Mughal Emperors And Their Achievements- Overview, Prominent Emperors, Achievements

An Overview Of The Mughal History

From the brink of the Indus river basin to the covering north of Afghanistan, Kashmir, Bangladesh, and the highlands of the Deccan Plateau in the south lay the height of the Mughal controlled empire during the early 16th to the mid 18th century. The honourable 6 of the great Mughal Emperors included Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, all of whom played an influential role in changing history of India politically, economically, artistically and even through military achievements. The dynasty, established by the Chagatai Turkish Prince Babur, was from both the lineage of Timur and also Genghis Khan. The history of the Mughal Emperors and their achievements speak for themselves as we scour through the various timelines of the dynasty. 

Prominent Emperors Of The Mughal Dynasty 

Here is a list of all the prominent 19 Mughal Emperors of the dynasty that history has documented;

Emperors Of The Mughal DynastyYear Of Their Reign
Baburcirca 1526 – 1530
Humayuncirca 1530 – 1540 Intervalcirca 1555- 1556
Akbarcirca 1556 – 1604
Jahangir circa 1604 – 1627
Shah Jahancirca 1628 – 1658 
Aurangzebcirca 1658 – 1707
Bahadur Shah Icirca 1707 – 1712
Jahandar Shahcirca  1712 -1713
Furrukhsiyar circa  1713 – 1719
Rafi Ul – Darjatcirca 1719
Rafi Ud – Daulatcirca 1719
Muhammad Ibrahim circa 1720
Muhammad Shahcirca 1719 – 1748
Ahmad Shah Bahadur circa 1748 – 1754
Alamgir IIcirca 1754 – 1759
Shah Jahan IIIcirca 1759 – 1760
Shah Alam IIcirca 1760 – 1806
Akbar Shah IIcirca 1806 – 1837
Bahadur Shah IIcirca 1837 – 1857

Mughal Emperors And Their Achievements

Notably, the Mughal emperors and their achievements have been documented in the history of India for their warfare and enormous power management. With the entry of Mughals into India, there were many great developments pertaining to the powers of the government is centralised, Persian influence on art, culture and architecture (Taj Mahal, Moti Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb), the emergence of Urdu as a language and finally, periods of great tolerance for various sects of diverse religions, which dwindled during the reign of the later kings of the Mughal empire. 

Let us delve into the six eminent Mughal emperors and their achievements to understand better the chronicle of events that demonstrated a revolution in South Asia that paved the way for cohesive comparative governance. 

  1. Babur (Zahir al-din Muhammad) 

The founder of the Mughal Dynasty, Babur, at the appeal of certain Indian princes, abetted in overthrowing the ruler and at the same time took over the reins of the kingdom, soon after gaining control over Afghanistan in 1504. The glories of his reign mainly attribute to his overthrow of Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat (AD 1526), Medini Rai of Chenderi at the Battle of Chenderi (AD 1528), Mahmud Lodhi at the Battle of Ghaghra (AD 1529) and Rana Sanga at the battle of Khanwa. He also seized the Turkic Ghur’iat of Delhi Sultanate, which further sanctioned his control over the rest of Northern India. During his rule, slavery was abolished to its full extent, the practice of different religions was tolerated, and he even approved the building of new Hindu temples. His autobiography Baburnama documents his varied interest in the lives of his subjects, linguistics, warfare, observations of the human psyche, and the like. 

  1. Humayun 

The battles of Chausa (AD 1539) and Kannauj (AD 1540) led by the young and inept Humayun produced disastrous results in which he was exiled for almost 15 years by Sher Shah Suri from the Suri dynasty. After he restored the throne and the empire with the help of his officer Bairam Khan, Humayun was able to unify the empire back to its original state. At the request of Humayun’s son Akbar, his aunt Begum Gulbadan wrote the autobiography of Humayun detailing the factual events that chronicled his life, including his trials and tribulations. 

  1. Abu Akbar

With the help of Bairam Khan, who aided his late father, the then 13-year old Abu Akbar came to reign the greatest empire of that era. After the overthrow of Hemu at the Second Battle of Panipat (AD 1556), Baz Bahadur, and Garh- Katanga he moved on to lead a series of victories over kingdoms like Malwa (AD 1516), Chittor (AD 1568), Rathambhor and Kalinjar (AD 1569), Gujarat (AD 1672), Mewar (AD 1576), Kashmir (AD 1586), Sindh (AD 1593) and Asirgarh (AD 1603). Concepts of the land revenue system and the Mansabdari system were introduced during Akbar’s reign. The most liberal Mughal emperors also had the Navaratnas or the nine intellectuals who reformed and advised him on several matters ranging from finance to religion. It is perhaps the influence of these famous and well-attributed intellectuals that Akbar was more open to concepts and practices that were not welcomed by his predecessors so much. 

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  1. Jahangir

Jahangir unlocked trade and commerce relations with the British East India Company, leading to more international trades. He also set up the Zanjir-i-Adl for all those who sought justice from matters regarding disputes, be it civil or criminal. During Jahangir’s reign, Captain William Hawkins and Sir Thomas Roe took a tour of his court.

Jahangir’s wife Nur Jahan exerted much influence in the working and administration of the state that further excelled the empire to widen during her husband’s absence. 

  1. Shah Jahan 

Shah Jahan recaptured Kandhar (AD 1639) from the Persians, which was lost to the Mughal empire during Jahangir’s reign(AD 1622). During his reign, the art and architecture of the Mughal empire flourished, wherein the Golden Age of the Mughal empire began. A passionate man by nature, Shah Jahan built wonders like the Taj Mahal, Moti Mahal, Jama Masjid and Red Fort, which continue to be monumental wonders even in the present age. 

  1. Aurangzeb (Alamgir)

The last prominent Mughal emperor to reign was Aurangzeb, who managed to annex Bijapur and Golconda but encountered troubled relations with Jat Peasantry from Mathura, Satnami Peasantry in Punjab and also Bundelas in Bundelkhand. During his reign, there were also several clashes between the Rajputs and the Mughals following the death of their leader. 

Aurangzeb, who was also against prostitution and drinking, took a notable stand against sati by issuing a royal ferman against those enforcing the traditional ritual. 

Conclusion

With the death of Aurangzeb, the following successors were mainly nominal heads with other powers and empires invading the once glorious Mughal Empire. With the Mughal emperors and their achievements recorded by their scribes, we learn more about the events that transpired and people who influenced histories like Bairam Khan, Nur Jahan and Begum Gulbadan.

FAQs


During which battle did Sher Shah Suri defeat Humayun?

It was during the Battle of Chausa that Sher Shah Suri defeated Humayun.

Under which Mughal emperor’s reign was the empire more territorially extensive?

During Aurangzeb’s reign, the Mughal Empire stretched from Kashmir in the north to Jinji in the south and across Hindukush to Chittagong.

Who established the beginnings of the Mughal Empire?

Barbur (Zahir al-din Muhammad) established the Mughal empire during the early 16th century.

Which emperor had the Navaratnas in their court for various positions?

Emperor Abu Akbar had the Navaratnas (the nine intellects) in his court for consultation and guidance on matters ranging from administration to culture and religion.