History of Medieval India

WEeb.in Team    GK    Total Views: 1053    Posted: Oct 21, 2019   Updated: Sep 21, 2023

History of Medieval India

The History of Medieval India is rich and fascinating. An overview is provided below, with particular emphasis on the Delhi Sultanate.

The Slave Dynasty.

The Delhi Sultanate was actually founded by a former slave, and for this reason in its early years the Sultanate was known as the Slave Dynasty (Ghulam Dynasty, Mamluk Dynasty). The slave who rose to become the first Sultan of Delhi was Qutubuddin Aibak (who reigned between 1206 and 10). Some scholars believe that Aibak started the construction of the gigantic Qutub Minar. He was a former slave of Muhammad Ghori. His dynasty was later ruled by Shams-ud-din Iltutmish and the Sultan Razia (or Raziya).

Aram Shah ruled Delhi for a short period from 1210 to 1210.

Shams-ud-din Iltutmish succeeded Aram Shah and became the third ruler of the slave dyansty in 1211 AD with the support of officials at Delhi.  He is credited for completing the splendid structure of the Qutub Minar. He died in 1236 A.D.

Rukn-ud-din Firoz succeeded his father to gain the throne of Delhi Sultanate. However, he could not manage the affairs of kingdom and was soon replaced by his sister, Razia Sultana.

Razia Sultana reigned from 1236 to 1240 and was the only women to ever ascend to rule over Delhi Sultanate.

The Khiji Dynasty.

From 1290 onward, the main dynasty in India was a Muslim dynasty known as the Khiji Dynasty. This dynasty ended in 1320, but during that short period it ruled a large part of South Asia. The two most important rulers of this dynasty were Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji (who founded the dynasty) and Alauddin Khilji.

The Tughlaq Dynasty.

Like the main players in the Khiji Dynasty, the Sultans of the Tughlaq Dynasty were of Turkic origin. One of the most famous members of this dynasty was Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, who succeeded his father Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq.

Muhammad Bin Tughlaq’s reign was blighted by rebellion (there were no less than 22 rebellions against his rule), and he was renowned for being a learned man, interested in medicine and fluent at speaking several different languages, including Persian. He ruled from 1324 to 1351.

Firoz Shah Tughla, (reigned from 1351 to 1388), the cousin brother of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, became the next Sultan of Delhi. He is known for lowering tariffs and abolishing several taxes.

This dynasty began in 1320 and ended in 1413. At the same time, the Vijayanagara Empire was controlling much of the South of India.

The Sayyid Dynasty.

This dynasty was founded after the end of the Tughlaq dynasty by Khizr Khan, and he was succeeded by Mubarak Shah, Khizr Khan (who ascended to the throne with the title of Muhammad Shah) and finally Ala-ud-Din Alam Shah. The end of Ala-ud Din Alam Shah’s rule in 1451 marked the end of this dynasty as a whole.

1.5 The Lodi Dynasty.

Founded by Bahlul Lodi after the end of the Sayyid Dynasty, this dynasty was ruled afterwards by Sikandar Lodi. Sikandar’s son Ibrahim Lodi was elevated to the throne without any opposition. However, he did face opposition from other forces. The First Battle of Panipat was fought between armies of Ibrahim Lodi and Mughal Emperor Babur. Ibrahim Lodi was defeated in the battle, which took place on 21st April, 1526 thus marking the end of this dynasty and the start of the Suri Empire.

The Suri Empire.

This empire was controlled by the Sher Shah Suri, whose real name was Jalal Khan. Ethnically, he was a Pashtun and he belonged to a house known as Sur. His empire, which controlled most of northern India, and which supplanted the Mughal rulers who had previously controlled this territory, was in place until 1545.

The Mughal Empire.

This empire is one of the longest running empires in the world. It ran continuously from 1526-1540, and then after a break of some years, ran continuously again from 1555 to 1857. The empire covered most of the Indian subcontinent, with the exception of the very south. The Mughal emperors included Babur, Humayun, Akbar, (who put in place the Rajput Policy of Akbar or Religious Policy of Akbar which, in the mid 16th century aimed to gain the co-operation of the powerful Rajputs with the Mughal Empire’s projects), Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb. During this period, the Sikh religion took root, with the birth of Guru Nanak in 1469.

The Maratha Empire.

In 1674, the Maratha Empire came to rule much of the Indian subcontinent. This empire, which ran until 1818, is sometimes also called the Maratha Confederacy. As is clear from the above, it overlapped with, and often clashed with, the Mughal Empire. Key figures in this empire include Chhatrapati Shivaji (who was also known as Shivaji Bhonsle or Shivaji Maharaj), Chatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, Chhatrapati Rajaram Maharaj, Shivaji II, and Chatrapati Shahu. A notable feature of this Empire was the fact that it involved figures known as Peshwas, who have been compared to prime ministers in modern times. The first Peshwa was Moropant Pingle, who served until 1683. He was succeeded by his son Nilopant Pingale, and subsequent Peshwas included Ramachandra Pant Amatya, Parshuram Trimbak Kulkarni, and various members of the Bhat family who were the last Peshwas, serving until the mid 18th century.

The Third Battle of Panipat.

This battle took place in 1761. It was a decisive moment in Indian history because it marked the victory of the Afghan Durrani empire over the Maratha Empire, which was led into battle by the Peshwa of the time.

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