Who was the first Mughal emperor, and what was his impact?

The first Mughal emperor was Babur. His greatest impact was that that his dynasty forever changed India by cementing Persian and Islamic influence into India's society and culture.

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Babur was the first emperor of the Mughal Empire. Babur boasted an impressive lineage, being a direct descendant of both Genghis Kahn and Timur. At age eleven, he became the ruler of his homeland in present day Uzbekastan. Immediately upon his ascension, he had to contend with members of his extended family who sought to depose him. During the first decade of his rule, he lost most of his kingdom to rivals. However, Babur persevered and captured new territory and temporarily retook his ancestral lands. However, he remained under the threat of the Uzbeks who kept taking his territories from him. Consequently, Babur looked south to India as a place of conquest where he could be rid of his longtime enemies.

After a series of battles, Babur defeated Punjabi forces and killed their leader. He took control of Agra and Delhi in April of 1526 and placed himself as the head of the new Mughal Dynasty. Although Babur only reigned his new empire for four years, from 1526 through 1530, he accomplished much. Because he was a descendant of Timur and educated in the Persian tradition, Babur's new empire was full of Persian influence. This left an indelible mark on India that exists to this day. India became full of signs of Persian and Islamic influence, such as in the arts and philosophy. Although the religion had been practiced to a certain degree in India for centuries, under the Mughals, Islam spread thoroughly throughout northern and central India, influencing culture and society in countless ways.

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