Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur, also spelled as Bobur or Babur, is a well known conqueror, ruler and a poet from Central Asia, Uzbekistan who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty in the Indian Subcontinent and became the first Mughal emperor. He is considered a hero and a legendary character in several Central Asian countries and there are many mausoleums and other buildings and memorials or holy places that bear his name.

Babur was born on 14 February 1483 in Andijan (that time Aksikent was still inhabited), in the family of the ruler of Fergana valley, whose name was Umar Sheikh Mirzo. At the time in Central Asia and Khurasan (a region in the eastern Iranian plateau), a fierce internecine war between relatives and descendants of the Great Tamerlane, was being fought. Zakhritdin, being from his childhood in love with literature, art, and nature’s beauty, like all princes of the Timurids, obtained education in the basics of these subjects under the instruction of the eminent teachers in his father’s palace. 

Babur mausoleum in Andijan
Babur's house in Sulayman Mountain, Osh

Babur’s untroubled childhood didn’t last long as after his father’s death in 1494, Babur, aged only 12, sitting on the throne of the ruler of the Fergana Ulus, was forced to struggle for Andijan’s throne against his brother Jahongir Mirzo, uncles Sultan Ahmad Mirzo and Sultan Makhmud-Khan and other feudal groups. To reconcile with his brother, Jahongir Mirzo, Babur divided the Fergana Ulus and gave away exactly half to him. 

Babur entered into a struggle against the feudal groups for Samarkand. The conqueror, Shebani-Khan, who possessed an enormous military, compelled Babur to leave Samarkand. After the conquest by Sheibani-Khan of Andijan in 1504, Babur set off for the south and based his rule in the Kabul Ulus. 

Between 1505 and 1515, Babur tried to return to Central Asia several times but these attempts proved to be futile. Later, with the purpose of strengthening his power, in the space of the period 1519-1525, Babur led an aggressive struggle against India. In 1526-27 he conquered it partly. The power of the “Baburid dynasty”, known in Europe as the “Great Mughal Empire”, lasted in India for more than 300 years.

After that victory, Babur didn’t live long as he died in the town of Agra in December 1530. Later, according to his testament his remains were carried by his descendants to Kabul and buried there. Babur, during the short time he ruled the state, promoted the stabilization of the political situation in India, unification of Indian land, improvement of towns, organization of trade relations, and the planting of trees, shrubs and gardens. The building of libraries and caravanserais was widely practiced, especially in the years of his sons’ and “descendants” governance. During this time the Central Asian style also appeared in the arts and architecture of India.

Javaharlal Neru wrote that, after Babur’s arrival to India, big changes had taken place there, and the new reforms improved life and enriched the arts and architecture. Side by side with the enormous State affairs, Babur wrote literature in India and created his most exclusive work, “Baburname”, which became popular all over the world.

Sights & destinations related to Babur

Other known people in Central Asia

Page updated  23.12.2022

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