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The Safavids encouraged and spread Shi'a Islam, as well as the arts and culture, and Shah Abbas the Great created an intellectual atmosphere that according to some scholars was a new "golden age".
After the Safavid state disintegrated, it was followed by the conquest by Nader Shah Afshar, a Shia chieftain from Khorasan who reduced the power of the ghulat Shi'a and empowered a moderate form of shi'ism, and, exceptionally noted for his military genius, making Iran reach its greatest extent since the Sassanid Empire.
There is evidence that, despite repeated invasions and migrations, the aboriginal Caucasian population may have gradually been culturally and linguistically assimilated, first by Iranian peoples, such as the Persians, and later by the Oghuz Turks.
Considerable information has been learned about the Caucasian Albanians, including their language, history, early conversion to Christianity, and relations with the Armenians and Georgians, under whose strong religious and cultural influence the Caucasian Albanians came in the coming centuries.
The name Atropates is the Hellenistic form of Aturpat which means 'guardian of fire'; itself a compound of ātūr () 'fire' (later garbled into ādur and then into āðar (آذر) in (early) New Persian, and is pronounced āzar today) The modern ethnonym "Azerbaijani" or "Azeri" refers to the Turkic peoples of Iranian Azerbaijan and Republic of Azerbaijan.
They historically called themselves or were referred to by others as Muslims, Turks, Turkmens, – that is to say that religious identification prevailed over ethnic identification.
Turkic dominion was interrupted by the Mongols in 1227, but it returned with the Timurids and then Sunni Qara Qoyunlū (Black Sheep Turkmen) and Aq Qoyunlū (White Sheep Turkmen), who dominated Azerbaijan, large parts of Iran, eastern Anatolia, and other minor parts of West Asia, until the Shi'a Safavids took power in 1501.
The Safavids, alongside their Ottoman archrivals, dominated the entire West Asian region and beyond for centuries.
The Azerbaijani language is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai, Gagauz, Turkmen and Crimean Tatar, sharing varying degrees of mutual intelligibility with each of those languages.At its peak under Shah Abbas the Great, it surpassed its political and ideological archrival the Ottoman empire in military strength.Noted for achievements in state building, architecture, and the sciences, the Safavid state crumbled due to internal decay (mostly royal intrigues), ethnic minority uprisings and external pressures from the Russians, and the eventually opportunistic Afghans, who would mark the end of the dynasty.Today, this Turkic-speaking population is known as Azerbaijani.
Ancient Iranian people of the Medes forged a vast empire between 900 and 700 BC, which the Achaemenids integrated into their own empire around 550 BC.The Arabs made Caucasian Albania a vassal state after the Christian resistance, led by Prince Javanshir, surrendered in 667.