1526 Jan 1
, Central Asia

The Mughal Empire was founded by Babur (reigned 1526–1530), a Central Asian ruler who was descended from the Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur (the founder of the Timurid Empire) on his father's side, and from Genghis Khan on his mother's side. Ousted from his ancestral domains in Central Asia, Babur turned to India to satisfy his ambitions. He established himself in Kabul and then pushed steadily southward into India from Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass. Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi, Sultan of Delhi, at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 CE and founded the Mughal Empire.

Illustrations from the Manuscript of Baburnama (Memoirs of Babur)

First Battle of Panipat

1526 Apr 21
, Panipat

After losing Samarkand for the second time, Babur gave attention to conquer Hindustan as he reached the banks of the Chenab in 1519. Until 1524, his aim was to only expand his rule to Punjab, mainly to fulfill his ancestor Timur's legacy, since it used to be part of his empire. At that time, most of North India was under the rule of Ibrahim Lodi of the Lodi dynasty, but the empire was crumbling and there were many defectors. The First Battle of Panipat, on 21 April 1526, was fought between the invading forces of Babur and the Lodi dynasty. It took place in North India and marked the beginning of the Mughal Empire and the end of the Delhi Sultanate. This was one of the earliest battles involving gunpowder firearms and field artillery in the Indian subcontinent which were introduced by Mughals in this battle.

Battle of Khanwa

Battle of Khanwa

1527 Mar 1
, Khanwa

The Battle of Khanwa was fought near the village of Khanwa, in Bharatpur District of Rajasthan, on March 16, 1527. It was fought between the invading forces of the first Mughal Emperor Babur and the Rajput forces led by Rana Sanga of Mewar, after the Battle of Panipat. The victory in the battle consolidated the new Mughal dynasty in India.

Babur dies

1531 Jan 1
, Delhi

The instability of the empire became evident under Humayun (reigned 1530–1556), who was forced into exile in Persia by rebels.

Battle of Chausa

Battle of Chausa

1539 Jun 26
, Chausa

The Battle of Chausa was a notable military engagement between the Mughal emperor, Humayun, and the Afghan, Sher Shah Suri. It was fought on 26 June 1539 at Chausa, 10 miles southwest of Buxar in modern-day Bihar, India. Humayun escaped from the battlefield to save his life. Sher Shah was victorious and crowned himself Farīd al-Dīn Shēr Shah. The Emperor survived by swimming across the Ganges using an air-filled "water skin", and quietly returned to Agra. Humayun was assisted across the Ganges by Shams al-Din Muhammad.
Battle of Kannauj

Battle of Kannauj

1540 May 17
, Kannauj

Humayun, with his other brothers Askari and Hindal, marched to meet Sher Shah 200 kilometres (120 mi) east of Agra at the battle of Kannauj on 17 May 1540. Humayun was soundly defeated. He retreated to Agra, pursued by Sher Shah, and thence through Delhi to Lahore. Sher Shah's founding of the short-lived Sur Empire, with its capital at Delhi, resulted in Humayun's exile for 15 years in the court of Shah Tahmasp I.
Shah Tahmasp I and the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Isfahan.

Humayan exiled in Persia

1543 Jul 11
, Esfahan

After Humayun set out from his expedition in Sindh, along with 300 camels (mostly wild) and 2000 loads of grain, he set off to join his brothers in Kandahar after crossing the Indus River on 11 July 1543 along with the ambition to regain the Mughal Empire and overthrow the Suri dynasty. Among the tribes that had sworn allegiance to Humayun were the Leghari, Magsi, Rind and many others.

Humayun fled to the refuge of the Safavid Empire in Persia, marching with 40 men, his wife Bega Begum, and her companion through mountains and valleys. Humayun's exile in Persia established diplomatic ties between the Safavid and Mughal Courts, and led to increasing Persian cultural influence in the Mughal Empire.

Shah Tahmasp urged that Humayun convert from Sunni to Shia Islam, and Humayun eventually accepted, in order to keep himself and several hundred followers alive. Shah staged a celebration for Humayun, with 300 tents, an imperial Persian carpet, 12 musical bands and "meat of all kinds". Here the Shah announced that all this, and 12,000 elite cavalry were his to lead an attack on his brother Kamran. All that Shah Tahmasp asked for was that, if Humayun's forces were victorious, Kandahar would be his.

