The Safavid and Moghul Empire

The Safavid Empire really put Iran on the map for their economic strength. The Safavid Empire was founded by the Safavids and covered all of Iran, parts of Turkey, and Georgia. The Shiite based empire lasted from 1501-1722. The reason for their success was their locations on the trade routes. Shah Ismail, age 14 ruled from 1501 to 1524 and by 1510 he had conquered all of Iran. Shi’ism was introduced to Iran and many Sunni Muslims were murdered. But there was a positive side to their religion; the early Safavid Empire was a theocracy.

Religious and political powers were all together. The Empire became rich because it was in the center of the trade route in the Ancient World. Shah Abbas was leader during the golden years of the Safavid Empire. Although he had a small army, they were well trained and had had the best weapons. With the help of the Europeans Shah Abbas had some success against the Ottoman Turks. After Shah Abbas died the Safavid Dynasty suffers and leaders lacked leadership skills. Afghan people invaded and seized the capital of the Safavid Empire and what is left of the Safavid dynasty falls apart.

The Mogul Empire (also spelled Moghul or Mughal) was founded by Babur in 1526 and stretched from almost all of India and westward into Europe. Babur’s army was small, but had better weapons. Babur captured Delhi and conquered North India until he died in 1530. Akbar was Babur’s grandson son and was 14 when he took the throne. By 1605 Mogul ruled most of India. Akbar was a great negotiator, was lenient with different religions, and was very humane. He even married a Hindu woman.

People had to pay 1/3 of their harvest every year to the state, but sometimes that tax might be lowered or excused. Trade and manufacturing flourished during this time. After Akbar died, Jahangir took over and continued to strengthen the central government. He convinced his wife to arrange a marriage with him son and her niece and he becomes the ruler after Jahangir. Shah Jahan could not deal with domestic problems and cost the Empire a lot of many. He had many expensive projects such as the Taj Mahal which was built for his favorite wife who dies while giving birth to her 14th child.

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The government had to raise taxes to pay for it. When Shah Jahan dies, his sons fight for power and one ends up killing another so the son Aurangzeb becomes king. He was a devout Muslim and forbade drinking, gambling, and prohibited the building of Hindu temples. As a result of this, people are unhappy and the Persians attack in 1739. The British arrived in the Mogul Empire and wanted to take over. Of course the British won and they had the right to collect taxes in areas surrounding the Calcutta.

Muslim woman began to fight in battles and female relatives become advisors to leaders. Moguls brought together Indian and Persian cultures and influences. The Mogul and Safavids, although very different had many things in common. Both had important rulers who started their reign at 14. Both were of Islamic religion, and they both had small armies but advanced weapons. The rulers played a role in the Empire’s decline. Both started out as strong, wealthy empires and started to decline. And The Mogul and Safavid Empire had strong religious beliefs.

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