Until the beginning of the 12th century, there was no mention of the kingdom with Delhi as the capital city. Moreover, Al-Biruni who came to India during the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni wrote about the city of Delhi. In his work Kita-ul-Hind, he mentioned some other cities like Kanauj, Mathura etc. His work, written in Arabic provides an important resource to the historians.
Delhi became an important city only when it became the capital of Rajput rulers. In the middle of the 12th century, it developed as an important commercial center. With the establishment of Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century, it was transformed into a capital city covering a vast area of the subcontinent. The sultans of Delhi built monuments in this area. Delhi Sultanate comprised of five dynasties. These dynasties ruled from 1206 to 1526 A.D.
- Slave dynasty (1206 – 1290 A.D.)
- Khilji dynasty (1290 – 1320 A.D.)
- Tughluq dynasty (1320 – 1414 A.D.)
- Sayyid dynasty (1414 – 1451 A.D.)
- Lodi dynasty (1451 – 1526 A.D.)
The word ‘Sultanate’ means strength and authority. Later, t came to be used as the title by certain Muslim rulers, who claimed full sovereign power.
The Slave Dynasty (1206 – 1290 A.D.)
After the death of Muhammad Ghori in 1206 A.D. his slave Qutub-ud-din Aibak founded this dynasty. He extended the Muslim empire in many parts of the northern India. Due to his generosity, he came to be known as lakh-baksh – giver of lakhs. After his death Iltutmish became his successor. Delhi Sultanate was established during the reign of Iltutmish. He made Delhi as his capital. He made many conquests and ruled over whole of the northern India.
On his deathbed, he nominated his daughter Razia Sultana as successor. She was followed by Bahram Shah, Ala-ud-din Masud Shah, Naisr-ud-din Muhammad. Although Nasir-ud-din Muhammad ruled for twenty years but the main power remained in the hands of Ghiyas-ud-din Balban – one of the slaves of Iltutmish his original name was Baha-ud-din. Balban defended his empire from Mangol invation. After the death of Balban, all his successors became inefficient and weak hence, the Slave dynasty came to an end.
Rulers of Slave dynasty:
- Qutub-ud-din Aibak (1206 – 1210 A.D.)
- Iltutmish (1210 – 1236 A.D.)
- Rukh-ud-din Firoz Shah along with his mother (for six months after the death of Iltutmish against his last wish)
- Raziya Sultana (1236 – 1240 A.D.)
- Bahram Shah (1240 – 1242 A.D.)
- Ala-ud-din Masud Shah (1242 – 1246 A.D.)
- Nasir-ud-din Muhammad (1246 – 1266 A.D.)
- Ghiyas-ud-din Balban (1266 – 1287 A.D.)
The Khilji Dynasty (1290 – 1320 A.D.)
Jalal-ud-din Khilji was the founder of the Khilji dynasty, his nephew Ala-ud-din Khilji murdered him and ascended the throne of Delhi. Expansion of empire during Ala-ud-din Khilji includes successful campaigns in Gujarat, Malwa, Ranghambhore, Chittor etc. After his death, his successor proved inefficient and weak. Hence, Khilji dynasty came to an end.
Rulers of the Khilji dynasty:
- Jalal-ud-din Khilji (1290 – 1296 A.D.)
- Ala-ud-din Khilji (1296 – 1316 A.D.)
The Tughluq Dynasty (1320 – 1414 A.D.)
The Tughluq Dynasty was founded by Giyas-ud-din Tughluq in 1320, is original name was Ghazi Malik. After his death in an accident in 1324 A.D., he was succeeded by his son Muhammad-bin-Tughluq. Muhammad-bin-Tughluq was a brilliant scholar and a great patron of learning. Ibn Batuta, a traveler came to India during his rule. He has provided a detailed account of his reign. Muhammad-bin-Tughluq was succeeded by Firoz Shah Tughluq, he was an able ruler therefore made an attempt to consolidate Delhi sultanate. He followed the policy of appeasement to please the nobles, army and the ulemas. He imposed jaziya. He died in 1388. Amir Timur, the Mangol leader of central Asia, attached India in 1398. He ordered general massacre in Delhi and robbed people mercilessly. The invasion of Timur gave abig jolt to Tughluq dynasty. Due to weak successors of Tughluq dynasty, it came to an end in 1414.
Rulers of the Tughluq dynasty:
- Giyas-ud-din Tughluq (1320 – 1324 A.D.)
- Muhammad-bin-Tughluq (1324 – 1351 A.D.)
- Firoz Shah Tughluq (1351 – 1388 A.D.)
The Sayyid Dynasty (1414 – 1451 A.D.)
This dynasty existed for a very short period. It was founded by Khizr Khan (1414 – 21 A.D.). He helped Timur in his invasion. His successors namely, Mubarak Shah, Muhammad Shah, and Ala-ud-din Alam Shah were weak rulers.
Rulers of Sayyid dynasty:
- Khizr Khan (1414 – 1421 A.D.)
- Mubarak Shah (1421 – 1433 A.D.)
- Muhammad Shah (1434 – 1443 A.D.)
- Ala-ud-din Alam Shah (1443 – 1451 A.D.)
The Lodi Dynasty (1451 – 1526 A.D.)
Bahlol Lodi was the founder of this dynasty. He was one of the Afghan generals of Sayyids. He regained Sind and Mewar by bringing peace and order in the country. Bahlol Lodi was succeeded by his son Sikandar Lodi. He was a good administrator. He annexed Jaunpur, Bihar, parts of Bengal and Ganga valley. He founded the city of Agra and made it his capital. His successor was Ibrahim Lodi. He was the last ruler of the dynasty. In 1526 A.D., Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi at the first battle of Panipat. Thus, the Delhi Sultanate came to an end.
Rulers of the Lodi dynasty:
- Bahlol Lodi (1451 – 1489 A.D.)
- Sikandar Lodi (1489 – 1517 A.D.)
- Ibrahim Lodi (1517 – 1526 A.D.)