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Delhi Sultanate

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Delhi Sultanate

shape Introduction

The Delhi Sultanate was a sultanate based mostly in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526).

Five dynasties ruled over the Delhi Sultanate sequentially:

  • The Mamluk dynasty (1206–90),

  • the Khalji dynasty (1290–1320),

  • the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414),

  • the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51),

  • and the Lodi dynasty (1451–1526)


shape Dynasty

Delhi Sultanate – Different Dynasties:

Dynasty Period of Rule Prominent rulers
Mamluk or Slave dynasty 1206 – 1290 Qutubuddin Aibek, Iltutmish, Razia Sultan, Ghiyasuddin
Khilji dynasty 1290 – 1320 Alauddin Khilj
Tughlaq dynasty 1321 – 1413 Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, Firoz Shah Tughlaq

Sayyid dynasty
1414 – 1450 Khizr Khan

Lodhi dynasty
1451 – 1526 Ibrahim Lodh


Delhi Sultanate – Slave Dynasty (1206-1290) :

Year Ruler Important Facts
1206 – 1210 Qutbuddin Aibak
  • Most trusted slave of Muhammad of Ghori

  • Died in 1210 while playing Chaughan (Polo)

  • He was granted the title Lakh Bakhsh

  • He constructed the Quwat-ul-Islam mosque in Delhi and Adhai din ka jhonpra at Ajmer

  • He also started the construction of Qutb Minar in the honor of Su saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakthiyar Kaki
1210 – 1236 Illtutmish
  • The real consolidator of Turkish conquests

  • He saved the Delhi Sultanate from the invasion of the Mongol, Chengiz Khan

  • He introduced the currency system of Tanka and Jittal

  • He organized Iqta System – land grant to soldiers and nobility

  • He setup the Chahalgani system – nobility of 40 members

  • He completed the construction of Qutb minar
236 – 1240 Razia Sultana
  • The first and the only Muslim lady who ever ruled India

  • Though a popular ruler, she was disliked by the Chahalgani who wanted to put a puppet ruler at the throne

  • She was defeated and killed by Bandits while in a flight
1240- 1266 An era of weak rulers After the death of Raziya, weak rulers ascended the throne, who were supported by the Nobles. Bahram shah, Masud shah and Nasiruddin Muhammad were the successors.
1266 – 1287 An era of Balban
  • A strong and centralized government was established Open in app 1287 Balban

  • He acted as a champion of Turkish Nobility

  • He broke the strength of Chahalgani to restore the powers of the Monarchy

  • He established Diwan-i-arz, military department towards a strong army

  • He adopted a policy of blood and iron to restore the law and order problems

  • He insisted on the ceremony of Sijada and Paibos

  • He took up the title Zil-i-illahi
1218 – 1227 Changez Khan
  • The Mongol leader who prided in being called the Scourge of God

  • They attacked the Khwarizmi empire and sacked the flourishing cities

  • Delhi sultanate became the only important Islam state of this period

  • Illtutmish, in 1221, refused an asylum request of Jallaudin, who was defeated by Changez Khan. Changez khan did not cross River Indus, which saved the weak sultanate from loot and plunder.


Delhi Sultanate – The Khaljis:

Year Ruler Important Facts
1290 – 1296 Jalaluddin Khalji He checked the monopoly of Turkish nobility and followed a policy of tolerance
1296 – 1316 Allauddin Khalji
  • He separated religion from politics and proclaimed, ‘Kingship knows no kinship’

  • He followed an imperialist and annexation policy. He annexed Gujarat, Ranthambore, Malwa, Mewar etc


Administrative reforms

  • By series of 4 Ordinances, Allaudin took steps to avoid the problems caused by the nobles

  • He introduced the Dagh – branding of horse and Chehra – a descriptive roll of soldier’s system.

  • By setting up markets, Allauddin fixed the cost of all commodities

  • He constructed the Alai fort and Alai Darwaza – entrance of Qutb Minar

  • He also built the palace of thousand pillars called Hazar Sutun

  • Amir Khusrau was the court poet of Allaudin
1316 – 1320 Mubarak Khan
1320 Khusrau Khan Ghazi Malik deposed Khusrau Khan in a rebellion..


