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The Mughal Empire History 381: Asian Experience
The Mughal Empire • The founders of the Moghuls were Chaghatay Turks descended from Timur (Timurlane). • Originating beyond the Hindu Kush, they were driven out of central Asia in 1504 by the Uzbek Turks. • Babur (1483-1530), the founder of the Moghul dynasty, seized Kabul and in 1526 defeated the Afghan king of Delhi.
The Mughal Empire • Babur's son, Humayun (1530-1540, 1555-1556), was unable to hold his legacy and was driven into exile to Persia. • With the help of the Safavid Shah, Tahmasp (1524-1576), Humayun recaptured Delhi in 1555
The Mughal Empire • One of the greatest rulers in Indian history was Akbar (1556-1605), third Mughal emperor, generally considered the true founder of the Mughal Empire. • He followed an aggressive expansionist policy, and by the time of his death, the Mughals controlled the land from the Himalaya Mountains to the Godavari River in central India and from Kashmir to the mouths of the Brahmapatra and Ganges Rivers.
The Mughal Empire • Along with Delhi and Agra, newly constructed (1571-1586) Fatchpur Sikri, 26 miles from Agra, also served as an imperial capital. • Akbar's son Jahangir (1605-1627) did not possess his father's abilities but did succeed in consolidating Moghul rule in Bengal.
The Mughal Empire • Expansion continued under Shah Jahan (1627-1657), Jahangir's son, who waged campaigns on the northwestern frontier of the Hindu Kush and in the Deccan plateau. • Shah Jahan founded a new capital at Delhi in 1648 to supersede Agra.
The Mughal Empire When Shah Jahan's wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died delivering her thirteenth child, he ordered construction of the Taj Mahal at Agra as an enduring monument.
The Mughal Empire • The TajMahal
TajMahal Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658) had a strong interest in architecture. His most enduring monument is the TajMahal, the supreme example of a garden tomb. Twenty thousand workers toiled eighteen years to build this memorial in Agra to Shah Jahan's favorite wife, MumtazMahal, who died at age of 39 giving birth to their thirteenth child.
With no formal procedure for succession, Shah Jahan's two sons struggled for power. • The victor was Aurangzeb (1659-1707) who executed his brother and had himself crowned emperor in 1658. • His father was imprisoned. Aurangzeb expanded the Moghul Empire south to Mysore and Marathas in the western Daccan. • Heavy-handed policies led to rebellion of the Hindu Marathas who were defeated but nonetheless continued to fight. • After Aurangzeb's death they created a confederation of almost all the Deccan states under their leadership.
Western Powers in India • The two major powers contending for control of weakened India were France and Britain. The French arrived in India in the 1670s and established several trading factories. • They captured Fort St. George at Madras in 1746, and by 1751 the French had gained control of the Deccan and Carnatic regions.
British Expansion in India • In the meantime, British controled Bengal by buying off the officers of the French-supported governor and then defeated the governor at Plassey, north of Calcutta, in 1757. The British gained more in the south and prevented the arrival of French reinforcements. • The Treaty of Paris in 1763 ending the Seven Years' War in Europe recognized British control of much of India.
The British East India Company • The British East India Company traded silver, copper, zinc, and fabrics to the Indians in return for cotton goods, silks, sugar and opium (to be used in the trade with China). • European factories at Madras and Calcutta where Indian cotton goods were shipped to the East Indies and bartered for spices which were then sent back to England.