Babur: The Magnificent History of the First Mughal Emperor

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The Mughals were descendants of two of the greatest lineages of rulers. From their maternal side, they descended from Ghenghis Khan, the ruler of Mongols. On the other hand, they were the descendants of Timur from their paternal side. However, they referred to themselves as Timurids because of the massacre associated with Genghis Khan’s name. The most prominent Mughal emperor of all time was Babur. But who was he and why is he so important to the dynasty? Let us figure out about the first Mughal emperor.

Who was Babur?

He was the first Mughal emperor of India. Babur or Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, was the first Mughal emperor of India. He founded the Mughal empire in 1526 although it is Akbar who is associated with the empire’s massive success and victories. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi during the Battle of Panipat in AD 1526 and established his kingdom. His original name was Zahiruddin Muhammad and he is well-known for his historic military campaigns and expeditions. Moreover, he gave five lineal descendants, also known as the Great Mughals, to the Mughal empire. It includes  Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb. He built the famous Babri Mosque in Ayodhya by demolishing a prominent Hindu temple. This place marks the Hindu god Ram’s birthplace.  

Early Life

  • Babur was born on February 14, 1483.
  • He was born in Andijan’s Uzbekistan city. 
  • His father, Umar Sheikh Mirza, was the ruler of Ferghana. His mother, Qutlaq Nighar Khatnum, was the daughter of Moghul King Yunus Khan.
  • Babur ascended to the throne at a young age when the Emir of Ferghana died unexpectedly. 
  • He was usurped by his uncles which is one of the the numerous internal struggles he had to face. 

Also Read: Emperor Akbar: History, Life, Achievements

Baburnama- His Memoirs

It is widely believed that Babur highly adored literature and made great contributions in his time.  During his rule in India, he started writing poetry in Turkish in his life book called Baburnama. Later on, his grandson Akbar the Great, translated Babur’s memoir into Persian. Eventually, Baburnama was later translated into English and renamed as Memoirs of Babur. Today, Baburnama is considered one of the most important Mughal manuscripts.  

Babur and Early Conflicts

The emperor was known for his ambitious personality to gain control over towns and smaller regions. In 1497, he took charge of the city of Samarkand at the age of 15. However, his geographical distance from Fergana resulted in a rebellion. As a result,  he was forced to leave empty-handed from his new siege. To regain the territory, he spent years building a strong and large army by forming alliances with other rulers. However, his attempt to regain Samarkand was defeated due to unexpected attacks by Uzbek rivals. 


Babur moved to the Hindu Kush Mountains in 1504 to conquer Kabul, in modern-day Afghanistan. During his rule, Muslim princes and rulers often sought refuge in Kabul. However, despite his successful rule in the region, Babur was unsatisfied with poor trading routes and domestic rebellions. 

  • He occupied Kabul in 1504.
  • He occupied Lahore in 1524 but Daulat Khan’s unexpected attacks against him made Babur retreat to Kabul and leave Lahore. 
  • Babur occupied the Delhi Sultanate on 21st April 1526 by defeating Ibrahim Lodi. This marked the First Battle of Panipat. 
  • This victorious battle of Panipat marked the beginning of Mughal dominion in India. 
  • Upon conquering Delhi, Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur sent his son Humayun to capture Agra. He then declared himself as the Emperor of Hindustan.

His Victorious Journey to The Throne

After conquering Kabul, he moved to Hindustan to expand his territory. He took control over Lahore in 1524, followed by Panipat in 1526 where he defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the famous Battle of Panipat. Despite being outnumbered, Babur was able to defeat a massive army of skilled warriors and elephants. 

Babur continued with his unending battles to lay down the foundations of the Mughal empire in India. The Battle of Khanwa fought in 1527, was another important victory for Babur. This was a decisive engagement between the Rajput alliance of Rana Sanga of Mewar and Babur. Babur then moved on to capture Chanderi by defeating Medini Rai of Malwa in the Battle of Chanderi. The Battle of Ghagra which was between Sultan Mahmud Lodi and Babur is also one of the most important victories for the first Mughal emperor of India. 

Also Read: Humayun: A Legacy of Mughal Rule

Tomb of Babur

Babur passed away in the year 1530 due to excessive drinking and was succeeded by his eldest son, Humayun. However, it is also believed that he sustained deadly injuries and diseases during his military campaigns which eventually led to his death. Although he was at first buried in Agra, his tomb was later transferred to Kabul in 1544. Accordingly, his tomb was erected in Bagh-e Babur.

Rana Sangha and Babur

Rana Sangha of Mewar is renowned for giving one of the toughest competitions to Babur’s expansion plans. On March 16, 1527, Rana Sangha and his alliance of Marwar, Amber, Chanderi, Gwalior, Ajmer, and Sultan Mahmood Lodi launched a war against Babur at the Kanhwa village of Agra. Despite their efforts, Babur won the war and took the ultimate title of Ghazi. 

Following this huge success, Babur then went on to capture the region of Chanderi from Rajput king Medini Rai. His other renowned battles include the one which took place on May 6, 1529, where he fought the Afghan allies of Bihar and Bengal on the Gogra banks. By winning this battle, Babur successfully occupied a major part of northern India. 

Also Read: Mughal Emperor Jahangir: Life, Legacy, and Influence

Contribution to Mughal Architecture

Although his reign was relatively short than other Mughal rulers, he still managed to make a few contributions to the overall Mughal architecture of that time. 

  • Kabuli Bagh Mosque, Panipat: It was the first Mughal monument to be built in India by Babur to commemorate his victory over Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat. It has octagonal towers on its corners and an entrance on the north side. Moreover, the gateway is built using red sandstone.
  • Shahi Jama Masjid, Sambal: The throne of Sambhal was passed on to Humayun from Babur and then to Akbar, Humayun’s son. The Shahi Jama Masjid was built in 1528 by Mir Hindu Beg. It is said to be the only surviving Mughal structure that was constructed during Babur’s reign. 

Estimates about Babur

  • He is believed to be an eminent scholar in languages like Persian and Arabic.
  • His mother tongue was Chaghatai Turkic.
  • Babur was a statesman.
  • He wrote his most famous memoirs known as Tuzuk-i-Baburiin in the Turki language. 



#1. The Battle of Khanwa was fought between?

#2. Babur conquered Samarkand in ____ year

#3. Who was the first Mughal emperor of India?


History is truly magnificent and mind-blowing. While it talks about the glorious lives of kingdom rulers and martyrs, it also sheds light on the old cultures and societies. This blog was all about Babur. If you want to read more such informative stuff, check out our dedicated page on famous personalities

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