Delhi Sultanate – Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1412) :

Emperor Period
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq 1320-24
Muhammad Tughlaq 1324-51
Firoz Shah Tughlaq 1351-88
Firoz Shah Tughlaq 1351-88
Mohammad Khan 1388
Ghiyassuddin Tughlaq Shah II 1388
Abu Baqr 1389-90
Nasiruddin Muhammad 1390-94
Humayun 1394-95
Nasiruddin Muhammad 1395-1412

Ruler Period of Rule Important facts
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq 1320-1325
  • Khusrau Khan, the last king of the Khilji dynasty was killed by Ghazni Malik, and Ghazni Malik ascended the throne assuming the title Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq.

  • He died in an accident and his son Jauna (Ulugh Khan) succeeded him under the title Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq.


Achievements of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq

  • Reintroduced the food laws of Ala-ud-Din

  • Supressed the rebellions in the distant provinces with strong hand and resorted the peace and order

  • Organized better postal system

  • Encouraged agriculture
Mohammadbin Tughlaq 1325-132
  • Prince Jauna, Son of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq ascended the throne in 1325

  • He tried to introduce many administrative reforms. He had 5 ambitious projects for which he has become particularly debatable


  • Taxation in the Doab (1326)

  • Transfer of Capital (1327)

  • Introduction of Token Currency (1329)

  • Proposed Khurasan Expedition (1329)

  • Qarachil Expedition (1330)


  • His five projects have led to revolts all around his empire.

  • His last days were spent in checking the revolts

  • 1335 — Mudurai became independent (Jalaluddin Ahsan Shah)

  • 1336 — Foundation of Vijayanagar (Harihar & Bukka), Warrangal became independent (Kanhaiya)

  • 1341-47 — Revolts of Sada Amirs & Foundation of Bahamani in 1347 (Hasan Gangu )


  • He died in Thatta while campaigning in Sindh against Taghi, a Turkish slave.
Firoz Shah Tughlaq 1351-1388

  • He was a cousin of Mohammad-bin-Tughlaq. After his death the nobles and the theologians of the court selected Firoz Shah as the next Sultan.

  • Established of Diwan-i-Khairat (department for poor and needy people) and

  • Diwan-l-Bundagan (department of slaves)

  • Making Iqtadari system hereditary.

  • Construction of canals for irrigation from Yamuna to the city of Hissar

  • From the Sutlej to the Ghaggar. From the Ghaggar to Firozabad

  • From Mandvi and Sirmour Hills to Hansi in Haryana.

  • Establishment of four new towns, Firozabad, Fatehabad, Jaunpur and Hissar.
After Firoz Shah Tughlaq 1388-1414
  • 1. The Tughlaq dynasty would not survive much after Firoz Shah’s death. The Malwa, Gujarat and Sharqi (Jaunpur) Kingdoms broke away from the Sultanate.

  • Timur Invasion: (1398-99) Timur, a Turk, invaded India in 1398 during the reign of Muhammad Shah Tughlaq, the last ruler of Tughlaq dynasty. His army mercilessly sacked and plundered Delhi.

  • Timur returned to Central Asia, leaving a nominee to rule to Punjab which ended the Tughlaq dynasty.


Delhi Sultanate – Sayyid dynasty (1414 – 1450) :

Emperor Period
Khizr Khan 1414-21
Mubarak Shah 1421-33
Muhammad Shah 1421-43
Alauddin Alam Shah 1443-51

Ruler Period of Rule Important facts
Bahlol Lodhi 1451- 88
  • Bahlol Lodhi was one of the Afghan sardars who established himself in Punjab after invasion of Timur

  • He founded the Lodhi dynasty. He founded the rule of the Lodhi dynasty by usurping the throne from the last of the Sayyid rulers.

  • He was a strong and brave ruler. He tried to restore the glory of Delhi by conquering territories around Delhi and after continuous war for 26 years, he succeeded in extending his authority over Jaunpur, Rewail, Itawah, Mewar, Sambhal, Gwalior etc.

  • He was a kind and generous ruler. He was always prepared to help his subjects.

  • Though he was himself illiterate, he extended his patronage to art and learning. He died in 1488.
Sikandar Lodhi 1489 – 1517
  • Sikandar Lodhi was the son of Bahlol Lodhi who conquered Bihar Open and Western Bengal.

  • He shifted his capital from Delhi to Agra, a city founded by him.

  • Sikandar was a fanatical Muslim and he broke the sacred images of the Jwalamukhi

  • Temple at Naga Kot and ordered the temples of Mathura to be destroyed.

  • He took a keen interest in the development of agriculture. He introduced the Gaz-i-Sikandari (Sikandar’s yard) of 32 digits for measuring cultivated elds.

