Introduction. Iraq, or ʿErāq-e ʿArab, as it is called in the Persian sources, was separated from the Persian plateau by the Zagros range and thus was not a natural extension of Safavid territory. Access routes from Persia were few in number. The main passage to Baghdad and into central Iraq had always been the route from Hamadān and Kermānšāh, which crossed the border between Qaṣr-e Širin and Ḵāneqin. In the Safavid period, travelers coming from Isfahan typically entered Iraq between Sumar and Mandali. In the south Basra and environs were reached via Dawraq (modern Šādegān), in Ḵuzestān.

Iraq was frequently the scene and the object of the intermittent wars the Ottomans and the Safavids fought in the 16th and early 17nth century. Baghdad, its capital and largest city, switched hands three times between 1508 and 1638. After Shah Esmāʿil I took Baghdad from the Āq Qoyunlu (qq.v.) in 1508, the city and its environs remained in Safavid hands until the Ottomans retook the area in 1534 during the so-called War of the Two Iraqs. Baghdad would remain Ottoman until Shah ʿAbbās I (q.v.) reclaimed it in early 1623. After the Ottomans captured it in 1638, Baghdad would never revert to Persian control.

ʿErāq-e ʿArab was no ordinary territory for the Safavids, just another region to be gained and lost according to geopolitical circumstances and military strength or weakness. As the site of the martyrdom and burial of a number of Shiʿite Imams, it occupied an extraordinary place in the Twelver Shiʿite imagination, was part of a sacred geography, and formed a linchpin in the ideology that brought the Safavid dynasty to power and that gave legitimacy to the polity they fashioned. The ʿatabāt (q.v.), the shrines of the holy figures of Shiʿism, annually drew thousands of pilgrims from Persia. Safavid rulers, from Shah Ṭahmāsb to Shah Ṣafi and Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn, spent money on the upkeep and restoration of the ʿatabāt, and several shahs visited the region in person (Mostawfi Yazdi, p. 75; Eskandar Beg and Moḥammad-Yusof, pp. 94-95; Moḥammad-Maʿṣum, pp. 130-31; DNA, VOC, 1714, fol. 78).

The southern port and region of Basra (q.v.), brought under nominal Ottoman control in 1546, had no religious significance other than that many of its inhabitants adhered to Twelver Shiʿism and that, like Baghdad, Basra served as a vital conduit for the pilgrimage traffic to Mecca and Medina. More significant, and an important reason for Safavid interest in the area, was Basra’s lively trade and its status as the only Ottoman outlet to the Indian Ocean. Throughout the Safavid period Basra existed as much in the orbit of the Ottomans as that of the Safavids, who managed to bring the town under their control twice, first in the early 16th century and again at the turn of the 18th century.

Despite the short duration of their control of central Iraq, a mere 42 years during the 220-year life span of the dynasty, the Safavids never gave up their rhetorical and theoretical claim to Iraq. Eskandar Beg Torkamān Monši historicized this claim by describing ʿErāq-e ʿArab as territory that had always been under the control of Persian kings (Eskandar Beg, II, p. 1114). Mostowfi Yazdi, the author of Moḵtaṣar-e mofid, a geographical compendium written during the reign of Shah Solaymān (r. 1666-94), is even more explicit by describing ʿErāq-e ʿArab as an area far larger than was ever held by the Safavids, comprising the entire territory between Tekrit and Ābādān and between Ḥolwān and Qādeṣiya (Mostowfi Yazdi, p. 19).

Mostawfi’s inclusion of the area is wholly idealized, since he wrote at a time when ʿErāq-e ʿArab had long ceased to be part of the Safavid realm and when the chance of ever recovering the region must have appeared slim. The Moḵtaṣar-e mofid may be seen as a culmination of a way of portraying the Safavid engagement with ʿErāq-e ʿArab that began with Ḵᵛāndamir, the author of the Ḥabib al-siār, which was mostly written during the reign of Shah Esmāʿil I (r. 1501-24). In Ḵᵛāndamir’s account of Shah Esmāʿil’s conquest of Iraq, the pilgrimage the shah performed to the ʿatabāt, and the homage he paid to the shrines of the Imams receive ample attention (IV, pp. 491-96). The religious urge gains even more prominence with later authors, who were writing in the context of a political milieu at pains to affirm and celebrate the orthodox Shiʿite roots and credentials of the Safavid polity. It becomes most pronounced in the reign of Shah Solaymān, a period when the messianic, heterodox origins of the dynasty had long been overshadowed by a strong emphasis on Shiʿite literalism. Seventeenth-century authors writing about Iraq borrowed heavily from the Ḥabib al-siar but invested the earlier period with proper religious credentials and applied a nostalgic patina to their rendering of events (Šokri, ed., pp.123-29; Mostawfi Yazdi, pp. 52-63, 70-78).

