From Academic Kids

Zahir-ud-din Mohammad Babur, (alternative spellings Zaheeruddin and Babar or Baber (February 14, 1483 - December 26, 1530) was a famous Turco-Persian conqueror of North India. In 1526 he founded the Mughal Empire and Mughal dynasty.

Zahir-ud-din Mohammad was known as Babur, derived from the common Indo-European word for "Beaver" (The notion that it comes from the Persian Babr meaning "Tiger", is erroneous). Babur was a descendant of the famed Turkish warrior Timur through his grandfather, the astronomer and Timurid Empire sultan Ulugh Beg. Later inheritors of Babur's legacy claimed that they were descended from the all-conquering Mongolian leader Genghis Khan through his mother, Kutlak Nigar Khanum, but this claim is considered suspect. Babur's father, Omar Sheikh, was king of Ferghana, a district of modern Uzbekistan, and Babur was born there in the city of Andijan; Babur's native tongue was Turki, a Turkic language. Omar Sheikh died in 1495. Babur, though only twelve years of age, succeeded to the throne. An attempt made by his uncles to dislodge him proved unsuccessful, and no sooner was the young sovereign firmly settled than he began to meditate an extension of his own dominions.

In 1497, Babur attacked and gained possession of Samarkand, to which he always seems to have thought he had a natural and hereditary right. A rebellion among his nobles robbed him of his native kingdom, and while marching to recover it, his troops deserted him and he lost Samarkand. After some reverses, Babur regained both places, but in 1501 his most formidable enemy, Muhammad Shaybani, khan of the Uzbeks, defeated him in a great engagement and again he lost Samarkand.

For three years, Babur wandered, vainly trying to recover his lost possessions. He managed to gather sufficient troops in 1504; crossing the snowy Hindu Kush, Babur besieged and captured the strong city of Kabul. With this dextrous move, he gained a wealthy new kingdom and re-established his fortunes.

In the following year, Babur united with Husayn Bayqarah of Herat against Muhammad Shaybani. The death of Husayn Bayqarah (1506) put a stop to this expedition, but Babur spent a year at Herat, enjoying the pleasures of that capital. Babur returned to Kabul in time to quell a formidable rebellion, but two years later a revolt among some of the leading Moguls drove him from his city. He was compelled to take to flight with very few companions, but through courage and daring struck the army of his opponents with such dismay that they again returned to their allegiance and Babur regained his kingdom.

After the death of Muhammad Shaybani in 1510, Babur once again endeavoured to obtain possession of his ancestral Timurid Empire territories. He received considerable aid from the Persian Safavid Empire's shah Ismail I and in 1511 made a triumphal entry into Samarkand. However, he was utterly defeated by the Uzbeks in 1514 and only reached Kabul with great difficulty.

Babur now resigned all hopes of recovering Ferghana; although he dreaded an invasion of the Uzbeks from the West, his attention increasingly turned to India. He had made several preliminary incursions when an opportunity presented itself for a more extended expedition in 1521. Ibrahim Lodi, sultan of the Delhi Sultanate, was detested and several of his Afghani nobles asked Babur for assistance.

Babur immediately assembled a 12,000-man army, complete with limited artillery, and marched into India. Ibrahim advanced against him with 100,000 soldiers and 100 elephants. Their great battle, the First battle of Panipat, was fought on April 21, 1526. Ibrahim Lodi was slain and his army routed and Babur at once took possession of Agra.

A more formidable enemy awaited Babur. Rana Sanga of Mewar collected an enormous force of 210,000 men and attacked the invaders. On all sides there was danger and revolt; even Babur's own soldiers, worn out with the heat of this new climate, longed for Kabul. Babur restored their courage though inwardly losing confidence. In distress, Babur renounced the wine to which he had been addicted. In battle of Khanua, on March 16, 1527, he won a great victory and made himself absolute master of North India.

In battle of Ghaghara River, on May 6 1529, Babur defeated Mahmud Lodi, brother of Ibrahim Lodi.

The remaining years of Babur's life he spent in arranging the affairs and revenues of his new empire and in improving his capital, Agra. He died in his forty-eighth year. His son, Humayun, inherited his throne.

Babur wrote his memoirs, the Baburnama, in the Turkish lingua franca Chaghatai.

Further Reading

The Babur-nama. Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor Translated, Edited and annotated by Wheeler M. Thackston (New York) 2002

Preceded by:
Ibrahim Lodi
(Sultan of Delhi)
Mughal Emperor
Succeeded by:

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This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopdia Babur Khan

fr:Bbur ja:バーブル no:Babur sv:Babur zh:巴布尔


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