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Mughal Empire 1526-1857 Family Tree, History, Rulers and Maps

The Mughal Empire, spanning from 1526 to 1857, held considerable sway and influence over a vast expanse of the Indian subcontinent. Its inception can be traced back to Babur, a conqueror from Central Asia, whose triumph in the first Battle of Panipat against Ibrahim Lodi marked the establishment of this powerful empire, supplanting the rule of the Delhi Sultanate. Understanding the Mughal Empire holds paramount importance for UPSC Exam aspirants, particularly within the realm of Medieval history.

This article endeavors to shed light on diverse aspects of the Mughal Empire, elucidating its origins and scrutinizing its eventual decline. Delving into the study of the Mughal Empire allows aspirants to grasp the intricate political, social, and cultural dynamics of the era, empowering them with a holistic comprehension of this significant historical epoch.

Mughal Empire History

The Mughal Empire, spanning from 1526 to 1857, was a formidable and influential dynasty that governed much of the Indian subcontinent. Founded by Babur, a conqueror from Central Asia, the empire achieved its greatest heights under prominent rulers such as Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan.

  • The Mughal Empire was founded by Babur in 1526 after defeating the Sultan of Delhi in the Battle of Panipat.
  • Under Akbar’s rule, the Mughal Empire reached its height, with administrative and economic reforms and religious tolerance.
  • The Mughal emperors commissioned some of the most magnificent structures in Indian history, such as the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.
  • The empire expanded through military conquest and was one of the wealthiest and most powerful in the world.
  • The decline of the Mughal Empire began in the late 17th century due to weak leadership, economic decline, and European colonialism.
  • The empire was dissolved by the British in 1858 after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
  • The Mughal Empire left a lasting legacy on India’s language, art, architecture, and cuisine, and played a significant role in shaping India’s political and social history.

Mughal Empire Family Tree

The lineage of the Mughal Empire begins with its founder, Babur, who was succeeded by his son, Humayun. Significant expansion and consolidation occurred under Humayun’s son, the illustrious Akbar the Great. Akbar’s legacy was carried forward by his grandson Jahangir. Jahangir’s son, Shah Jahan, is renowned for constructing iconic landmarks such as the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan’s throne was inherited by his son, Aurangzeb, whose lengthy and tumultuous reign marked a pivotal period in the empire’s history. This period led to subsequent rulers facing challenges that ultimately contributed to the empire’s decline.

Mughal Empire Family Tree

Rise of the Mughal Empire- (Mughal  Dynasty)

  • Babur embarked on the military conquest defeating the Sultan of Delhi Ibrahim Lodi in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 made India feel the presence of Mughal Domination in the Indian subcontinent.
  • The Mughal Empire’s peak of power and influence under Akbar’s leadership was achieved through a combination of military prowess, centralized governance, and economic prosperity, but it also involved significant social and cultural changes, including the imposition of Islamic law and the marginalization of non-Muslim communities.

Read More: Anglo-Maratha War

Mughal Empire Rulers’ Name

Below you can check the List of the Mughal Emperors who ruled in the Indian subcontinent from 1526-1857.

Mughal Empire Rulers’ Name
Emperor Reign
Babur 1526 – 1530
Humayun 1st Term: 1530 – 1540; (Suri Dynasty: 1540 – 1555)

2nd Term: 1555 – 1556

Akbar 1556 – 1605
Jahangir 1605 – 1627
Shah Jahan 1627 – 1658
Aurangzeb 1658 – 1707
Bahadur Shah I 1707 – 1712
Jahandar Shah 1712 – 1713
Furrukhsiyar 1713 – 1719
Rafi Ul-Darjat 1719
Rafi Ud-Daulat 1719
Muhammad Ibrahim 1720
Muhammad Shah 1719 – 1748
Ahmad Shah Bahadur 1748 – 1754
Alamgir II 1754 – 1759
Shah Jahan III 1759 – 1760
Shah Alam II 1760 – 1806
Akbar Shah II 1806 – 1837
Bahadur Shah II 1837 – 1857

