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The Safavids (Persian: صفویان) was a dynasty that controlled Persia from 1501 to 1722. They were Kurdish people, and were Shia Muslims. The Safavids made the greatest Iranian empires 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.