Kandahar and Kabul retaken

Kandahar and Kabul retaken

1545 Nov 1
, Kabul

With this Persian Safavid aid Humayun took Kandahar from Askari Mirza after a two-week siege. Kandahar was, as agreed, given to the Shah of Persia who sent his infant son, Murad, as the Viceroy. Humayun now prepared to take Kabul, ruled by his brother Kamran Mirza. In the end, there was no actual siege. Kamran Mirza was detested as a leader and as Humayun's Persian army approached the city hundreds of Kamran Mirza's troops changed sides, flocking to join Humayun and swelling his ranks.



1555 Jun 22
, Sirhind

Sher Shah Suri had died in 1545; his son and successor Islam Shah died in 1554. These two deaths left the dynasty reeling and disintegrating. Three rivals for the throne all marched on Delhi, while in many cities leaders tried to stake a claim for independence. This was a perfect opportunity for the Mughals to march back to India. The Mughal Emperor Humayun gathered a vast army, which included the Baloch tribes of Leghari, Magsi and Rind, and attempted the challenging task of retaking the throne in Delhi. Humayun placed the army under the leadership of Bairam Khan, a wise move given Humayun's own record of military ineptitude, and it turned out to be prescient as Bairam proved himself a great tactician. At the Battle of Sirhind on 22 June 1555, the armies of Sikandar Shah Suri were decisively defeated and the Mughal Empire was re-established in India.
Akbar the Great

Akbar the Great

1556 Feb 1
, Delhi

Humayan falls down stairs and dies, succeeded by 13-year-old son Akbar, later Akbar the Great. Akbar consolidates the Mughal Empire. Through incessant warfare, he is able to annex all of northern and part of central India. Akbar builds a new capital, Fatehpur Sikri, near Delhi. Although he never renounces Islam, he takes an active interest in other religions, persuading Hindus, Parsis, Christians, and Muslims to engage in religious discussion. He establishes political, administrative, and military structures that give the empire stability and staying power. During his reign, the nature of the state changed to a secular and liberal one, with emphasis on cultural integration. He also introduced several far-sighted social reforms, including prohibiting sati, legalising widow remarriage and raising the age of marriage.

Hemu and the Suri recapture Delhi | ©Angus McBride

Hemu and the Suri recapture Delhi

1556 Oct 7
, Tughlaqabad Fort

When Humayun died, this provided an ideal opportunity to Hemu and the Suri to defeat the Mughals and reclaim lost territory. Hemu started a rapid march from Bengal and drove the Mughals out of Bayana, Etawah, Bharthana, Bidhuna, Lakhna, Sambhal, Kalpi, and Narnaul. In Agra, the governor evacuated the city and fled without a fight upon hearing of Hemu's impending invasion. In pursuit of the governor, Hemu reached Tughlaqabad, a village just outside Delhi where he ran into the forces of the Mughal governor of Delhi, Tardi Beg Khan, and defeated them in the Battle of Tughlaqabad. He took possession of Delhi after a day's battle on 7 October 1556 and claimed royal status assuming the title of Vikramaditya (or Bikramjit).

Second Battle of Panipat

Second Battle of Panipat

1556 Nov 5
, Panipat

Akbar and his guardian Bairam Khan who, after learning of the loss of Agra and Delhi, marched to Panipat to reclaim the lost territories. It was a desperately contested battle but the advantage seemed to have tilted in favour of Hemu. Both the wings of the Mughal army had been driven back and Hemu moved his contingent of war elephants and cavalry forward to crush their centre. It was at this point that Hemu, possibly on the cusp of victory, was wounded when he was struck in the eye by a chance Mughal arrow and collapsed unconscious. Seeing him going down triggered a panic in his army which broke formation and fled. The battle was lost; 5,000 dead lay on the field of battle and many more were killed while fleeing. The spoils from the battle at Panipat included 120 of Hemu's war elephants whose destructive rampages so impressed the Mughals that the animals soon became an integral part of their military strategies.
Mughal Expansion into Central India

