Akbar's Successors

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 8, 2022, 5:43

The Mughal Emperor Akbar's Successors were Jahangir (1605 - 1627), Shah Jahan (1627 - 1658), and Aurangzeb (1658 - 1707). On October 27, 1605, the great Mughal Emperor Akbar passed away at the age of 63, having left behind the empire to his successors.

Akbar's Successors

Jahangir (1605 - 1627 CE)

  • Salim, the eldest of Akbar's Successors, ascended to the throne after Akbar's death in 1605 CE. He took the name Nur-ud-din Muhammad Jahangir (conqueror of the world).
  • Jahangir was the most popular candidate for the succession of the monarchy because the other two of his siblings were alcoholics who nearly killed themselves. Therefore there was no competition for the succession of the throne.
  • Around 1611 CE, he married Mehr-un-nisa (widow of Sher Afghan), also known as Nur Jahan. She had a monumental impact on Jahangir's life. She was the sole woman in the Mughal court, and all the royal farmlands had her name.
  • Jahangir had defeated and detained his son, Khushrau Mirza, for being an admirer of the Sikh guru. Jahangir also murdered Guru Arjun, the 5th Sikh Guru, since he was a supporter of his son, Khushrau Mirza.
  • The settling of an unresolved conflict with Mewar was Jahangir's crowning achievement. Amar Singh of Mewar (son of Maharana Pratap) submitted himself to Jahangir in 1615 CE.
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Shah Jahan (1628- 1658 CE)

  • In 1628 CE, Shah Jahan seized the throne in Agra. Arjmand Banu Begum was his wife (Mumtaz Mahal).
  • Khan Lodi, the great ruler of Afghanistan, attempted but failed to overthrow Shah Jahan.
  • Under the Mughals, Shah Jahan divided the Deccan region into four provinces: Berar, Telangana, Daulatabad, and Khandesh.
  • Shah Jahan is renowned as the best architect among Akbar's Successors, having constructed several of the world's most iconic structures. The Taj Mahal, one of the world's seven wonders, was built by Shah Jahan. Its construction began about 1631 CE and took 22 years to complete. He built the Moti Masjid in Agra, the Sheesh Mahal, the Musalman Burj in Agra (where he spent his final days in imprisonment), and the Jama Masjid in Delhi.
  • Shah Jahan's final years were spent being resentful as his four sons battled for control of the throne. Aurangzeb stormed the Agra Fort, compelling Shah Jahan to submit. Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the Agra Fort and subjected to rigorous vigilance till death.

Aurangzeb (1658 - 1707 CE)

  • Aurangazeb was regarded as one of the most competent rulers among Akbar's Successors.
  • Aurangazeb was conferred with the title 'Alamgir', which means "World Conqueror."
  • Owing to Aurangzeb's Deccan policy, his military campaigns proved to be a significant asset and triumph in the early years of his leadership for around ten years.
  • As a severe leader with aggressive policies, Aurangazeb faced rebellions from the Sikhs, Jats, Marathas, and Satnamis. The masses were subjected to harsh treatment, which included levies on agricultural products and rising religious tensions among his provinces.
  • Aurangazeb was also against the Sikh influence in the nation and assassinated the 9th Sikh Guru, Teg Bahadur.
  • Aurangazeb died in 1707, having left behind a united Empire, but his policies progressively led to the Mughals' downfall and the empire's disintegration.

After Aurangazeb's death, the Mughal Empire deteriorated precipitously.
Using this opportunity, Nadir Shah imprisoned the Mughal Emperor and looted Delhi in 1739. The Aurangzeb Deccan Policy aided in the downfall. The decline was also caused by weak successors and the demoralisation of the Mughal army.

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FAQs on Akbar's Successors

Q.1. What were Akbar's Successors' names?

Jahangir (1605 - 1627), Shah Jahan (1627 - 1658), and Aurangzeb (1658 - 1707) were the Mughal Emperor Akbar's Successors.

Q.2. Under which of Akbar's Successors did the empire begin to disintegrate?

During the reign of Muhammad Shah, one of Akbar's Successors, the empire began to disintegrate, and great swaths of central India moved from the Mughals to the Maratha's hands.

Q.3. Under which of Akbar's Successors did the Mughal Empire reach its zenith in terms of territory?

During Aurangzeb's reign, the kingdom encompassed 3.2 million square kilometres, including territories of what is now India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

Q.4. What was the Aurangzeb Deccan Policy?

The Aurangzeb Deccan Policy was a strategy devised by Aurangzeb to cope with the Hindu Deccan provinces that he recognised as the territory of the Mughal empire.