Old Julfa, the Great Deportations, and the Founding of New Julfa

Sebouh David Aslanian

in From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520266872
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947573 | DOI:
Old Julfa, the Great Deportations, and the Founding of New Julfa

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This chapter explores the history of Old Julfa and focuses in particular on its destruction by Shah 'Abbas I during the Safavid-Ottoman war of 1603–1605, followed a decade later by its resurrection and reincarnation as a wealthy mercantile suburb of Isfahan named New Julfa. It examines the scant documentation on the history of Old Julfa and discusses its role in the international trade of Iranian raw silk in the second half of the sixteenth century. It also traces the Safavid-Ottoman war of 1603–1605 and the subsequent deportation and resettlement of the town's mercantile and artisan population on the outskirts of Isfahan. Contrary to most of the literature on the deportation of the Julfans, this chapter argues that the decision to deport the Julfans was most likely made in the course of the war and was not necessarily part of a larger “conscious policy” or blueprint of economic and urban renewal by Shah 'Abbas I.

Keywords: Old Julfa; New Julfa; Shah 'Abbas I; Safavid-Ottoman war; Isfahan; international trade; raw silk; deportation; resettlement; Julfans

Chapter.  10465 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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