The Mughal Empire was one of the 3 major Asian Empires of the early modern Era. The other 2 were the Safavid (Persia) (1502-1736), and Ming/Qing (China) (1416-1911). Mughal India was central in the role of Asian Trade. It was the midway point from Africa to China in the Indian Ocean. At its height, the Mughal Empire held a population between 100 and 150 million people
The Mughal Empire was founded by Babur (1483-1530) a Muslim descendant of Genghis Khan in the year 1526. The Mughal Empire was climbing steadily but saw its height with the emperor, Aurangzeb (1618-1707). Aurangzeb is the son of Shah Jahan (1592-1666) and Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631). His parents are most famous for the Taj Mahal
It was a common tradition within the Mughal Empire that the transition of power was a situation of war and conflict. Aurangzeb was the one of 4 sons. The oldest Dar Shikoh was chosen. The 3 other sons prepared their armies and fought. Aurangzeb went north, imprisoned his father and then killed his brothers. Aurangzeb gave himself the name, Alamgir which means “world seizer.” He takes the throne in 1659.
The new emperor is able to take territory in modern day Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. He is also able to push southward into India. Only one rebel gave him problems, Shivaji (1627-1680) of the Maratha. Shivaji was an ally of Aurangzeb prior to his ascension to the throne. Shivaji wished to establish a Hindu Kingdom instead of live with Muslims. He fought against his friend however died of illness. Aurangzeb was relentless with the destruction of his former friend. The cost of war was growing.
Taxes were placed on non-Muslim faiths causing a huge rift within India. The taxes and treatment of non-Muslim citizens triggered more rebellions across the Empire, the Sikhs in the Punjab region and Raijputs in northern India attacked. The Marathas were finally able to gain power of the Mughals. Aurangzeb dies in 1707 at the age of 88. A war of succession among his children erupt with his 3rd son, Bahadur Shah I winning. Bahadur quickly attempts to reverse many of the policies of his father but it is too late, the division between religions and groups is too far gone.
The remaining 10 Mughal Emperors between the years of 1707-1857 could not undo the damage of the early wars. Invasions by the Persians, northern peoples from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and European traders reduced the role of the Mughal to puppets. The British were able to purchase their way into power.