Here we will discuss about military achievements of Akbar and conquests accomplished by him. As a result of these conquests Akbar’s empire came to extend from Himalayas in the North to the Godavari in the South and from Bengal in the East to Kabul in the West. Let’s know some of the battles won by him.
The Second Battle of Panipat (1556 CE)
Hemu, the prime minister of Mohammed Adil Shah of Bengal attacked and captured Delhi and Agra from the Mughal governor Tardi Baig and assumed the title Raja Vikramaditya. Akbar was in Punjab and his political condition was critical. Bairam Khan helped Akbar to fight against Hemu in the second battle of Panipat in 1556 CE. When Hemu was on the verge of victory he was struck in the eye by an arrow and became unconscious. The leaderless army of Hemu fled away. Bairam Khan killed Hemu. After this battle Akbar reoccupied Delhi and Agra.
Conquest of Gondwana
Akbar sent Asaf Khan to subdue the kingdom of Gondwana. Rani Durgavati was ruling over this kingdom as the regent of her son Veeranarayana. She died fighting and Gondwana was annexed to the Mughal empire.
Conquest of Gujarat
The wealth and prosperity of Gujarat and its importance for sea trade made Akbar to attack Gujarat. Its ruler Muzaffar Shah was defeated and Gujarat as occupied. Akbar built a new capital called Fatehpur near Sikri in memory of this conquest.
Conquest of Bengal and Orissa
The governor of Bengal Daud Khan declared independence. Therefore Akbar sent his army to suppress him. Bengal and Orissa were occupied and they became a part of the Mughal empire.
Annexations of Kabul and Kashmir
Akbar’s step brother Hazim Mirza was ruling over Kabul. After his demise in 1585 C.E. Akbar annexed Kabul into his Empire. Later he conquered Kashmir also.
Rajputs were the powerful enemies of the Mughals. Akbar realized that the valour and loyalty of Rajputs were essential for the consolidation of the Mughal empire. Therefore he tried to win their support by adopting measures like friendly relations, cooperating each other, entering into matrimonial alliances and appointing many of them as Mansabdars. Akbar married Jodha Bai, the daughter of Bharmal of Amber (Jaipur). Raja Surjan Rai of Ranthambore voluntarily accepted the overlordship of Akbar. Ramchandra, the ruler of Kalinjar surrendered to Akbar in 1569 CE. The rulers of Jodhpur and Bikaner also accepted the sovereignty of Akbar.
The only Rajput state which refused to accept Akbar’s overlordship was Mewar. Akbar captured Chittor, the capital of Mewar by defeating its ruler Uday Singh in 1568 CE. But Uday Singh continued to fight against the Mughals till his death. His son Maharana Pratap Singh also continued to fight after the death of his father. The most important battle fought between the Mughals and Rajputs was the battle of Haldighati in 1576 CE. Maharana Pratap Singh suffered heavy losses in this battle. Mewar was completely occupied by Akbar only after the death of Maharana Pratap. Rajput kings were allowed to retain internal autonomy. The important Rajput commanders of Akbar were Raja Todar Mal, Raja Man Singh, Raja Bhagwandas and others.
Conquests of South India
After his North-Indian conquest Akbar sent political missions to South Indian states like Bidar, Khandesh, Ahmed Nagar, Golkonda and Bijapur to accept his suzerainty. Except Khandesh, the remaining states rejected his proposal. Hence he followed the path of war to conquer them. In 1595 CE Chand Bibi, ruler of Ahmednagar, bravely fought against the Mughal attack, but failed. Thus Akbar conquered Bidar and Ahmednagar.
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