The Mughal Empire

By Gwen McCain and Matthew McFaul


Map during the time period

map21ind.jpg
http://www.mahalo.com/answers/in-your-opinion-what-were-the-five-greatest-empires-of-all-time


Politics and Economics
The first Mughal Emperor declared himself emperor after conquering parts of Afghanistan and Northern India. Babur took power from the remnants of the Delhi Sultanate, which had been conquered years before by Babur’s great-grandfather Timur. Babur also claimed to be a descendant of Genghis Khan. Babur’s son and grandson ruled after him, beginning the Mughal dynasty. Akbar (the grandson of Babur) ruled from 1556 to 1605. Under Akbar, the Mughal Empire expanded into central India. Aside from military advancements, Akbar used marriages and treaties to keep the peace with Hindu tribal leaders. The loyalty to the government of the Mughals was based on their tolerance. Since subjects were encouraged to worship as they pleased, a far cry from the rest of the world, the emperor was loved. Before trade began foreign trade flourished in India, the Mughals relied on a system of taxing. Tax collectors, called zamindars, collected crops as tribute, but also took a percentage for themselves. As the system became more and more corrupt Akbar centralized the system of tax collecting to end thievery. The money saved was used to finance military advancements and art in Akbar’s palace.

The economy of the Mughal Empire was based on the expansion of trade throughout the Indian Ocean and central Asia. The Mughal Empire did not have a navy so traders either came to their ports along the ocean or the Mughals traded over land. Trade along the Silk Road allowed India to trade with Russia and Iran for pelts, armor, fruit, leather, nuts, metal, silk and carpets. The Mughal Empire traded with European countries, which valued Indian spices above all else. In 1578, the Mughals worked out an agreement with the Portuguese that gave the Portuguese a monopoly on trading with India. But by the 1590s the monopoly had ended and the Portuguese, Dutch, and British all had ports in India. The Mughal Empire exported spices, cotton, tobacco, saffron, betel leaf, sugar, and indigo. Trade ended the system of taxes, because of the wealth it brought to Akbar’s court.


Timeline




Virtual Timeline/Map

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWaOd-QYP8w

Aspects of Culture
Mughal education revolved around educating themselves on the people around them. The Mughal educated themselves on other religions, in particular. Theologians of all different faiths were invited to the palace to discuss the differences or similarities in their religions. The emperor Akbar opened many schools in his empire, and reformed the system of education by tweaking the curriculum to fit an individual student, based on their religion economic class, or ability to learn.

During the early Mughal Empire peasants were forced to pay high taxes to corrupt tax collectors, or zamindars. As trade increased, taxes decreased. Peasants began to sell their crops or goods at marketplaces. This allowed the lowest class to become more independent, and from them came a middle class. The middle class was made up of merchants and craftsmen. Education was open to the upper class, even girls. The emperor started schools, and the government sometimes provided scholarships. Social norms included sati, the suicide of a widow at her husband’s funeral, and child marriage. These practices pre-existed the Mughal Empire and some are still in place today.

Artistic Innovation


Mughal Empire Art 1.png
Babur hunting deer between Ali Shang and Alangar, near Kabul, Afghanistan. 16th century. Fine Arts Archives. ARTstor.
This picture from the 16th century depicts Babur hunting deer. A common theme in Mughal art was long vertical images with many things going on.

Mughal Empire Art 2.png
Mughal Ring. 17th century. Victoria and Albert Museum Collection. ARTstor.
This Mughal ring is a great example for jewelry at the time. Mughals were very fond of jewelry and would wear many different things such as bracelets, necklaces, and rings.

Mughal Art 3.png
Malharnagar mint silver rupees. ​1996. American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) Collection (University of Michigan). ARTstor.
These are mint silver Mughal rupees. These show how much the Mughals valued art just by the amount of detail they put on their coins.
Mughal Empire Art 4.png
Qutb al-Din Muhammad Khan Tomb. 1573. Alka Patel Archive. ARTstor.
This is the tomb of Qutb al-Din Muhammad Khan. The Mughals made a big deal about where their peoples dead bodies were put so they made magnificent buildings such as this.
Mughal Empire Art 5.png
Tarif i-Husayn Shahi, Battle of Rakshasi-Tangadi.​ 1565. American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) Collection (University of Michigan). ARTstor.
This painting depicts Tarif i-Husayn Shahi's Battle of Rakshasi-Tangadi. The painting follows the common Mughal art style of lots of different colors and draw more vertically but lacks depth perception, making it look less sophisticated.
Mughal Empire Art 6.png
Qutb al-Din Muhammad Khan Tomb, Façade. 1573. Alka Patel Archive. ARTstor.
This stone carving is on the side of the tomb of Qutb al-Din Muhammad Khan. This carving shows how the Mughals were quite good in carving and also in masonry.

