535 years ago on February 15, 1483 Babur, the founder of one of the largest and richest empires of the Middle Ages-the empire of the Great Moguls, was born in the city of Andijan of modern Uzbekistan. Babur in Persian means Lion, which is very suitable for his strong character and great accomplishments.
Babur on the paternal line was a descendant of Timur khan (Tamerlane) from the Mongolian old tribe Barlas, who established Timurid Empire in Persia and Central Asia and on the maternal line was Genghiside, a descendant of Chagatai, the second son of Genghis Khan.
Almost a century before his birth, the Mongols from the Barlas tribe in Central Asia and Persia mingled with local Turkic peoples and almost forgot their native Mongolian language.
Hence, Babur, though nominally a Mongol (or Moghul in Persian language), drew much of his support from the local Turkic and Iranian people of Central Asia, and his army was diverse in its ethnic makeup. It included Persians (known to Babur as “Sarts” and “Tajiks”), ethnic Afghans, Arabs, as well as Barlas and Chaghatayid Turko-Mongols from Central Asia.
In 1494, twelve years old Babur became the ruler of Fergana, in present-day Uzbekistan, after his father Umar Sheikh Mirza died “while tending pigeons in an ill-constructed dovecote that toppled into the ravine below the palace”.
The young ruler dreamed of recreating the empire of Tamerlane, but in the struggle for Central Asia he was defeated by Sheibani khan, who married his elder sister. Babur was forced to leave for Afghanistan.
After Babur captured Kabul in 1504, he several times carried out successful offensive raids deep into India. The beginning of Great Moguls Empire is conventionally dated to the victory by Babur over Ibrahim Lodi, the last ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526. Babur’s Empire extended over nearly all of the Indian subcontinent and parts of Afghanistan.
Interestingly, Babur became the owner of the world-famous large diamond Kohinoor of 105 carats, which was later inherited by the rulers of the Great Moguls. Nowadays, Kohinoor kept in the British Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.
Babur Khan was not only a talented commander but also a very enlightened man. As a scientist he was interested in history and geography. The “Baburname” written by him, the historical chronology in verse form is considered one of the main literary treasures of Islamic culture.
Babur Khan died at the age of 47 in Agra and was buried by his will in the mausoleum in Kabul.
It should be noted that around the 17th century, Great Moguls or Mughal Empire became the world’s largest economic power, accounting for 24.4% of world GDP and the world leader in manufacturing, producing 25% of global industrial output up until the 18th century. The Mughal Empire is considered “India’s last golden age” and along with the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Persia, one of the three Islamic Gunpowder Empires.