In reality Iraq was alien territory for the Safavids, despite the fact that at least the lower half was home to many Shiʿites. The area was difficult to defend, cut off as it was from the central Persian plateau by the Zagros mountain range. The Sawād, the Mesopotamian floodplain, was hot, humid, and unhealthy, and a frequent incubator of killer epidemics. The flat semi-desert land was inhospitable terrain for Qezelbāš warriors used to the high plains and mountains of the Persian heartland and eastern Anatolia. Their preference for guerilla tactics, the ambush and the quick dash followed by retreat into the mountains, as opposed to open confrontation on the battlefield did not serve them well in Iraq with its alluvial flatlands and swamps.

There were yet other circumstances that made Iraq less than hospitable terrain for the Safavids. In the Persian sources ʿErāq-e ʿArab is called a frontier (ṯoḡur), carrying the connotation of a military frontier with lands inhabited by non-Muslims, and sarḥadd, with a similar implication of a sharp territorial divide (Jonābādi, p. 885; Ḥosayni Estrābādi, p. 221). The region between Mosul and Basra was home to a semi-nomadic and fiercely independent population, Kurdish tribes in the north and Arab tribes in the south. Their tendency to prey on passing caravans made rural Mesopotamia dangerous territory. Many a travel account speaks of the relief with which travelers coming from the west through Iraq entered Persia, described by most as a well-cultivated country with a reputation for security (for references, see Matthee, 2003, p. 170).

Like the Ottomans, the Safavids never really controlled any part of the region other than the principal cities. In keeping with an approach that goes back to the Romans, whichever state was in charge tried to bring security to the countryside by making alliances with the Kurdish and Arab tribes straddling the border, who were thus enlisted in arrangements by which their chieftains pledged to defend the frontier in exchange for monetary compensation and local autonomy. These alliances ranged from ad hoc arrangements preceding a campaign to the more formal agreement between the Safavids and the Mošaʿšaʿ, a radical Shiʿite tribal confederation inhabiting Khuzestan, who were led by a Safavid-appointed governor, wāli, and who often acted as proxies for Isfahan, assisting the Safavids in expeditions against the Arabs of lower Iraq as well as against Basra. Yet such arrangements were by definition unstable, for the loyalty of these tribes might be bought but could never be taken for granted (Murphey, 2003; good examples in Eskandar Beg, II, p. 1074; tr., II, pp. 1299; Sanandaji, pp. 99-100; also see Özoğlu, p. 15; Posch, pp. 27, 53).

Relations in the 16th century. The targeted brutality that accompanied Shah Esmāʿil’s capture of Baghdad in 914/1508—reportedly 8,000 Sunnites were massacred in the process—suggests an ardent preoccupation with Shiʿite purity on the part of the Safavids. It appears, however, that religious fervor was hardly the sole impetus for the shah’s initial foray into Iraq, and that religion competed with other, rather worldly considerations in this and subsequent campaigns (see Ḡaffāri Qazvini, p. 271; Ḵoršāh, p. 35; Ḥasan Rumlu, pp. 136-37; Moẓṭar, ed., pp. 279 ff.). It took Esmāʿil years to organize a definitive expedition against the survivors of his Āq Qoyunlu opponents, and his foray into the region of Ḥella was, in part, a punishing expedition against bedouin Arabs who had been harassing and plundering pilgrims (Ḵᵛāndamir, IV, p. 495). Shah Esmāʿil moved to take Iraq, it appears from the content and the tone of near-contemporary accounts, less because of a strong pre-existing ideological and religious commitment to bring the Shiʿite shrine cities under Safavid control than from a geopolitical desire to consolidate his fledgling realm and to eliminate his potential rivals on Persian soil (Niewöhner-Eberhart, p. 109; Matthee, 2003, pp. 160-61). Similar motives clearly drove him to push on to the southern part of Mesopotamia, where in 914/1508 he made Basra tributary following a campaign that also brought the Mošaʿšaʿ under Safavid control. Basra did not stay in Safavid hand for long. At some point during the 1520s, the Āl Moḡāmes, the local dynasty that had previously ruled Basra, resumed effective control over the city (ʿAzzāwi, IV, pp. 49 f.).

