Akbar (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: As one of India’s greatest Mughal emperors, Akbar conquered and unified northern India under his rule. In addition to military conquest, his most significant achievements include the development of an efficient bureaucratic structure, patronage of the arts, and enlightened policies of religious toleration.
Abū-ul-Fath Jahāl-ud-Dīn Muhammad Akbar was born in the Kingdom of Sind, in what would become modern Pakistan. Of mixed Turkish, Persian, and Mongol ancestry, Akbar was a descendant of both Tamerlane and Genghis Khan. His grandfather, Bābur “the Tiger,” a Muslim chieftain of a small state in Turkestan, invaded India in 1526 and within four years conquered Hindustan in northern India and Afghanistan. The Mughal (from the Persian word for Mongol) Dynasty, founded by Bābur, ruled northern India until the British took over in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Bābur was succeeded in 1530 by his weak son Humayun, who was unable to prevent the conquest of the empire by the Afghan chieftain Sher Khan Sur. Driven from his throne at Delhi, Humayun fled to Persia to seek support. During this flight, his Persian wife, Hamida, in 1542 gave birth to Akbar while in the Kingdom of Sind. In 1555, with the aid of Persian troops, Humayun reconquered the area around Delhi and reclaimed his throne. He died the next year, in January, 1556, as a result of an accident caused by the...
(The entire section is 2079 words.)
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Akbar (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Highly authoritarian but just and fair, Akbar undertook military reforms that created a severely centralized state.
Born after his father Humāyūn had lost his kingdom to the Afghan Sher Shah and was in exile, Akbar “the Great” was the third Mogul ruler. Helped by Humāyūn’s chief minister, Bairam, Akbar defeated his father’s opponents, securing a domain over Hindu India after the hard-fought Battle of Pānīpat (1556). As regent, he gradually established control of much of northern and central India, eventually dismissing Bairam and conquering Malwa (1561-1562).
After his conquest of Rajputana (1562-1567), Akbar turned conciliatory toward the vanquished, erasing divisions between Muslims and Hindus. He appointed Hindus to high offices, integrated leaders of the indigenous ruling class into his imperial structure (so long as they paid him tribute), and married Rājput princesses. He enlarged his realm until it extended from Afghanistan to the Bay of Bengal, and from the Himalayas to the Godavari River. Akbar’s conquests included Gujerat (1573), Bihar and Begal (1574-1576), Afghanistan during the Afghan War (1581), and Kashmir, Sind, and Orissa (1586-1595). He also invaded the Deccan (1596-1600).
Akbar put down a revolt by his son Salim (later Jahāngīr), then pardoned him in 1603. He died in Āgra, probably after being poisoned by his son.
(The entire section is 257 words.)