Ismail ĭsmäēl´ [key], 1486–1524, shah of Persia (1502–24), founder of the Safavid dynasty. He restored Persia to the position of a sovereign state for the first time since the Arab invasion of Persia. Ismail established the Shiite form of Islam as the state religion; this gained him the animosity of the Uzbeks and the Ottoman Turks, who were Sunni Muslims. He warred on the Uzbeks successfully in 1510, and Selim I attacked him in 1514, thus initiating a long series of border wars between the Ottoman Turks and the Persians.
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