Portal:Mughal Empire

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Mughal Empire

Mughal empire under Aurangzeb

The Mughal Empire (Urdu: مغلیہ سلطنت‎, Mug̱ẖliyah Salṭanat), self-designated as Gurkani (Persian: گورکانیان‎, Gūrkāniyān), was a Persianate empire extending over large parts of the Indian subcontinent and ruled by a dynasty of Mongol and Chagatai-Turkic origin.

In the early 16th century, northern India, being then under mainly Muslim rulers, fell to the superior mobility and firepower of the Mughals. The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices and diverse and inclusive ruling elites, leading to more systematic, centralized, and uniform rule. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status.

The beginning of the empire is conventionally dated to the founder Babur's victory over Ibrahim Lodi in the first Battle of Panipat (1526). It reached its peak extent under Aurangzeb, and declined rapidly after his death (in 1707) under a series of ineffective rulers as well as due to Aurangzeb's extremism. The empire's collapse followed heavy losses inflicted by the smaller army of the Maratha Empire in the Deccan Wars (1680–1707), which encouraged the Nawabs of Bengal, Bhopal, Oudh, Carnatic, Rampur, and the Nizam of Hyderabad to declare their independence from the Mughals. Following the Third Anglo-Maratha war in 1818, the Mughal emperor became a pensioner of the Raj, and the empire, its power now limited to Delhi, lingered on until 1857, when it was effectively dissolved after the fall of Delhi during the Indian Rebellion that same year.

The Mughal emperors were Central Asian Turko-Mongols from modern-day Uzbekistan, who claimed direct descent from both Genghis Khan (through his son Chagatai Khan) and Timur. At the height of their power in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, they controlled much of the Indian subcontinent, extending from Bengal in the east to Kabul & Sindh in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south. Its population at that time has been estimated as between 110 and 150 million (quarter of the world's population), over a territory of more than 3.2 million square kilometres (1.2 million square miles).

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Sheesh Mahal, Agra Fort

Agra Fort (Hindi: आगरा का किला, Urdu: آگرہ قلعہ‎) is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city.

The present-day structure was built by the Mughals, though a fort had stood there since at least the 11th century. Agra Fort was originally a brick fort known as Badalgarh, held by Raja Badal Singh Hindu Sikarwar Rajput king (c. 1475). It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in the fort at 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. Several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.

After the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, Mughals captured the fort and seized a vast treasure, including the diamond later known as the Koh-i-Noor. The victorious Babur stayed in the fort in the palace of Ibrahim and built a baoli (step well) in it. The emperor Humayun was crowned here in 1530. Humayun was defeated at Bilgram in 1540 by Sher Shah. The fort remained with Suris till 1555, when Humanyun recaptured it. The Hindu king Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, also called 'Hemu', defeated Humanyun's army, led by Iskandar Khan Uzbek, and won Agra. Hemu got a huge booty from this fort and went on to capture Delhi from the Mughals. The Mughals under Akbar defeated King Hemu finally at the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556. Read more...

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Facts about Mughal Empire

The extent of Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire (Urdu: مغلیہ سلطنت‎, Mug̱ẖliyah Salṭanat), self-designated as Gurkani (Persian: گورکانیان‎, Gūrkāniyān), was a Persianate empire extending over large parts of the Indian subcontinent. The foundation of the empire was laid in 1526 in the First Battle of Panipat which was fought between Babur and the Delhi Sultanate ruler Ibrahim Lodhi.

In the early 16th century, northern India, being then under mainly Muslim rulers, fell to the superior mobility and firepower of the Mughals. The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices and diverse and inclusive ruling elites, leading to more systematic, centralized, and uniform rule. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status.

Babur (14 February 1483 – 26 December 1530)

  • Babur's full name was Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur. 'Zahir-ud-din' translates as 'Defender of the Faith'. The word Babur means 'tiger'.
  • Babur was the son of Umer Shaeikh Mirza, the ruler of Fergana. Babur ascended the throne at a young age of twelve in 1495.
  • He conquered Samarkand two years later, only to lose the city of Fergana soon after. In his attempt to reconquer Fergana, he lost control of Samarkand. In 1501, in his attempt to recapture both cities he was defeated by Muhammad Shaybani Khan. In 1504, he conquered Kabul. Babur formed a partnership with Safavid ruler Ismail I and reconquered parts of central Asia, including Samarkand, only to again lose it and the other newly conquered lands to the Uzbeks. After losing Samarkand for the third time, Babur turned his attention to creating his empire in north India.
  • Babur was invited by Sangram Singh (Rana Sanga), Alam Khan Lodhi and Daulat Khan Lodhi to invade India and defeat the Lodhi ruler - Ibrahim Lodhi
  • Babur bore the royal titles Badshah and al-ṣultānu 'l-ʿazam wa 'l-ḫāqān al-mukkarram pādshāh-e ġāzī.
  • Notable among Babur's sons are HumayunKamran Mirza and Hindal Mirza.
  • Babur was buried in Bagh-e-Babur in Kabul, Afghanistan,as he wished.

Humayun (6 March 1508–27 January 1556)

  • Humayun's full name was Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Humayun.
  • Humayun was an inexperienced ruler when he came to power. His half-brother Kamran Mirza inherited Kabul and Lahore, the northernmost parts of their father's empire. Mirza was to become a bitter rival of Humayun.
  • Humayun lost Mughal territories to the Pashtun noble, Sher Shah Suri, but regained them 15 years later with Safavid aid.
  • His peaceful personality, patience and non-provocative methods of speech earned him the title ’Insān-i-Kamil (Perfect Man), among the Mughals.
  • When Babur had become ill, some of the umrah (nobles) had tried to install his uncle, Mahdi Khwaja, as ruler.
  • He and his army rode out through and across the Thar Desert, after defeat from Sher Shah Suri. In many accounts Humayun mentions how he and his pregnant wife, Hamida, had to trace their steps through the desert at the hottest time of year. All the wells had been filled with sand by the nearby Hindu inhabitants in order to starve and further exhaust the Mughals, leaving them with nothing but berries to eat. When Hamida's horse died, no one would lend the Queen (who was now eight months pregnant) a horse, so Humayun did so himself, resulting in him riding a camel for six kilometres. Humayun was later to describe this incident as the lowest point in his life.
  • Humayun's son Akbar was born in the palace of a Hindu ruler, Rana Prasad, at Umerkot.
  • Humayun seeked refuge from Shah Tahmasp of Persia after he was defeated by Sher Shah Suri. The meeting of the two monarchs is depicted in a famous wall-painting in the Chehel Sotoun (Forty Columns) palace in Esfahan.
  • In the year 1540, Humayun met the Ottoman Admiral Seydi Ali Reis. During their discussions in the Durbar, Humayun asked which of the two empires was bigger and Seydi Ali Reis, stated that the Ottoman Empire was "ten times bigger", Humayun was very inspired and he turned towards his nobles and remarked without resentment: "Indeed Suleiman the Magnificent, deserves to be called the only Padshah on Earth".
  • His full title as Emperor of the Mughal Empire was Al-Sultan al-'Azam wal Khaqan al-Mukarram, Jam-i-Sultanat-i-haqiqi wa Majazi, Sayyid al-Salatin, Abu'l Muzaffar Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun Padshah GhaziZillu'llah.
  • His tomb, which was commissioned by his favourite and devoted chief wife, Bega Begum, stands in Delhi, where he was later buried in a grand way.

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