Mughal Expansion into Central India

1559 Jan 1
, Mandu

By 1559, the Mughals had launched a drive to the south into Rajputana and Malwa. In 1560, a Mughal army under the command of his foster brother, Adham Khan, and a Mughal commander, Pir Muhammad Khan, began the Mughal conquest of Malwa.
Conquest of Rajputana

Conquest of Rajputana

1561 Jan 1
, Fatehpur Sikri

Having established Mughal rule over northern India, Akbar turned his attention to the conquest of Rajputana. No imperial power in India based on the Indo-Gangetic plains could be secure if a rival centre of power existed on its flank in Rajputana. The Mughals had already established domination over parts of northern Rajputana in Mewat, Ajmer, and Nagor. Most Rajput states accepted Akbar's suzerainty; the rulers of Mewar and Marwar, Udai Singh and Chandrasen Rathore, however, remained outside the imperial fold. In 1567, Akbar moved to reduce the Chittor Fort in Mewar. Chittorgarh fell on February 1568 after a siege of four months. The fall of Chittorgarh was followed up by a Mughal attack on the Ranthambore Fort in 1568. Akbar was now the master of almost the whole of Rajputana. Most of the Rajput kings had submitted to the Mughals. Akbar would celebrate his conquest of Rajputana by laying the foundation of a new capital. It was called Fatehpur Sikri ("the city of victory").
1564-An Attempt on Akbar's Life-Akbarnama

Attempt to murder Akbar

1564 Jan 1
, Khairul Manazil

The attempt was made when Akbar was returning from a visit to the dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin near Delhi, by an assassin shooting an arrow. The arrow pierced his right shoulder. The assassin was apprehended and ordered beheaded by the Emperor. The culprit was a slave of Mirza Sharfuddin, a noble in Akbar's court whose rebellion had recently been curbed.
Akbar's triumphal entry into Surat in 1572

Akbar's conquest of Gujarat

1572 Jan 1
, Gujarat

In 1572, he moved to occupy Ahmedabad, the capital, and other northern cities, and was proclaimed the lawful sovereign of Gujarat. By 1573, he had driven out the Mirzas who, after offering token resistance, fled for refuge in the Deccan. Surat, the commercial capital of the region and other coastal cities soon capitulated to the Mughals.
Mughal Conquest of Bengal

Mughal Conquest of Bengal

1575 Mar 3
, Midnapore

Akbar had now defeated most of the Afghan remnants in India. The only centre of Afghan power was now in Bengal, where Sulaiman Khan Karrani, an Afghan chieftain whose family had served under Sher Shah Suri, was reigning in power. In 1574, the Mughals seized Patna from Daud Khan, who fled to Bengal. The Mughal army was subsequently victorious at the Battle of Tukaroi in 1575. The Mughals eventually defeated the Sultanate of Bengal in the Battle of Raj Mahal in 1576, which led to the annexation of Bengal. During the battle, the last Sultan of Bengal, Daud Khan Karrani, was captured and later executed by the Mughals.
Deccan Sultans

Deccan Sultans

1593 Jan 1
, Ahmednagar Fort

In 1593, Akbar began military operations against the Deccan Sultans who had not submitted to his authority. He besieged Ahmednagar Fort in 1595, forcing Chand Bibi to cede Berar. A subsequent revolt forced Akbar to take the fort in August 1600. Akbar occupied Burhanpur and besieged Asirgarh Fort in 1599, and took it on 17 January 1601, when Miran Bahadur Shah refused to submit Khandesh. Akbar then established the Subahs of Ahmadnagar, Berar and Khandesh under Prince Daniyal.

Jahangir holding a painting of his father

Akbar the Great dies

1605 Oct 27
, Delhi

Prince Salim succeeded to the throne on Thursday, 3 November 1605, eight days after his father's death.
Khusrau is captured and presented to Jahangir.