Realpolitik marked Shah Ṭahmāsb’s approach to Iraq as well. Shah Ṭahmāsb was known for his religious zeal, and anti-Sunnite propaganda directed against the Ottomans reached a crescendo of vitriol under his reign, with the tabarroʿ or official cursing of the second and third caliphs becoming institutionalized. Yet, mindful of the superiority of the Ottoman forces, he showed himself reluctant to get drawn into an all-out military confrontation and even open warfare with the Ottomans. Despite the exchange of execrations and various military confrontations, Shah Ṭahmāsb never looked upon the Ottomans as implacable foes. During the war of the 1530s, he continued to offer peace to Sultan Solaymān, and gave orders to Moḥammad Khan to vacate Baghdad (Sumer, tr., p. 81). Similarly, Ṭahmāsb made little effort to regain the territory after he lost it, despite exhortations by his courtiers to take advantage of the Ottoman entanglement on the battlefields of Europe. When challenged to war in a letter by the sultan in which the latter told him either to meet him on the battlefield as their fathers did or cease to call himself brave, he responded by saying that God dissuades Muslims from plunging themselves into disaster while waging war against unbelievers and that he could not be expected to bring ruin upon his men by agreeing to a war between two Islamic armies, with one outnumbering the other by ten to one (Shah Ṭahmāsb, pp. 19, 28-29).

With much of their military energy absorbed on the European front, the Ottomans were ambivalent about protracted campaigning against Persia as well (Murphey, pp. 230-34, 247; Bacqué-Grammont, 1993a, p. 222). Yet it was the Ottomans who launched three campaigns against Persia (as opposed to ten in the Balkans) during Ṭahmāsb’s reign. The first of these was the War of the Two Iraqs of 1533-34, which returned Baghdad to Ottoman control and gave them a tenuous hold over Basra. The invasion of Iraq came after the Safavid governor of Baghdad, Ḏu’l-Faqār Beyg, had embraced Sunnism and offered the keys to the city to the sultan. In 1546 a complicated tribal struggle that involved the Mošaʿšaʿ and the ruler of Zakiya, near Basra, caused the Ottoman to send an expedition to southern Iraq that resulted in renewed, firmer Ottoman control over the city (Posch, 2000, pp. 80-86; Bacqué-Grammont, 2004, pp. 13 f.)

The third and last war the Safavids and the Ottomans fought during the reign of Shah Ṭahmāsb, involving an Ottoman campaign against Azerbaijan, ended in 962/1555 with the conclusion of the Peace of Amasya (q.v.; Eskandar Beg, I, pp. 75-79; tr., I, pp. 125-31; Emāmi Ḵoʾi). Although they had to agree to a discontinuation of the tabarroʿ and suffered disproportionate territorial losses as a result of Amasya, the Persians seemed anxious to uphold and respect the treaty once it was signed, and for the remainder of his reign no more Safavid-Ottoman hostilities are recorded.

Relations in the 17th century. Shah Ṭahmāsb’s death in 984/1576 opened a power vacuum in Persia that proved too tempting to resist for the Ottomans. A year later they broke the accord of Amasya and attacked Safavid territory once again, unleashing a war that would last until Shah ʿAbbās I sued for peace in 1590. In the intervening fifteen years, the Safavids continued to invoke the Treaty of Amasya as the benchmark for peace, and showed their eagerness to resume peaceful relations with the Ottomans. Iraq, which remained in Ottoman hands, was marginal to all of this.

This situation continued during the first three decades of Shah ʿAbbās I’s reign (1587-1629). In 1603-04, Shah ʿAbbās recaptured Azerbaijan, Naḵjavān, and Yerevan, but despite a Persian foray into Iraq which brought Allāh-verdi Khan (q.v.) to the gates of Baghdad in the same year, and the rebellion of Uzun Aḥmad in 1606-10, which raised hopes among the Persians that Iraq might be retaken, Ottoman domination in Iraq remained unchallenged (Eskandar Beg, II, pp. 649-51; tr., pp. 839-41). In 1610 the Ottomans, having put down internal unrest, moved to Persia to regain the territories lost in 1603-04, but as enthusiasm for renewed warfare was low on both sides, little came of this. Skirmishes continued until in 1613 the two parties concluded a peace treaty modeled on the Treaty of Amasya. The Treaty of Istanbul gave the contested Kurdish region of Šahrazur to the Ottomans and also stipulated that henceforth Persian pilgrims should no longer travel via the Baghdad and Basra roads, which was deemed unsafe, but via Aleppo and Damascus. The exact borders of Iraq near Baghdad and in Khuzestan remained undefined, however, and thus remained a source of friction (letter of Sultan Aḥmad to Shah ʿAbbās, in Navāʾi, ed., III, pp. 105, 109; Eskandar Beg, II, pp. 863-65; tr., pp. 1076-77).

