In 16th century, a branch of Timurid dynasty the descendants of Taimur, the founder of the Timurid Empire who ruled Central Asia arrived on the land of the Indian subcontinent and maintained their supremacy until their powers declined in the 18th century. These were none other than the Mughals Emperors of India who throughout the Mughal Empire ruled the Indian subcontinent for a brief period of time.
While we know only the popular Mughal Emperors, here we share the complete list of Mughal Emperors that ruled India, starting from it’s founder Babur, the great-great-great grandson of Taimur till the very last, Bahadur Shah Zafar II. Yes, there were 20 Mughal Emperors that ruled the Indian subcontinent –
Babur – The First Emperor as well as the Founder of the Mughal Empire
Birth Name – Zahir-ud-din Muhammad
Date of Birth – 23 February 1483
Ruled From – 30 April 1526 till 26 December 1530
Date of Demise – 26 December 1530 (aged 47)
Babur laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India after winning the Battle of Panipat in 1526.
Humayun – The Second Mughal Emperor of India
Birth Name – Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Humayun
Date of Birth – 17 March 1508
Ruled From – 26 December 1530 till 17 May 1540 and 22 February 1555 till 27 January 1556
Date of Death – 27 January 1556 (aged 48)
In 1540, Hamayun succeeded to his father’s throne but was overthrown by his rival Sher Shah Suri of the Delhi Sultanate in 1540. However, he could regain his lost empire in 1555 after the death of Islam Shah Suri, the son of Sher Shah Suri.
Also Read: The Chronicles of Mughal Emperor Humayun
Akbar (Akbar-e-Azam) – The 13 Year Old Third Mughal Emperor
Birth Name – Jalal-ud-din Muhammad
Date of Birth – 14 October 1542
Ruled From – 27 January 1556 to 27 October 1605
Day of Death – 27 October 1605 (aged 63)
It was Mughal Emperor Akbar who could actually consolidate the Mughal Empire in the Indian sub-continent.
Jehangir – The Fourth Emperor of the Mughal Empire
Birth Name – Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim
Date of Birth – 20 September 1569
Years of Reign – 15 October 1605 till 8 November 1627
Day of Death – 8 November 1627 (aged 58)
Akbar’s heir Jahangir got the opportunity to rule the Mughal empire at its peak, however, this prince turned emperor had various vices which often made him neglect the affairs of the state.
Shahyrar Mirza – The De Facto Mughal Emperor of 3 Months
Birth Name – Salef-ud-din Mohammed Shahryar
Date of Birth – 16 January 1605
Time of Reign – 7 November 1627 – 23 January 1628
Day of Death – 23 January 1628 (aged 23)
In between Jahangir and Shah Jahan, Shahyrar Mirza, the youngest son of Jahangir became the Mughal Emperor as planned by Noor Jahan who was also Shahyrar’s mother-in-law. He was married to her daughter from earlier marriage. Shahyrar was however killed on the orders of his brother Shah Jahan, who then went on to claim the Mughal throne.
Shah Jahan (Shah-Jahan-e-Azam) – The Fifth Mughal Emperor
Birth Name – Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram
Date of Birth – 5 January 1592
Reigning Era – From 8 November 1627 till 2 August 1658
Death – 22 January 1666 (aged 74)
A rebel prince, the Mughal Empire in Shah Jahan’s time continued to expand moderately. He is known for his contribution towards architecture. Apart from Taj Mahal, he also initiated the construction of Red Fort, Shalimar Gardens, Jama Masjid and the Wazir Khan mosque (now in Lahore, Pakistan)
Alamgir (Aurangzeb) – The 6th and the Most Infamous Mughal Emperor
Birth Name – Muhy-ud-din Muhammad Aurangzeb
Date of Birth – 4 November 1618
Ruling Period – 31 July 1658 to 3 March 1707
Death – 3 March 1707 (aged 88)
Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb is known to have expanded the Mughal empire to almost the whole of South Asia. However, after his death in 1707, many regions of the Empire revolted openly and shortly after Aurangzeb’s reign the Mughal Empire went in declining phase.
Azam Shah – The Second De Facto Mughal Emperor
Birth Name – Abu’l Faaiz Qutb-ud-Din Muhammad Azam
Date of Birth – 28 June 1653
Period of Reign – 14 March 1707 – 8 June 1707
Day of Death – 8 June 1707 (aged 53)
The heir apparent and the eldest son of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb with his chief wife, Azam Shah was killed in war of succession after just being on the throne for 3 months. Just like Shahryar Mirza, the son of Jahangir, Azam Shah too was one of the de facto Mughal Emperors of India who could sustain only for 3 months.