Art Photos Bibliography

Babur hunting deer between Ali Shang and Alangar, near Kabul, Afghanistan. 16th century. Fine Arts Archives. ARTstor.
<http://library.artstor.org/library/iv2.html?parent=true#>
Malharnagar mint silver rupees. 1996. American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) Collection (University of Michigan). ARTstor.
<http://library.artstor.org/library/iv2.html?parent=true>
Mughal Ring. 17th century. Victoria and Albert Museum Collection. ARTstor. <http://library.artstor.org/library/iv2.html?parent=true>
Qutb al-Din Muhammad Khan Tomb. 1573. Alka Patel Archive. ARTstor. <http://library.artstor.org/library/iv2.html?parent=true>
Qutb al-Din Muhammad Khan Tomb, Façade. 1573. Alka Patel Archive. ARTstor. <http://library.artstor.org/library/iv2.html?parent=true>
Tarif i-Husayn Shahi, Battle of Rakshasi-Tangadi. 1565. American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) Collection (University of Michigan). ARTstor.
<http://library.artstor.org/library/iv2.html?parent=true>


Classic literary texts

An excerpt from S.R. Sharma's Mughal Empire in India: A Systematic Study Including Source Material, Volume 1


Religion

The Mughal Empire is considered the third great Islamic Empire. Despite this the Mughals had a completely religiously tolerant empire. The Mughal Empire was one of the only places in the world that leaders of many different religions could come together and discuss their religions. The government staged debates between the religious leaders, and the attitude of tolerance sprung from the debates. The palace of Akbar hosted the temples and churches of all of the religions present in the Mughal Empire. When Akbar came to power the most common religion in the Mughal Empire was a combination of Islam, Catholic, and the other religions in the empire. This new religion focused on values like piety, gentleness, and yearning for God. Religious tolerance in the Mughal Empire, even though the state religion was Islam, led to the unification of the Mughal’s under open-minded leaders.


Architecture

Fatephur Sikri.JPG
Alan Levy, Travel and Outdoor Photographs

Fatehpur Sikir, the temporary capitol of the Munghal Empire under Akbar's rule

http://members.pcug.org.au/~alanlevy/Delhi.htm

QutabMinar.JPG
Alan Levy, Travel and Outdoor Photographs

Qutab Minar, a victory tower after the battles with the Islamic



Taj Mahal.jpg
Samuel Bourne, 1860. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. ARTstor

The Taj Mahal, a mausoleum built in 1653 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal is a great example of traditional Mughal acrhitecture and is also one of the seven wonders of the world.


Observations about what we have learned.
I learned a lot about the Mughal Empire during the 1500 and 1600s while working on this project. I had not known much about the history of India, let alone about the Mughal Empire before this class and before I started my research. It was interesting to learn the the origins of the rich culture of India that we know today and also Europes role in the growth and molding of the Mughal Empire. Also, I liked learning about Akbar's idea of religious tolerance because it was nice to see someone nearly 500 years ago have such modern ideas. I will definitely remember what I have learned about the Mughal Empire and also the difficult but important process of finding reliable sources for research projects from the creating of this wikispace.

Arhitecture Photo Bibliography
Alan Levy, Fatephur Sikir. 1995. Travel and Outdoor Photographs. <http://members.pcug.org.au/~alanlevy/Delhi.htm>
Alan Levy, Qutab Minar. 1995. Travel and Outdoor Photographs.<http://library.artstor.org/library/iv2.html?parent=true>
Samuel Bourne, Taj Mahal, Agra, India. 1860. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. ARTstor. <http://library.artstor.org/library/iv2.html?parent=true>

Bibliography
"Education : The Mughal Period." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/179408/education/47523/The-Mughal-period>.

Chada, Shiv, and Shiv Chada. "404: File Not Found." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2012. <http://library.thinkquest.org/C006203/cgi-bin/stories.cgi?article=society>.

Tignor, Robert, et.al, Worlds Together Worlds Apart (New York: W.W. Nortan & Company, Inc, 2011).

Sharma, S.R., Mughal Empire in India, (New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, 1999).