According to V. A. Smith, “The conquest of Gujarat marks an important epoch in Akbar’s history.” There were many reasons which actuated Akbar to conquer Gujarat. Humayun has occupied it in 1536 and Akbar could claim Gujarat as a lost province of the Mughal Empire.
However, the wealth and maritime commerce of Gujarat were enough temptation for Akbar to annex that province. Muzaffar Shah III, the Ruler of Gujarat, had practically no authority over his powerful vassals. One of his nobles called Itimad Khan invited Akbar to interfere in the affairs of Gujarat.
Akbar reached Ahmedabad in November, 1572. Muzaffar Shah did not offer any resistance and submitted before Akbar. After making the necessary arrangements for administrative purposes, Akbar retired to Fatehpur Sikri. Akbar had hardly reached his destination when he heard of the trouble in Gujarat once again.
He rushed back to Gujarat and it is stated that he completed ajourney of 600 miles in 9 days. It was a marvellous feat of endurance. He won a decisive victory is September 1573. A few more expeditions had to be undertaken before Gujarat was completely subdued and annexed in 1584.
The annexation of Gujarat was of great advantage. The Mughals got free access to the sea. The conquest of Gujarat brought the Mughals into tough with the Portuguese. Raja Todar Mai made his first revenue settlement in Gujarat. According to Kennedy, “Gujarat was used as jumping off point for invasions of the Deccan.”