Babur (1526 – 1530) – The Founder of the Mughal Empire

  • Babur was born in 1483 in present-day Uzbekistan and was a descendant of both Genghis Khan and Timur (Tamerlane), two famous Central Asian kings.
  • In 1504, at the age of 21, Babur became the ruler of a small kingdom in present-day Afghanistan, and over the next decade, he fought a series of battles against other Central Asian rulers in an effort to expand his territory.
  • In 1519, Babur turned his attention to India, which was ruled by the Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi. Babur invaded India with a relatively small army and defeated Lodi’s much larger army in the Battle of Panipat in 1526.
  • With the victory at Panipat, Babur established himself as the ruler of northern India, and he went on to conquer other parts of the subcontinent, including modern-day Pakistan and parts of Afghanistan.
  • Babur was a skilled military commander and a talented poet and writer, and he wrote an autobiography called The Baburnama that provides a detailed account of his life and the early years of the Mughal Empire.
  • Despite his military successes, Babur faced significant challenges in governing his empire, including resistance from local rulers, political instability, and economic difficulties.
  • Babur died in 1530 at the age of 47 and was succeeded by his son Humayun, who would go on to face his own set of challenges in ruling the Mughal Empire.

Humayun (1530-1540, 1555-1556)

  • Humayun was the eldest son of Babur and was born in 1508. He succeeded his father as the ruler of the Mughal Empire in 1530 at the age of 22.
  • Humayun faced several challenges during his reign, including rebellions by his own brothers and local rulers, and threats from neighboring kingdoms such as the Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri.
  • In 1540, Humayun was defeated by Sher Shah Suri in the Battle of Kannauj and was forced to flee to Iran where he spent the next 15 years in exile.
  • During his exile, Humayun formed alliances with various rulers in Iran and Central Asia and built up a strong army that would help him regain his throne in India.
  • In 1555, with the help of Persian and Central Asian allies, Humayun defeated the forces of the Afghan ruler Sikandar Shah Suri and regained his throne.
  • During his second reign, Humayun faced significant challenges in governing the Mughal Empire, including political instability, economic difficulties, and conflicts with local rulers.
  • Humayun died in 1556, just a year after regaining his throne, as a result of an accident in which he fell down the stairs of his library. He was succeeded by his son Akbar, who would go on to become one of the greatest Mughal emperors.

Akbar [1556-1605] Most Powerful Mughal Emperor

  • Akbar was born in 1542 to Humayun and his wife Hamida Banu Begum. He was just 13 years old when he ascended to the throne after his father’s death in 1556.
  • One of Akbar’s early challenges as emperor was to consolidate his power and declare his authority over the various regions of the Mughal Empire, which were ruled by a mix of nobles, local rulers, and religious leaders.
  • Akbar was a visionary ruler who implemented a number of reforms and innovations in governance, including a policy of religious tolerance, a new taxation system, and a centralized administrative structure that made use of a powerful bureaucracy.
  • Akbar was also a patron of the arts, and under his rule, the Mughal court became a center of culture and learning, with the development of new art forms, literature, and music.
  • One of Akbar’s most significant achievements was his military conquests, which expanded the Mughal Empire to cover much of the Indian subcontinent, including parts of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
  • Akbar was known for his efforts to forge alliances with various religious and cultural groups, including Hindus, Muslims, and Christians, and his court was characterized by a rich blend of traditions and practices from different parts of India and the wider Islamic world.
  • Akbar died in 1605 at the age of 63, having established himself as one of the greatest rulers in Indian history, and leaving a legacy that would shape the Mughal Empire for generations to come.

