The Mughal Empire was founded in 1526 by Babur, a Central Asian Turk, after
he had defeated the Lodi ruler of Delhi, Ibrahim, and occupied the capital at
Āgra. Babur went on to conquer much of the northern Indian subcontinent, but
died in 1530 before he could consolidate his empire. His son, Humayun, faced
difficulties from the Afghans, the sultan of Gujarāt, and above all, in his own
camp from his brothers and some of his fatherís nobles. He was defeated by the
new Afghan leader, Sher Khan Sur (later known as Sher Shah), wandered in exile
in Persia, and finally settled in Kābul. After 15 years, by which time the Sur
regime was in a shambles, Humayun recaptured Hindustan just before his death in
1556. His young son Akbar soon recovered the lost empire, expanding its
frontiers almost to the entire upper India. Akbar, who is often considered the
true founder of the Mughal Empire, laid the grounds for the significant economic
growth and the fabulous art and building activities of his successors. He died
in 1605 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Jahangir.
Nadir Shah Takes the Throne
Under Jahangir, who ruled until 1627, and Shah Jahan, who ruled from 1628 to 1658, the Mughals made significant gains in the Deccan Plateau region. The Mughals gained control over the Marathas, although on northwest borders they lost Kandahār to Persia and had difficulties against the Central Asian Uzbeks. In 1648 the Mughal capital was shifted from Āgra to Delhi. The empire achieved its greatest physical extent under Aurangzeb, who ruled from 1658 to 1707. By the time of his death in 1707, nearly the whole subcontinent was under his rule, however, the symptoms of the demise of the Mughal Empire had also surfaced.