Humayun Portrait

Humayun: The Luckless Leader

(1530-1556, but deposed 1540-1555)

The stars always seemed to be against poor Humayun, who nearly lost the Mughal empire before it had barely begun. An intelligent man with a reputation for indecision and absentmindedness, Humayun was overthrown in 1540 by Sher Khan, a rival sultan from Bengal. Helpless, Humayun lived in exile in Persia, spending his years as an ascetic, trying to figure out just what had gone wrong in the first place.

Sher Khan, the new ruler of Delhi, eventually died and passed the kingdom to his son Islam Shah. Humayun saw this transition as a chance to reassert his claim to the throne. He invaded northern India, and by 1555, recaptured his lost sultanate. The Mughal dynasty would live on. It would not, however, live on much longer through Humayun himself, who only a year later died tragically by tripping down the steps of his library. The restoration and growth of the empire would be left to his young son, Akbar.

Humayun's Architectural Legacy:

Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb, Delhi (1528-36)
Imam Zamin's Tomb, Delhi (1537)
Hasan Khan's Tomb, Sasaram (c. 1535)
Sher Shah's Tomb, Sasaram (c. 1540)
Purana Qila, Delhi (c. 1530-45)
Qala-i-Kuhna Masjid, Delhi (1541)
Sher Mandal, Delhi (c. 1541)
Gate of Sher Shah's Wall, Delhi (1540s)
Salimgarh, Delhi (1546)
Isa Khan's Mosque and Tomb, Delhi (1547)
Sabz Burj, Nila Gumbad, Delhi
Bu Halima's Garden, Delhi

The Mughal Dynasty:

Babur | Humayun | Akbar | Jehangir | Shah Jehan | Aurangzeb

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