At the time of Humayun’s death, Akbar was just 13 years old.
When his father died, Akbar was at Kalanaur in Punjab and hence his coronation took place in 1556 in Kalanaur itself.
It was his mentor and the favorite and confidant of Humayun, Bairam Khan, who served as the Mughal emperor’s regent from 1556 to 1560.
He was the kingdom’s wakil, with the Khan-i-Khanan nickname.
One of the main successes of his regency era was the defeat of Hemu and the Afghan forces in Panipat’s second battle of 1556, which posed a grave threat to the Mughal Empire.
After solving the initial problems and consolidating its grip on the throne, Akbar began a strategy of expansion.
Akbar began his expansionary strategy with central India.
The first expedition was sent in 1559–60 to seize Gwalior, before heading to Malwa.
Baz Bahadur ruled Malwa, in central India.
Baz Bahadur had been defeated and fled to Burhanpur.
Gondwana, an autonomous kingdom in central India ruled by Dalpat Shah’s wife Rani Durgawati, was invaded in 1564 and annexed to the Mughal Empire.
Akbar’s campaign against Rajasthan:
Akbar was well aware of Rajput kingdoms ‘ significance and needed them as allies.
Wherever possible, he sought to win over the Rajputs and induced them into Mughal service.
He also entered into matrimonial alliances with rulers of Rajput such as Bharmal.
The first one to enter into an alliance with Akbar was Raja Bharmal of Amber.
Even controlled were the Kingdoms of Rajput such as Merta and Jodhpur.
Maharana Pratap, Mewar’s king, however, raised the Mughal emperor’s most significant challenge and did not submit before Akbar.
Akbar succeeded in crushing the Mewar forces after protracted battle and siege of the Chittor fort.
By 1570 Akbar had conquered almost all of Rajasthan.
Akbar’s campaign against Afghan:
Akbar’s violence against Afghans began in 1572 with Gujarat.
One of the princes, Itimad Khan, had called upon Akbar to come and conquer it.
Much of Gujarat’s principalities were brought under his rule in a short time. Akbar divided Gujarat into a province and placed it under Mirza Aziz Koka and returned to the capital.
In 1574 Akbar marched towards Bihar together with Munim Khan Khan-i-Khanan.
Hajipur and Patna were captured in a short period, and Gaur (Bengal) was also abducted.
Despite this, Bengal’s autonomous reign was ended in 1576.
The Mughal mansabdar Raja Man Singh had put all of Orissa under Mughal rule by 1592.
In certain parts of the Mughal empire, a number of disputes began in 1581.
Key areas of violence were Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, and the northwest.
The Afghans had been at the center of these issues when the Mughals overthrew them everywhere.
Besides this, Akbar’s policy of tight jagir administration was also responsible for that.
A new policy was introduced which called on the jagirdars to send the jagirs ‘ accounts.
This produced discontent and revolted jagirdars.
But the Mughal armies soon succeeded in suppressing the uprising in Bihar, Bengal and adjacent areas.
Akbar’s agitation against Punjab and North West–Mirza Hakim created difficulties for Akbar in Punjab, and targeted Lahore.
Akbar himself agreed to march toward Lahore.
Hakim Mirza withdrew immediately, and Akbar was in charge of the entire region.
He made the organization of the defense of North-West frontiers a priority.
He marched to Kabul after this and occupied the territory.
Akbar handed his sister Bakhtunnisa Begum the control of Kabul.
Raja Man Singh was later appointed governor of Kabul and was given in jagir to him.
The Roshanai rebellion which seized the road between Kabul and Hindustan was another important development in the North-West area.
Roshanai was a sect created in the area by a soldier called Pir Roshanai.
Zain Khan was appointed by Akbar to command a strong force to overthrow the Roshanais and restore Mughal rule in the area.
He also sent Sayid Khan Gakhar and Raja Birbal to help Zain Khan.
Birbal was killed along with most of his troops in one of the operations.
Akbar tasked Raja Todar Mal and Raja Man Singh with crushing the revolt, and they succeeded in defeating the Roshanais.
In 1586, Kashmir was subordinate to the Mughal Empire.
By the year 1595, Mughals had established total hegemony over the North-West region.
Akbar’s campaign against Deccan:
In 1591, Akbar sent offers to the Deccan states urging them to recognize Mughal hegemony but there was no support.
Under the orders of Prince Murad and Abdul Rahim Khanan, the first expedition was sent to Ahmednagar.
In 1595, Ahmednagar was occupied by armies of the Mughal.
It’s ruler Chand Bibi wanted to go up against the Mughals.
She asked Bijapur’s Ibrahim Adil Shah, and Golkonda’s Qutub Shah for support but without success.
A settlement was hammered out despite heavy defeats on both sides, and Chand Bibi ceded Berar to the Mughals.
Chand Bibi attacked Berar after a moment, to push it back. The Mughals suffered heavy losses but were able to retain their stand.
Prince Murad died in 1598.
Prince Daniyal and Khan Khanan were sent to Deccan.
Ahmednagar was captured.
Adil shah of Bijapur also expressed allegiance and gave Prince Daniyal his daughter in marriage.
Mughal territories also included Asirgarh, Burhanpur, Ahmednagar, and Berar in Deccan.