Only in 1623 did Shah ʿAbbās decide to take advantage of Ottoman weakness in the aftermath of the assassination of Sultan ʿOṯmān II (20 May 1622) and widespread unrest in Ottoman territory. Responding to an invitation for assistance on the part of Bakr Subāši, Baghdad’s rebellious Ottoman governor, he organized a march against Iraq (Ḥosayni Estrābādi, p. 221). Whereas Ottoman chronicles speak of the devastation suffered by the people of Baghdad, Safavid narratives are silent about this aspect of the shah’s invasion (Niewöhner-Eberhard, p. 121). Their emphasis is on what they call a longstanding wish of the monarch to visit the ʿatabāt, and they thus relate military action to religious fervor. In both Eskandar Beg’s and Ḥosayni Estrābādi’s accounts of Shah ʿAbbās I’s taking of Baghdad, the royal motivation to perform the pilgrimage does not follow the conquest but rather precedes it, and in effect both authors suggest that the desire to pay homage to the “threshold of felicity” (baqaṣd-e ziārat-e rawża-ye moṭahhar-e šāhanšāh-e ḵeṭṭa-ye Najaf) inspired the conquest itself (Eskandar Beg, II, pp. 995 ff.; tr., II, pp. 1217 ff.; Ḥosayni Estarābādi, p. 221). Yet, despite the strong, religiously inspired, ideological grounds they evince, even the later authors make it quite clear that the Safavid desire to control Baghdad and central Mesopotamia was motivated, above all, by irredentist territorial claims (Eskandar Beg, II, pp. 1114-15; Jonābādi, p. 885).

Basra, which by then had long been mostly autonomous under the local dynasty of Āl-e Afrāsiāb, became the target of direct Safavid aggression as well in this period. Shah ʿAbbās’s intent to add southern Iraq to his possessions was clearly motivated by the realization that Basra had siphoned off trade from Bandar ʿAbbās. The shah may also have been moved by a desire to weaken the Portuguese, who had established friendly relations with Basra’s authorities and gained commercial privileges, or at least to force them to use his ports instead for their commercial operations in the Persian Gulf (Della Valle, p. 254). Shah ʿAbbās thus demanded that Afrāsiāb give up his loyalty to the Ottomans and settle for Safavid vassalage and, when he rejected this, sent an army led by the powerful governor of Fārs, Emāmqoli Khan (q.v.). The Safavid troops came within a day’s distance from Basra but were rebuffed by the firepower of the Portuguese galliots that had been sent to protect Basra (Della Valle, pp. 248-49; A Chronicle of the Carmelites, pp. 281, 1127; Ḥowayzi, pp. 5, 10; Ranjbar, p. 322).

A year later, the Persians returned with a 30,000-strong army, and again found the Portuguese had come to assist the defenders. Before it came to a battle, however, the Safavid soldiers hastily retreated, apparently because they had been recalled to tend to more pressing tasks, such as the defense of Qandahār, which the shah had just taken from the Mughals (Della Valle, pp. 250-52; Cordeiro, pp. 77-78, 81-83). In 1628 Emāmqoli Khan marched on Basra again, possibly heeding a call for assistance from the leader of the ʿIlayān tribe, which was fighting against ʿAli Pasha, the ruler of Basra (Hamid, pp. 74, 82). On the way, he managed to get the Arab tribes to submit to him and to render him a variety of services by handing out “cash grants, robes of honor, and other gifts in profusion” (Eskandar Beg, II, p. 1074; tr., II, p. 1299). This time the campaign was called off following the news of Shah ʿAbbās’s death in early 1629 (Moḥammad-Maʿṣum, p. 48; Faṭ-Allāh Kaʿbi, p. 19; A Chronicle of the Carmelites, pp. 284, 1134).

