The Mongols in Indian history
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Mongols in India

Starting in the 400s AD, Turkic and Mongol people had been expanding out of the northern part of Central Asia and spreading all over Europe and Asia, first as the Huns, then the Avars, the Ghaznavids, the Seljuks. Abut 1000 AD, the Turkish Ghaznavids, based in what is now Afghanistan, invaded northern India. India was so rich that the Ghaznavids got a lot of plunder - gold and pearls - and they also took a lot of slaves. But by 1040, the Seljuks took power from the Ghaznavids, and the Seljuks took no interest in India.

A century and a half later, in 1192 AD, the Mamluks, who were also Turkic, invaded northern India and established the Delhi Sultanate, ruling northern India.



A video about the Mongols

By the early 1200s, the Mongols, under their king Genghis Khan, were conquering and uniting all of Asia - the Uighurs, the Kyrgyz, the Khitan - into one big empire stretching from Mongolia to Russia. In 1221 AD, the Turkic/Mongol expansion reached India for the first time as Genghis Khan sent his Mongol troops riding down from Iran and Afghanistan into India. By 1235, under Genghis Khan's sons Ogedei and grandson Mongke, the Mongols ruled what is now Pakistan and Kashmir, in northern India. Predictably, various Indian factions began to ask the Mongols for help, and the Mongols were soon in a position to take over all of northern India. They did not, however, having enough problems with their existing empire to keep them from wanting an even bigger headache.

By about 1300, with the Mongols weaker and the Delhi Sultanate stronger under the new Khalji Dynasty, the Delhi Sultanate pushed the Mongols out of India with several big victories.

The Mongols invaded India once again in 1398, when an unrelated Mongol khan, Timur, was trying to rebuild the Mongol empire. Timur got as far as Delhi and sacked it. That ended the Delhi Sultanate, and left a power vacuum that was soon filled by yet another Mongol invasion - by a descendant of Timur's - which established the Mughal Empire.

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Mongol Empire
The Mughal Empire
Pandyan Empire (south India)
More about India

Bibliography and further reading about the Mongols in India:

Mughal Empire
Pandyan Empire
More about India
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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

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