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During the Delhi Sultanate, several Turkic and Afghan dynasties ruled from Delhi, including the Mamluk dynasty (1206-90), the Khilji dynasty (1290-1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1413), the Sayyid dynasty (1414-51), and the Lodi dynasty (1451-1526). In 1526 the Delhi Sultanate was absorbed by the emerging Mughal Empire.



The second Muslim invader, Muhammad of Ghor, had political ambitions. He fought the two Battles of Tarain with Prithviraj Chauhan and by winning the second battle,and by killing Prithviraj, established control.He appointed Qutubuddin Aibak,his slave, as his governor,who started independent rule after the death of his master.The Mamluk dynasty is also known as the Slave Dynasty as most of the rulers were former slaves of Muhammad Ghori.Aibek began the construction of Qutub Minarmarker, which was completed by Iltutmish, his successor & son-in-law.Aibek's actual successor was his son Aramshah, but the nobles preferred Iltutmish,the Subedar of Badaunmarker.Iltutmish was followed by Razia Sultana,his daughter,who was a good administrator and the first female ruler from the Muslim world. But she died in a war, after 3 and half years.Balban succeeded her and could rule till 1286 AD. Many infamous and inefficient rulers followed. Faced with revolts by conquered territories and rival families, the Mamluk dynasty came to an end in 1290.


The Khalji or Khilji dynasty, who had established themselves as rulers of Bengalmarker in the time of Muhammad Ghori, took control of the empire in a coup which eliminated the last of the Mamluks. The Khaljis conquered Gujaratmarker and Malwa, and sent the first expeditions south of the Narmada Rivermarker, as far south as Tamil Nadumarker. The Delhi Sultanate rule continued to extend into southern India, first by the Delhi Sultans, then by the breakaway Bahmani Sultanate of Gulbargamarker, and, after the breakup of the Bahmani state in 1518, by the five independent Deccan Sultanates. The kingdom of Vijayanagar united southern India and arrested the Delhi Sultanate's expansion for a time, until its eventual fall to the Deccan Sultanates in 1565.



The Sayyid dynasty ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1414 to 1451, succeeding the Tughlaq dynasty. The dynasty was established by Khizr Khan, who was deputised by Timur to be the governor of Multanmarker (Punjab). Khizr Khan took Delhi from Daulat Khan Lodi on May 28, 1414 and founded the Sayyid dynasty.


Lodi Dynasty was a Ghilzai (Khilji) Afghan dynasty, who ruled over the Delhi Sultanate during its last phase, displacing the Sayyid dynasty. Founded by Bahlul Lodi, it ruled from 1451 to 1526. The last ruler of this dynasty, Ibrahim Lodi, was defeated and killed by Babur in the first Battle of Panipat on April 20, 1526. Sikander Lodi is considered the greatest rule of the dynasty.

Monetary system

A coin of Muhammad bin Tughlaq

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, to offer seed to the peasants, and to encourage cash crops like sugarcane (Braudel 1984, pp 96f, 512ff).

Mongol invasion

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. However, the invasion of Timur in 1398 significantly weakened the Delhi Sultanate. The Delhi Sultanate revived briefly under the Lodis before it was conquered by the Mughal emperor Babur in 1526.

Fall of Sultanate

Babur as Emperor
The last Lodi ruler, Ibrahim Lodi was greatly disliked in his court and subjects alike, being considered overly ambitious. Daulat Khan, the governor of Punjab and Alam Khan, his uncle, sent an invitation to conquer Delhimarker to Babur, the ruler of Kabulmarker.

The first Battle of Panipat (April 1526) was fought between the forces of Babur and the Delhi Sultanate. Ibrahim Lodi was killed on the battleground. By way of superior generalship, vast experience in warfare, effective strategy, and appropriate use of artillery, Babur won the First battle of Panipat and subsequently occupied Agramarker and Delhimarker. The new Mughal dynasty was to rule India for another 300 years.

Female sultana Razia Sultana

The Delhi Sultanate is the only sultanate of India to be ruled by a female, Princess Razia Sultana (1236-1240). While her reign was short, she is regarded well in the eyes of historians. Princess Razia Sultana was very popular and considered more intelligent than her brothers. She ruled from Delhimarker in the east, to Peshawarmarker in the west, and from Kashmirmarker in the north to Multanmarker in the south. Rebels including Malik Altunia, forced her into battle. Forced to marry Altunia to save her life, both she and Altunia were was killed during a battle to reclaim the sultanate from her brother.

Cultural aspects

The Sultans of Delhi enjoyed cordial, if superficial, relations with other 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 own religion if they paid jizya, or head tax. The Sultans ruled from urban center, while military camps and trading posts provided the nuclei for towns that sprang up in the countryside.


The Sultanate ushered in a period of cultural renaissance. The resulting "Indo-Muslim" fusion left lasting monuments in architecture, music, literature, and religion. Due to the sacking of Delhi in 1398 by Timur (Tamerlane), other independent Sultanates were established in Awadh, Bengalmarker, Jaunpur, Gujaratmarker and Malwa.

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