Delhi Sultanate in Ancient India answers questions
Upgrade /Log in
Options /Log out
Early Europe
Central Asia
Islamic Empire
Native Americans
S./Central America
American History

Delhi Sultanate

Around 1100 AD, with the Ghaznavids out of the picture, the Mamluks who had already conquered Iran and what is now Pakistan succeeded in conquering the rest of northern India as well, uniting a rich kingdom that was the center of the Silk Road. In 1192 AD, the Muslim general Muhammed Ghor finally captured Delhi from the Rajput kings of India and started a dynasty of rulers which, together with some later dynasties, we call the Delhi Sultanate. The first dynasty was called the Slave Dynasty because the first leaders had been slave soldiers, or Mamluks. Little by little, many Hindus and Buddhists in northern India decided to convert to Islam, the religion of their conquerors.

In the last years of the Slave Dynasty, the Mongols invaded Pakistan. They soon had a lot of influence over the rest of northern India, but they never formally took it over.

Tomb of a Tughluq sultan

When the Slave Dynasty ended in civil war in 1290, the Khalji Dynasty took over. They pushed the Mongols out of India with several big victories. This was the time of the greatest power of the Delhi Sultanate, when the Sultans in Delhi could reach even the most southern part of India, at least some of the time. In 1311, a successful plundering invasion captured the Pandya king, Sundara Pandyan, and destroyed several Hindu temples. The Pandyas had to pay huge amounts of gold and pearls to get their king back.


Under the Tughluq Dynasty, however, beginning about 1325, the Delhi Sultans began to weaken. There were a lot of rebellions and civil wars - possibly the bubonic plague played a part, together with the collapse of the Mongol Empire - and by 1351 southern India regained its independence as a Hindu state under the Vijayanagara Empire. The Deccan, or central India, also broke away and became independent, although as an Islamic state.

When the bubonic plague was over, the Mongol khan Timur tried to recreate the Mongol Empire. In 1398, he sacked Delhi - he wrecked it - which pretty much ended the power of the Delhi Sultanate. But his empire paved the way for the Mughal Empire that came after it.

Learn by Doing - Differences and similarities between Hinduism and Islam
More about Tamerlane
Mughal Empire

Bibliography and further reading about the Delhi Sultanate:

Delhi Sultanate architecture
Mongol invasion of India
Mughal Empire
Ancient India home

Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

Help support! (formerly "History for Kids") is entirely supported by your generous donations and by our sponsors. Most donors give about $10. Can you give $10 today to keep this site running? Or give $50 to sponsor a page?

'Tis the season: read all about the history of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. Who invented Christmas trees? Who were the Maccabees? When was Jesus really born? How did people celebrate Hanukkah in the Middle Ages? Plus, some great gift ideas.