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Delhi Sultanate


Delhi Sultanate refers to the various Muslim dynasties that ruled in India (1210-1526). It was
founded after Muhammad of Ghor defeated Prithvi Raj and captured Delhi in 1192. In 1206,
Qutb ud-Din, one of his generals, proclaimed himself sultan of Delhi and founded a line of rulers
called the Slave dynasty, because he and several of the sultans who claimed succession from him
were originally military slaves. Iltutmish (1210-35) and Balban (1266-87) were among the
dynasty's most illustrious rulers. Constantly faced with revolts by conquered territories and rival
families, the Slave dynasty came to an end in 1290. The sultanate was in constant flux as five
dynasties rose and fell: Mamluk or Slave (1206-90), Khalji (1290-1320), Tughluq (1320-1413),
Sayyid (1414-51), and Lodi (1451-1526). Under the Khalji dynasty (1290-1320), the conquests
of Ala ud-Din Khalji brought Muslim dominion in India to its greatest height until the Mughul
empire. Early in the reign of Muhammad Tughluq, founder of the Tughluq dynasty (1325-98),
the power of Delhi was acknowledged even in the extreme S of India. His eccentric rule and
ferocious temperament provoked a series of revolts, notably that of the Hindu Vijayanagar
kingdom in the south, and a steady loss of territory; by his death (1351) the Hindu south had
recovered its independence and the Deccan had become a separate Muslim state, the Bahmani
kingdom. Under Tughluq's successors the sultanate of Delhi began to disintegrate into several
small states. With the sack of Delhi by Timur in 1398, the once great sultanate fell, although
local rulers lingered on at Delhi until the invasion of Babur and the Mughal conquest.