Akbar(born Oct. 15, 1542, Umarkot, Sindh [India] died 1605, Agra), greatest of the Mughal emperors of India, who reigned from 1556 to 1605 and who extended Mughal power over most of the Indian subcontinent. In order to preserve the unity of his empire, Akbar adopted programs that won the loyalty of the non Muslim populations of his realm. He reformed and strengthened his central administration and also centralized his financial system and reorganized tax collection processes. Although he never renounced Islam, he took an active interest in other religions, persuading Hindus, Parsis, and Christians, as well as Muslims, to engage in religious discussion before him. Illiterate himself, he encouraged scholars, poets, painters, and musicians, making his court a centre of culture.