Bengal Sultanate

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 10, 2022, 9:50

The Bengal Sultanate was an empire in Bengal during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. With a network of mint towns strewn over the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, it was the region's preeminent force at the time. The Bengal Sultanate was a Sunni Muslim empire ruled by elites from Indo-Turkic, Bengali, Arab, Abyssinian, Pashtun, and Persian cultures. The Ilyas Shahi and Hussain Shahi Sultans were the two most renowned dynasties. It was also governed by Bengali Sultans, Pashtun Sultans, and Abyssinian Sultans at various times.

Gaur, the royal capital, was the world's fifth-most populated city in 1500. The Bengal Sultanate was a prosperous trade nation and was one of Asia's most powerful states. Through marine and overland trade routes, the Bengal Sultanate was linked to kingdoms in Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and Europe.

Bengal Sultanate - Overview

  • Period: 1352-1576
  • Capital: Pandua (1352-1450) under Ilyas Shah
  • Sonargaon (1390-1411) under Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah
  • Gaur (1450-1565) under Raja Ganesha
  • Tanda (1565-1576) under the Karrani Dynasty
  • Languages: Persian and Bengali (official), and Arabic (religious)
  • Currency: Taka
  • Current location: Parts of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, and India.

Bengal Sultanate Rulers

Ilyas Shahi Dynasty (1342-1414)

  • Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah (1342-1358)
  • Sikandar Shah (1358-1390)
  • Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah (1390-1411)
  • Saifuddin Hamza Shah (1411-1413)
  • Muhammad Shah bin Hamza Shah (1413)
  • Shihabuddin Bayazid Shah (1413-1414)
  • Alauddin Firuz Shah I 1414

House of Raja Ganesha (1414-1435)

  • Raja Ganesha (1414-1415)
  • Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah (1415-1416)
  • Raja Ganesha (1416-1418)
  • Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah (1418-1433)
  • Shamsuddin Ahmad Shah (1433-1435)

Restored Ilyas Shahi Dynasty (1435-1487)

  • Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah I (1435-1459)
  • Rukunuddin Barbak Shah (1459-1474)
  • Shamsuddin Yusuf Shah (1474-1481)
  • Sikandar Shah II (1481)
  • Jalaluddin Fateh Shah (1481-1487)

Habshi Rule (1487-1494)

  • Shahzada Barbak (1487)
  • Saifuddin Firuz Shah (1487-1489)
  • Mahmud Shah II (1489-1490)
  • Shamsuddin Muzaffar Shah (1490-1494)

Hussain Shahi Dynasty (1494-1538)

  • Alauddin Hussain Shah (1494-1518)
  • Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah (1518-1533)
  • Alauddin Firuz Shah II (1533)
  • Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah (1533-1538)

Governors Under Suri Rule (1539-1554)

  • Khidr Khan (1539-1541)
  • Qazi Fazilat (1541-1545)
  • Muhammad Khan Sur (1545-1554)

Muhammad Shah Dynasty (1554-1564)

  • Muhammad Khan Sur (1554-1555)
  • Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah II (1555-1561)
  • Ghiyasuddin Jalal Shah (1561-1563)
  • Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah III (1563-1564)

Karrani Dynasty (1564-1576)

  • Taj Khan Karrani (1564-1566)
  • Sulaiman Khan Karrani (1566-1572)
  • Bayazid Khan Karrani (1572)
  • Daud Khan Karrani (1572-1576)

Bengal Sultanate Facts

  • Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah (1342-1358) was the founder of the Sultanate of Bengal and was the sole monarch who ruled over the entirety of Bengal, comprising Sonargaon (East Bengal), Satgaon (South Bengal), and Lakhnauti (North Bengal).
  • In recognition of the efforts of Ilyas Shah in reinforcing and developing the Ukkacala, the city was called Hajipur.
  • Sikandar Shah (1358-1390) was known for his establishment of diplomatic ties with China's Ming Empire.
  • During the reign of Sikandar Shah, the Hindu poet Krittibas Ojha translated the Ramayana into Bengali as Krittivasi Ramayan.

During its five dynastic eras, the Bengal Sultanate ruled over huge swaths of the northern, eastern, and northeastern subcontinents, reaching its pinnacle during the Hussain Shahi dynasty. It was the reign of the Suri Empire that provided an interregnum that initiated the fall of the Bengal Sultanate, followed by the Mughal invasion and dissolution into tiny kingdoms.

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FAQs on Bengal Sultanate

Q1. Who was the founder of the Bengal Sultanate?

Ans. Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah was the founder of the Bengal Sultanate.

Q2. Who translated the Ramayan into Bengali, and what is it called in Bengali?

Ans. The Hindu poet Krittibas Ojha translated the Ramayana into Bengali, and it is called Krittivasi Ramayan.

Q3. What were the official and religious languages of the Bengal Sultanate?

Ans. Persian and Bengali were the official languages, and Arabic was the religious language of the Bengal Sultanate.

Q4. Who was the successor of Sikandar Shah?

Ans. Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah was the successor of Sikandar Shah.