The Ottomans made a brief attempt to regain Iraq in 1625, and in 1629, taking advantage of Shah ʿAbbās’s death, organized a campaign led by newly appointed grand vizier Husrev/Ḵosrow Pasha. Shah Ṣafi reacted to this by appointing Zaynal Khan Bigdeli Šāmlu commander-in-chief, charging him with preparations for a counter campaign (Moḥammad-Maʿṣum, p. 49; Eskandar Beg and Moḥammad-Yusof, pp. 30-31; Roemer, pp. 119-36). The Ottoman army reached Baghdad only in late 1630, having made a detour via Hamadān, which they destroyed. The siege of the city failed, however, as Husrev/Ḵosrow Pasha proved unable to breach its walls. The newly appointed Safavid commander-in-chief (sardār), Rostam Khan, was next charged with the task of re-establishing Persian control over other parts of Iraq, most notably Ḥella, which was subdued after a lengthy siege. This done, Shah Ṣafi visited Iraq in person (Moḥammad-Maʿṣum, pp. 100-101; Eskandar Beg and Moḥammad-Yusof, pp. 65-67; Longrigg, pp. 66-67). In 1631 he put his grand vizier Moḥammad Mirzā Sāru Taqi in charge of a project to reconstruct the shrine of Najaf, which had been neglected during the long Ottoman domination (Moḥammad-Maʿṣum, pp. 130-31; Eskandar Beg and Moḥammad-Yusof, pp. 94-95).

Iraq was definitely lost to the Persians under the same shah. Sultan Morād IV, angered at reports of Safavid destruction of Sunnite property in Iraq, personally led a campaign to retake Baghdad. Assisted by what appears to have been a careless Safavid defense strategy, the Ottomans occupied the city in 1638, causing a massacre among the Safavid soldiers (Niewöhner-Eberhart, pp. 123-26; Hammer-Purgstall, V, pp. 256 ff.). Following this, the Safavids, aware of their military weakness, in 1639 concluded the Peace of Qaṣr-e Širin or Ḏohāb (for the terms, see Edmonds, pp. 125-30; Braun, pp. 38-39; and Hurewitz, I, pp. 25-28). This accord reaffirmed the Treaty of Amasya and until the demise of the Safavid dynasty determined the course of the border. Safavid shahs never took any serious initiatives to break the peace, even at times when the Ottomans were engaged in war in southeastern Europe, such as between 1660 and 1664 and again between 1683 and 1699, though at various time they were tempted by circumstances to try and regain Iraq. The Ottoman defeat at Vienna in 1683, for instance, was cause for great celebration in Persia, and the news was apparently transmitted in such a sensational manner that Shah Solaymān contemplated a move to recover Baghdad (Matthee, 1998, pp. 152-57; idem, 2003, p. 171). Yet no campaign was ever undertaken. Obvious military weakness and concerns by state officials, most notably the eunuchs, who under Shah Solaymān had gained the upper hand in the administration, were responsible for this. The latter were not against the idea of having the Ottomans suffer some humiliation, but they did not want their power destroyed for fear that this would remove a buffer against Christian Europe (letter Sanson, 13 September 1691, in Kroell, ed., pp. 48-49).

The reign of Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn saw little change in the Safavid reluctance to march on Iraq. Although this is hardly surprising, given the shah’s well-known diffidence and the lamentable state of the Safavid army at the time, there is great irony in it in light of the religious zeal that is associated with this famously pious ruler. Unlike most of his predecessors, Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn actively encouraged the pilgrimage to the ʿatabāt, so that during his reign Persian pilgrims visited the holy sites in unprecedented numbers. He also showed a willingness to devote resources to the upkeep of the shrines (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, II, p. 1000; Ḵātunābādi, p. 553; DNA, VOC 1714, fol. 78). The shah who may have most wanted to march on Iraq was the least able to do so.

This was not the end of Safavid involvement with Iraq, to be sure. Baghdad would never again be the object of Safavid aggression, but the pilgrimage remained an issue, unrest in the southern part of Iraq continued to spill across the border, and the Safavids did not give up their claims on Basra and its environs. Ottoman harassment of Shiʿite pilgrims with the encouragement of the Ottoman government did not cease, either, and the Persian authorities themselves, frustrated at the high cost, the lack of security, and the extortion that their subjects suffered, in the mid-17th century banned the passage of pilgrims on a number of occasions. As this tended to harm the Arab chiefs along the road more than the Persians, however, the Pasha of Basra and others often sent missions to Isfahan to plead for reinstatement. Jean Chardin claims that he had seen four of these in the twelve years that he stayed at the Safavid court, and gives the specific example of a “Mir Hagez,” who in 1675 came to Isfahan to ask Shah Solaymān to lift a ban he had imposed, carrying letters stating that those who had molested Persian pilgrims had been punished (Chardin, III, pp. 134-36, VII, pp. 183-85).

