Mughal Empire: A large portion of South Asia was under the rule of the Mughal Empire, an early-modern empire, between the 16th and 19th centuries. The empire spanned a period of about 200 years, extending from the western margins of the Indus River basin, northern Afghanistan, and Kashmir in the north, to the highlands of modern-day Assam and Bangladesh in the east, and the uplands of the Deccan Plateau in south India.
Foundation of Mughal Empire
According to conventional wisdom, Babur, a warrior chieftain from what is now Uzbekistan, established the Mughal empire in 1526. Babur used assistance from the Safavid and Ottoman empires, which were nearby, to defeat Ibrahim Lodhi, the Sultan of Delhi, in the First Battle of Panipat and conquer the plains of Upper India.
Imperial Structure of the Mughal Empire
The Mughal imperial building has been dated to 1600, during the reign of Akbar, Babur’s grandson. This imperial organisation persisted until 1720, just a few years after the passing of Aurangzeb, the final great emperor, under whose rule the empire expanded to its greatest extent. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the kingdom was eventually diminished to the area in and around Old Delhi by 1760. The British Raj then formally disbanded the empire.
Mughal Empire Family Tree
The early Mughals include the most important and powerful rulers of the Mughal Empire. These include the founder of the Mughal Empire, Babur, his powerful successors Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Let us have a look at the history of each of these rulers individually.
Founder of Mughal Empire in India: Babur (1526-1530)
Babur (reigned 1526–1530), a monarch of Central Asia, established the Mughal Empire. Babur was a descendant of Genghis Khan on his mother’s side and the Turco–Mongol conqueror Timur (the founder of the Timurid Empire) on his father’s side. After being driven from his home lands in Central Asia, Babur sought fulfilment in India. He established himself in Kabul and continued to advance via the Khyber Pass from Afghanistan into India. Ibrahim Lodhi was defeated by Babur’s troops in the First Battle of Panipat.
Second Ruler of Mughal Empire: Humayun (1530–1566)
Babur was unable to maintain his conquests in India due to his obsession with fighting and military operations. Under his son Humayun (reigned 1530–1566), who was driven into exile in Persia by rebels, the fragility of the empire became apparent. Sher Shah Suri established the Sur Empire (1540–1555), which briefly replaced Mughal control. The Safavid and Mughal Courts developed diplomatic links as a result of Humayun’s exile in Persia, which also increased Persian cultural influence in the later-restored Mughal Empire. Following his triumphant return from Persia in 1555, Humayun reestablished Mughal rule in various areas of India before passing away tragically the following year.
Greatest Ruler of Mughal Empire: Akbar (1556-1605)
Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar (reigned 1556–1605) was born to Humayun and his Persian princess bride Hamida Banu Begum at the Rajput Umarkot Fort. Under the regency of Bairam Khan, who assisted in the Mughal Empire’s consolidation in India, Akbar ascended to the throne. Akbar was able to expand the empire in all directions and hold sway over virtually the whole Indian subcontinent north of the Godavari River through war and diplomacy. He instituted a contemporary government, fostered cultural advancements, and built a new ruling elite that was devoted to him. He expanded business with European trading firms. India’s economy grew strong and stable, resulting in business growth and economic development.
Fourth Ruler of Mughal Empire: Jahangir (1605–1627)
Akbar and his wife Mariam-uz-Zamani, an Indian Rajput princess, had Jahangir (reigned 1605–1627). Salim was reared by the daughter of the Indian Sufi saint Salim Chishti, after whom he received his name. He disregarded state business, struggled with opium addiction, and was swayed by rival court cliques. By exerting significant effort to win the allegiance of the Islamic religious establishment, Jahangir distanced himself from Akbar. He accomplished this by granting many more madad-i-ma’ash than Akbar did, for example. Unlike Akbar, Jahangir had disagreements with non-Muslim religious figures. In particular, the Sikh guru Arjan, whose murder marked the beginning of numerous disputes between the Mughal empire and the Sikh community, came into confrontation with Jahangir.