Khusrau Mirza Rebellion

1606 Apr 6
, Bherowal

Khusrau rebelled against his father in 1606 to secure the throne for himself. Khusrau left Agra on April 6, 1606 with 350 horsemen on the pretext of visiting the tomb of Akbar at nearby Sikandra. In Mathura, he was joined by Hussain Beg, with about 3000 horsemen. In Panipat, he was joined by Abdur Rahim, the provincial dewan (administrator) of Lahore. Khusrau laid siege on Lahore, defended by Dilawar Khan. Jahangir soon reached Lahore with a large army and Khusrau was defeated in the battle of Bhairowal. He and his followers tried to flee towards Kabul, but they were captured by Jahangir's army while crossing the Chenab
Guru Arjan

Jahangir executes Arjun Dev

1606 May 30
, Lahore

Guru Arjan was arrested under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and asked to convert to Islam. He refused, was tortured and executed in 1606 CE. Historical records and the Sikh tradition are unclear whether Guru Arjan was executed by drowning or died during torture. His martyrdom is considered a watershed event in the history of Sikhism.
British East India Company

British East India Company

1613 Jan 1
, Surat

The British East India Company defeats Portuguese at Surat, Gujarat State and establishes the first warehouse in India

Jahangir investing a courtier with a robe of honour watched by Sir Thomas Roe, English ambassador to the court of Jahangir at Agra from 1615 to 1618, and others

Sir Thomas Roe

1615 Jan 1
, Agra

The East India Company persuaded King James to send Roe as a royal envoy to the Agra court of Jahangir. Roe resided at Agra for three years, until 1619. At the Mughal court, Roe allegedly became a favourite of Jahangir and may have been his drinking partner; certainly he arrived with gifts of "many crates of red wine". The immediate result of the mission was to obtain permission and protection for an East India Company factory at Surat. While no major trading privileges were conceded by Jahingir, "Roe's mission was the beginning of a Mughal-Company relationship that would develop into something approaching a partnership and see the East India Company gradually drawn into the Mughal nexus".
Abul Hasan and Manohar, with Jahangir in the Darbar, from the Jahangir-nama, c. 1620.

Mughal Art peaks

1620 Jan 1
, India

Mughal art reaches a high point under Jahangir's rule. Jahangir was fascinated with art and architecture. In his autobiography, the Jahangirnama, Jahangir recorded events that occurred during his reign, descriptions of flora and fauna that he encountered, and other aspects of daily life, and commissioned court painters such as Ustad Mansur to paint detailed pieces that would accompany his vivid prose. In the foreword to W. M. Thackston’s translation of the Jahangirnama, Milo Cleveland Beach explains that Jahangir ruled during a time of considerably stable political control, and had the opportunity to order artists to create art to accompany his memoirs that were “in response to the emperor’s current enthusiasms”
Emperor Jahangir dies

Emperor Jahangir dies

1627 Jan 1

Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram, better known by his regnal name, Shah Jahan was the fifth Mughal emperor, and reigned from 1628 to 1658. Under his reign, the Mughal Empire reached the peak of its cultural glory. Although an able military commander, Shah Jahan is best remembered for his architectural achievements. His reign ushered in the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan commissioned many monuments, the best known of which is the Taj Mahal in Agra, in which is entombed his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. He owned the royal treasury and several precious stones such as the Kohinoor, worth around 23% of the world GDP during his time, and has thus often been regarded as the wealthiest Indian in history
Deccan famine of 1630–1632

Deccan famine of 1630–1632

1630 Jan 1
, Deccan Plateau

The Deccan famine of 1630–1632 was a famine in the Deccan Plateau, Khandesh and Gujarat. The famine was the result of three consecutive staple crop failures. The main reasons were climate and plague, leading to intense hunger, disease, and displacement in the region. This famine remains one of the most devastating famines in the history of India, and was the most serious famine to occur in the Mughal Empire.

An expression of love made of marble.