The most problematic part remained the south and, in particular, the contested city of Basra. In 1667, an Ottoman expedition against Basra caused its ruler, Ḥosayn Pasha, to evacuate the entire population to Persian territory while offering the city to the Safavids (Longrigg, p. 116, n. 4; Stewart, p. 75). When the city was about to fall, Ḥosayn Pasha fled to Persia, where he sought assistance from Shah Solaymān. The latter, however, anxious not to antagonize the Ottomans, rejected his pleas (DNA, VOC 1268, fol. 1369v; VOC 1270, fol. 967; details in Matthee, 2006).

The turn of the 18th century witnessed far greater turmoil and renewed Persian involvement in southern Iraq. An outbreak of the plague in 1690 and an attendant famine led to a fiscal crisis and tribal unrest among the Montafeq, one of the main tribes of lower Iraq. Led by the formidable Shaikh Māneʿ b. Moḡāmes, the Montafeq rebelled against the Ottomans. Istanbul organized a campaign to re-establish order, but proved unable to stem the upheaval, and Shaikh Māneʿ managed to take Basra in 1695 (NA, VOC 1582, 1 November 1695, fol. 16; Gaudereau, p. 77). Although Shaikh Māneʿ’s rule was relatively benevolent, it was short-lived, for two years later the Mušaʿšaʿ seized Basra, causing Māneʿ to flee. Māniʿ’s subsequent recovery prompted Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn to issue a decree (farmān, q.v.) ordering an army from Lorestān, led by ʿAli Mardān Khan, the chief of the Faili tribe and the governor of Kohgiluya, to move to Basra. On 26 March 1697, Persian troops occupied the city, and ʿAli-Mardān Khan was appointed governor (Lockhart, pp. 52-54; Ranjbar, p. 323; Nāṣeri, p. 249; DNA, VOC 1598, 8 June 697, fol. 80; Gollancz, ed., p. 415).

Even after they established control, the Persians refrained from laying full and definitive claim to Basra. Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn’s concern not to disrupt the peace with the Ottomans clearly played a role in this reluctance, but a keen awareness of Persia’s inherent military weakness and a realization that it would be difficult to hold on to a city located in an extremely volatile region must have been a factor as well. Indeed, in late 1697 Shaikh Māneʿ, assisted by dissident Mošaʿšaʿ troops, defeated a large Persian force near the fortress of Ḵorma, killing most of the Safavid troops and capturing their general. The shah thus offered the city to the Ottomans (Naẓmizāda, p. 307; DNA, VOC 1611, 11 January 1698, fol. 19; idem, 6 May 1698, fol. 37; idem, 20 August 1698, fol. 6). Although the Persians continued to express their willingness to surrender Basra and entertained an Ottoman embassy in Isfahan between December 1698 and April 1699, it would take a few more years for Basra to revert to Ottoman control. In early 1700, Shaikh Māneʿ again appeared before Basra, demanding 500 tomans from its governor. The latter, short on troops, bought his opponent off with a payment of 300 tomans and next recruited 6,000 soldiers from Kohgiluya, but the Arab forces kept up the pressure on the city, causing a famine to erupt (NāsÂeri, p. 257; Gollancz, ed., pp. 418-20).

This situation continued into the following year. By February, the 6,000 Persian soldiers quartered in the city, demoralized by a lack of pay and the news that a huge Ottoman army was approaching, revolted and sacked a large number of homes (Gollancz, ed., pp. 427-28). Having organized an expedition, the Ottomans appeared before Basra on 9 March 1701, demanding the keys to the city. Dāwud Khan surrendered, and the Persian troops next boarded the ships that had been kept ready. A day later a newly appointed Ottoman governor, ʿAli Pasha, made his entry into Basra, accompanied by the governors of Baghdad, Sivās, and Kerkuk, as well as 30,000 Ottoman soldiers (DNA, VOC 1626, 22 February 1699, fol. 98; VOC 1603, 6 February 1699, fol. 1851v; IOR, E/3/64/7982, 27 October 1702; Gollancz, ed., p. 428; more details in Matthee, 2006).



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(Rudi Matthee)

Originally Published: December 15, 2006

Last Updated: March 30, 2012

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