Babur the Tiger, Mughal Emperor
Babur the Tiger, Mughal Emperor
Mughal Empire (search "Mughal Empire", images, Facts on File, Mughal Empire)
Mughal Empire (search "Mughal Empire", images, Facts on File, Mughal Empire)


The Mughal Empire was the last powerful descendent of the Mongols, a nomadic group from central Asia. The Mughal Empire began in the late 1400s early 1500s in India. The name changed because Mughal is the Persian word for Mongol. Babur the Tiger founded the Mughal Empire even though he was not by definition a Mongol. However, on his mother’s side he was a relative of Genghis Khan, and on his father’s side he was a descendent of the Timur (Hooker, 2). When Babur started he ruled a small area in Turkestan (Hooker, 1). Despite the fact that Babur had one of the smallest armies, he conquered Afghanistan and later the Dehli sultanate and the rest of Hindustan. This is an amazing victory because when fighting the Delhi Sultane he was outnumbered ten to one. Babur and the Mughal Empire accomplished these amazing victories by using a new technology. Firearms. The Mughals were the first people to use gunpowder (Massoud, 4). After Babur defeated the Dehli Sultanate he made himself Sultan by taking out the Lodi of the Dehli Sultanate (Hooker 3). After this, Babur attacked the Raiput states. By the time Babur the Tiger died in 1530 he had gained control of all of Hindustan and created an Empire that stretched from Deccan to Turkestan. Babur was able to accomplish all of this by this use of muskets and artillery, technology that the armies of Hindustan could not compete with.
The Tomb of Humayun, Son of Babur the Tiger
The Tomb of Humayun, Son of Babur the Tiger

What factors led to the success of the Mughal Empire? Why did the Mughals lose control over their kingdom and why did this Empire fall? The Mughals invaded and conquered India, as described above, through the use of advanced military technology (Hooker). However, they held on to their Empire through a combination of military success and religious tolerance (Murphy). Under Akbar, the third ruler of the Mughal Empire, the Mughals allowed the native Hindus to practice their own religion, rule their own lands as the Mughals' subjects, and participate in government (Murphy). Akbar also did not force sharia law on the Hindus--in fact, he actually tried to create a new religious tradition for India that drew on Jainism, Roman Catholicism, Zoroastrianism, and other religious traditions to stabilize his empire (Murphy). Why did this seemingly stable era end? The Mughals later abandoned their policy of religious tolerance and returned to strict adherence to the Muslim faith (and the execution of the Hindus), which resulted in Hindu uprisings (Murphy). The Mughals also had to contend with internal power struggles as the sons of two successive Mughal Emperors overthrew their fathers and stole away the throne (Murphy). Finally, the British and French had also begun to enter India, and their trading influence may have played a role (Murphy): all of these factors led the Mughals to fall and explain why this Empire did not continue to became a great world power.

Within the Mughal Empire art and architecture plays an important role. Humayun, son of Bakar the first Mughal emperor, is known for provinding artisans with the first Mughal art studio. But it was his successor Akar who was actively interested with art and architecture. By creating more studios of artist, Mughal paintings became distant in its own way. By combining techniques of sophistication from Persian artist along with their boldness and colors from the local Indian artists, Mughal artworks were clearly different in its own beautiful way. After his death, Akar’s son Jahangir’s era is known for the lavish albums of paintings and calligraphy samples. Succeeding Jahangir is Shah Jahan, who is widely known for his architectural achievements, the Taj Mahal being his most famous. Built as a tomb for his wife, it took sixteen years to complete. Aside from building one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Shah Jahan built India’s largest mosque, the Shahjahanabad. With every architectural structure studied, there are obvious influences from Hindu and Islamic artwork; many for their architecture incorporate floral geometric and prophetic motifs as well as Hindu “symbology”.



The Taj Mahal, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan
The Taj Mahal, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan















Works Cited

Hooker, Richard. "Babur the Tiger." The Mughal Empire. 1996. Web. 29 Mar. 2010.

Massoud, Abdel A. "Empires and Dynasties in the Medieval Islamic World." Encyclopedia of Society and Culture in the Medieval World. 2008. Facts on File. 2008. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. <http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp? ItemID=WE49&iPin=ESCMW178&SingleRecord=True>.

"Mughal." Pakistan Shining – Pakistan Information & Bright Side of Pakistan. Web. 04 Apr. 2010. <http://www.pakistanshining.com/Mughalpage.aspx?catid=5>.

Murphy, John. "Mughal Empire." Encyclopedia of World History: The First Global Age, 1450 to 1750, vol. 3. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2008. Modern World History Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 4 Apr. 2010. <http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE53&iPin=WHIII201&SingleRecord=True>.

"New Seven Wonders of the World." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 04 Apr. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Seven_Wonders_of_the_World>.


Sardar, Marika. "The Art of the Mughals after 1600". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/mugh_2/hd_mugh_2.htm

"The Age of the Mughals - Victoria and Albert Museum." Victoria and Albert Museum. Web. 04 Apr. 2010. <http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/asia/south_asia_gallery/age_mughals/index.html>.