Shah Jahan builds Taj Mahal

1630 Jan 1

The Taj Mahal 'Crown of the Palace', is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1630 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658) to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself.
View of the Red Fort from the river (by Ghulam Ali Khan, between c. 1852–1854

Shah Jahan architercture projects

1650 Jan 1
, Delhi

During the latter part of his life, Shah Jahan would work on a grand legacy of structures. He was one of the greatest patrons of Mughal architecture. His most famous building was the Taj Mahal, which he built out of love for his wife, the empress Mumtaz Mahal. Among his other constructions are the Red Fort also called the Delhi Fort or Lal Qila in Urdu, large sections of Agra Fort, the Jama Masjid, the Wazir Khan Mosque, the Moti Masjid, the Shalimar Gardens, sections of the Lahore Fort, the Mahabat Khan Mosque in Peshawar, the Mini Qutub Minar in Hastsal, the Jahangir mausoleum—his father's tomb, the construction of which was overseen by his stepmother Nur Jahan and the Shahjahan Mosque. He also had the Peacock Throne, Takht e Taus, made to celebrate his rule.
The Wedding Procession of Shah Jahan's Eldest Son, Dara Shikoh

Succession Conflict

1657 Sep 6
, Agra

When Shah Jahan became ill in 1658, Dara Shikoh(who championed a syncretistic Hindu-Muslim culture and Mumtaz Mahal's eldest son) assumed the role of regent in his father's stead, which swiftly incurred the animosity of his brothers. Upon learning of his assumption of the regency, his younger brothers, Shuja, Viceroy of Bengal, and Murad Baksh, Viceroy of Gujarat, declared their independence and marched upon Agra in order to claim their riches. At the end of 1657, Dara Shikoh was appointed Governor of the province of Bihar and promoted to command of 60,000 infantry and 40,000 cavalry.
The Battle of Samugarh, c. 1658 Painting Mughal

Battle of Samugarh

1658 May 29
, Agra

Aurangzeb defeats Dara Shikoh's forces during the Battle of Dharmat. Dara Shikoh began to retreat towards Samugarh, about 10 miles (16 km) east of Agra, India, south of the Yamuna River, after Although Dara Shikoh was the most powerful man in the Mughal Empire after his father Shah Jahan, he knew little about the art of war and military command. His loosely knit army eventually crumbled and even refused to aid each other. The ferocious assault by Murad Baksh was very successful, although he was eventually wounded and his horse was killed. Aurangzeb then marched onwards to Agra which he besieged, however not until he closed down the city's water supply did his father Shah Jahan finally surrender. Shah Jahan was soon imprisoned in the Agra Fort. Eventually both Dara Shikoh and Sulaiman Shikoh were captured by the Afghan Malik Jiwan Khan, and handed over to Aurangzeb. Dara Shikioh was paraded through the streets of Agra and later declared a "Non-Muslim" during a smear campaign by Aurangzeb. He was later executed along with his son Sulaiman Shikoh.
Aurangzeb leads the Mughal Army during the Battle of Satara

Shivaji and Mughal–Maratha Wars

1659 Jan 1
, Deccan Plateua

In 1657, while Aurangzeb attacked Golconda and Bijapur in the Deccan, the Hindu Maratha warrior, Shivaji, used guerrilla tactics to take control of three Adil Shahi forts formerly under his father's command. With these victories, Shivaji assumed de facto leadership of many independent Maratha clans. Shivaji crowned himself Chhatrapati or the ruler of the Maratha Confederacy in 1674. While Aurangzeb continued to send troops against him, Shivaji expanded Maratha control throughout the Deccan until his death in 1680. Shivaji was succeeded by his son, Sambhaji. Militarily and politically, Mughal efforts to control the Deccan continued to fail.

The Mughal armies of Aurangzeb and Shah Shuja confront each other

Battle of Khajwa

1659 Jan 5
, Khajuha

Aurangzeb had defeated his elder brother Dara Shikoh during the Battle of Samugarh and captured Agra and placed his frail father Shah Jahan under house arrest in the Agra Fort. Aurangzeb then imprisoned his younger brother and longtime ally Murad Baksh at Gwalior Fort. After capturing Lahore and gaining the support of the Muslim Rajputs in the region, Aurangzeb set out on another expedition towards the eastern territories of the Mughal Empire in Bengal with the sole objective of defeating his brother Shah Shuja. In a close battle, Aurangzeb defeats his brother's army. Shah Shuja fled to Arakan.