Emperor of Mughal Architecture: Shah Jahan (1628–1658)
Jahangir and his wife Jagat Gosaini, a Rajput princess, had Shah Jahan, who ruled from 1628 to 1658. The Mughal architectural era entered its golden phase during his rule. The Taj Mahal is a prime example of the splendour of the Mughal court at its height during Shah Jahan’s rule. However, the cost of keeping the court open started to outweigh the money collected. “The Golden Age of Mughal Architecture” was a term used to describe his rule. By overthrowing the Nizam Shahi dynasty and compelling the Adil Shahis and Qutb Shahis to pay tribute, Shah Jahan expanded the Mughal empire into the Deccan.
Cruelest Ruler of Mughal Empire: Aurangzeb (1658–1707)
Due to Shah Jahan’s illness, his liberal eldest son Dara Shikoh took on the role of regent in 1658. Dara emulated his great-grandfather Akbar by promoting a syncretistic Hindu-Muslim civilization. Aurangzeb (r. 1658–1707), the younger son of Shah Jahan, ascended to the throne with the backing of Islamic orthodoxy. Dara was put to death in 1659 after being defeated by Aurangzeb. Despite the fact that Shah Jahan recovered fully from his sickness, Aurangzeb kept Shah Jahan behind bars till his passing in 1666. The Mughal state was further Islamicized under Aurangzeb’s direction. In addition to compiling the Fatawa al-Alamgir, a compilation of Islamic law, he promoted conversion to Islam, reintroduced the jizya on non-Muslims, and encouraged conversion. In addition, Tegh Bahadur, a Sikh guru, was put to death by command of Aurangzeb, which resulted in the militarization of the Sikh community.
Bahadur Shah I, the son of Aurangzeb, overturned his father’s religious laws and made reforms to the government. But upon his passing in 1712, the Mughal dynasty descended into anarchy and bloody wars. Under the control of the Sayyid king-makers, four emperors successively assumed the throne in the year 1719 alone.
Decline of Mughal Empire
After a century of expansion and affluence, the Mughal Empire fell quickly between 1707 and 1720 for a variety of reasons, according to historians. The throne lost the financial resources required to pay its chief officers, the emirs (nobles), and their attendants. As the widely dispersed imperial officers lost faith in the top leadership and struck their own agreements with local powerful men, the emperor lost his authority. The imperial army lost its spirit of resistance as a result of being involved in protracted, pointless wars with the more aggressive Marathas. Finally, a slew of bloody political conflicts erupted over the succession to the monarchy. Following the death of Emperor Farrukhsiyar in 1719, regional Mughal successor kingdoms seized control of successive territories.
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Mughal Empire: FAQs
Ques. Which empire defeated Mughals?
Ans. Via defeating the Mughals in Delhi and Bhopal after Aurangzeb’s demise, the Marathas expanded their dominion by Peshawar by 1758
Ques. What is the Mughal empire most known for?
Ans. Through improved overland and coastal commercial networks, the Mughal Empire played a significant role in uniting nearly the whole Indian subcontinent under one rule. Additionally, it was renowned for its contributions to culture and architectural achievements (most famously, the Taj Mahal).
Ques. Who founded Mughal Empire?
Ans. Babur (reigned 1526–1530), a monarch of Central Asia, established the Mughal Empire. Babur was a descendant of Genghis Khan on his mother’s side and the Turco–Mongol conqueror Timur (the founder of the Timurid Empire) on his father’s side.
Ques. Who defeated British in India?
Ans. Indian ruler Hyder Ali overthrew the British during their early years of dominance in India. The Sultan of the south Indian kingdom of Mysore was Hyder Ali. He is highly recognised for being the father of Tipu Sultan, a well-known king. By 1759, he was in charge of the entire Mysorean army.