List of Mughal Emperors of India – Name, Reign and Description

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The Mughal Emperors ruled India for almost two centuries. The Mughals were Muslims who ruled this Hindu subcontinent. They are an important part of Indian history. They left behind many architectural pieces like Red Fort, Taj Mahal, and more. Bahur was the founder of this empire. The Battle of Panipat led to the formation of the Mughal Empire. There were many rulers under this empire but the first six were the most powerful. They made the empire reach its zenith. But subsequently, after Aurangzeb, it started to decline. Let’s read about all the Mughal Emperors of India.

List of Mughal Emperors of India

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List of Mughal Emperors of India

Babur

He was the founder of the Mughal Kingdom or Empire and was born as Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur in 1483 in Andijan, Timurid Empire. He was a descendent of Genghis Khan (Mongol emperor) and served as the ruler of Kabul, Samarqand, and Ferghana before India.

Babur came to India in the early 15th century to win the Punjab State but soon decided to go for the entire country. The Lodi dynasty was ruling the Indian Subcontinent then. He won the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 defeating Ibrahim Lodi. This led to the formation of the Mughal empire of India and the end of the Delhi Sultanate.

He served as the emperor from 1526 to 1530. Babur fought against the Rajputs in the Battle of Khanwa and the Battle of Chanderi and subsequently won both. He is responsible for building the Babri Masjid, the Jama Masjid, and the Kabuli Bagh Mosque. Babur had 8 wives and 18 children. The eldest was Humayun. He died in 1530 in Agra.

Humayun

He was the second Mughal Emperors succeeding in Bahur. He was born as Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad in 1508 in Kabul to Maham Begum. Humayun became the emperor of the Mughal dynasty in 1530 and served till 1556 (15 years exile in between). From the start of his reign, Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat and Sher Shah Suri were after him.

The Battle of Chausa took place between Suri and Humayun in 1939. Humayun diplomatically decided to hand over Bengal and Bihar to Suri as province minister under him to which Suri agreed. But at the Battle of Kannauj Humayun lost Suri. This was the beginning of Humayun’s exile and the establishment of the Sur Empire.

After the death of Suri and his son in 1554, Humanyun decided to regain his empire. He gathered a large army led by Bairam Khan and won the Battle of Sirhind. His chief consort was Bega Begum, and his successor was Akbar. He died in 1556 and Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi honors him.

Akbar

He was the third Mughal Emperor succeeding Humayun. He was born as Jalal-ud-din Muhammad in 1542 in Amarkot, Rajputana to Hamida Banu Begum. Akbar became the emperor in 1556 and served till 1605. Bairam Khan was always next to him in his early ruling years to guide him on matters. He is the most celebrated Mughal Emperor in contemporary society. He wanted to rule the entire Hindustan.

Akbar began by invading Punjab, Delhi, Agra, Rajputana, Gujarat, Bengal, Kabul, Kandahar, and Baluchistan to expand his territory. He is responsible for stabilizing the economy and introducing the administration system in India. After gaining control over northern India, Akbar went for Rajputana. He won the Battle of Haldighati in 1576 gaining control over most of Rajputana.

To celebrate this victory, Fatehpur Sikri became the second capital of the empire. Next on his list was Gujarat and Bengal to gain control over maritime trade. He won the state of Gujarat in 1573 and built Buland Darwaza in Sikri to celebrate. Next was Bengal, which again was won by Mughals in the Battle of Tukaroi in 1575.

His administration system was divided into four sections – Military, Household, Religion, and Revenue department. He supported the agriculture business and the locals of his territories by giving them tax relief and proving loans. He also maintained international relations with the Portuguese, Safavid Dynasty, and Ottoman Empire.

His chief consort was Ruqaiya Sultan Begum and his successor was Jahangir. His marriage with Mariam-uz-Zamani ( Jodha Bai ) is often the centre of discussion. He was always interested in Mughal Architecture. He built Buland Darwaza, Humayun’s Tomb, Jodhabai Palace, and Akbar’s Tomb. Akbar died in 1605 in Agra.

