Shah Abbas (1587-1629 AD)
When Shah Abbas came to power in Persia in 1587, he faced threats from the Uzbeks in the east and the Ottomans in the west. He made peace with the Ottomans in 1590 to allow himself time to defeat the Uzbeks before turning his attention again to the Ottomans. He needed to augment the number of soldiers in his army, and Persia needed skilled artisans and merchants. To address these problems, Shah Abbas ordered the forcible removal of all Armenians from the regions of Van, Bayazit, and Nakhichevan. Over 300,000 people were marched across the Arax River into Persia. The land they had left was laid waste so that the Ottomans could not benefit from it. The wealthier Armenians were taken to Isfahan, and a new city was built for them nearby, which they named New Julfa in honor of the town from which they had come, Julfa. These Armenians established schools and churches, developed through their previous European contacts a thriving trade, and plied the creative arts. From these communities, Armenians migrated to India and more distant parts of Asia, extending their merchant trade.