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History: The Sultanates of Delhi

Qutub Minar

Mohamed of Ghur's expedition in 1175 against Multan and subsequent invasion of Gujarat, Peshawar and Lahore and his victory over Rajputs in 1192 laid foundations of Muslim domination in India. Qtub-ud-din Aibak, his slave general annexed different parts of North India during the years followed

Qutub-ud-din Aibak: After the death of Mohamed of Ghur, Aibak declared himself as the Sultan of Delhi. He also occupied the throne of Gazni for forty years after defeating Yildiz. But the people drove him out owing to his excesses. This confined him to Delhi and was assassinated in 1210. Qutub-ud-din Aibak built Qutub Minar in Delhi, a land mark in history.

Iltutmish: Aram Baksh succeeded him as Sultan Aram Shah. But Iltutmish of Ilbari deposed him and accented to the throne. He brought control over different rebellious parts of the Sultanate. Before his death in 1236, he captured Mundawar, Malwa and Ujjain and defeated Malik of Bengal, Yildiz and Qabacha.

Rukh-ud-din Firoze Shah who succeeded Iltutmish was a misfit and was dethroned and killed in Nov. 1236. The Amirs and Nobles accepted Razzia, daughter of Iltutmish, to the throne. But being a woman she had a tough time and rebellious nobles put her to death in 1240.

Muiz-ud-din Bahram and Ala-ud-din Masud are the rulers who succeeded Razzia. Both were regarded as worthless and incompetent. During their reign Mongols plundered Punjab.

Nasir-ud-din Mahmud: By 1246, the Amirs and Maliks crowned Nasir-ud-din Mohamed, a younger son of Iltutmish. Since he spent most of his time in prayers, his minister, Giyas-ud-din Balban was running the country.

Giyas-ud-din Balban: After the death of Nasir-ud-din, Gias-ud-din accented to the throne. He strengthened the army and subdued rebellions. Balbans's strong army helped him to check the Mongol advances to India. He died in 1287 after a reign of 22 years.

The rulers who succeeded Balban were weak and unworthy. In1290, Jalal-ud-din Firoz Shah deposed Muiz-ud-din Khaliqubad, grandson of Balban and established Khalji Dynasty.

Doorway of Qutub Minar

Jalal-ud-din Khalji was 70 when he became Sultan. He was a peace-loving sultan. During his reign ala-ud-din, his nephew and son-in-law, marched into Devagiri and defeated Raja Ramachandradeva. Ala-ud-din returned with an enormous booty. The treacherous Ala-ud-din lured the Sultan into a trap and killed him.

Ala-ud-din Khalji: In 1296, immediately after the murder of Sultan, Ala-ud-din proclaimed himself as the Sultan of Delhi. To safeguard his throne, he eliminated the supporters of former Sultan.

Ala-ud-din fought with the Mongols and defeated them. He strengthened his army and took up military expeditions and annexed Gujarat, Ranthanbhor and Mewar. His passion for the beautiful queen Padmini lead to the siege of Chitor. When finally Chitor fell, the queen burned herself to death. Ala-ud-din conquered Deccan under the command of Malik Kafur. His expedition between 1307 and 1311 took him up to Cape-Comorin, the southern tip of India. Thus the whole of India was under the Sultanate of Delhi.

Qutub-ud-din Mubarak: Ala-ud-din died in 1316. His son Qutub-ud-din Mubarak ruled India till 1320. In 1320, one of Khursarv's Parvari (low caste convert) associates stabbed him to death. After his death Khursrav ascended to the throne as Nassir-ud-din Khursrav Shah. His brief reign of four month was enough to alienate the Alai nobles who under the leadership of Ghasi Malik defeated and beheaded him in Delhi.

Ghiaz-ud-din Tughluq: Since there were no male descendants for Ala-ud-din, The nobles persuaded Malik to sit on the throne under the name of Gias-ud-din Tughluq. He introduced many reforms on all walks of life and administration. He crushed the rebellions in Deccan and Bengal. In 1325 he died from the collapse of a wooden structure built by his son Jauna.

Mohamed Bin Tughluq: After the death of Gias-ud-din, his son Jauna declared himself as the Sultan under the name of Mohamed Bin Tughluq. During his reign, the boundaries of Delhi Sultanate stretched from Peshwar in the north to Madurai in the south and Sind in the west to Assam in the east.


Mohamed Bin Tughluq was a learned ruler but lacked practical judgement. His well intentioned reforms created confusion and hardships. He shifted his capital to Devagiri, the centre of his empire. But because of inadequate arrangements, the capital was moved back. He introduced token coins in copper and brass at par with silver and gold coins in value. Improper management lead to counterfeiting and as a result, the token coins were withdrawn. He died in 1351.

Feroz Shah Tughluq who succeeded Mohamed Bin Tughluq was a weak personality and could not contain the rebellions those broke out in the Sultanate. After the death of Feroz Tughluq, civil wars broke out in the Sultanate. During Nasar-ud-din Mohamed Tughluq's reign (1394-1412), the Mongol leader Timur invaded India and captured Delhi. Mohamed came back to Delhi when Timur returned after 15 years. In 1414, Khizi Khan Sayyid occupied the throne. He was succeeded by the Lodis. Ibrahim Lodi was the last ruler of Delhi. In 1526, Babur defeated him at the first battle of Panipat and established the rule of Mughuls in India ending the Sultanate of Delhi.