Medieval History

Slave Dynasty [1206-1290] – Iltutmish, Razia Sultan, Qutb-ud-din Aibak & Delhi Sultanate l


The Mamluk Dynasty ruled over Delhi in the 13th century CE and was directed to Norther India by Qutb ud-Din Aibak. Mamluk was a powerful military class a soldier of slave origin who converted to Islam.

This dynasty was among the first few dynasties to rule as the Delhi Sultanate. In this article, candidates can get NCERT notes on the Slave Dynasty, which was an integral part of medieval Indian history. All IAS exam aspirants must go through the notes provided further below in this article for prelims and mains exam preparation.

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Also, aspirants can get the list of important Mughal Emperors at the linked article.

Mamluk Origins

  • Mamluk Dynasty is also called the Slave Dynasty. Mamluk literally means ‘owned’ and it refers to a powerful military caste called Mamluks which originated in the 9th century CE in the Islamic Empire of the Abbasid caliphs.
  • The Mamluks wielded military and political power in Egypt, Iraq and India. Although they were slaves, they were held in high regard by their masters, and they were mostly generals and soldiers who fought for their masters.
  • Mamluk Dynasty was established in Delhi by Qutb ud-Din Aibak.
  • The Mamluk rule has been divided into two parts by historians. These include:
    • Baḥri Period – Period between 1250 and 1382
    • Burji Period – Period between 1382 and 1517
  • It is suggested that the reason for this division was based on the political dominance of the regiments which was known by these names.

Slave Dynasty Introduction

  • Established by Qutb ud-Din Aibak.
  • Dynasty lasted from 1206 to 1290.
  • It was the first of the dynasties to rule as the Delhi Sultanate.
  • Dynasty ended when Jalal ud din Firuz Khilji overthrew the last Mamluk ruler Muiz ud din Qaiqabad in 1290.
  • Dynasty was succeeded by the Khilji (or Khalji) dynasty, the second dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.

Qutb ud-Din Aibak (Reign: 1206 – 1210)

  • The first ruler of the Mamluk Dynasty.
  • Born to a Turkish family in Central Asia.
  • Sold as a slave to Muhammad Ghori, the ruler of Ghor in Afghanistan.
  • Aibak rose up the ranks and became Ghori’s trusted general and commander.
  • He was given the charge of Ghori’s Indian possessions after 1192.
  • When Ghori was assassinated, Aibak declared himself Sultan of Delhi in 1206.
  • Started construction of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in Delhi. This is one of the first Islamic monuments in northern India.
  • He began the construction of Qutb Minar in Delhi.
  • He was also known as Lakh Bash (Giver of Lakhs) for his generosity. However, he was also responsible for the destruction and desecration of many Hindu temples.
  • He reigned till his death in 1210. He was said to have been trampled to death by a horse.
  • He was succeeded by Aram Shah.

Slave Dynasty: UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Iltutmish (Reign: 1211 – 1236)

  • Aram Shah was a weak ruler. It is not clear whether he was a son of Aibak or not. He was conspired against by a group of nobles who invited Shamsuddin Iltutmish to be the ruler.
  • Iltutmish was a son-in-law of Aibak. He ruled Ghurid regions of northern India.
  • He was a Turkic slave born in Central Asia.
  • Iltutmish was the greatest of the slave rulers of Delhi. He shifted his capital from Lahore to Delhi.

Iltutmish – Invasions & Policies

  • Iltutmish’s forces captured Bihar in the 1210s and invaded Bengal in 1225.
  • During the first half of the 1220s, Iltutmish neglected Indus River Valley, which was contested between the Mongols, the Khwarazm kings, and Qabacha. Post the decline of the Mongol and the Khwarazmian threat, Qabacha took over the region, but Iltutmish invaded his territory during 1228-1229.
  • He defended his empire against Mongol invaders and also resisted the Rajputs.
  • In 1221, he stopped an invasion led by Genghis Khan.
  • He completed the construction of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and the Qutb Minar.
  • He set up administrative machinery for the kingdom.
  • He built mosques, waterworks and other amenities at Delhi, making it fit to be the seat of power.
  • He introduced the two coins of the Sultanate, the silver tanka and the copper jital.
  • Also introduced the Iqtadari system in which the kingdom was divided into Iqtas which were assigned to nobles in exchange of salary.
  • He died in 1236 and was succeeded by his daughter Razia Sultana as he did not consider his sons equal to the task.

