Babur

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Babur

Babur (bä´bər) [Turk.,=lion], 1483–1530, founder of the Mughal empire of India. His full name was Zahir ud-Din Muhammad. A descendant of Timur (Tamerlane) and of Jenghiz Khan, he succeeded (1494) to the principality of Fergana in central Asia. His early life was spent in an ultimately unsuccessful struggle to retain his inheritance and to recover Samarkand (Timur's capital) from the Uzbeks. In 1504, however, he captured Kabul and established a kingdom in Afghanistan. After the failure of his final attempt (1512) on Samarkand, Babur began raids southward into India. In 1525, responding to an invitation from the governor of the Punjab to overthrow the sultan of Delhi, Babur launched an invasion. Although his force was small, he defeated the sultan at Panipat in 1526 and captured Agra and Delhi. He ultimately conquered nearly all of N India. Babur was also a distinguished poet. His autobiography, The Baburnama (tr. by A. S. Beveridge, 1922, and by W. M. Thackston, 1996), is his most important work. His son Humayun succeeded him. Babur's name is also transliterated Baber and Babar.

See biographies by F. Grenard (tr. 1930, repr. 1971) and M. Hasan (1986); study by R. D. Palsokar (1971).

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