Today in South Asian history: the First Battle of Panipat (1526)

As I think we’ve mentioned before, Panipat has seen three major battles since the 16th century. I don’t think I’m doing the other two battles a disservice if I say that this first one was the most significant of the three, because it established the Mughal Empire in northern India. With the exception of a brief interlude from 1540 to 1555, it would remain there, in one form or another, until the 19th century. While no empire is born overnight, it is at Panipat in 1526 when most historians consider the Mughal Empire to have come into existence. The battle also happens to be a pretty stark example of the potency of 16th century gunpowder weapons, which allowed a heavily outnumbered Mughal army (estimated around 12,000 men) to pretty easily defeat the army of the Delhi Sultanate (which various estimates put somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 strong).

Read the rest at my new home, Foreign Exchanges!

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