The Timurid dynasty, self-designated as Gurkani (Persian: گورکانیان, romanizedGūrkāniyān), was a Sunni Muslim[1] dynasty or clan of Turco-Mongol origin[2][3][4][5] descended from the warlord Timur (also known as Tamerlane). The word "Gurkani" derives from "Gurkan", a Persianized form of the Mongolian word "Kuragan" meaning "son-in-law".[6] This was an honorific title used by the dynasty as the Timurids were in-laws of the line of Genghis Khan,[7] founder of the Mongol Empire, as Timur had married Saray Mulk Khanum, a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. Members of the Timurid dynasty signaled the Timurid Renaissance, and they were strongly influenced by Persian culture[2][8] and established two significant empires in history, the Timurid Empire (1370–1507) based in Persia and Central Asia, and the Mughal Empire (1526–1857) based in the Indian subcontinent.

Timurid dynasty
گورکانیان, Gūrkāniyān
Parent houseBarlas
Current regionCentral Asia
Greater Iran
Indian peninsula
Final rulerBahadur Shah II
TraditionsSunni Islam (Hanafi)
  • 1507 (Timurid Empire)
  • 1857 (Mughal Empire)
Cadet branchesMughal dynasty



The origin of the Timurid dynasty goes back to the Mongol tribe known as Barlas, who were remnants of the original Mongol army of Genghis Khan,[2][9][10] founder of the Mongol Empire. After the Mongol conquest of Central Asia, the Barlas settled in what is today southern Kazakhstan, from Shymkent to Taraz and Almaty, which then came to be known for a time as Moghulistan – "Land of Mongols" in Persian – and intermingled to a considerable degree with the local Turkic and Turkic-speaking population, so that at the time of Timur's reign the Barlas had become thoroughly Turkicized in terms of language and habits.

Additionally, by adopting Islam, the Central Asian Turks and Mongols adopted the Persian literary and high culture[11] which had dominated Central Asia since the early days of Islamic influence. Persian literature was instrumental in the assimilation of the Timurid elite into the Perso-Islamic courtly culture.[12]

List of rulers


Timurid Empire

Titular name Personal name Reign
Timur ruled over the Chagatai Khanate with Soyurghatmïsh Khan as nominal Khan followed by Sultan Mahmud Khan. He himself adopted the Muslim Arabic title of Amir. In essence the Khanate was finished and the Timurid Empire was firmly established.
Timur Lang
تیمور لنگ
Timur Beg Gurkani
تیمور بیگ گورکانی
Pir Muhammad bin Jahangir Mirza
پیر محمد بن جہانگیر میرزا
Khalil Sultan bin Miran Shah
خلیل سلطان بن میران شاہ
Shahrukh Mirza
شاھرخ میرزا
Ulugh Beg
الغ بیگ
Mirza Muhammad Tāraghay
میرزا محمد طارق
Division of Timurid Empire
Transoxiana Khurasan/Herat/Fars/Iraq-e-Ajam
Abdal-Latif Mirza
میرزا عبداللطیف
(Father Killer)
Abdullah Mirza
میرزا عبد اللہ
Abul-Qasim Babur Mirza
میرزا ابوالقاسم بابر بن بایسنقر
Mirza Shah Mahmud
میرزا شاہ محمود
Ibrahim Sultan
ابراھیم میرزا
Abu Sa'id Mirza
ابو سعید میرزا
(Although Abu Sa'id Mirza re-united most of the Timurid heartland in Central Asia with the help of Uzbek Chief, Abul-Khayr Khan (grandfather of Muhammad Shayabani Khan), he agreed to divide Iran with the Black Sheep Turkomen under Jahan Shah, but the White Sheep Turkomen under Uzun Hassan defeated and killed first Jahan Shah and then Abu Sa'id. After Abu Sa'id's death another era of fragmentation follows.)
**Transoxiana is divided Sultan Husayn Bayqara
سلطان حسین میرزا بایقرا
1469 1st reign
Yadgar Muhammad Mirza
میرزا یادگار محمد
1470 (6 weeks)
Sultan Husayn Bayqara
سلطان حسین میرزا بایقرا
1470–1506 2nd reign
Uzbeks under Muhammad Shayabak Khan Conquer Herat
Samarkand Bukhara Hissar Farghana Balkh Kabul
Sultan Ahmad Mirza
سلطان احمد میرزا
Umar Shaikh Mirza II
عمر شیخ میرزا ثانی
Sultan Mahmud Mirza
سلطان محمود میرزا
Ulugh Beg Mirza II
میرزا الغ بیگ
1469 – 1502
Sultan Baysonqor Mirza bin Mahmud Mirza
بایسنقر میرزا بن محمود میرزا
Sultan Ali bin Mahmud Mirza
سلطان علی بن محمود میرزا
Sultan Masud Mirza bin Mahmud Mirza
سلطان مسعود بن محمود میرزا
1495 – ?
Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur
ظہیر الدین محمد بابر
Khusrau Shah
خسرو شاہ

