Babur was twelve years old when he became king. He was descended from Tamerlane on his father’s side and from Genghis Khan on his mother’s. Immediately he had to fight for survival. Babur dreamt of glory; he would take Samarkand, the seat of his great ancestor Timur.
In 1497 at the age of fifteen Babur marched on Samarkand and seized the city. But then he was ousted, to discover that meanwhile he had lost his own beloved home at Fergana. His whole world had collapsed; he was now no king at all.
He had lost Samarkand and was driven into exile, admitting, ‘I was reduced to a sore state and wept much.’ Harassed by rebellion, opposed by his army, without a home and reduced to a low point in his fortunes, he would fight back, ‘One or two reverses could not make me sit down and do nothing.’