Image: Slave Dynasty

Slave Dynasty (1206-1290)

Slave Dynasty (1206-1290), first Muslim sultans of Delhi who defended northern India against Mongol invasions and reestablished control over Bengal. Qutubuddin Aybak, who was born a Turkish slave, rose to become the trusted general of Muhammad of Ghur, the ruler of the Turkish Ghurid empire, which extended from Afghanistan to northern India. Qutubuddin administered the empire`s Indian conquests. After Muhammad was killed in 1206 by an assassin, Qutubuddin received a certificate of freedom from the Ghurid rulers. He was also granted sovereign powers, thus establishing his dynasty. He died in India in 1210 in a polo accident.

The Turkish nobility of Delhi eventually

The Turkish nobility of Delhi eventually chose another freed slave, Iltutmish, to rule from 1211 to 1236. Iltutmish had risen through Qutubuddin`s administration, gained his freedom, and married a daughter of Qutubuddin. Under Iltutmish, the dynasty reestablished control over Bengal, which had been subjugated by Muslim rulers in the 12th century but had again become independent. He then campaigned against independent states in central India and contained the first Mongol invasions from the northwest. Iltutmish viewed his daughter, Raziyya, as his most competent successor, but in 1236 a group of Turkish nobles and slaves at court installed his son, Firuz Shah. Firuz Shah`s incompetence led to the installation of Raziyya (ruled 1236-1240), who was eventually murdered. A succession of rulers held the throne briefly until Nasiruddin Mahmud (ruled 1246-1266) became sultan. Under Nasiruddin the real power lay with Ghiyasuddin Balban, a freed slave. Ghiyasuddin arranged the marriage of his son Bughra Khan to the daughter of Nasiruddin and eventually became sultan himself (ruled 1266-1286). As sultan, he drove the Mongols from Punjab, in northwestern India, and again reestablished control over Bengal. After his death, power passed to Kaiqubad (ruled 1287-1290), the young son of Bughra Khan. Kaiqubad was murdered after three years as sultan, leading to the rise of the Khalji dynasty (1290-1320).

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