Mughal Empire

The Mughals
Empire from 1526-1857
Covered most of India
Ruling family of Mongol descent
Ruling family Muslim, but majority of the
country was Hindu
Inherited traditions of religious tolerance
from both the Islamic caliphate and the
The Mughals
Babur founds the Mughal
Dynasty through military
conquest by 1526.
– Used Ottoman military
– Was less motivated by
religion than the other
Muslim Dynasties
– Establishes a dynasty that
will expand and last for
over 300 years!
The Mughals
Akbar (r. 1556-1605)
– Created the most
prosperous empire of
the 16th century
– One of the greatest
leaders in history
– Ruled at the same time
as Elizabeth I,
Suleiman the
Magnificent, and
Abbas the Great (I).
The Mughals
Akbar (cont’d)
– Had a vision of uniting India under his rule
– Patronized the arts
– Pursued policies of reconciliation and cooperation with
Hindu princes and the Hindu majority
• Encouraged intermarriage
• Promoted Hindus (Rajputs) to the highest ranks
• Disputes were settles within ones religious customs
• “Divine Faith”: Din-i-ilahi which blended Hindu and Muslim
The Mughals
Akbar’s legacy
– Din-i-ilahi was unsecessful
– Religious views did not survive him
– Court culture reflecting a mixture of Muslim and Hindu traditions
The Mughals
Aurangzeb (r. 1658-1707)
Two goals:
– 1. extend Mughal control
throughout the
– 2. purify Islam and rid the
subcontinent of Hinduism
– He was largely
unsuccessful in both
The Mughals
Religious policies weakened the internal alliances
and disrupted the social peace from Akbar.
Mughal Empire was under attack from all areas,
and ultimately was too weak to do anything about
Decline of the Mughals leads to growing military
and economic intervention by the Europeans (like,
France in 1741 and then the British in 1754).