Jahangir

He was the fourth Mughal Emperor succeeding Akbar. Jahangir was born as Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim in 1569 in Fatehpur Sikri to Jodha Bai. He became the emperor in 1605 and served till 1627. He encouraged Persian Culture in the Mughal Empire.

Jahangir went to gain control over South India. He was successful in conquering Khandesh and a part of Ahmadnagar. He also won over Bundela from Rajputana and built Jahangir Mahal to celebrate this victory. Akbar failed to conquer Kangra Fort but Jahangir completed this as well in 1620. He is responsible for opening relations with the British East India Company.

Jahangir was a heavy drinker and opium-eater. He was very fond of literature and painting. The Mughal paintings reached their peak during his regime. He is responsible for building Shalimar Bagh, the Begum Shahi Mosque, and the Bachcha Taj. His chief consorts were Saliha Banu Begum and Nur Jahan. His successor was Prince Khurram or Shah Jahan. He died in 1627 in Lahore.

Shah Jahan

He was the fifth Mughal Emperor succeeding Jahangir. Shah Jahan was born as Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram in 1592 in Lahore to Jagat Gosain and was brought up by Ruqaiya Begum. He became the emperor in 1628 and served till 1658. He is known for bringing the golden age of Mughal architecture under his reign.

Shah Jahan gained control over Peninsular India by conquering Baglana, then Golconda, and then Bijapur in the 1650s. He changed the capital of the Mughal Empire from Agra to Delhi in 1648. He also created a new city of Shāhjahānābād near Delhi and fought the Portuguese in 1631to gain back control over Hooghly port in Bengal. Shah Jahan maintained an alliance with the Ottomans and captured the Safavid dynasty’s territories.

The Mughal Architecture was at peak during his regime. He built the Taj Mahal, Jama Masjid, Shalimar Gardens of Lahore, Wazir Khan Mosque, Agra Fort, and Red Fort. His chief consort was Mumtaz Mahal, and his successor was Aurangzeb. Taj Mahal serves as the tomb for both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. He died in 1666 in Agra.

Aurangzeb

He was the sixth Mughal Emperor succeeding Shah Jahan. Aurangzeb was born as Muḥī al-Dīn Muḥammad in 1618 in Dahod to Mumtaz Mahal. He became the emperor in 1658 and served till 1707. He was the first Mughal Emperor to claim the throne before the death of the previous ruler and is known for ruling almost the entire Indian subcontinent.

Aurangzeb gained control over the southern states, Bihar and Assam. The Mughal–Maratha Wars were fought between him and Shivaji for Bijapur. He was an imperial bureaucrat. The Hindus represented 31% of the Mughal nobility during his regime. At the same time, he is responsible for the Establishment of stricter Islamic law. He is known for destroying many temples to wipe out history.

He built Moti Masjid, Burj-i Shamali, Badshahi Mosque, Bibi ka Maqbara, Zinat-ul-masjid, and Zafar Mahal. His chief consort was Dilras Banu Begum and his successor was Bahadur Shah I. He died in 1707 in Ahmednagar. He was the last powerful Mughal Emperor.

Bahadur Shah I

He was the seventh Mughal Emperor. Bahadur Shah 1 was born as Muhammad Mu’azzam in 1643 in Burhanpur to Nawab Bai. He became the emperor in 1707 and served till 1712. He defeated his elder brother Muhammad Azam Shah at the Battle of Jajau and became the emperor. From the start of his reign, the dynasty started to fall.

Bahadur Shah lost Amber, Jodhpur, and Udaipur in the initial year of his reign. He faced issues inside his court from Kam Bakhsh. And outside as well like – Sikh rebellion and Khutba controversy. His chief consort was Nur-un-Nissa Begum and his successor was Jahandar Shah. He died in 1712 in Lahore.

