Delhi Sultanate

From Academic Kids

The Delhi Sultanate, or Sulthanath-e-Hind/Sulthanath-e-Dilli refers to the various dynasties that ruled in India from 1210 to 1526. Several Turko-Afghan dynasties ruled from Delhi: the Slave dynasty (1206-90), the Khilji dynasty (1290-1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1413), the Sayyid dynasty (1414-51), and the Lodi (1451-1526).

During the last quarter of the twelfth century, Muhammad of Ghor invaded the Indo-Gangetic plain, conquering in succession Ghazni, Multan, Sindh, Lahore, and Delhi. Qutb-ud-din Aybak, one of his generals, proclaimed himself Sultan of Delhi and established the first dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, the Slave or Mamluk dynasty (mamluk means "slave") after Muhammad's death in 1206. The territory under control of the sultans expanded rapidly. By mid-century, northern India from the Khyber Pass to Bengal was under control of the sultanate, although the northwest was contested with the Mongols. Iltutmish (1210-35) and Balban (1266-87) were among the dynasty's most well-known rulers. Faced with revolts by conquered territories and rival families, the Malmuk dynasty came to an end in 1290.

The Khilji or Khalji dynasty, who had established themselves as rulers of Bengal in the time of Muhammad Ghori, took control of the empire in a coup which eliminated the last of the Mamluks. The Khiljis conquered Gujarat and Malwa, and sent the first expeditions south of the Narmada River, collecting tribute and sacking temples as far south as Tamil Nadu. Muslim rule continued to extend into southern India, first by the Delhi sultans, then by the breakaway Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbarga, and, after the breakup of the Bahmani state in 1518, by the five independent Deccan sultanates. The Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar united southern India and arrested Muslim expansion for a time, but it fell to the Deccan sultanates in 1565.

In the first half of the 14th century the Sultanate introduced a monetary economy in the provinces (sarkars) and districts (parganas) that had been established and founded a network of market centers through which the traditional village economies were both exploited and stimulated and drawn into the wider culture. State revenues remained based on successful agriculture, which induced sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325-51) to have village wells dug, offer seed to the peasants and to encourage cash crops like sugar cane (Braudel 1984, pp 96f, 512ff).

The sultans of Delhi enjoyed cordial, if superficial, relations with Muslim rulers in the Near East but owed them no allegiance. The sultans based their laws on the Qur'an and the sharia and permitted non-Muslim subjects to practice their religion only if they paid jizya or head tax. The sultans ruled from urban centers--while military camps and trading posts provided the nuclei for towns that sprang up in the countryside. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the sultanate was its temporary success in insulating the subcontinent from the potential devastation of the Mongol invasion from Central Asia in the thirteenth century. The sultanate ushered in a period of Indian cultural renaissance resulting from the stimulation of Islam by Hinduism. The resulting "Indo-Muslim" fusion left lasting monuments in architecture, music, literature, and religion. The sultanate suffered from the sacking of Delhi in 1398 by Timur (Tamerlane), and independent Muslim sultantates were established in Awadh, Bengal, Jaunpur, Gujarat and Malwa. The Delhi Sultanate revived briefly under the Lodhis before it was conquered by the Mughal emperor Babur in 1526.

Note: Islamic Empires in India (part of the History of South Asia series) has more information at Islamic_Empires_in_India#Delhi_Sultanate


Sultans of Delhi

Slave Dynasty (1206 - 1290)

Khilji (Khalji) Dynasty (1290 - 1321)

Tughlaq Dynasty (1321 - 1398)

Lodi Dynasty

Sayyid (Syed) Dynasty (1414 - 1451)

Lodhi (Lodi) Dynasty (1451 - 1526)

1526-1540: Mughal rule

Suri Dynasty (1540 - 1555)

Related articles


  • Template:Loc - Pakistan (
  • Braudel, Fernand, The perspective of the World, vol III of Civilization and Capitalism 1984 (original French ed. 1979)

External links

de:Sultanat von Delhi

fr:Sultanat de Delhi hi:दिल्ली सल्तनत ja:デリー・スルタン朝 sv:Indiens historia: Delhisultanatet


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