The Muslim and Mogul Empires

Invasions by the Turks, who were Muslims, began about 1000. A Muslim empire with Delhi as its capital was established about 1200. The empire flourished until 1398, when it was destroyed by Tamerlane, a Tatar chieftain of Turkestan who sought to revive the Mongol Empire in Western Asia. Tamerlane's empire did not survive his death in 1405, and northern India broke up into small warring Muslim and Hindu states.

In 1526 Babur, ruler of a small kingdom in Turkestan, conquered all northern India. Babur traced his ancestry back to Tamerlane and as a result his domain was called the Mogul (Mongol) Empire. The Mogul rulers helped establish the Muslim religion firmly in the north, although the majority of the people remained Hindu.

Mughal Empire.Mughal Empire. This map shows the location of the Mughal, or Mogul Empire. Central Asian Muslims established the empire in 1526. By about 1600, the Mughals controlled most of what are now north and central India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The empire lasted until the 1700's.

The greatest Mogul emperor was Akbar (ruled 1556–1605), who subdued some of the strongest Hindu states. Akbar's grandson Shah Jahan (ruled 1628–58) was the builder of the Taj Mahal. He was deposed by his son, Aurangzeb (1658–1707), who extended the Mogul domains but aroused fierce resistance by the Maratha Confederacy, a group of Hindu states in central India. Shortly after Aurangzeb's death the Persians invaded India and sacked Delhi. Many Indian states declared their independence, and Mogul power gradually dwindled away, although the empire survived in name until 1858.