Babur became king of Fergana in modern-day Uzbekistan at 12, when his father was crushed by a collapsing dovecote. He founded the Mughal Empire as an afterthought: his early aspiration had been to capture Samarkand, which he seized, then lost, three times. However, his opportunistic invasion of India became wildly successful with successive victories over the Delhi Sultanate of Lodi, and a confederation of Rajput and Afghan princes. His son, Humayun was deposed by Afghans before regaining Delhi with Safavid aid shortly before his death (1556). Thereafter, Akbar the Great used his father’s precarious foothold as a springboard for relentless expansion, reaching the sea in the west with the conquest of Gujarat (1572) and the west with the conquest of Bangala (1575). To the north, he recaptured his grandfather’s home turf of Kabul (1581) and Kandahar (1595), together with Sind and Kashmir (1585). To the south, he either defeated or imposed suzerainty over many of the Deccan Sultanates.
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