Territorial Development of the Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire controlled India from 1526 to 1857.

Babur conquestEdit

In 1526, Babur, a descendant of both Tamerlane and Genghis Khan, completed his conquest of Northern India after defeating the Delhi Sultanate, setting the foundations of one of the Muslim world's greatest empires. Before this astonishing feat, Babur ruled from Kabul, Afghanistan; then transferring his empire's center of power to Delhi, India. Babur had been greatly influenced by Safavid Persia, using their techniques of warfare, especially, for his own use. The most important of these tactics was the musket. The Delhi Sultanate knew little of this gun's uses when the Mughals challenged them into battle with them. The Mughals advancement in technology over much of India allowed them to conquer more and more land. Once he conquered a land, Babur would often inspect reliefs, monuments, fortifications, etc., that were already present. Sometimes he would desecrate these, reinovate them, or leave them be. He kept peace amongst the conquered civilians by leaving the Hindu followers be; since Babur and the Mughals were, in fact, Muslim.

Humayan ruleEdit

By Babur's death, in 1530, the Mughal Empire was a reckoned force. However, Babur's successor, Humayan, lost large amounts of territory to an afghan noble by the name of Sher Shah Suri. The disgraced Mughal Emperor fled to Persia. The Suri Empire, in the meantime, prospered under Sher Shah Suri but began to decline under his successors. Humayan saw the opportunity and, with the help of Safavid Persia, reclaimed his empire. When he died in 1556, he had slightly expanded his empire further, sewing the seeds of one of the greatest Mughal Emperors, Akbar I, later the Great.

Akbar the greatEdit


Taj Mahal, built as a tomb to Shah Jehan's wife

Akbar I ascended to the throne at thirteen years old and so needed a regent to rule alongside him, at first. When he was able to rule solely, he suppressed the remaining supporters of the Suri Empire and expanded his own into Central India. Under his guidance, the Mughal Empire undergoes a period of cultural renaissance in architecture, pottery, craftsmanship, art and literature; allowing the imperium to flourish economically. He also constructed many fortifications along the empire's borders, firmly securing it. When he finally died in 1605, the Mughal Empire was a remarkable superpower, both culturally and militarily. His son, Jahangir, surprisingly came to the throne despite the fact that he had revolted against Akbar when he ruled the Mughal Empire. Jahangir, himself, saw his eldest son rebel against him, as well, but unlike Akbar, he had no tolerance for this; imprisoning his son in the Agra fort in 1606 when he crushed the rebellion. After securing his authority, Jahangir continued his father's work and expanded southward. In 1627, he was succeeded by one of the greatest contributors to Muslim architecture, Shah Jehan. Shah Jehan, a favorite of Akbar, shared his family's ambitious taste for conquest but didn't devote his reign to this. Instead, he worked on the lands he already controlled, especially Delhi. In Delhi, he built the Red Fort, which consists of many buildings and an extensive bulwark, and the Jama Masjid. But the most famous of all his structures was the Taj Mahal, a tomb for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Sadly, when he fell ill in 1658, his sons started a civil war for the throne, in belief that their father would not survive his illness. Out of the civil war, emerged the victorious Aurangzeb. When his father did not die, he, instead, imprisoned him in the Agra Fort, where he would remain for the rest of his life. Aurangzeb's reign marked the height of the Mughal Empire's territorial control but there was constant warfare and eventually, a new group arose in southern India, the Marathas. The emperors who followed Aurangzeb were incapable of fighting off the advancement of the Marathas and the British. The Mughal Empire that had dominated India for around two centuries dissolved completely when the British deposed of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah II, due to his involvement in the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

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