Mughal Empire

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Flag of the Mughal Empire

Flag

The Mughal Empire (Persian: شاهان مغول, Shāhān-e Moġul; Urdu: مغلیہ سلطنت; self-designation: گوركانى, Gūrkānī),[2][3] or Mogul (also Moghul) Empire in former English usage, was an imperial power in South Asia that ruled a large portion of the Indian subcontinent. It began in 1526, invaded and ruled most of India by the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and ended in the mid-19th century.[4]

The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids, and at the height of their power around 1700, they controlled most of the Indian Subcontinent—extending from Bengal in the east to Balochistan in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south.[5] Its population at that time has been estimated as between 110 and 150 million, over a territory of more than 3.2 million square kilometres (1.2 million square miles).[1]

The "classic period" of the Empire started in 1556 with the accession of Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, better known as Akbar the Great. It ended with the death and defeat of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707 by the rising Hindu Maratha Empire,[6] although the dynasty continued for another 150 years. During this period, the Empire was marked by a highly centralized administration connecting the different regions. All the significant monuments of the Mughals, their most visible legacy, date to this period which was characterised by the expansion of Persian cultural influence in the Indian subcontinent, with brilliant literary, artistic, and architectural results.

Following 1725 the empire declined rapidly, weakened by wars of succession, agrarian crises fueling local revolts, the growth of religious intolerance, the rise of the Maratha, Durrani, and Sikh empires and finally British colonialism. The last king, Bahadur Zafar Shah II, whose rule was restricted to the city of Delhi, was imprisoned and exiled by the British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

The name Mughal is derived from the original homelands of the Timurids, the Central Asian steppes once conquered by Genghis Khan and hence known as Moghulistan, "Land of Mongols". Although early Mughals spoke the Chagatai language and maintained some Turko-Mongol practices, they became essentially Persianized[7] and transferred the Persian literary and high culture[7] to India, thus forming the base for the Indo-Persian culture.[7]

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