ALLAHVERDI KHAN (?–1613). Persian commander and statesman of the Georgian descent, who rose to the highest positions in Safavid Persia. Born to a Georgian family of Undilaidze, he was captured during one of the Persian raids and was trained in the Ġolãmãn-e ķãşşa-ye śarifa (crown servants). In 1589, he participated in the assassination of the powerful official Morsed-qoli Khan Ostajlu, which paved the way for the rise of Shah Abbas I. For his service, he was rewarded with the governorship of Jorpadaqan near Isfahan. In 1595, he became the commander-in-chief (qullar-aqasi) of the golãm troops, one of the five highest offices in Safavid Persia. The same year, he was appointed the governor of Fars, becoming the first golãm to attain equal status with the Persian tribal chiefs (qizilbas). In 1597, Allahverdi Khan became the governor of Kohgiluya province. He participated in Shah Abbas’ campaign in eastern Persia and distinguished himself at Rebat-e Parian, where the Persian army routed the Uzbeks in August 1598. Later that year, Allahverdi Khan assassinated Farhad Khan Qaramonlu, who was suspected of plotting against the shah, and thereby further increased his standing at the Persian court. By 1600, he was one of the the most powerful men in Persia after the shah.
Over the next 10 years, he proved himself a capable and cunning administrator who vigorously supported Shah Abbas’ reforms. He supervised military reform and established, with the help of Sir Robert Sherley, a powerful golãm army of 25,000 men. He assumed supreme command of the Persian army and was the first to receive the title of commander-in-chief ( sardar-e laskar). In 1601–1602, he conquered Bahrain and later commanded the Persian army against the Ottoman Empire from 1603–1612. Persian historian Iskander Beg described him as “one of the most powerful amirs to hold office under the [Safavid] dynasty. During his lifetime, he was responsible for the construction of many public buildings, including the bridge across the Zayanda-rud at Isfahan [which still bears his name], and charitable foundations. He was a man of great forbearance, modest and chaste.” After Allahverdi Khan’s sudden death on 3 June 1613, Shah Abbas appointed his sons to the leading positions in the empire: Imam-Quli Khan became the beglarbeg of Fars and Daud Khan received the governorship of Ganja and Karabagh