The Mughal emperors were a branch of the Timurid dynasty. They built and ruled the Mughal Empire in South Asia. Today, this empire would mainly correspond to the modern countries of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh from the early 16th century to the early 18th century. During the 18th century the power of the emperors rapidly dwindled and, with the establishment of the British Raj, the last of the emperors was deposed in 1857.

The dynasty was of central Asian Turco-Mongol origin from the area that is now part of modern-day Uzbekistan. The emperors claimed direct descent from both Genghis Khan (through his son Chagatai Khan) and Timur. The empire's greatest period in history was during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The empire controlled much of the Indian subcontinent, extending from Bengal in the east to Kabul and Sindh in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south.

Its population at its high point in time has been estimated as between 110 and 150 million people (a quarter of the world's population), They lived in a territory of more than 3.2 million square kilometres (1.2 million square miles).

Ultimately, the end of the Mughals came during the mid-nineteenth century. The British government was controlling vast tracts of the Mughal Empire. It did this through a series of treaties and alliances. Technically, they ruled as agents of the Mughal Empire, but they were in fact exercising complete power over all facets of the empire.

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