Jahangir (1605-1627)

  • Jahangir was born in 1569 as the eldest son of Akbar and his wife Mariam-uz-Zamani. He was given the name Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim, but later adopted the name Jahangir, which means “conqueror of the world.”
  • Under Jahangir, military operations launched by Akbar were resumed.
    Amar Singh, the Sisodiya king of Mewar, agreed to serve the Mughals. Following were less successful campaigns against the Sikhs, Ahoms, and Ahmadnagar.
  • Jahangir died in 1627 at the age of 58 and was succeeded by his son Shah Jahan, who would go on to build some of the most iconic structures in Indian history, including the Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahan (1627-1658)

  • Shah Jahan was born in 1592 as the third son of Jahangir and his wife Nur Jahan. He was given the name Prince Khurram, but later adopted the name Shah Jahan, which means “King of the World.”
  • Shah Jahan is best known for commissioning some of the most iconic buildings in Indian history, including the Taj Mahal, which was built as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
  • During Shah Jahan’s reign, the Mughal Empire reached the height of its power and wealth, with a strong centralized government and a rich culture of art, music, and literature.
  • However, Shah Jahan’s reign was also marked by conflict and rebellion, including a war with the Persian Empire and a power struggle between his sons for the throne.
  • Shah Jahan was eventually deposed by his own son Aurangzeb in 1658 and spent the rest of his life in captivity in Agra Fort, where he could see the Taj Mahal from his window.
  • Despite his downfall, Shah Jahan remains a symbol of the Mughal Empire’s cultural and architectural achievements, and his legacy can be seen in the many iconic structures he commissioned during his reign.

Aurangzeb (1658-1707)

  • Aurangzeb was born in 1618 as the third son of Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. He was initially not seen as a strong contender for the throne, but he was able to outmaneuver his brothers in a power struggle and eventually became emperor.
  • Aurangzeb is often seen as a controversial figure in Indian history, as he was known for his strict adherence to Islamic law and his efforts to impose it on the entire population of the empire.
  • Aurangzeb was also known for his military campaigns, which included wars against the Maratha Confederacy, the Mewar kingdom, and the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.
  • Despite his military victories, Aurangzeb’s reign was marked by economic decline, political instability, and widespread rebellion. He was criticized for his harsh policies towards non-Muslims, including the imposition of a jizya tax on Hindus and the destruction of temples and other non-Muslim religious sites.
  • Aurangzeb died in 1707 at the age of 88, after a long and controversial reign. Despite his many accomplishments as a military leader and administrator, his legacy is often overshadowed by his strict religious policies and the unrest that marked the later years of his reign.

Bahadur Shah I (1707-1712)

Bahadur Shah, I was the seventh Mughal emperor and the eldest son of Aurangzeb. He faced numerous challenges during his short reign, including a rebellion by his half-brother Azam Shah and a conflict with the Sikhs.

Jahandar Shah (1712-1713)

Jahandar Shah was the son of Bahadur Shah I and ruled for only one year before being deposed and killed by his nephew Farrukhsiyar.

Farrukhsiyar (1713-1719)

Farrukhsiyar was the grandson of Bahadur Shah I and ruled during a time of political instability and conflict, including a rebellion by the Sikh leader Banda Singh Bahadur.

Muhammad Shah (1719-1748)

Muhammad Shah was the great-grandson of Aurangzeb and ruled during a period of relative stability and prosperity for the Mughal Empire. He was known for his patronage of the arts and his military campaigns against the Maratha Confederacy.

Ahmad Shah Bahadur (1748-1754)

Ahmad Shah Bahadur was the son of Muhammad Shah and became emperor at the age of 22. His reign was marked by political instability and the rise of regional powers such as the Nawabs of Bengal and the Marathas.

Alamgir II (1754-1759)

Alamgir II was the grandson of Muhammad Shah and faced numerous challenges during his short reign, including a rebellion by his own wazir and a conflict with the Marathas.

Shah Jahan III (1759-1760)

Shah Jahan III was a puppet emperor who was installed by his powerful wazir, Ghazi-ud-Din Imad-ul-Mulk after Alamgir II was assassinated.

Shah Alam II (1760-1788)

Shah Alam II was the son of Alamgir II and became emperor with the support of the East India Company. His reign was marked by conflict with the British and the rise of regional powers such as the Marathas.

