Holing the Meeting of “Features of Iranian Culture and Civilization in the Safavid Era”

Holing the Meeting of “Features of Iranian Culture and Civilization in the Safavid Era”

The meeting of “Features of Iranian Culture and Civilization in the Safavid Era” was held on 11.12.2016. The speaker of this meeting was Professor Willem Floor, the Dutch Iranologist. According to the Public Relations Unit of the Iranology Foundation, in this event, which was attended by a number of researchers, university students, and professors, Professor Willem Floor discussed the economic conditions of Iranians and their government in the Safavid Era. He maintained that, in this period, 85% of Iranians depended on farming for their livelihood, and the rest of them were involved in trade and service provision. Only 1% of people were politicians, military men, and clergymen. He added that Iran was deprived of a consistent and coherent economic system at this time, and Iranian states did not do much business with each other due to expensive transport costs. India was the most important business partner of Iran in the south, and wealth was only limited to the king and his court. Ordinary people lived their lives in poverty and ate mainly vegetables, bread, yogurt, and onions. Except for Gilan and Mazandaran Provinces, which produced rice, this food was eaten only in feasts and celebrations in other Iranian regions.

Professor Floor continued by saying that, at the end of the Safavid Era and after Afghans’ attack against Iran, all the riches of the court and important people was transferred to Afghanistan, and Iran turned into a bankrupt country. There was no trade and, following Nader shah’s wars with Afghans, Turks, and Indians, people were living under extremely painful conditions. Based on the statistical data provided by Dutch experts, in 1035 AD, 90% of the people of Isfahan perished because of war, cholera, and plague. The same happened even to their cattle. In order to obtain the necessary funds for his wars, Nader Shah increased taxes, which made people poorer than before. As a result, trade decreased, and the king had to decrease the fineness of money and choose brass as the metal used for making coins.

The same ailing economic situation continued even during the reign of Karim Khan Zand until it came to a halt in the Qajar Period, mainly during the reign of Fathali Shah, when order finally prevailed the country, and Iran began making progress in different respects. It is always said that the Safavid Era was the period of Iran’s flourishing; however, this is not the case because the country was in war with Ottomans during most of this era. During the time of Suleyman Shah, who had no control over the economy and government of Iran, the country’s economic status failed again. The income of the East India Company, which had risen since the time of Shah Abbas, decreased after the time of Suleyman Shah. Consequently, commerce suffered such a calamity in the Persian Gulf that the Company decided to leave the region. Professor Floor ended this meeting by answering the questions of the researchers and students who attended his speech.

It is noted that Professor Willem Floor studied development economics and non-Western sociology at the MA level and received his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Leiden in Netherland. He knows Persian, Latin, English, French, German, and Arabic and is also familiar with some ancient languages (Pahlavi, Zand, and Avesta). He also studied sociology at Tehran University for some time.

Holing the Meeting of “Features of Iranian Culture and Civilization in the Safavid Era”

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