Akbar the Great

The Third Mughal Emperor

Who Was "Akbar the Great?"

Akbar was the third emperor during the Mughal Empire, reigning from 1556 to 1605. He was born on October 15, 1542 in the province of Sindh, which is a part of modern day Pakistan and was given the name Abu al-Fath Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar. Akbar was known for abolishing the slavery in his kingdom, reforming the tax system, promoting religious tolerance, and creating a new appreciation for the arts.

Did You Know?

Akbar was the one who created the buildings in Fathepur Sikri. He combined many Hindu and Muslim architectural elements, symbolizing how he encouraged both cultures and religions. This area near Delhi was the Mughal capital for fourteen years and was made in honor of Salim Christi, a famous Sufi saint of the Christi order.
Jodha Bai was one of Akbar's many wives and many say that she was his favorite. She was Hindu and married Akbar after her father's kingdom had been captured by him. The two are pictured above.

Strengthening the Government

Akbar became the ruler of the state of Punjab at the age of thirteen. Even though he was young, he had big ambitions for his kingdom. The previous rulers of his area weakened their governments by splitting apart armies, turning them into small groups led by generals with limited power. During wars, these groups fought at separate times, which resulted in battle strategies and communications becoming difficult. Previous governments also made it possible for provincial governors to pass down their title to the oldest son, resulting in many protests from the citizens. Akbar fixed this by changing two things. First, every officer that was important had to be appointed and promoted by the emperor instead of his immediate superior. This prevented corrupt officials from being in the army and threaten the safety of the citizens. Akbar also abolished the traditional distinction between the sword and the pen, assigning civil administrators military ranks.

Did You Know?

Akbar was famous for his appreciation of the arts. He took an active interest in many religions, such as Hinduism and Christianity, and frequently engaged in religious discussions with his courtiers. He also supported state workshops that produced textiles and jewelry. Along with that, Akbar invited scholars, poets, painters, and musicians to his court, making it a center of culture. Akbar also commissioned the translation of Sanskrit classics into Persian and enjoyed the European pictures brought by the Jesuits. He even had his painters incorporate European art techniques into the distinctive Mughal style.

Birbal was one of Akbar's most trusted and valued members of his court. It is said that Akbar used to test Birbal's wit regularly, and this legend has inspired many children stories. The two are pictured on above.

Abolishing Non-Tolerance of Religion

Akbar was famous for adopting programs that won the loyalty of the non-Muslim populations of his kingdom. Before his reign, they were discriminated by the rulers and were forced to pay special taxes if they wanted to practice their own religions. Due to his tolerance of all religions, he abolished this law and created a centralized financial system. He appointed a civil administrator, or diwan, in every province that was in charge of supervising revenue and tax collection. He then reported directly back to the emperor. To ensure these officials did not abuse their positions and discriminate against certain groups, Akbar also reorganized the network of unbiased newswriters in charge of sending daily reports of the important events in their village to the emperor. By doing this, Akbar created a more efficient revenue assessment that protected the minorities from excessive demand, yet brought a steady income to the government.

Leaving a Legacy

Akbar passed away on October 27, 1605 in his capital of Fathepur Sikri, with his successor being Jahangir. By the time he had died, Akbar had been able to extend Mughal power over most of the Indian subcontinent, Baluchistan, and Afghanistan. His reign is considered to be the beginning of the Mughal Empire and is also portrayed as a model for future governments.

Works Cited

"Akbar." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition.

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.


"India: Famous People." CultureGrams Online Edition. ProQuest, 2013. Web. 23 Apr 2013.

Akbar the Great. (2013). The Biography Channel website. 24 Apr 2013. http://www.biography.com/people/akbar-the-great-9178163.

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