  • He was a staunch Sunni and a Muslim fanatic. He lacked religious tolerance. In the name of religion, he perpetuated untold cruelties on the Hindus.
Ibrahim Lodhi 1517- 26
  • He was the last king of Lodhi dynasty and the last Sultan of Delhi

  • He was the son of Sikandar Lodhi

  • The Afghan nobility was brave and freedom-loving people but it was because of its fissiparous and individualistic tendencies that the Afghan monarchy was weakened. Moreover, Ibrahim Lodhi asserted the absolute power of the Sultan.

  • At last Daulat Khan Lodhi, the governor of Punjab invited Babur to overthrow Ibrahim Lodhi; Babur accepted the offer and inicted a crushing defeat on Ibrahim Lodhi in the first battle of Panipat in 1526.

  • No Sultan of India except Sultan Ibrahim had been killed on the battle eld.


Delhi Sultanate – Causes of Decline of Delhi Sultanate:

  • Deposited and military type of government which did not have the confidence of the people.

  • Degeneration of Delhi Sultans (esp. the wild projects of Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq, Incompetence of Firoz Tughlaq).

  • War of succession as there was no fixed law of it. Greed and incompetency of nobles.

  • Defective military organization.

  • Vastness of empire and poor means of communication. Financial instability.

  • The number of slaves increased to 1, 80,000 at the time of Firoz Tughlaq which was a burden on the treasury.

  • Invasion of Timur.


Delhi Sultanate – Important Central Departments:

Department Function
Diwan-i-Risalat (Foreign Minister) Department of appeals
Diwan-i-Ariz Military department
Diwan-i-Qaza-i-Mamalik Department of justice
Diwan-i-Isthiaq Department of pensions
Diwan-i-Mustakhraj Department of arrears
Diwan-i-Khairat Department of charity
Diwan-i-Kohi Department of agriculture
Diwan-i-Insha Department of correspondence


Delhi Sultanate – Important Central Officials:

Post Role
Wazir The chief Minister of the State-in Charge of revenue and finances, controlled by other department
Ariz-i-Mamlik Head of Military department
Qazi Legal Officer(dispensed civil law based on Muslim law Shariat)
Diwan-i-Isthiaq Department of pensions
Wakil-i-dar Controller of the royal households.
Barid-i-mumalik Head of the state news agency
Amir-i-majlis Officer-in-charge of royal feasts, conference and festivals.
Majlis-i-am Council of friends and officers consulted on important affairs of the state.
Dahir-i-mumalik Head of the royal correspondence.
Sadr-us-sudur Dealt with the religious matters and endowments.
Sadr-i-jahank Officers-inO-cpheanrign eapopf religious and charitable endowment
Amir-i-dad Public prosecutors
Naib wazir Deputy Minister
Mushrif-i-mumalik Accountant general


shape Quiz

1. Who was the first sultan of Delhi sultanate?

    A. Muhammad Ghori
    B. Qutb al-Din Aibak
    C. Razia Sultana
    D. Bahlul Khan Lodi


Answer: Option B

2. How many Dynasty ruled Delhi Sultanate?

    A. 3
    B. 4
    C. 5
    D. 6


Answer: Option C

3. The Khaliji Sultans of Delhi were?.

    A. Mangols
    B. Afghans
    C. Turks
    D. A Jat tribe


Answer: Option C

4. Before assuming the office of the Sultan of Delhi Balban was the Prime Minister of Sultan?

    A. Nasir-ud-din
    B. Qutub-ud-din-Aibak
    C. Bahram Shah
    D. Aram Shah


Answer: Option A

5. The name of the last Delhi Sultan is?

    A. Khigir Khan
    B. Mubarak Shah
    C. Ibraham Lodi
    D. Sikandar Lodi


Answer: Option C

6.Which dynasty of Delhi Sultanate ruled for the shortest period?

    A. Khilji
    B. Tughlaq
    C. Sayyid
    D. Lodi


Answer: Option A

7. The official language of the Delhi Sultanate was?

    A. Urdu
    B. Arabic
    C. Persian
    D. Hindi


Answer: Option C

8. The Delhi Sultanate virtually ended due to the invasion of?


    A. Changez khan
    B. Babur
    C. Nadir khan
    D. Timor


Answer: Option D

9.When was the Ibrahim Lodi became the Sultan of Delhi?

    A. 1574
    B. 1564
    C. 1520
    D. 1517


Answer: Option D

10. Who among the following sultans of the sultanate was the first to shift his capital to delhi?

    A. Aram Shah
    B. Balban
    C. Iltutmish
    D. Qutb al-Din Aibak


Answer: Option C