Mughal India Dynasty: 1526-1858

Major Accomplishments:

  •  from Afghanistan
  •  spoke Turkish & Persian not Hindi
  •  Great military built centralized Empire
  •  great wealth led to great architectural legacy
  •  Conquered by British in 1800s
  •  Very similar to the Ottoman empire

Mughal Video:

Mughals 1526-1858

Mughal India Politics

  • Capitals at Agra and Delhi
  • Large bureaucracy
  • Took  taxes and managed local regions
  • Muslim Islamic Sultans rule absolutely
  • Powerful military conquered India
  • Mostly tolerated Hinduism, Sikhs, and Buddhism which helped stability

The Great Mughal Emperors

  • Babur (1526-1530) The First of the Mughals
  • Akbar (1556-1605) The Great
  • Shah Jehan (1627-1658)  The Master Builder
  • Aurangzeb (1658-1707)  The Intolerant

Babur 1526 - 1530

  • defeated Delhi Sultanate in 1526
  • Direct descendent of Ghengis Khan and Tamerlane
  • gunpowder, cannons, a skilled commander, trained soldiers on horses contributed to the victory
  • made Agra his new capital.  

Akbar ([Y]uckber) the Great 1556 - 1605

  • Indian equivalent of Suleiman the Magnificent
  • huge army
  • divided empire into provinces & used governors
  • introduced standard weights and measures, tax structures and a workable police force.
  • Married at least seven wives including one Hindu princess
  • best known for tolerance, especially toward Hindus.
  • removed the poll tax on Hindus,
  • invited religious scholars, including Hindus, Jews, and Christians, to debate him in his private chambers
  • Akbar’s capital is at Fatehpur Sikri
  • In Agra he built the Agra Fort. 

Shah Jehan 1627 - 1658

  • Allowed foreign traders into India and trade increased considerably.
  • built  the Taj Mahal and the Peacock Throne
  • imposed heavy taxes on people
  • Demanded half of all crops
  • Led to hardship, famine for many
  • Aurangzeb deposed Shah Jehan & imprisoned in Agra Fort
  • Shah Jehan
  • The Taj Mahal built in honor of his wife who died during childbirth.
  • It was built as a tribute and final resting place for his wife.
  • nearly bankrupted the empire.
  • 20,000 laborers 17 years to complete the job

Aurangzeb 1658 - 1707The Mean

  • persecuted the Hindus & Sikhs of N. India.
  • increased taxes further
  • crushed independent Hindu states
  • more interested in promoting Islam than maintaining Indian stability
  • forbade music and arts to focus on military and Islam
  • Led to rebellions against Mughals
  • Empire began to decline as a result

Mughal India Economics

  • Very wealthy empire
  • money spent on architecture and war
  • creation of a road system; Grand Trunk Road
  • Cities grew rapidly
  • State-owned karkhanas (factories) produced luxury goods.
  • Silk and COTTON textiles
  • steel.
  • sold throughout the world.
  • advanced shipbuilding industry

Mughal India Religion

  • Rulers were a Sufi Muslim minority
  • Generally treated Hindus well
  • Except Arangzeb
  • Sikhs – historically Islam and Hinduism mixed
  • one creater, invisible God (M)
  • believe in reincarnation (H)
  • goal of existence to be freed from cycle of rebirth, attain unity with God (H)
  • Do not practice rituals like pilgrimage, yoga, from the earlier religions
  • Wear turbans, carry a knife, don’t cut beard

Mughal India Social Hierarchy

  • population 110 and 130 million
  • Caste system present but less important
  • Women gain rights under Islam
  • people of all castes honored by Sultan.
  • The middle class of traders
  • 90% were poor farmers who were heavily taxed

Mughal India Intellectual Life

  • Architecture
  • Loved art and architecture

Mughal India Art

  • Mughal architectural style = Hindu and Islamic
  • Great wealth led to awesome buildings
  • Decline 1750-1850
  • weakened by wars of succession,
  • agrarian crises fueling local revolts,
  • growth of religious intolerance,
  • the rise of regional empires
  • European imperialism starting with Portuguese in 1490s
  • British colonialism eventually dominates India

Mughal India Legacy

  •  first to blend Indian, Muslim, Persian and Central Asian customs
  •  Centralised, imperialistic government  brought together many smaller kingdoms.
  • New trade routes to Arab, European and Turkic lands.
  • Mughal Architecture

FYI: The Urdu language developed from the Hindi language by borrowing heavily from Persian as well as Arabic and Chaghatai Turkic. Urdu developed as a result of the fusion of the Indian and Islamic cultures during the Mughal period. Modern Hindi which uses Sanskrit-based vocabulary along with loan words from Persian and Arabic, is mutually intelligible with Urdu.

Urdu is a great example of the margining of Islamic and Hindu cultures