Bahadur Shah I – The Seventh Mughal Emperor
Birth Name – Qutb ud-Din Muhammad Mu’azzam
Date of Birth – 14 October 1643
Reign Period – 19 June 1707 till 27 February 1712 (4 years, 253 days)
Death – 27 February 1712 (aged 68)
Aurangzeb’s third son Bahadur Shah I during his reign had to see several rebellions from the Rajputs and the Sikhs. He is known for the Khutba controversy. He died due to the enlargement of his spleen. Post his death, his son became the next Emperor
Jahandar Shah – The Eight Mughal Emperor
Birth Name – Ma’az-ud-Din Jahandar Shah Bahadur
Date of Birth – 9 May 1661
Reign Period – 27 February 1712 – 11 February 1713 (0 years, 350 days)
Day of Death – 12 February 1713 (aged 51)
Jahandar Shah led a merry life and the Mughal court during his time was often filled with dancing and entertainment. His power came to an end within a year when he was defeated by his nephew in a battle after which he was sent to a prison and then murdered.
Farrukhsiyar – The 9th Emperor of the Mughal Empire
Birth Name – Shahid-i-Mazlum
Date of Birth – 20 August 1685
Ruling Period – 11 January 1713 – 28 February 1719 (6 years, 48 days)
Date of Death – 29 April 1719 (aged 33)
The Farrukhnagar town in the district of Gurgaon was named for him. He also built Jama Masjid and Sheesh Mahal there. The Farrukhabad town in UP is also named after him. His reign was influenced by the Sayyed brothers.
Rafi ud-Darajat – The Tenth Mughal Emperor of the Mughal Empire
Birth Name – Rafi ud-Darajat
Birth Date – 30 November 1699
Reign Time – 28 February to 6 June 1719 (only 98 days)
Death Death – 9 June 1719 (aged 19)
He was proclaimed to the throne by Sayyed brothers who previously had deposed Farruksiyar after he tried to rule independently. He died of TB.
Shah Jahan II – The Eleventh Mughal Emperor
Birth Name – Rafi ud-Daulah
Date of Birth – June 1696
Reign Time – 6 June 1719 – 19 September 1719 (0 years, 105 days)
Death Day – 19 September 1719 (aged 23)
The elder brother of the tenth Mughal Emperor he was again proclaimed to the throne by the Sayyed brothers and like his brother he too died of Tuberculosis.
Muhammad Shah – The 12th Emperor of the Mughal Empire
Birth Name – Roshan Akhtar Bahadur
Date of Birth – 17 August 1702
Reign Period – 27 September 1719 – 26 April 1748 (28 years, 212 days)
Death Day – 26 April 1748 (aged 45)
The twelfth Mughal Emperor could finally get rid of the Syed Brothers. During his reign of almost 29 years, he fought a long war with the Marathas and suffered invasion of Persia’s Nadir Shah. He is the last Mughal emperor who could hold operative control over the empire because after this the Mughal Emperors of India were more like nominal rulers.
Ahmad Shah Bahadur – The 13th Mughal Emperor
Birth Name – Ahmad Shah Bahadur
Date of Birth – 23 December 1725
Reign Time – 26 April 1748 – 2 June 1754
Death Day – 1 January 1775 (aged 49)
The 13th Emperor of the Mughal Empire inherited a weaken Mughal state and remained in title for six years.
Alamgir II – The Fourteenth Mughal Emperor
Birth Name – Aziz-ud-din
Date of Birth – 6 June 1699
Reign Period – 2 June 1754 – 29 November 1759 (5 years, 180 days)
Death Day – 29 November 1759 (aged 60)
Shah Jahan III – The 15th Emperor of the Mughal Empire
Birth Name – Muhi-ul-millat
Year of Birth – 1711
Reign Time – 10 December 1759 – 10 October 1760
Death – 1772 (aged 60-61)
He was deposed by the Marathas and it was during his time, Hyder Ali became the Sultan of Mysore in 1761 post the consolidation of the Nizam of Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha.
Shah Alam II – The Sixteenth Mughal Emperor of India
Birth Name – Ali Gauhar
Date of Birth – 25 June 1728
Reign Period – 24 December 1759 – 19 November 1806 (46 years, 330 days)
Date of Death – 19 November 1806 (aged 78)
During his time, the Mughal Empire was was weakened and his power was highly depleted. He was a Mughal Emperor under Maratha control. He even signed a treaty with British.
Akbar Shah II – The 17th Mughal Emperor of India
Birth Name – Mirza Akbar
Date of Birth – 22 April 1760
Reign Time – 19 November 1806 – 28 September 1837
Death Day – 28 September 1837 (aged 77)
He was merely a titular figure under the British regime.
Bahadur Shah II – – The 18th and Last Mughal Emperor of India
Birth Name – Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar
Birth – 24 October 1775
Reign – 28 September 1837 – 14 September 1857 (19 years, 351 days)
Death – 7 November 1862 (aged 87)
Bahadur Shah II as we all know was the last Mughal Emperor who was first deposed by the British and then exiled to Burma (now Myanmar) post the 1857 uprising.
With 2 De facto and 18 Ruling Emperors, these were the 20 Mughal Emperors of India that ruled for a brief period of time.