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The Safavids (Persian: صفویان) were a series of rulers of Persia. They were a mix of Azeri and Kurdish people, and were Shia Muslims. The Safavids ruled Persia from 1501/1502 to 1722. The Safavids made the greatest Turkish empire since the Muslim conquest of Persia. They established the Ithnāˤashari (Twelvers) school of Shia Islam as the official religion of their empire. This was one of the most important turning points in the history of Iran.