The Mughal Empire of India


Early history of the Mughals - around 1000, the Turks invaded northern India and established a kingdom called the Delhi Sultanate. In 1398, Mongols from central Asia destroyed the Sultanate. Northern India splintered into small kingdoms. In 1526, Babur, leading Mughal armies, began to conquer small northern Indian kingdoms. By 1529, he had conquered all of northern India. His conquests became the foundation of a vast empire. After Babur's death, his son Humayun took the throne. He was a weak leader, and lost control of much of the territory his father had conquered.

The Golden age of Akbar - after Humayun’s unexpected death, Babur’s grandson, Akbar came to power. He was a skillful military leader, and his conquests greatly expanded the empire. As a ruler, Akbar showed great wisdom and tolerance. He allowed his subjects to practice their own religions. And he made sure that talented people, regardless of their backgrounds, held important positions in government.  Under Akbar, the arts flourished. In literature, poetry thrived. The visual arts also blossomed. Small, colorful paintings called miniatures were particularly popular. Akbar had a deep passion for architecture. This led him to build a new capital city, Fatehpur Sikri. It featured huge but graceful buildings made of red sandstone.

Akbar's successors - Akbar's son Jahangir, came to power in 1605. He was a weak ruler. His wife, Nur Jahan, held the real power. Jahangir’s son, Shah Jahan, took power in 1628.  He built the beautiful Taj Mahal as a memorial to his dead wife. To fund this and other building projects he placed high taxes on his subjects. This caused great suffering. After Shah Jahan fell ill, his son Aurangzeb gained power and put his father in prison. Aurangzeb forced his subjects to follow Islamic law and removed Hindus from important positions. The Empire began to decline.

Decline of the Mughal Empire - actors the body series of wars against the Hindus. To pay his armies, he raised taxes, which led to more unrest. During this time 2 million people starve to death. Under his successors, the Empire broke into many small states. During the decline of the Mogul Empire, European powers, most notably the British, gained a foothold in India.



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