? – 1504
Mukim Beg Arghun
مقیم ارغون
? – 1504
Uzbeks under Muhammad Shayabak Khan
محمد شایبک خان ازبک
Jahangir Mirza II
جہانگیر میرزا
(puppet of Sultan Ahmed Tambol)
1497 – 1503
Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur
ظہیر الدین محمد بابر
Uzbeks under Muhammad Shayabak Khan
محمد شایبک خان ازبک
Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur
ظہیر الدین محمد بابر
Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur
ظہیر الدین محمد بابر
(Never till his conquest of India were the dominions of Babur as extensive as at this period. Like his grandfather Abu Sa'id Mirza, he managed to re-unite the Timurid heartland in Central Asia with the help of Shah of Iran, Ismail I. His dominions stretched from the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains to the farthest limits of Ghazni and comprehended Kabul and Ghazni;Kunduz and Hissar; Samarkand and Bukhara; Farghana; Tashkent and Seiram)
Uzbeks under Ubaydullah Sultan عبید اللہ سلطان re-conquer Transoxiana and Balkh
Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur
ظہیر الدین محمد بابر
Timurid Empire in Central Asia becomes extinct under the Khanate of Bukhara of the Uzbeks. However, Timurid dynasty moves on to conquer India under the leadership of Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur in 1526 C.E. and established the Timurid dynasty of India.

