Background

born March 6, 1508 , Kabul, India
died January 1556 , Delhi

Humayun was the second Moghul ruler of India, who was more an adventurer than a consolidator of his empire. The son and successor of Babur, who had founded the Moghul dynasty, Humayun ruled from 1530 to 1540 and again from 1555 to 1556.

Humayun inherited the hope rather than the fact of empire, because the Afghans and Rajputs were merely restrained but not reconciled to Moghul supremacy by the Moghul victories at Panipat (1526), Khanua (1527), and the Ghaghara (1529). Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, encouraged by Afghan and Moghul émigrés, challenged the Moghuls in Rajasthan; and, although Humayun occupied Gujarat in 1535, the danger there ended only with Bahadur’s death in 1537. Meanwhile, a Sur Afghan soldier of fortune, Sher Shah, had consolidated his power in Bihar and Bengal and defeated Humayun at Chausa in 1539 and at Kannauj in 1540, expelling him from India.

Humayun became a homeless wanderer, seeking support first in Sind, then in Marwar, and then in Sind again; his famous son, Akbar, was born in 1542. Reaching Iran in 1544, Humayun was granted military aid by Shah Tahmasp and went on to conquer Qandahar (1545) and to seize Kabul three times from his own disloyal brother, Kamran, the final time being in 1550. Taking advantage of civil wars among the descendants of Sher Shah, Humayun captured Lahore in February 1555, and, after defeating Sikandar Sur, the rebel Afghan governor of the Punjab, at Sirhind, he recovered Delhi and Agra that July. Humayun was fatally injured by falling down the staircase of his library.