India, Mughal Empire, 16-19th Century

Babur, in one of the gardens which he loved to create, late 16th century. Picure source: www.historyworld.net

The Mughal India 1526-1858

The Mughal Empire: government and society

The Moghuls were a powerful Muslim family who came from lands that are today part of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. The Moghuls conquered almost all of south Asia in the 16th century. The Emperors ruled over a population that mostly practised the Hindu religion.

The first Moghul Emperor was called Babur. He conquered much of north India. Here is an account of a decisive battle:

"Babur had new light field guns and muskets, and combined them with more traditional horsemen and archers. Baburs' army consisted of about 12 000 men, including skilled horsemen and expert musketmen and artillerymen. He faced his ememy' army of 100 000 men and 1000 elephants. Before the battle, Babur place his light field artillery behind smaller ramparts and tied the guns together with leather thongs so that his enemy could not easily storm them. When the enemy's army came to a halt in from of these defences, Babur send his archers on horseback to the back of the enemy so that they were caught between gunfire and showers of arrows. Most of them died on the battlefield." - Adapted from India, Moghul Empire to British Raj, Paul Gaolen, CUP, 1992, page 8.

Babur described this battle in his memoirs:

"God made this victory easy for us! The battle was over in half a day; 6000 men were killed. Those who fled the battlefield were pursued; our men captured nobles of every rank. During the afternoon the leader's body was found on a heap of the dead; his head was brought to my court."

Defeated enemies' heads were made into a tower of victory for the Moghal emperor.

A Moghul emperor in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their fourteenth child, built the magnificent building called the Taj Mahal. It took 22 years to build and was completed in 1648.

Further reading: A history of the Moghul Dynasty at historyworld.net

The following information will still be developed for this topic: ”- Trade in the Indian Ocean and the Islamic world ”- Astronomy and technology ( seamless celestial globe) ”- Architecture in the 16th and 17th centuries: Taj Mahal A Moghul emperor in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their fourteenth child, built the magnificent building called the Taj Mahal. It took 22 years to build and was completed in 1648. ”- Britain and the end of the Mughal Empire Please contribute activities and content for this section by clicking on the ‘contribute’ button.

Last updated : 08-May-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 08-Nov-2011

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