Mughal Empire

Emperor Birth Reign Period Death Notes
Babur 1483 1526–1530 1530 Was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan through his mother and was descendant of Timur through his father. Founded the Mughal Empire after his victories at the First Battle of Panipat and the Battle of Khanwa.
Humayun 1508 1530–1540 1556 Reign interrupted by Sur Empire. Youth and inexperience at ascension led to his being regarded as a less effective ruler than a usurper, Sher Shah Suri.
Sher Shah Suri 1486 1540–1545 1545 Deposed Humayun and led the Sur Empire.
Islam Shah Suri 1507 1545–1554 1554 Second and last ruler of the Sur Empire, claims of sons Sikandar and Adil Shah were eliminated by Humayun's restoration.
Humayun 1508 1555–1556 1556 Restored rule was more unified and effective than the initial reign of 1530–1540; left a unified empire for his son, Akbar.
Akbar 1542 1556–1605 1605 He and Bairam Khan defeated Hemu during the Second Battle of Panipat and later won famous victories during the Siege of Chittorgarh and the Siege of Ranthambore; He greatly expanded the Empire and is regarded as the most illustrious ruler of the Mughal Empire as he set up the empire's various institutions; He married Mariam-uz-Zamani, a Rajput princess who became the mother to his successor Jahangir. One of his most famous construction marvels was the Lahore Fort and Agra Fort.[13]
Jahangir 1569 1605–1627 1627 Jahangir set the precedent for sons rebelling against their emperor fathers. Opened first relations with the British East India Company.
Shah Jahan 1592 1628–1658 1666 Under him, Mughal art and architecture reached their zenith; constructed the Taj Mahal, Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Jahangir mausoleum, and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore. Deposed by his son Aurangzeb.
Aurangzeb 1618 1658–1707 1707 He reinterpreted Islamic law and presented the Fatawa-e-Alamgiri; he captured the diamond mines of the Sultanate of Golconda; he spent the major part of his last 27 years in the war with the Maratha rebels; at its zenith, his conquests expanded the empire to its greatest extent; the over-stretched empire was controlled by Mansabdars, and faced challenges after his death. He is known to have transcribed copies of the Qur'an using his styles of calligraphy.
Bahadur Shah I 1643 1707–1712 1712 First of the Mughal emperors to preside over an empire ravaged by uncontrollable revolts. After his reign, the empire went into steady decline due to the lack of leadership qualities among his immediate successors.
Jahandar Shah 1661 1712–1713 1713 The son of Bahadur Shah I, he was an unpopular incompetent titular figurehead; he attained the throne after his father's death by his victory in battle over his brother, who was killed.
Farrukhsiyar 1685 1713–1719 1719 His reign marked the ascendancy of the manipulative Syed Brothers, execution of the rebellious Banda. In 1717 he granted a Firman to the English East India Company granting them duty-free trading rights in Bengal. The Firman was repudiated by the notable Murshid Quli Khan the Mughal appointed ruler of Bengal.
Rafi Ul-Darjat 1699 1719 1719  
Rafi Ud-Daulat 1696 1719 1719  
Nikusiyar c. 1679 1719 1723  
Muhammad Ibrahim 1703 1720 1746  
Muhammad Shah 1702 1719–1720, 1720–1748 1748 Got rid of the Syed Brothers. Tried to counter the emergence of the Marathas but his empire disintegrated. Suffered the invasion of Nadir-Shah of Persia in 1739.[14]
Ahmad Shah Bahadur 1725 1748–54 1775
Alamgir II 1699 1754–1759 1759 He was murdered according to by the Vizier Imad-ul-Mulk and Maratha associate Sadashivrao Bhau.
Shah Jahan III 1711 1759-1760 1772 Was ordained to the imperial throne as a result of the intricacies in Delhi with the help of Imad-ul-Mulk. He was later deposed by Maratha Sardars.[15][full citation needed][16]
Shah Alam II 1728 1759–1806 1806 He was proclaimed as Mughal Emperor by the Marathas.[15] Later, he was again recognized as the Mughal Emperor by Ahmad Shah Durrani after the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761.[17] 1764 saw the defeat of the combined forces of Mughal Emperor, Nawab of Oudh and Nawab of Bengal and Bihar at the hand of East India Company at the Battle of Buxar. Following this defeat, Shah Alam II left Delhi for Allahabad, ending hostilities with the Treaty of Allahabad (1765). Shah Alam II was reinstated to the throne of Delhi in 1772 by Mahadaji Shinde under the protection of the Marathas.[18] He was a de jure emperor. During his reign in 1793 British East India company abolished Nizamat (Mughal suzerainty) and took control of the former Mughal province of Bengal marking the beginning of British reign in parts of Eastern India officially.
Akbar Shah II 1760 1806–1837 1837 He became a British pensioner after the defeat of the Marathas in the Third Anglo-Maratha war who was until then the protector of the Mughal throne. Under the East India company's protection, his imperial name was removed from official coinage after a brief dispute with the British East India Company.
Bahadur Shah II 1775 1837–1857 1862 The last Mughal emperor was deposed in 1858 by the British East India Company and exiled to Burma following the War of 1857 after the fall of Delhi to the company troops. His death marks the end of the Mughal dynasty but not of the family.

Family Tree

Timurid Dynasty

Timurid Empire
Timurid Empire of Farghana
Timurid Empire of Kabul
Timurid Empire of Herat
Timurid Empire of Samarkand
Timurid Empire of Transoxiana
Timurid Empire of Hissar
Timurid Empire of Khurasan
Mughal Empire

r. 1370–1405
r. 1407–1447
r. 1405–1407
r. 1405–1409
MuhammadUlugh-Beg I
r. 1447–1449
MansurAbu Sa'id
r. 1451–1469
r. 1459–1469
Abd al-Latif
r. 1449–1450
Abd Allah
r. 1450–1451
Ala al-Dawla
r. 1447–1448
r. 1449–1451
Abu'l-Qasim Babur
r. 1449–1449, 

r. 1447–1457
r. 1469–1470, 
r. 1469–1494
r. 1469–1495
r. 1494–1495
Umar-Shaykh II
r. 1469–1494
Ulugh-Beg II
r. 1469–1502
r. 1457–1459
r. 1470–1470
r. 1457–1457
Badi' al-Zaman
r. 1506–1507
r. 1506–1507
r. 1495–1497
r. 1495–1497
r. 1497–1499
r. 1497–1500
r. 1494–1497
r. 1497–1497, 