Razia Sultana (Reign: 1236 – 1240)

  • Born in 1205 as Iltutmish’s daughter.
  • Was given a sound education by her father.
  • She was the first and last Muslim woman to rule over Delhi.
  • Also known as Razia al-Din.
  • Before ascending to the throne of Delhi after her father’s death, the reign was briefly handed over to her half-brother Rukn ud-din Firuz. But after Firuz’s assassination within 6 months of his ascendency, the nobles agreed to place Razia on the throne.
  • She was known as an efficient and just ruler.
  • She was married to Malik Ikhtiar-ud-din Altunia, the governor of Bathinda.
  • She was reportedly killed by her brother’s forces.
  • Her brother Muizuddin Bahram Shah succeeded her.

Ghiyas ud din Balban (Reign: 1266 – 1287)

  • The next notable ruler after Razia.
  • Ninth Sultan in the Mamluk dynasty.
  • He was the wazir of the grandson of Iltutmish, Nasir-ud-din-Mahmud.
  • Born of Turkish origins, his original name was Bahauddin.
  • He was purchased as a slave by Iltutmish. He rose up the ranks quickly.
  • He carried out successful military campaigns as an officer.
  • After Nasir’s death, Balban declared himself the Sultan as the former did not have any male heirs.
  • He carried military and civil reforms in administration which earned him the position of the greatest Sultanate ruler after Iltutmish and Alauddin Khalji.
  • Balban was a strict ruler and his court was the symbol of austerity and strict obedience to the emperor. He even demanded that people prostrate before the king.
  • He laid out severe punishments to the slightest of offences by his courtiers.
  • He had a spy system to keep his nobles in check.
  • He introduced the Persian festival of Navroz in India.
  • Punjab saw large-scale conversions during his rule.
  • After his death, his grandson Qaiqubad succeeded him at the throne of Delhi.
  • Qaiqubad died of a stroke in 1290 and was succeeded by his three-year-old son Shamsuddin Kayumars.
  • Kayumars was murdered by Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khalji, thus ending the Mamluk Dynasty to replace it with the Khalji Dynasty.

List of Slave dynasty Rulers



Qutb ud-Din Aibak (1206-1210 AD)
Aram Shah  (1210-1211 AD)
Iltutmish (1211-1236 AD)
Rukn-ud-din Feroze (1236 AD)     
Razia al-Din (1236-1240 AD)
Muiz-ud-din Bahram (1240-1242 AD)
Ala-ud-din Masud (1242-1246 AD)
Nasiruddin Mahmud (1246-1266 AD)
Ghiyas-ud-din Balban  (1266-1286 AD)
Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Qaiqabad (1286-1290 AD)

Mamluk Dynasty came to an end when the last ruler  Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Qaiqabad was thrown out of the rule by Khilji ruler Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji.

Refer to the video below and get in-depth information about the Mamluk Dynasty from experts:

Mamluk Dynasty – Cultural Aspects

  • Mamluk historians were prolific chroniclers and, biographers, and the period of their rule is known for its historical writings
  • Their contribution in terms of architecture was also strikingly impressive. Mosques, schools, monasteries, tombs, etc. were constructed during this period
  • Apart from this, the Mamluks were also known for their abortive attempts at socio-religious reforms

The reason behind the decline of the Mamluk Dynasty

The major reasons associated with the decline of the Mamluk dynasty are:

  1. Internal friction between the members of the dynasty damaged the long term integrity of the sultanate.
  2. Many of the rulers were weak to handle the kingdom for long
  3. Improper administration management led to the disruption of the government.

It was around 1516-17 when the Ottomans had defeated Mamluks and began to revert to the status of provinces within an empire in Egypt. The Mamluk Sultanate was ultimately destroyed, however, Mamluks remained a class of influence among the people of Egypt for some more time.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Mamluk Dynasty


Who was the first sultan of the Mamluk Dynasty in India?

The first Sultan of the Mamluk dynasty was Qutb ud-Din Aibak, who had the titular name of Sultan and reigned from 1206 to 1210.


Who were the Mamluks?

The Mamluks were a class of warrior-enslaved people, mostly of Turkic or Caucasian ethnicity, who served between the 9th and 19th century in the Islamic world. Despite their origins as enslaved people, the Mamluks often had higher social standing than free-born people.


Why was it called the Mamluk Dynasty?

The literal meaning of “Mamluk” is “owned”, and the Sultans of this Dynasty were either the earliest known slaves or were sons of the former slaves. This led to naming this dynasty as the Slave or Mamluk Dynasty.


Who ruled Egypt before the Ottomans?

The Mamluks seized power over Egypt in around 1250 AD. They established their Sultanate in Egypt until 1518, when the Ottomans took control of the country.


Who were the most famous Sultans of the Mamluk Dynasty?

Qutb ud-Din Aibak, Iltutmish, Razia Sultan, and Ghiyas ud din Balban were a few of the most famous Mamluk Sultans.


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