The study of the history of Safavid Iran has been rather neglected, although this situation is rapidly changing. This book deals with an important and very traumatic experience in the history of Iran, the fall of the Safavid dynasty, brought about by rebellious Afghans from Kandahar. The Safavids had governed Iran for 220 years by the fall of Isfahan in 1722, and such was their charisma that their legitimacy outlasted their reign. Subsequent rulers both established an administration modeled after that of the Safavids as well tried to bolster the legitimacy of their own regime by linking their dynasty to that of the Safavids. This book is entirely based upon the unpublished materials in the archives of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC), and, in addition to the unabridged translation of the Diary of the Siege of Isfahan, it is a summary of all available information in those archives on the political and military situation in Iran between 1715 and 1730.
Because of the nature of the materials offered here (mostly eye-witness accounts) as well as the geographical spread of the points of observation (Isfahan, Kerman, Bandar 'Abbas, Shiraz) much of the information offered here is of a unique nature. There are no other contemporary sources available, either published or unpublished, Persian or foreign, that have the same level of detail and the spread of geographical vantage points over the same period. An earlier version of this book was published in 1987 in Persian under the title Bar Oftadan-e Safaviyan va Bar Amadan-e Mahmud Afghan, though lacking most of the explanatory notes that embellish this publication in English.