Mughal Empire & British Empire

The last three centuries witnessed an utter transformation of the world during the growth of empires, particularly in Africa and Asia. To understand the modern world, you must understand the growth of powerful empires.

Select two empires one from the East and one from the West.

  • Mughal Empire (West/Asia) & British Empire (East/Africa)

For the Mughal Empire & British Empire, explore the methods of expansion employed by these two imperial traditions. What motivated their expansion?

You might consider the roles played by political powers, religious doctrine, economic growth, or resources and technology.

How did specific empires claim authority over these areas, and what means did they use to control their new subjects? Write a two- to three-page paper comparing and contrasting your chosen Asian and European empire.The paper must be submitted as a two- to three-page Microsoft Word document with double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins, and at least four sources cited in Chicago/Turabian format with in-text citations from reliable sources. Note: The paper must include two empires to compare.



Most of the transformations that were experienced around the world in the past three centuries could be related to the expansion in empires, especially in Asia and Africa. The westernization of Asia could, for example, be explained via the analysis of the expansion of the British Empire in that region of the world.[1] Different empires used various methods to ensure their expansion. To form a platform for comparison, this paper is aimed at exploring how the British empire, in East Africa, and the Mughal empire in West Asia claimed authority, and took control. The paper will also address the methods of expansion used by the empires and their sources of motivation.

The Mughal Empire (West Asia), and the British Empire (East Africa)

The Mughal empire depended mostly on religion to claim authority, take control and expand in Asia. The empire first ensured that, Islam was consolidated in the South of Asia before expanding in the continent which was largely dominated by the Hindu religion. The empire, then ensured that Muslim was spread within the continent. The spread of Muslim included the expansion of Persian, culture, arts and faith among the people in Asia.[2] This enabled the empire to take control of the West Asia, and made it possible for the Mughals, who were Muslims to rule over an empire dominated by Hindus. Nonetheless, to reduce the intensity or possibilities of crucial resistances from the Hindus, the government of the Mughals allowed some senior government, and military positions to be occupied by the Hindus.[3]

The British empire invaded the East Africa region from the coast, and took advantage of  trade, which was the main activity in the coastal region. It was in 1815 when the British Empire would take over the Portuguese, in trade, since they were unable to expand. In Zanzibar, the island where the British first invaded in East Africa was mostly controlled by Sultans, who were Muslims.[4] The empire took advantage of the sultanate by partnering with the local oligarchy of the Muslims to enable the expansions of the their trade. Such a coordination enabled the empire to take control and expand in East Africa. Up on the control of East Africa, the empire had contradicting strategies to ensure that its effect was felt in the region.[5] Although it wanted to spread the conscience of humanity through free trade, good treatment of weak individuals and communities, and free labor with wages, the empire was also conscious about its economic status, and, therefore, incorporated traditional rulers in the region to aid in governance.

The main source of motivation of the British Empire in East Africa was to wipe away the slave trade, which was established by the Muslims.[6] The financiers of the British empire, who had an Indian origin also acquired greater influence over the region with time, this propelled the empire economically, and allowed it to expand further and fulfill its endeavors. The Mughal empire, on the other hand was captivated by different factors; most of which were related to the growth of the Indian sub-continent, which the empire had taken charge of.[7] The subcontinent was favored with good tropical climate, complexities in culture and a high population. The empire, consequently, took advantage of that and converted the entire region to a state to enhance its rule in the west, and other regions of the continent.


Based on the discussion, with the British and the Mughal empires as examples, it was evident that empires used different approaches to gain authority, take control and expand. The empires also had different means of controlling their new subjects, for the British and Mughal empires, it was clear that, incorporation of the subjects into governance was a common ground. Nonetheless, from the discussion, major differences between the two empires could be established.

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