r. 1504–1526
r. 1526–1530
Jahangir II
r. 1497–1504
Abd ar-Razaq
r. 1502–1504
r. 1530–1540, 
Akbar I
r. 1556–1605
r. 1605–1627
Shah-Jahan I
r. 1628–1658
r. 1627–1628
r. 1657–1659
r. 1658–1707
Bahadur Shah I
r. 1707–1712
Muhammad-Azam Shah
r. 1707–1707
Jahandar Shah
r. 1712–1713
r. 1712–1712
r. 1719–1719
Muhi us-Sunnat
Alamgir II
r. 1754–1759
r. 1713–1719
Shah-Jahan II
r. 1719–1719
Rafi ud-Darajat
r. 1719–1719
r. 1720–1720
Muhammad Shah
r. 1719–1748
Shah-Jahan III
r. 1759–1760
Shah-Alam II
r. 1759–1806
Ahmad Shah
r. 1748–1754
Akbar II
r. 1806–1837
Shah-Jahan IV
r. 1788–1788
Bahadur Shah II
r. 1837–1857

See also


References and notes

  1. ^ Maria E. Subtelny, Timurids in Transition: Turko-Persian Politics and Acculturation in Medieval Persia, Vol. 7, (Brill, 2007), 201.
  2. ^ a b c B.F. Manz, "Tīmūr Lang", in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Online Edition, 2006
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, "Timurid Dynasty", Online Academic Edition, 2007. (Quotation: "Turkic dynasty descended from the conqueror Timur (Tamerlane), renowned for its brilliant revival of artistic and intellectual life in Iran and Central Asia. ... Trading and artistic communities were brought into the capital city of Herat, where a library was founded, and the capital became the centre of a renewed and artistically brilliant Persian culture.")
  4. ^ "Timurids". The Columbia Encyclopedia (Sixth ed.). New York City: Columbia University. Archived from the original on 2006-12-05. Retrieved 2006-11-08.
  5. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica article: "Consolidation & expansion of the Indo-Timurids", Online Edition, 2007.
  6. ^ A History of the Muslim World Since 1260: The Making of a Global Community, by Vernon Egger, p. 193
  7. ^ ""The Man Behind the Mosque"". Archived from the original on 2020-11-09. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  8. ^ Maria Subtelny, Timurids in Transition, p. 40: "Nevertheless, in the complex process of transition, members of the Timurid dynasty and their Persian Mongol supporters became acculturate by the surrounding Persianate millieu adopting Persian cultural models and tastes and acting as patrons of Persian culture, painting, architecture and music." p. 41: "The last members of the dynasty, notably Sultan-Abu Sa'id and Sultan-Husain, in fact came to be regarded as ideal Perso-Islamic rulers who develoted as much attention to agricultural development as they did to fostering Persianate court culture."
  9. ^ "Timur". Columbia Encyclopedia (Sixth ed.). 2005.
  10. ^ "Consolidation & expansion of the Indo-Timurids". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 January 2024.
  11. ^ B. Spuler (2006). "Central Asia in the Mongol and Timurid periods". Encyclopædia Iranica. Like his father, Olōğ Beg was entirely integrated into the Persian Islamic cultural circles, and during his reign Persian predominated as the language of high culture, a status that it retained in the region of Samarqand until the Russian revolution 1917 [...] Ḥoseyn Bāyqarā encouraged the development of Persian literature and literary talent in every way possible
  12. ^ David J. Roxburgh (2005). The Persian Album, 1400–1600: From Dispersal to Collection. Yale University Press. p. 130. Persian literature, especially poetry, occupied a central in the process of assimilation of Timurid elite to the Perso-Islamicate courtly culture, and so it is not surprising to find Baysanghur commissioned a new edition of Firdawsi's Shanama.
  13. ^ Klingelhofer, William G. (1988). "The Jahangiri Mahal of the Agra Fort: Expression and Experience in Early Mughal Architecture". Muqarnas. 5: 153–169. doi:10.2307/1523115. ISSN 0732-2992. JSTOR 1523115.
  14. ^ S. N. Sen (2006). History Modern India. New Age International. pp. 11–13, 41–43. ISBN 978-81-224-1774-6.
  15. ^ a b Advanced Study in the History of Modern India 1707–1813, p. 140
  16. ^ S.R. Sharma (1999). Mughal Empire in India: A Systematic Study Including Source Material. Vol. 3. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 765. ISBN 9788171568192.
  17. ^ S.R. Sharma (1999). Mughal Empire in India: A Systematic Study Including Source Material. Vol. 3. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 767. ISBN 9788171568192.
  18. ^ N. G. Rathod, The Great Maratha Mahadaji Scindia, (Sarup & Sons, 1994), 8:[1]

Further reading