Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire was established in India by Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur, famously known as Babur, in 1526 AD and it is known to have controlled most parts of the Indian Subcontinent between late seventeenth and the early eighteenth century AD. At its peak, the Mughal Empire extended from the Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south and from the Baluchistan in the west to the Bengal in the east.
The Mughal Emperors were essentially the descendents of the Timurids who came from the present day’s Uzbekistan. Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, was the son of Genghis Khan. In 1526, he successfully defeated Ibrahim Shah Lodhi, last Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate, in the first battle of Panipat and laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India. Babur concluded his conquest of most parts of northern India in 1526, but constantly failed to conquer the Rajputana, home of the warlike Rajputs. Babur died at the age of 47 in 1530 and was succeeded by his son Nasiruddin Muhammad Humayun. Humayun ruled the kingdom but with a loose grip and finally lost the empire to Sher Shah Suri in 1540. However, he was able to restore his kingdom back in 1555 and then ruled efficiently till 1556 after which he was succeeded by his son Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar.
Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar was a magnanimous emperor and is remembered for his benevolence. Also, for his benevolence, Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar is commonly referred as ‘Akbar the Great’. In his reign, India gradually progressed in terms of culture and economy. Also, in his regime, a religious harmony was re-established throughoutIndia. Akbar was successful in forming strategic alliances with several Rajput Kingdoms of north-western parts ofIndia. He held the helm of the Mughal Empire till 1605 AD after which his son, Nooruddin Muhammad Jahangir, ruled the kingdom. Jahangir ruled till 1627 AD after which his son, Shahaabuddin Muhammad Shah Jahan, succeeded him. The reign of Shah Jahan is determined as the ‘golden age of Mughal architecture’ because of the splendid monuments constructed in his reign. Taj Mahal, one amongst the wonders of the world, was constructed by Shah Jahan in memories of his beloved wife. Some other famous constructions of Shah Jahan include the Pearl mosque, the Lahore Fort, Jama Masjid and the Red Fort. Later, in 1658, Shah Jahan was succeeded by his son, Mohiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir.
Aurangzeb became the emperor of the Mughal Empire at the time when the territory of the kingdom was at its peak and the empire was home to almost one-fourth population of the world. His reign lost the religious harmony established by his great grandfather, Akbar the Great, across the kingdom. Under his regime, the Hindu Maratha Empire and the Sikh Misl emerged as the formidable foes of the Mughal Empire. Despite this strong opposition, Aurangzeb was successful to rule till 1707, when he died.
After the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire was succeeded by a series of weak rulers and the empire gradually declined in a span of next 150 years. Bahadur Shah II was the last emperor of the Mughal Dynasty. His empire was restricted to the city of Delhi. For his participation in the Indian Revolt of 1857, he was first imprisoned and later exiled by the British.

Decline of the Mughal Empire

Some of the important factors responsible for the decline of the Mughal Empire in India are listed below:
  • The wars of succession weakened the kingdom.
  • The opposition from the Sikh, Maratha and the Durrani Empires.
  • Persian invasions under the leadership of Nadir Shah.
  • Rise of independent kingdoms of Oudh, Bengal, Hyderabad and Mysore.
  • British Colonialism.

List of Rulers from the Mughal Empire

  • Zaheeruddin Muhammad Babur (1526 AD to 1530 AD)
  • Nasiruddin Muhammad Humayun (1530 AD to 1540 AD)
  • Nasiruddin Muhammad Humayun (1555 AD to 1556 AD)
  • Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (1556 AD to 1605 AD)
  • Nooruddin Muhammad Jahangir (1605 AD to 1627 AD)
  • Shahaabuddin Muhammad Shah Jahan (1627 AD to 1658 AD)
  • Mohiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir (1658 AD to 1707 AD)
  • Bahadur Shah I (1707 AD to 1712 AD)
  • Jahandar Shah (1712 AD to 1713 AD)
  • Furrukhsiyar (1713 AD to 1719 AD)
  • Rafi Ul-Darjat (1719 AD)
  • Rafi Ud-Daulat (a.k.a Shah Jahan II) (1719 AD)
  • Nikusiyar (1719 AD)
  • Muhammad Ibrahim (1720 AD)
  • Muhammad Shah (1720AD to1748 AD)
  • Ahmad Shah Bahadur (1748 AD to 1754 AD)
  • Alamgir II (1754 AD to 1759 AD)
  • Shah Jahan III (1759 AD)
  • Shah Alam II (1759 AD to 1806 AD)
  • Akbar Shah II (1806 AD to 1837 AD)
  • Bahadur Shah Zafar (1837 AD to 1857 AD)


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