Baghdad seized from Iran and annexed to the Ottoman Empire
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 24th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 941 AH, Baghdad was seized from Iran and annexed to the Ottoman Empire along with most of Iraq by Sultan Suleiman, after Shah Tahmasb I withdrew his troops and did not offer resistance. Suleiman, fresh from his victories in the West that brought under Ottoman control extensive territories in south-central Europe, turned towards the east, since like his father, Sultan Selim I, he was in constant fear of Safavid influence in Anatolia and even Syria.
During his long 46-year reign which coincided with the longer 52-year reign of Shah Tahmasp, he launched massive invasions of the Persian Empire three times, but on all three occasions failed to shatter the resolve of the Iranians from the Caucasus in the north till the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates in the south, losing on one occasion 30,000 soldiers, despite giving a sectarian Sunni-Shi'ite colour to his campaigns. In the end the two empires signed a peace treaty.
On 26th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 962 AH, the Peace of Amasya was signed by the Ottoman Turkish and Safavid Persian Empires to end hostilities between the two sides, after three massive but unsuccessful invasions in the course of 22 years by Sultan Suleiman, who was outwitted by the tact and diplomacy of Shah Tahmasb I.
The frontier of the two empires was delineated through Anatolia, Iraq, and the Caucasus, with Georgia being divided between the Ottomans and the Safavids. The Ottomans, in return for their annexation of Baghdad and most of Iraq, allowed Iranian pilgrims to continue visits to Najaf and Karbala, as well as to Mecca and Medina for Hajj.
The name Baghdad is Middle Persian and means “God-given”. The city was built as “Madinat as-Salaam” (City of Peace) on the banks of the River Tigris by the Abbasid caliph Mansour Dawaniqi near Ctesiphon or Mada'en, the ancient pre-Islamic capital of the Iranian Parthian and Sassanid Empires, which along with their predecessor, the Achaemenid Empire, exercised control over Iraq for over a thousand years – except for a brief interlude when Alexander of Macedonia overran the Persian Empire.
After the advent of Islam, Iranians, now devout Muslims, continued to dominate Iraqi affairs, playing a significant role in the uprising of Mukhtar ibn Abi Obaidah Thaqafi to avenge the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad's (SAWA) grandson, Imam Husain (AS). During Abbasid times, in addition to viziers and state officials, most of the Islamic scholars and scientists of Baghdad, were Iranians who wrote in Arabic and even perfected Arabic grammar. With the weakening of the Abbasids, Baghdad again became the seat of power of the Iranian Buwaihid dynasty, and in later centuries, despite Ottoman control, whenever a strong ruler emerged in Iran, such as Shah Abbas I or Nader Shah, Baghdad and most of Iraq reverted to Iranian control.