Jahandar Shah

He was the eighth emperor of the Mughal Dynasty. Jahandar Shah was born as Mirza Muhammad Mu’izz-ud-Din in 1661 in Deccan states to Nizam Bai. He became the emperor in 1712 and served only till 1713. He was in controversy for marrying a dancing girl – Lal Kunwar. Also he Encouraged the Ijara System. He was defeated in the Battle of Agra in 1713 by his nephew Farrukhsiyar. He died a month after the war in 1713 in Delhi.

Farrukhsiyar

He was the ninth emperor of the Mughal Dynasty. Farrukhsiyar was born as Abu’l Muzaffar Muin ud-din Muhammad Shah Farrukh-Siyar Alim Akbar Sani Wala Shan Padshah-i-bahr-u-bar in 1685. He was Azim-ush-Shan’s son. He became the emperor in 1713 and served till 1719.

Farrukhsiyar allowed the trade of British goods in Bengal without tax. He took Sayyid brother’s help to defeat Jahandar Shah but they later joined the Marathas against the Mughals. His chief consort was Gauhar-un-Nissa Begum and his successor was Rafi ud-Darajat. He died in 1719 in Delhi.

Mohammad Shah

He was the twelfth Mughal Emperor of India. Before him, Rafi ud-Darajat and Rafi ud-Daulah served as 10th and 11th emperors but only for a few months. He was born as Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad Shah in 1702 in Ghazana. His father was Jahan Shah (Bahadur Shah’s fourth son). He claimed the throne with the help of the Sayyid brothers. He became the emperor in 1719 and served till 1748.

Mohd Shah was very fond of art and literature. The Urdu language reached its peak of appreciation during his regime. The dynasty was already decaying but the pace increased in his reign. He witnessed multiple Mughal-Maratha wars and lost many provinces including Orissa. The battle of Karnal 1739 between Mughals and Nader Shah was lost by him. Nadir Shah captured Delhi and most of north India.

Nader destroyed everything that was left of the empire. He slowly took over other Mughal territories including Jalalabad, Lahore, and Sirhind. Mohammad Shah was unable to capture back his states but managed to rule till 1748. His chief consort was Badshah Begum and successor was his eldest son Ahmed Shah Bahadur. He died in 1748 at the Battle of Ambur.

Ahmed Shah Bahadur

He was the thirteenth emperor of the Mughal Dynasty. Ahmed Shah Bahadur was born as Mujahid-ud-Din Ahmad Shah Ghazi in 1725 in Delhi. He became the emperor in 1748 and served till 1754. He had poor administration skills which further led to the fall of the empire. Firoz Jung III was rising during his regime. He lost many territories including Gujarat. Also he fought the French in the Carnatic War. He was then overthrown by Alamgir II in 1754. He spent his life in jail after losing his throne.

Alamgir II

He was the fourteenth emperor of the Mughal Dynasty. Alamgir was born as Aziz-ud-Din in 1699 in Burhanpur. He was Jahandar Shah’s son. He became the emperor in 1754 and served till 1759. As he had no administrative skills; thus all the matters were seen by his vizir Imad-ul-Mulk. The seven-year global war took place in his presence. The Maratha expansion was on the peak during his regime. His successor was Shah Jahan III. His vizir murdered him in 1759 due to arguments over dynasty issues.

Shah Alam II

He was the sixteenth emperor of the Mughal Dynasty. Before him, Shah Jahan III served as the emperor for only one year but Marathas removed him. Alam was born as Ali Gohar in 1728 in Delhi. He became the emperor in 1760 and served till 1788. He won back Bengal, Odisha, and Bihar at Bengal War.

Shah Alam II fought with the East India Company at the War of Buxar and lost. In 1788, the Marathas took over Delhi and ended Alam’s regime. He became the first Mughal to get a pension from East India Company as they helped him get free from the Marathas in 1803. He died in 1806 and his successor was Bidar Bakht.

