Timeline of India's Mughal Empire

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The Mughal Empire stretched across most of northern and central India, and what is now Pakistan, from 1526 to 1857, when the British exiled the last Mughal emperor. Together, the Muslim Mughal rulers and their predominantly Hindu subjects created a golden age in Indian history, full of art, scientific achievement, and stunning architecture. Later in the Mughal period, however, the emperors faced increasing encroachment by the French and the British, which ended with the fall of the Mughal Empire in 1857.

Timeline of Mughal India

  • April 21, 1526: First Battle of Panipat, Babur defeats Ibrahim Lodhi, Sultan of Delhi, and founds Mughal Empire
  • March 17, 1527: Battle of Khanwa, Babur conquers combined army of the Rajput princes and takes control of much of northern India
  • Dec. 26, 1530: Babur dies, is succeeded by son Humayan
  • July 11, 1543: Pashtun leader Sher Shah Suri defeats Humayan, drives him into exile in Afghanistan
  • 1554: Humayan travels to Persia, hosted by Safavid emperor
  • July 23, 1555: Discord among Sher Shah Suri's successors allows Humayun to retake control of northern India, be restored to Mughal throne
  • Jan. 17, 1556: Humayan falls down stairs and dies, succeeded by 13-year-old son Akbar, later Akbar the Great
  • Nov. 5, 1556: Second Battle of Panipat, child Emperor Akbar's army defeats Hemu's Hindu forces
  • 1560s - 1570s: Akbar consolidates Mughal rule over much of northern and central India, as well as what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh
  • Oct. 27, 1605: Akbar the Great dies, succeeded by his son Jahangir
  • 1613: The British East India Company defeats Portuguese at Surat, Gujarat State and establishes ​the first warehouse in India
  • 1615: Britain sends first ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe, to Mughal court
  • 1620s: Mughal art reaches high point under Jahangir's rule
  • 1627: Emperor Jahangir dies, succeeded by son Shah Jahan
  • 1632: Shah Jahan orders destruction of newly-built Hindu temples, breaking with Mughal record of religious tolerance
  • 1632: Shah Jahan designs and begins building Taj Mahal as tomb for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal
  • 1644: British East India Company builds Fort St. George in Madras (now Chennai), southeast coastal India
  • 1658: Aurangzeb imprisons his father, Shah Jahan, for the rest of his life in the Red Fort at Agra
  • 1660s-1690s: Aurangzeb expands Mughal rule to more than 3.2 million square km, including Assam, the Deccan plateau, and parts of southern India
  • 1671: Aurangzeb orders construction of the Badshahi Mosque at Lahore, now in Pakistan
  • 1696: Establishment of British East India Company's Fort William on Ganges delta, fort and trading factory which becomes Calcutta (Kolkata)
  • March 3, 1707: Death of Aurangzeb marks end of Mughal Golden Era, beginning of slow decline; he is succeeded by son Bahadur Shah I
  • Feb. 27, 1712: Bahadur Shah I dies, succeeded by incompetent son Jahandar Shah
  • Feb. 11, 1713: Jahandar Shah is executed by agents of nephew Farrukhsiyar, who takes Mughal throne
  • 1713 - 1719: Weak-willed Emperor Farrukhsiyar falls under control of Syed brothers, two generals and king-makers who had helped depose Jahandar Shah
  • Feb. 28, 1719: Syed brothers have Emperor Farrukhsiyar blinded and strangled; his cousin Rafi ud-Darjat becomes new Mughal emperor
  • June 13, 1719: 19-year-old Emperor Rafi ud-Darjat is murdered at Agra after just three months on throne; Syeds appoint brother Rafi ud-Daulah to succeed him
  • Sept. 19, 1719: Syeds kill 23-year-old Emperor Rafi ud-Daulah after three months on throne
  • Sept. 27, 1719: Syed brothers place 17-year-old Muhammad Shah on Mughal throne, rule in his name until 1720
  • Oct. 9, 1720: Emperor Muhammad Shah orders Syed Hussain Ali Khan killed at Fatehpur Sikri
  • Oct. 12, 1722: Emperor Muhammad Shah has Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha poisoned to death, takes power in his own right
  • 1728 - 1763: Mughal-Maratha Wars; Marathas seize Gujarat and Malwa, raid Delhi
  • Feb. 13, 1739: Nader Shah of Persia invades India, wins Battle of Karnal, loots Delhi, steals Mughal Peacock Throne
  • March 11, 1748: Battle of Manipur, Mughal Army defeats Durrani invasion force from Afghanistan
  • Apr. 26, 1748: Emperor Muhammad Shah dies, succeeded by 22-year-old son Ahmad Shah Bahadur
  • May 1754: Battle of Sikandarabad, Marathas defeat Mughal Imperial Army, kill 15,000 Mughal troops
  • June 2, 1754: Emperor Ahmad Shah Bahadur deposed and blinded by Vizier Imad-ul-Mulk; former emperor spends rest of life in prison, dying in 1775
  • June 3, 1754: Imad-ul-Mulk appoints Alamgir II, the 55-year-old second son of Jahandar Shah, as the new Mughal Emperor
  • 1756: British make lurid charges about imprisonment and death of 123 British and Anglo-Indian troops by Bengali captors in Black Hole of Calcutta; story likely fabricated
  • Nov. 29, 1759: Imad-ul-Mulk and Maratha ruler Sadshivrao Bhau conspire to murder Alamgir II, place Aurangzeb's grandson Shah Jahan III on Mughal throne
  • Oct. 10, 1760: Shah Jahan III deposed after less than a year, but survives until 1772; succeeded by Alamgir II's son, Shah Alam II
  • Oct. 1760 - 1806: Emperor Shah Alam II, in alliance with Durranis, works to restore glory of Mughal Empire
  • Oct. 23, 1764: Battle of Buxar, British East India Company defeats combined army of Emperor Shah Alam II and the nawabs of Awadh and Bengal
  • Nov. 19, 1806: Emperor Shah Alam II dies, marking end of effective leadership from Mughal Dynasty; he is succeeded by hapless son Akbar Shah II, who is puppet of the British
  • Sept. 28, 1837: Akbar Shah II dies at age of 77, succeeded as puppet ruler by son Bahadur Shah II
  • 1857: Use of pork and/or beef fat on army cartridges sets off "Sepoy Mutiny" or Indian Revolt
  • 1858: British use Indian Revolt of 1857 as pretext to exile last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah II, to Rangoon, Burma; Mughal dynasty ends