Diplomats–Great Britain–Biography, Elizabeth–I–Queen Of England–1533-1603–Military Leadership, Great Britain–History, Military–1485-1603, Great Britain–History–Elizabeth, 1558-1603–Biography, Norris, John–Sir–1547?-1597, Soldiers–Great Britain–Biography
Sir John Norreys and the Elizabethan Military World I. ? ? ir…1630 (Courtesy of Hulton-Getty Picture Library, 042 701 87) Sir John Norreys and the Elizabethan Military World John S…Cork in 1590, showing the new fort earthworks built by Sir Thomas Norreys 165 10 0 Britannia, from the Ortelius Atlas…

2. The Dramatic Records of Sir Henry Herbert: Master of the Revels, 1623-1673
Book by Joseph Quincy Adams, Henry Herbert; Yale University Press, 1917
Subjects: Theater–Great Britain–History
…Tale , formerly allowed of by Sir George Bucke, and likewyse…of The Ball , written by Sherley, and acted by the Queens players…brushings of late. “When Mr. Sherley hath read this approbation…allowed of the booke. “To Sir Henry Herbert, K t . master…

3. Correspondence of King James VI. of Scotland with Sir Robert Cecil and Others in England: During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth
Book by John Bruce, James Salisbury, Robert Cecil; 1861
Subjects: England–Foreign Relations–Scotland, Essex, Robert Devereux–Earl Of–1566-1601, Great Britain–History–Elizabeth, 1558-1603–Sources, James–I–King Of England–1566-1625–Correspondence, Scotland–Foreign Relations–England
…CORRESPONDENCE OF KING JAMES VI. OF SCOTLAND WITH SIR ROBERT CECIL AND OTHERS IN ENGLAND, DURING…right had already been strongly affirmed. Sir Nicholas Bacon, when Lord Keeper, was one…aristocratic mark of hands “incomparably fair.” Sir Robert Cecil, on the contrary, was considerably…

4. The Control and Censorship of Caroline Drama: The Records of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels, 1623-73
Book by N. W. Bawcutt, Henry Herbert; Clarendon Press, 1996
Subjects: Drama, Drama–Censorship–England–History–17th Century–Sources, English Drama–17th Century–History And Criticism–Sources, English Drama–Restoration, 1660-1700–History And Criticism–Sources, Great Britain–Office Of The Revels, Theater–Censorship–England–History–17th Century–Sources, Theater–England–History–17th Century–Sources
…somewhat confusing. To some extent Sir Henry treated it as though it…admired, he added, When Mr. Sherley hath read this approbation…is possible, therefore, that Sir Henry decided at this point…the labour of collecting it. Sir Henry had to deal not only with…

5. Verney Papers: Notes of Proceedings in the Long Parliament, Temp. Charles I. Printed from the Original Pencil Memoranda Taken in the House of Sir Ralph Verney, Knight, Member for the Borough of Aylesbury, and Now in the Possession of Sir Harry Verney, Bart
Book by Ralph Knight Verney, John Bruce; Printed for the Camden Society, by J.B. Nichols and Son, 1845
…pencil memoranda taken in the house by SIR RALPH VERNEY, KNIGHT, member for the borough…aylesbury, and now IN THE POSSESSION OF SIR HARRY VERNE, BART. EDITED BY JOHN BRUCE…CROFTON CROKER, ESQ. F.S.A., M.R.I.A. SIR HENRY ELLIS, K.H., F.R.S., Sec. S.A…

Lady Sherley: the First Persian in England?
Journal article by Bernadette Andrea; The Muslim World, Vol. 95, 2005
Subjects: Christianity, England, European history, Muslims, Nobility, Persia, Sherley, Teresa Sampsonia, Women
…launches the “Sherley myth” that…discourse as “Sir Anthonys brother,”16…empire Lady Sherley signifies…the moment Anthony and Robert…accompanied Sir Anthony in…Travels of Sir Anthony Sherley, Knight, by…

2. “Plain Broad Narratives of Substantial Facts”: Credibility, Narrative, and Hakluyt’s Principall Navigations
Journal article by Julia Schleck; Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 59, 2006
Subjects: Criticism–Analysis, Criticism–History, Hakluyt, Richard–Criticism and interpretation, Hakluyt, Richard–Works, Literary criticism–Analysis, Literary criticism–History, Principall Navigations of the English Nation (Book)–Criticism and interpretation
…journey published by one of Sir Anthony Sherleys men, two pamphlets commissioned…exceptions to this rule, as in Sir Anthony Sherleys autobiographical account of…1. Sir Thomas Sherley. 2. Sir Anthony Sherley.