Akbar II

He was the eighteenth Mughal Emperor of India. Bidar Bakht took over the throne after Shah Alam for two months. Akbar II was born in 1760 Mukundpur. He became the emperor in 1808 and served till 1837. He worked under British protection. During his regime, the dynasty lost everything, and the empire shrunk to Red Fort only. The Britishers slowly took over India in his presence. His successor was his eldest son Bahadur Shah. He died in 1837 in Delhi.

Bahadur Shah II

He was the nineteenth and the last Mughal Emperor of India. Bahadur Shah II was born as Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1775 in Shahjahanabad. He became the emperor in 1837 and served till 1857. His ruling was limited to Delhi. The Britishers were controlling the rest of India. The revolt of 1857 was led by him to finish the British rule but failed. He was kept captive after this incident and ultimately died in 1861. The East India Company’s reign over the Indian subcontinent began after his death.

No.  Name of the Mughal Emperors Reign Description 
1 Babur  1526 – 1530
  • Founder of the Mughal Empire
  • Defeated Ibrahim Lodi at Battle of Panipat in 1526
  • Built Bari Masjid and Jama Masjid
2 Humayun 1530 – 1556
  • Lost to Sher Shah Suri at Battle of Kannauj in 1939
  • Saw establishment of the Suri Empire till 1554
  • Saw an exile of 5 years before taking over the throne again in 1555
3 Akbar  1556 – 1605
  • Won the battle of Haldighati in 1576
  • Introduced administration system in India
  • Fatehpur Sikri became his second capital
  • Got hold Indian maritime trade
  • Built Buland Darwaza and Humayun Tomb
4 Jahangir  1605 – 1627
  • Encourage Persian Culture
  • Heavy Drinker and Opium Eater
  • Opened relation with East India Company
  • Built Shalimar Bagh
5 Shah Jahan 1628 – 1658
  • The golden age of Mughal Architecture
  • Won Peninsular India
  • Created Shahjahanabad near Delhi
  • Built the Taj Mahal. Red Fort, and Agra Fort
6 Aurangzeb 1658 – 1707
  • Won many Mughal Maratha Wars
  • Stricter Islamic Laws
  • Represented 31% Hindus in Mughal Nobility
  • Built Moti Masjid
  • Last powerful Mughal
7 Bahadur Shah I 1707 – 1712
  • The fall of the empire begins here
  • Sikh Rebellion and Khutba Controversy
8 Jahandar Shah 1712 – 1713
  • Encouraged Ijara system
9 Farrukhsiyar  1713 – 1719
  • Allowed British trade in India without tax
  • Allied with Sayyid Brothers
10 Rafi ud-Darajat 1719 NA
11 Rafi ud-Daulah 1719 NA
12 Mohammad Shah 1719 – 1748
  • Zenith of Urdu language
  • Lost most of North India to Nader Shah
13 Ahmed Shah Bahadur 1748 – 1754
  • Rise of Feroz Jung III
  • Lost Gujarat
  • Carnatic Wars with French
14 Alamgir II 1754 – 1759
  • Seven Year Global War
  • Maratha Expansion’s peak
15 Shah Jahan III 1759 – 1760
  • Overthrown by Marathas
16 Shah Alam II 1760 – 1788

1803 – 1808

  • First Mughal to receive East India Company’s pension
  • Marathas took over Delhi in 1788
  • British freed him in 1803
17 Bidar Bakht 1808 NA
18 Akbar II 1808 – 1837
  • Worked under British Protection
  • Empire Shrunk to Red Fort
19 Bahadur Shah II 1837 – 1857
  • Last Mughal Emperor
  • Beginning of British Rule

Conclusion

The Mughal Empire is an important part of Indian History which is important for the IAS Exam and all its stages. This article will cover all Mughal Emperors of India – reign, achievement and victories, monuments, and their personal life. From the 15th century to the 18th century, everything you need to know about the Mughal Emperors is covered above. This article is relevant for competitive exams like UPSC, RRB, SSC, etc. If you are an aspirant then this article is for you. Read it thoroughly for the exams and to understand history better.

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