The European Embassy of the Kizilbash Turk Don Juan
Keywords: Iran, Shah Abbas, Don Juan, Sir Anthony Sherley, Safavids, Ottomans
The Ottoman-Safawid rivalry forced Shah Abbas, then Turcoman ruler of Iran, to seek for allies among the Christians. So, he sent a delegation to Europe in 1599. Sir Anthony Sherley, who had been living in Iran in those days, was also included in the delegation. This man had introduced himself to the shah as a cousin of the Scottish king. His main goal was material exploit. There was a man of the Bayat tribe, called Oruç Beg, in the delegation. His father had been killed in a battle by the Ottomans. Thus he hated the latter. When the embassy arrived at Rome, Oruç Beg and his two friends converted to Christianity, and were baptized when they reached Spain. Hüseyin Ali Beg, head of the delegation, returned to Iran, but his converted men remained in Spain. Oruç Beg wrote down his observations during the mission later in Spanish, and the manuscript survived to us. Efforts of the delegation, however, were fruitless.