Mughal Empire

First Battle of Panipat
Illustrations from the Manuscript of Baburnama (Memoirs of Babur) ©Ẓahīr ud-Dīn Muḥammad Bābur
1526 Apr 21

First Battle of Panipat

Panipat, Haryana, India

The First Battle of Panipat on 21 April 1526 marked the onset of the Mughal Empire in India, ending the Delhi Sultanate. It was notable for its early use of gunpowder firearms and field artillery, introduced by the invading Mughal forces led by Babur. This battle saw Babur defeat Sultan Ibrahim Lodi of the Delhi Sultanate using innovative military tactics, including firearms and cavalry charges, thus beginning Mughal rule which lasted until 1857.


Babur's interest in India was initially to expand his rule to Punjab, honoring his ancestor Timur's legacy. The political landscape of North India was favorable, with the Lodi dynasty under Ibrahim Lodi weakening. Babur was invited by Daulat Khan Lodi, Governor of Punjab, and Ala-ud-Din, Ibrahim's uncle, to challenge Ibrahim. An unsuccessful diplomatic approach to claim the throne led to Babur's military action.


Upon reaching Lahore in 1524 and finding Daulat Khan Lodi expelled by Ibrahim's forces, Babur defeated the Lodi army, burned Lahore, and moved to Dipalpur, setting up Alam Khan as governor. After Alam Khan was overthrown, he and Babur joined forces with Daulat Khan Lodi, unsuccessfully besieging Delhi. Realizing the challenges, Babur prepared for a decisive confrontation.


At Panipat, Babur strategically employed the "Ottoman device" for defense and utilized field artillery effectively. His tactical innovations, including the tulguhma strategy of dividing his forces and the use of araba (carts) for artillery, were key to his victory. The defeat and death of Ibrahim Lodi, along with 20,000 of his troops, marked a significant victory for Babur, laying the foundation for the Mughal Empire's establishment in India, a dominion that would endure for over three centuries.


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Last Updated: : Tue Jan 30 2024