“Thunderbolt of Wrath”: Gunpowder and the Mughal Empire
An example of the use of gunpowder weapons to facilitate expansion of the Mughal Empire
During the early modern era, empires worldwide used new military technology to conquer territory and expand their borders. Some historians have referred to the Muslim empires that used this technology as the Gunpowder Empires. Other historians have argued that using gunpowder was part of a more extensive global military revolution that included new tactics and the professionalization of armed forces. To understand how empires used this new technology, we can look at the Mughal victory at the Ranthambore Fort at Chitor in Rajasthan in 1568. We have both a description of the siege in the Akbarnama, the history of Akbar’s reign, and a painting of the battle. The painting shows the role of canons and rifles among the soldiers.
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