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Slave Dynasty – Delhi Sultanate

Slave Dynasty - Delhi Sultanate


The Slave Dynasty – Delhi Sultanate, also known as the Mamluk Dynasty, was the first Muslim ruling dynasty in India. Qutb-ud-din Aibak founded it after establishing the Delhi Sultanate in 1206 following the defeat of the last Hindu ruler in Delhi. The dynasty, marked by the use of slave soldiers (mamluks) who played a significant role in the administration and military, lasted from 1206 to 1290.Notable rulers of the Slave Dynasty include Qutb-ud-din Aibak, Iltutmish, Razia Sultana and Balban.

Qutb-ud-din Aibak(1206-1210):

Certainly! Here are key points about Qutb-ud-din Aibak’s rule of slave dynasty of delhi sultanate (1206-1210):

  1. Founder of the Slave Dynasty: Qutb-ud-din Aibak founded the Slave Dynasty in 1206 after the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate.
  2. Origins: Originally a slave, he rose to prominence as a favorite of Muhammad Ghori, the Afghan ruler who invaded northern India.
  3. Succession: After Ghori’s death, Aibak became the ruler of the newly established Delhi Sultanate. He was the first Muslim ruler of Delhi.
  4. Short Reign: His reign was relatively short, lasting from 1206 to 1210.
  5. Expansion of Territories: Aibak extended the Sultanate’s territories in northern India, consolidating power in areas like Delhi, Punjab, and parts of Uttar Pradesh.
  6. Death: Qutb-ud-din Aibak died in 1210 due to a fall from his horse during a game of polo.
  7. Qutub Minar: He began the construction of the Qutub Minar in Delhi, a towering minaret that stands as a symbol of the Slave Dynasty’s architectural achievements.
  8. Administration: Aibak faced challenges in governing a diverse and predominantly Hindu population. Despite his military prowess, he adopted a relatively lenient approach toward non-Muslims.
  9. Slave Soldiers: He relied on slave soldiers (mamluks) in his administration and military, a practice that continued in subsequent rulers of the Slave Dynasty.
  10. Iltutmish’s Succession: After Aibak’s death, his son-in-law, Iltutmish, succeeded him as the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, marking the continuation of the Slave Dynasty.

Iltutmish (1210-1236):

Certainly! Here are key points about Iltutmish’s rule (1210-1236):

  1. Successor to Qutb-ud-din Aibak: Iltutmish, originally a slave of Qutb-ud-din Aibak, succeeded him as the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate after Aibak’s death in 1210.
  2. Consolidation of Power: Iltutmish faced challenges to his rule, including opposition from some of the Turkish nobles. However, he successfully consolidated his power and established stability in the Sultanate.
  3. Expansion of Territories: Iltutmish expanded the Sultanate’s territories further, including campaigns in the Gangetic plains and the Deccan region.
  4. Recognition from Caliph: In 1229, Iltutmish received formal recognition from the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad, which enhanced his legitimacy as the ruler.
  5. Administrative Reforms: Iltutmish is credited with introducing several administrative reforms. He established the Iqta system, which involved the distribution of revenue-yielding land among the nobles in exchange for military service.
  6. Coinage: He standardized the coinage system, issuing a silver coin known as the ‘Tanka.’
  7. Religious Policy: Iltutmish adopted a policy of religious tolerance and appointed Hindus to important administrative positions. This helped in maintaining stability in the diverse and predominantly Hindu society.
  8. Challenges from Mongols: Iltutmish successfully repelled Mongol invasions, particularly during the reign of Genghis Khan’s grandson, Hulagu Khan.
  9. Death: Iltutmish died in 1236, and his daughter Razia Sultan briefly succeeded him as the ruler, becoming the first and only female ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.
  10. Architectural Contributions: While not as famous as his predecessors, Iltutmish made contributions to architecture, including the completion of the Qutub Minar and the construction of the Alai Darwaza in the Qutub Complex.
  11. Legacy: History remembers Iltutmish as a capable ruler who stabilized and strengthened the Delhi Sultanate during a critical period, setting the stage for further developments in the region.

Razia Sultana (1236-40):

Certainly! Here are key points about Razia Sultana’s rule (1236-1240):

  1. Ascension to the Throne: Razia Sultana, the daughter of Iltutmish, ascended to the throne of the Delhi Sultanate in 1236 after the death of her father.
  2. First and Only Female Ruler: Razia Sultana is notable for being the first and only female ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.
  3. Challenges to Rule: Her reign faced significant opposition from the conservative Turkish nobility who were not accustomed to being ruled by a woman.
  4. Administrative Policies: Razia was known for her just and effective administration. She appointed individuals to key positions based on merit rather than solely on their ethnic or religious background.
  5. Tolerance and Religious Policies: Similar to her father, Razia continued the policy of religious tolerance. She appointed Hindus to important administrative positions, which garnered support from the local population.
  6. Reformist Measures: Razia implemented several reformist measures, including removing corrupt officials and working towards the welfare of her subjects.
  7. Military Prowess: Razia’s military skills, and her personal leadership of the army in battles, were also well-known. However, her gender became a point of contention among the conservative nobility.
  8. Marriage Controversy: Razia’s decision to marry an Abyssinian slave named Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut further fueled opposition from the nobility. This marriage was a departure from traditional norms.
  9. Downfall: Her progressive policies, gender, and unorthodox choices led to growing discontent among the nobility. Razia faced a rebellion led by her own brother, Rukn-ud-Din Firuz. She was eventually defeated and imprisoned.
  10. Death: In 1240, Razia Sultana and her husband Yaqut met their demise, marking the end of her reign and the brief period of a female ruler in the Delhi Sultanate.

