Mughal (mōgŭlˈ) [key] or Mogul mōˈgəl, mōgŭlˈ, Muslim empire in India, 1526–1857. The dynasty was founded by Babur, a Turkic chieftain who had his base in Afghanistan. Babur's invasion of India culminated in the battle of Panipat (1526) and the occupation of Delhi and Agra. Babur was succeeded by his son, Humayun, who soon lost the empire to the Afghan Sher Khan. Akbar, the son of Humayun and the greatest of the Mughal emperors, reestablished Mughal power in India. At the time of Akbar's death (1605), the empire occupied a vast territory from Afghanistan E to Odisha (Orissa) and S to the Deccan Plateau. Mughal expansion continued under Akbar's son Jahangir and under his grandson Shah Jahan, who built many architectural marvels at Delhi and at Agra (including the Taj Mahal). Aurangzeb, expanded Mughal territory to its greatest extent, but at the same time the empire suffered the blows of major Hindu revolts. The most serious of these was the Maratha uprising. Weakened by the Maratha wars, dynastic struggles, and invasions by Persian and Afghan rulers, the empire came to an effective end as the British established control of India in the late 18th and early 19th cent. However, the British maintained puppet emperors until 1857. Many features of the Mughal administrative system were adopted by Great Britain in ruling India, but the most lasting achievements of the Mughals were in art and architecture (see Mughal art and architecture).

See J. Sarkar, Fall of the Mughal Empire (2d ed., 4 vol., 1949–52, repr. 1972); A. L. Srivastava, The Mughal Empire, 1526–1803 (6th rev. ed. 1971); W. Hansen, Peacock Throne (1986).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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