What Led to the Decline of the Mughal Empire?

The primary causes of the decline of the Mughal Empire were the religious and political intolerance imposed upon such groups as the Hindus, Sikhs, Rajputs and Marathas, along with economic oppression caused by heavy taxation. These injustices fomented rebellion among the people subjugated by the Mughal rulers. Attacks from outside by Iranian conqueror Nadir Shah, the Marathas and the British East India Company also hastened the empire's demise.

A prince named Babur conquered northern India in the mid-16th century. Because he was descended from Timur and Genghis Khan, his empire became known as Mughal, the Persian form of Mongol. His grandson, Akbar, known as Akbar the Great, extended the empire. Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan, built the Great Mosque of Delhi and the Taj Mahal. Under his reign and the reign of his son Aurangzeb, the empire reached its cultural and military zenith, but further expansion of the empire brought it close to bankruptcy, and rebellion and conquest already threatened the empire.

By the early 18th century, the empire began to break up. The Marathas overran much of northern India, and the British East India Company took over political control of much of India, helping to initiate the period of the British Raj.