3. M. Robert Sherley. With…

3. The Jew as Renaissance Man
Journal article by Peter Berek; Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 51, 1998
Subjects: England–Social aspects, Jews in Western Europe–Evaluation, Renaissance–Social aspects
…the Shirley or Sherley brothers. Sir Thomas went to…King James; Sir Anthony served the Persian…the history the Sir Anthony Sherley pamphlet presented…named Zariph and Sherley is supposed to…intercepted by Sir Anthonys old enemy, the…

4. A Checklist of Scholarship on Southern Literature for 1995
Journal article by Jerry T. Williams; The Mississippi Quarterly, 1996
Subjects: Literature–Bibliography, Southern States–Literature
…English Department of Tokyo University, Hearn highly evaluated the sensitivity, morality, and originality of such authors as Sir Walter Scott, Poe, and Hawthorne. 208. Sekita, Kaoru. “Hearn no Fubozo to sono Henyo (Hearns image of his parents and its transfiguration…
5. To “Doe Some Good upon Their Countrymen”: The Paradox of Indian Slavery in Early Anglo-America
Journal article by Michael Guasco; Journal of Social History, Vol. 41, 2007
Subjects: Anglo-Americans–History, English Americans–History, Native American history, Native Americans–History, Pequot War, 1636-1638, Race relations–History, Slavery–History, Social Studies/American History/Historical Periods/Colonization and Settlement 1585-1763/Slavery’s Affect on African Life in the Colonies, Social Studies/American History/Historical Periods/Colonization and Settlement 1585-1763/Slavery’s Affect on European Life in the Colonies, United States history, 1600-1775 (Colonial period), United States history–Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
…Unease in Eden,” in Nicholas Canny Anthony Pagden, eds., Colonial Identity in the…Simpson, eds. (New Haven, 1935, 7:54-55. 57. Sir Henry Mainwaring, “Of the Beginnings…Discours of the Turkes by Sir Thomas Sherley,” E. Denison Ross, ed. (ca. 1607), in.

9 thoughts on “How Shia Safavids collaborated with the British

  1. There is only one IRAN that we need to share

    Hello. It is my understanding of the history that you have half of the story. The other half is that they then used the Iranians against the Ottoman empire and had it destroyed.

    They used Iranians, Arabs, and Turks to kill one another so they could not destroy and take over the Europeans. The tactic is still being used today in separating all of us into little groups – so we would be easily managed and dealt with!

    God Indicates that there is only One-God and one religion regardless of what each one of us thinks or wants [42:13][2:62][5:69] ….

    … And that Non of us has to answer nor is responsible for anyone else, on the day of judgment!

    It is my opinion that we can not have an Iran for:
    Turks, Kords, Rashti, Khozestani, Esfehani, Lord, Kermani, ……… Shiites, Sunni, Baha’i, Zoroastrian , Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, Spiritualist, …… Young, Old, …. Shahi s, Mashroteh Khahan (Constitutionalist of 3 sects), Religious, Green movers, Mujaheddin s, Communists, Socialists, Hezb e Todeh (mass party), Jebhe Meli (national Front), …. and all others;

    We all have been born to a set of parents who had different background and religion and needs and …, and we all have been facing different circumstances throughout our lives.

    We are all very different from one another! Which is OK!!!

    The days of my way only for all are when we are about 5 or 6 years old.

    There is only one IRAN and ultimately one WORLD that we need to share!

    We need to stop helping Brits, French, German, ….. and all others in dividing us and using us against one another!

    We need to re-learn love,
    That is the ONLY answer.

  2. Lol shah abbas is considered a legend in iran. If it wasn’t for his bravery, iran would’t exist. iran would be Iraq, Afghanistan,and Turkey. May god bless this Iranian brave soilder.

  3. So by him saving MAN MADE borders (Iran also used to rule Yemen once, now don’t tell me Yemen is IRANIAN too) it was worth to LITERALLY SLAUGHTER hundred thousand of Iranians (who mostly used to be Shia)? Is this what you have learned from the mass murderer and arch liar Khomeini who (unlike the Prophet صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم) who didn’t kill when Makka was opened) SLAUGHTERED thousands of former regime employees. What a sick understanding. As for those with humanity and a sane a mind, read the following crimes of the Safavid Rafidite Majoosites:

  4. Safavids were Persian my friend. Tabriz has always been a part of Persia. Azerbaijan has been a persian state for thousands of years. Only in recent russian expansion were a minority of Azeris separated from Iran. Safavids were persian turks who also had a kurdish background as well. They adopted farsi as the main language of their courts as well. Being Persian does not mean you are only a Fars. Turks Fars Kurds are all brothers. We all come from the same Arian decent and migrated to Asia together and are all Persian. Don’t let western ideology, individualize us to a point that we are separated weakened and have lost our unifying history.

  5. You have mixed the truth with falsehood. While it is true that Azerbaijan was and is part of the Iranian land, yet this doesn’t change the fact that the Safavids were Azeri Turks, they were as Turks as the Iranian Azeri today’s who consider themselves NON-PERSIAN IRANIANS. All historians agree to that, and some historians even argue that the Safavid clan is originally from Iranian KURDISTAN, now you gonna tell us that KURDS are PERSIANS too?

    ALL the nations you mentioned are IRANIAN, but not Persian, by doing what you do (a typical fashist Persian tactic) is stripping of other non-Persian minorities of Iran of their ethnical minority! It’s like calling an English man a GERMAN just because ORIGINALLY the Germans moved to the British island … what a load of Tosh.

  6. Shah Ismael Safavi’s Official Portrait states “Rex Pers” (which means “Persian King”). Shah Ismael was from a Persian and Kurdish family that were part of the Sufi tradition. BEFORE Turkish was spoken in Azerbaijan, “Old Azari” (an Iranian language close to Persian) was spoken there. See:

    Many of your historical facts are incorrect.

  7. I left 1 comment and it says “Awaiting Moderation” … so I can’t take your website seriously and will not leave a 3rd comment if that’s the kind of “dialogue” you want to have. You can’t control a debate and engage in a debate – either you open up your comments or many people will feel the same.

    Peace to you.

Comments are closed.