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Muhammed Ghor: a middle eastern man with a short black beard and a mustache

Muhammed Ghor, who started the Delhi Sultanate

The Mamluks conquer northern India

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. They built a rich kingdom that was the center of the Silk Road.

Wait who were the Ghaznavids?
And the Mamluks?
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The Delhi Sultanate gets going

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.

And who were the Rajput kings?

Why is it called the Slave Dynasty?

People called the first rulers of the Delhi Sultanate the Slave Dynasty because the first leaders had been enslaved soldiers, or Mamluks. Little by little, many Hindus and Buddhists in northern India decided to convert to Islam, the religion of their conquerors.

More about Buddhism
More about Islam

Tomb of a Tughluq sultan: a square red brick building with a white dome

Delhi Sultanate: Tomb of a Tughluq sultan

Mongol invasion of India

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.

Why are the Mongols invading?

Moving on to the Khalji Dynasty

When the Slave Dynasty ended in civil war in 1290, the Khalji Dynasty took over: a new line of rulers. The Khaljis 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 kingSundara Pandyan, and destroyed several Hindu temples. The Pandyas had to pay huge amounts of gold and pearls to get their king back.

The Cholas in South India
The Pandya Empire in South India

And now the Tughluq Dynasty



Under new rulers we call 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. So 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.

The Black Death or bubonic plague
More about the Vijayanagara Empire
More about the Deccan

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.

More about Timur

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