How Many Wives Did Akbar Have?

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How Many Wives Did Akbar Have?

Akbar the Great, also known as Akbar I, was the third Mughal emperor, who ruled over India from 1556 to 1605. Known for his progressive policies, military prowess and cultural contributions, Mughal Emperor Akbar stands out as one of the most influential rulers in Indian history. One aspect of Akbar’s life that often intrigues historians and enthusiasts alike is his marital life. So, how many wives did Akbar have and who were they? Let’s delve into the intricate world of the wives of Akbar.

Credit – Notes on Indian History

Wives of Akbar

Akbar had a total of three chief wives, who were considered senior to his other wives and had a prominent place in his court. These three wives were:

  • Mariam-uz-Zamani: Mariam-uz-Zamani, also known as Harka Bai, was a Rajput princess who became Akbar’s wife. She was termed Akbar’s first and chief wife and the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber. She bore him his eldest son, Prince Salim, who would later become Emperor Jahangir.
  • Queen Ruqaiya Sultan Begum: Ruqaiya Sultan Begum was another cousin of Akbar and the daughter of Emperor Humayun and Empress Hamida Banu Begum. She was married to Akbar in 1551 and held a position of respect and authority in the Mughal court. Ruqaiya Sultan Begum was known for her piety and generosity.
  • Salima Sultan Begum: Salima Sultan Begum was Akbar’s cousin and one of the most influential women in his court. She was the widow of Akbar’s foster brother, Emperor Humayun, and married Akbar in 1561. Salima Sultan Begum was known for her intelligence, wisdom, and diplomatic skills. She played a crucial role in the Mughal court and was a trusted advisor to Akbar.

Also Read – Navratnas of Akbar: Birbal, Tansen and More

The Dynamics of Akbar’s Marriages

In addition to his three chief wives, Akbar had several other wives, concubines and temporary consorts, as was common for Mughal emperors of the time. These women came from diverse backgrounds, including royalty, nobility, and the harem. While the exact number of Akbar’s wives is not known, historical records suggest that he had around 36 wives and hundreds of concubines.

In conclusion, his marriages were not just political alliances but also personal relationships that also helped in his reign and legacy. The three chief wives of Akbar played important roles in his life and the Mughal court.

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