Execution of Tegh Bahadur

1675 Nov 1
, Chandni Chowk

According to J.S. Grewal, a scholar of Sikh history, Guru Tegh Bahadur decided to confront the religious persecution of Kashmiri Hindus by the Mughal officials. He did so after appointing his son as the successor-Guru, leaving his base of Makhowal and entering Ropar where he was promptly arrested. According to Purnima Dhavan – a scholar of South Asian history and Mughal Empire, the Mughal administration kept a close watch on his activities. Guru Tegh Bahadur was kept in jail for four months in Sirhind, then transferred to Delhi in November 1675. After his refusal to perform a miracle, he was asked to convert to Islam, which he refused to do. Three of his colleagues, who had been arrested with him, were then put to death in front of him.He continued his refusal to convert to Islam. Thereafter, states Grewal, he was publicly beheaded in Chandni Chowk, a market square close to the Red Fort.
Jizya tax

Jizya tax

1679 Jan 1
, India

Aurangzeb chose to re-impose jizya, a military tax on non-Muslim subjects in lieu of military service, after an abatement for a span of hundred years, in what was critiqued by many Hindu rulers, family-members of Aurangzeb, and Mughal court-officials. The specific amount varied with the socioeconomic status of a subject and tax-collection were often waived for regions hit by calamities; also, Brahmins, women, children, elders, the handicapped, the unemployed, the ill, and the insane were all perpetually exempted. The collectors were mandated to be Muslims. A majority of modern scholars reject that religious bigotry influenced the imposition; rather, realpolitik — economic constraints as a result of multiple ongoing battles and establishment of credence with the orthodox Ulemas — are held to be primary agents. Aurangzeb also enforced differential taxation on Hindu merchants at the rate of 5% (as against 2.5% on Muslim merchants).
Anglo-Mughal War

Anglo-Mughal War

1686 Jan 1
, Mumbai

The English East India Company had been given a monopoly and numerous fortified bases on western and south-eastern coast of the Mughal India by the Crown, which was permitted by the local governors. The company eventually failed to reach an agreement with Aurangzeb regarding trade. The English naval forces established a blockade of the Mughal ports on the western Indian coast and engaged in several battles with the Mughal Army, and ships with Muslim pilgrims to Arabia's Mecca were also captured. The East India Company navy blockaded several Mughal ports on the western coast of India and engaged the Mughal Army in battle. The blockade started to effect major cities like Chittagong, Madras and Mumbai, which resulted in the intervention of Emperor Aurangzeb, who seized all the factories of the company and arrested members of the East India Company Army, while the Company forces commanded by Sir Josiah Child, Bt captured further Mughal trading ships. Ultimately the Company was forced to concede by the armed forces of the Mughal Empire and the company was fined 150.000 rupees (roughly equivalent to today's $4.4 million). The company's apology was accepted and the trading privileges were reimposed by Emperor Aurangzeb.
Prince Mu'azzam in his youth

Death of Aurangzeb

1707 Mar 1

Death of Aurangzeb marks the end of Mughal Golden Era, beginning of slow decline; he is succeeded by son Bahadur Shah I. In his youth, he conspired to overthrow his father Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor, and ascend to the throne. Shah's plans were intercepted by the emperor, who imprisoned him several times. From 1696 to 1707, he was governor of Akbarabad (later known as Agra), Kabul and Lahore.
Aurangzeb leads his final expedition (1705), leading an army of 500,000 troops.

Death of Aurangzeb

1707 Mar 3
, Bhingar

Aurangzeb died at his military camp in Bhingar near Ahmednagar on 3 March 1707 at the age of 88, having outlived many of his children. He had only 300 rupees with him which were later given to charity as per his instructions and he prior to his death requested not to spend extravagantly on his funeral but to keep it simple. His modest open-air grave in Khuldabad, Aurangabad, Maharashtra expresses his deep devotion to his Islamic beliefs. He expanded the empire to include almost the whole of South Asia, but at his death in 1707, "many parts of the empire were in open revolt". Aurangzeb is considered India's most controversial king, with some historians arguing his religious conservatism and intolerance undermined the stability of Mughal society, while other historians question this, noting that he built Hindu temples, employed significantly more Hindus in his imperial bureaucracy than his predecessors did, opposed bigotry against Hindus and Shia Muslims, and married Hindu Rajput princess Nawab Bai.


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