What is Slave Dynasty?

Slave Dynasty

The Slave dynasty was the first line of rulers of the Delhi sultanate, a Muslim kingdom in north India. The kingdom is called a sultanate because it was led by a ruler known as a sultan. The Slave dynasty lasted nearly a century, ruling from 1206 to 1290.

Qutb al-Din Aibak, a former slave of Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori (known more commonly as Muhammad of Ghor), was the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. Aibak was of Cuman-Kipchak origin, and due to his lineage, his dynasty is known as the Mamluk (Slave) Dynasty (not to be confused with the Mamluk dynasty of Iraq or the Mamluk dynasty of Egypt). Aibak reigned as the Sultan of Delhi for four years, from 1206 to 1210.

After Aibak died, Aram Shah assumed power in 1210, but he was assassinated in 1211 by Shams ud-Din Iltutmish, his son in law. Iltutmish's power was precarious, and a number of Muslim amirs (nobles) challenged his authority as they had been supporters of Qutb al-Din Aibak. After a series of conquests and brutal executions of opposition, Iltutmish consolidated his power. His rule was challenged a number of times, such as by Qubacha, and this led to a series of wars. Iltumish conquered Multan and Bengal from contesting Muslim rulers, as well as Ranthambore and Siwalik from the Hindu rulers. He also attacked, defeated, and executed Taj al-Din Yildiz, who asserted his rights as heir to Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori. Iltutmish's rule lasted till 1236. Following his death, the Delhi Sultanate saw a succession of weak rulers, disputing Muslim nobility, assassinations, and short-lived tenures. Power shifted from Rukn ud-Din Firuz to Razia Sultana and others, until Ghiyas ud-Din Balban came to power and ruled from 1266 to 1287. He was succeeded by 17-year-old Muiz ud-Din Qaiqabad, who appointed Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khilji as the commander of the army. Khilji assassinated Qaiqabad and assumed power, thus ending the Mamluk dynasty and starting the Khilji dynasty.

Qutb al-Din Aibak initiated the construction of the Qutub Minar and the Quwwat-ul-Islam (Might of Islam) Mosque, now a UNESCO world heritage site. It was built from the remains of twenty-seven demolished Hindu and Jain temples. The Qutub Minar Complex or Qutb Complex was expanded by Iltutmish, and later by Ala ud-Din Khilji (the second ruler of the Khilji dynasty) in the early 14th century. During the Mamluk dynasty, many nobles from Afghanistan and Persia migrated and settled in India, as West Asia came under Mongol siege.