Mughal Empire: Information

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Mughal Empire (1526 - 1857)

The Mughal Empire (or Moghul Empire) was an early-modern empire in South Asia. For some two centuries, the empire stretched from the outer fringes of the Indus basin in the west, northern Afghanistan in the north-west, and Kashmir in the north, to the highlands of present-day Assam and Bangladesh in the east, and the uplands of the Deccan plateau in South India. At its greatest extent, it was one of the largest empires in the history of South Asia.

The Mughal Empire is conventionally said to have been founded in 1526 by Babur, a warrior chieftain from what today is Uzbekistan, who employed aid from the neighbouring Safavid and Ottoman empires to defeat the Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodhi, in the First Battle of Panipat, and to sweep down the plains of Upper India. The Mughal imperial structure, however, is sometimes dated to 1600, to the rule of Babur's grandson, Akbar. This imperial structure lasted until 1720, until shortly after the death of the last major emperor, Aurengzeb, during whose reign the empire also achieved its maximum geographical extent. The empire subsequently fragmented, reduced to the region in and around Old Delhi by the time the British East India Company came to rule most of India. The empire was formally dissolved by the British Raj after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Although the Mughal Empire was created and sustained by military warfare, it did not vigorously suppress the cultures and peoples it came to rule, but rather equalized and placated them through new administrative practices, and diverse ruling elites, leading to more efficient, centralised, and standardized rule. The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion. The main base of the empire's collective wealth was agricultural taxes, instituted by the third Mughal emperor, Akbar. Mughal India was also the world leader in manufacturing, producing about 25% of the world's industrial output up until the 18th century. Burgeoning European presence in the Indian Ocean, and its increasing demand for Indian raw and finished products, created still greater wealth in the Mughal courts.

There was more conspicuous consumption among the Mughal elite, resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture, especially during the reign of Shah Jahan. Among the Mughal UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Asia are: Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Red Fort, Humayun's Tomb, Lahore Fort and the Taj Mahal, which is described as "The jewel of Muslim art in India, and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".

Contemporaries referred to the empire founded by Babur as the Timurid empire, which reflected the heritage of his dynasty, and this was the term preferred by the Mughals themselves. The Mughal designation for their own dynasty was Gurkani (Persian: گورکانیان‎, meaning "sons-in-law"). The use of "Mughal" derived from the Arabic and Persian corruption of "Mongol", and it emphasised the Mongol origins of the Timurid dynasty. The term gained currency during the 19th century, but remains disputed by Indologists. Similar terms had been used to refer to the empire, including "Mogul" and "Moghul". Nevertheless, Babur's ancestors were sharply distinguished from the classical Mongols insofar as they were oriented towards Persian rather than Turco-Mongol culture.

Another name for the empire was Hindustan, which was documented in the Ain-i-Akbari, and which has been described as the closest to an official name for the empire. In the West, the term "Mughal" was used for the emperor, and by extension, the empire as a whole.

Mughal Empire: List of Rulers.
Reign / RuleFromToCoins Issued
بابر (Emperor Babur) 20 April 1526 26 December 1530
نصیرالدین محمد (Emperor Humayun), first reign 26 December 1530 17 May 1540
نصیرالدین محمد (Emperor Humayun), second reign 22 February 1555 27 January 1556
ابو الفتح جلال الدين محمد اكبر (Emperor Akbar the Great) 11 February 1556 27 October 1605
جهانگیر (Emperor Jahangir) 3 November 1605 28 October 1627
Emperor Shahryar Mirza 7 November 1627 23 January 1628
Mughal Empire: Details
Official NameMughal Empire
From1526
To1857
FlagFlag of Mughal Empire
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