Muhi-ud-Din Muhammad[3] (Persian: محي الدين محمد‎) (3 November 1618 – 3 March 1707),[1] commonly known by the sobriquetAurangzeb (Persian: اورنگ‌زیب‎ “Ornament of the Throne”)[3] or by his regnal title Alamgir (Persian: عالمگير‎ “Conqueror of the World”),[4] was the sixth, and widely considered the last effective Mughal emperor. His reign lasted for 49 years from 1658 until his death in 1707.[5][6]

Aurangzeb was a notable expansionist and during his reign, the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent, ruling over nearly all of the Indian subcontinent.[7] During his lifetime, victories in the south expanded the Mughal Empire to 4 million square kilometres,[8] and he ruled over a population estimated to be over 158 million subjects,[7] with an annual yearly revenue of $450 million (more than ten times that of his contemporary Louis XIV of France),[9] or £38,624,680 (2,879,469,894 rupees) in 1690.[10][11][citation needed] Under his reign, India surpassed China once again to become the world’s largest economy, worth over $90 billion, nearly a quarter of world GDP in 1700.[12]

Aurangzeb has been subject to controversy and criticism[13] for his policies that abandoned his predecessors’ legacy of pluralism and religious tolerance, citing his introduction of the Jizya tax, destruction of Hindu temples, execution or forced conversion of his non-Muslim subjects to Islam and execution of the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. [14][15][a] while a minority of historians question this, arguing that his destruction of temples has been exaggerated,[16][13] and noting that he also built temples,[17] also destroyed Islamic mosques, paid for the maintenance of temples,[18] employed significantly more Hindus in his imperial bureaucracy than his predecessors did, and opposed bigotry against Hindus and Shia Muslims.[19]

It was at the end of his reign that the downfall of the Mughal Empire began due to his policy of religious intolerance. Rebellions and wars eventually led to the exhaustion of the imperial Mughal treasury and army. He was a strong-handed authoritarian ruler, and following his death the expansionary period of the Mughal Empire came to an end. Nevertheless, the contiguous territory of the Mughal Empire still remained intact more or less until the reign of Muhammad Shah.[citation needed]