Akbar II (1806-1837)

Akbar II was the son of Shah Alam II and became emperor during a time of political and economic decline for the Mughal Empire. He was largely a figurehead under the British Raj, which had established control over much of India by this time.

Bahadur Shah II (1837 to 1857)- Last Mughal Emperor

  • Bahadur Shah II was born in 1775 and was the son of Akbar II. He was selected as the emperor after the death of his father in 1837, but his power was largely ceremonial due to the British control over much of India.
  • Bahadur Shah II was known for his poetry and patronage of the arts, and his court was a center of cultural activity in Delhi during his reign.
  • In 1857, Indian soldiers rebelled against British rule in what became known as the Indian Rebellion or the Sepoy Mutiny. Bahadur Shah II was seen as a symbol of the rebellion, and he was declared the leader of the revolt.
  • The rebellion was ultimately unsuccessful, and the British forces recaptured Delhi in September 1857. Bahadur Shah II was captured and exiled to Rangoon (now Yangon), where he spent the rest of his life.
  • Bahadur Shah II died in Rangoon in 1862 at the age of 87. He is remembered as a symbol of Indian resistance to British rule, and his poetry and literary works continue to be celebrated in India and Pakistan.

Mughal Empire Capital

The Mughal Empire, stretching from 1526 to 1857, experienced multiple transitions in its capital cities throughout its illustrious existence. Established by Babur, Agra was the initial capital from 1526 to 1556, spanning the reigns of Babur, Humayun, and briefly Akbar. These capital relocations mirror the evolving nature of the Mughal administration and contribute to the empire’s intricate historical narrative. Below is a table outlining the capitals of the Mughal Empire:

Mughal Empire Capital
Capital Years Ruler(s)
Agra 1526 – 1556 Babur, Humayun, Akbar (briefly)
Delhi 1556 – late 17th century Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb
Fatehpur Sikri 1571 – 1585 Akbar
Lahore 1585 – 1598 Akbar
Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi) 1639 – 1857 Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb (briefly)
Agra (again) late 17th century Aurangzeb
Aurangabad 17th century Aurangzeb

Mughal Empire Map & Location

The Mughal Empire was located in the Indian subcontinent, spanning present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and parts of Afghanistan. The empire’s capital shifted several times throughout its history, with Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, and Delhi serving as major centers of power.

Below shared Map of the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb:-

Mughal Empire Map

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Who was the first Mughal emperor?

The first Mughal emperor was Babur, who established the Mughal Empire in India in 1526.

Who was the greatest Mughal emperor?

There is no consensus on who the greatest Mughal emperor was, as each ruler contributed in their own way to the empire's development. Some historians consider Akbar to be the greatest, as he expanded the empire, implemented administrative and economic reforms, and promoted religious tolerance.

Who built the Taj Mahal?

The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

Why did the Mughal Empire decline?

The decline of the Mughal Empire can be attributed to a combination of factors, including economic decline, weak successors, and European colonialism. The empire also faced internal conflicts and rebellions, as well as external threats from neighboring powers.

How many Mughal emperors were there?

There were 15 Mughal emperors in total, from Babur in 1526 to Bahadur Shah Zafar II in 1857.

What was the religion of the Mughal emperors?

Most of the Mughal emperors were Muslims, although a few, such as Akbar and Jahangir, were known for their religious tolerance and patronage of other religions.

Who was the last Mughal emperor?

The last Mughal emperor was Bahadur Shah Zafar II, who was exiled by the British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

What were some of the accomplishments of the Mughal emperors?

The Mughal emperors are known for their contributions to Indian art, architecture, literature, and music. They also implemented administrative and economic reforms and expanded the empire through military conquest.

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Hey there! I'm Nikesh, a content writer at Adda247. I specialize in creating informative content focused on UPSC and State PSC exams. Join me as we unravel the complexities of these exams and turn aspirations into achievements together!

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