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Meeting between Bābur and the sultan ʿAlī Mīrzā near Samarkand

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October 30, 1590
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Mirza Firuz Shah
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People
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Babur 1526–1530

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Meeting between Babur and the Sultan Ali Mirza near Samarkand, illustration from the Bābūr-nāmeh (“The Book of Bābur”), c. 1590. 


Zahir al-Din Muhammad (throne name Babur) was a fifth-generation descendant of the Turkic conqueror Timur, whose empire, built in the late 14th century, covered much of Central Asia and Iran. Born in 1483 at the twilight of that empire, Babur faced a harsh reality: there were too many Timurid princes and not enough principalities to go around. The result was a constant churning of wars and political intrigue as rivals sought to unseat each other and expand their territories. Babur spent much of his youth fixated on trying to capture and hold Samarkand, the former capital of the Timurid Empire. He occupied it in 1497, lost it, and then took it again in 1501. His second triumph was brief—in 1501 he was resoundingly defeated in battle by Muhammad Shaybani Khan, losing the coveted city along with his native principality of Fergana. After one final futile attempt to retake Samarkand in 1511, he gave up on his lifelong goal. But there are second acts in Timurid life. In 1504, Babur turned his attention toward India from Kabul, launching raids into the Punjab region beginning in 1519.


In 1526 Babur’s Army defeated a much larger force belonging to the Lodi Sultanate of Delhi at the Battle of Panipat and marched on to occupy Delhi. By the time of Babur’s death in 1530, he controlled all of Northern India from the Indus to Bengal. The geographical framework for the Mughal Empire was set, although it still lacked the administrative structures to be governed as a single state. Babur is also remembered for his autobiography, the Babur Namah, which gives a cultured and witty account of his adventures and the fluctuations of his fortunes, with observations on nature, society, and politics in the places he visited.


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.

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