Nasiruddin (1246-66):

It seems there might be a slight confusion in the ruler you’re referring to. Nasiruddin is not commonly recognized as a specific ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. However, if you are referring to Nasiruddin Mahmud, who ruled from 1246 to 1266, here are key points about his rule:

  1. Ascension to the Throne: Nasiruddin Mahmud became the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate in 1246 after the death of his predecessor, Razia Sultana.
  2. Challenges and Weak Rule: Nasiruddin Mahmud’s reign was marked by political instability and weak governance. The Sultanate faced internal strife and external threats during this period.
  3. Influence of Turkish Nobility: The Turkish nobility held significant power during Nasiruddin Mahmud’s rule, influencing decision-making and contributing to the overall political unrest.
  4. Economic Challenges: The Sultanate experienced economic difficulties, including financial constraints and revenue issues, contributing to the decline of central authority.
  5. Invasions and Mongol Threat: Nasiruddin Mahmud faced invasions from the Mongols and other external threats, further weakening the stability of the Delhi Sultanate.
  6. Reign Duration: His reign lasted for about two decades, from 1246 to 1266.
  7. Lack of Military Success:The lack of military successes under Nasiruddin Mahmud, and the consequent weakening of the Sultanate’s military strength, contributed to the overall decline of the dynasty.
  8. Death: Nasiruddin Mahmud died in 1266, leading to a power vacuum and further instability in the Delhi Sultanate.
  9. Succession Issues: After his death, succession disputes and conflicts among different factions of the nobility continued, exacerbating the challenges faced by the Sultanate.

Ghiyasuddin Balban(1266-86):

Certainly! Here are key points about Ghiyasuddin Balban’s rule (1266-1286):

  1. Ascension to the Throne: Ghiyasuddin Balban became the ruler of the Delhi Sultanate in 1266 after the death of Nasiruddin Mahmud.
  2. Authoritarian Rule: Balban’s rule is characterized by a strong and authoritarian style of governance. He implemented strict measures to maintain law and order.
  3. Reign Duration: His reign lasted for about two decades, from 1266 to 1286.
  4. Repression of Rebels: Balban dealt ruthlessly with any form of rebellion or dissent. His policies aimed at suppressing internal challenges and maintaining the authority of the Sultanate.
  5. Military Campaigns: Balban undertook military campaigns to quell external threats. He faced challenges from the Mongols and other neighboring regions.
  6. Administrative Reforms: Balban implemented administrative reforms to strengthen the central authority. He reorganized the army and introduced a spy system to keep a check on the nobility.
  7. Persian Influence: Balban, of Turkish origin, tried to emulate Persian traditions and court etiquette to enhance the grandeur and prestige of the Delhi Sultanate.
  8. Death: Ghiyasuddin Balban died in 1286. After his death, the Delhi Sultanate experienced further internal conflicts and external threats.
  9. Legacy:Ghiyasuddin Balban, during a challenging period, endeavored to restore the authority and stability of the Delhi Sultanate, leaving his mark as a ruler remembered for these efforts.His measures, however, bore the mark of a strong authoritarian approach, which had both positive and negative consequences for the governance of the Sultanate.


The Slave Dynasty, marked by rulers like Qutb-ud-din Aibak, Iltutmish, Razia Sultana, Nasiruddin Mahmud, and Ghiyasuddin Balban, witnessed a mix of territorial expansion, internal strife, and declining stability. It introduced the dominance of slave soldiers in administration but struggled with succession disputes, rebellions, and external threats. While some rulers, like Iltutmish, contributed to administrative reforms, others faced challenges in maintaining order. Ghiyasuddin Balban’s authoritarian rule aimed at restoring authority, yet the dynasty’s decline continued, setting the stage for subsequent developments in medieval Indian history.

Frequently Asked Questions :

Q1. Who was the first sultan of the Mamluk Dynasty in India?

Ans1. The first Sultan of the Mamluk dynasty was Qutb ud-Din Aibak, who had the titular name of Sultan and reigned from 1206 to 1210.

Q2. Who were the Mamluks?

Ans2. The Mamluks were a class of warrior-enslaved people, mostly of Turkic or Caucasian ethnicity, who served between the 9th and 19th century in the Islamic world. Despite their origins as enslaved people, the Mamluks often had higher social standing than free-born people.

Q3. Why was it called the Mamluk Dynasty?

Ans3. The term “Mamluk” literally means “owned,” and the Sultans of this Dynasty either were the earliest known slaves or were sons of former slaves.This led to naming this dynasty as the Slave or Mamluk Dynasty.

Read Also : Economy During Delhi Sultanate Period

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