"The Great" [1542-1605], was one of the greatest rulers in Indian
history. He was born when Humayun and his first wife, Hamida Bano, were
fugitives escaping towards Iran. It was during these wanderings that
Akbar was born in Umerkot, Sindh, on November 23, 1542. Legend has it
that Humayun prophesied a bright future for his son, and thus
accordingly, named him Akbar.
Akbar was raised in the rugged country of Afghanistan rather than
amongst the splendor of the Delhi court. He spent his youth learning to
hunt, run, and fight and never found time to read or write. He was the
only great Mughal ruler who was illiterate. Despite this, he had a great
desire for knowledge. This led him not only to maintain an extensive
library but also to learn. Akbar had his books read out to him by his
courtiers. Therefore, even though unable to read, Akbar was as
knowledgeable as the most learned of scholars.
Akbar came to throne in 1556, after the death of his father, Humayun. At
that time, Akbar was only 13 years old. Akbar was the only Mughal king
to ascend to the throne without the customary war of succession; as his
brother Muhammad Hakim was too feeble to offer any resistance.