Deccan Sultanates

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 24, 2022, 11:29

Between the Krishna River and the Vindhya Range, the Deccan Plateau harboured the Deccan Sultanates, the five Muslim-ruled medieval kingdoms, namely, Ahmadnagar, Berar Bidar, Bijapur, and Golconda. The Deccan Sultanates emerged out of the collapse of the Bahmani Sultanate in the 1480s, housing both Muslims and non-Muslims. They continued to expand their territories throughout the 16th century, fostering all kinds of Islamic, local, and foreign cultures.

Out of the multiple languages spoken in the region, some popular ones were Persian, Dakhni, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, etc. However, with the onset of the 17th century, the Mughal empire spread rapidly, conquering Ahmadnagar in 1636. At the beginning of the 1650s, the Marathas also broke away from Bijapur. The Mughals went on to capture Golkanda and Bijapur in 1686, further destabilizing the political order of the Deccan Sultanates.

The Bahmani Sultanate

Founded by Hasan Gangu Bahmni in 1347 A.D., the Bahmani Sultanate was a Persianized Muslim state in the south of India. After Gangu Bahmni, Muhammad Shah I was the ruler of the Bahmni Kingdom, and he defeated Vijaynagar, with whom they had a constant war. However, after Muhammad Shah III died in 1483, due to a lack of powerful successors, the kingdom disintegrated into five smaller kingdoms of the Deccan Sultanates - Ahmadnagar, Berar, Bidar, Bijapur, and Golconda.

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The Five Kingdoms - Deccan Sultanates

Ahmadnagar Sultanate -

  • The territory of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate was located between the sultanates of Gujarat and Bijapur.
  • It was founded by Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah I after defeating the Bahmani Army.
  • Malik Ahmed's son Burhan, a seven-year-old boy, took his place after his untimely death in 1510.
  • Burhan left behind six sons, of whom Hussain was his successor.
  • The capital of the Ahmadnagar Sultanate was Junnar until Malik Ahmad founded a new capital in 1494, Berar.
  • Aurangzeb conquered the Ahmadnagar Sultanate in 1636 AD.

Bijapur Sultanate -

  • The founder of the Bijapur Sultanate was Yusuf Adil Shah, and the Adil Shahi dynasty ruled the Sultanate from 1490 to 1686.
  • It was in southwestern India, overlapping the Western Ghats range of southern Maharashtra and northern Karnataka.
  • The Adil Shahis resisted the Vijayanagar Empire for years and defeated them in 1565 during the battle of Talikota.
  • Aurangzeb conquered the Bijapur Sultanate in 1686.

Berar Sultanate -

  • Fethullah Imad-ul-Mulk founded the Berar Sultanate. He also established the capitals Achalpur, Gavilgad, and Narnala.
  • His eldest son, Ala-ud-din, succeeded him after his death in 1504.
  • Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, helped Ala-ud-din resist the capture of Ahmadnagar.
  • The Berar Sultanate was seized by the Ahmadnagar kingdom in 1574.

Golconda Sultanate -

  • The Qutb Shahi dynasty was the ruling family of the Golconda Sultanate.
  • The founder, Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, migrated to Delhi from Persia along with his family.
  • The Qutb Shahi family ruled for 171 years until Aurangzeb's army defeated them in 1687.

Bidar Sultanate -

  • Bidar sultanate was the smallest kingdom of the Deccan Sultanates.
  • While Qasim Barid was the founder of the kingdom, the ruler was Mahmud Shah Bahmani.
  • After Mahmud Shah Bahmani died in 1504, his son Amir Barid took over. Amir Baird's son, Ali Barid succeeded him.
  • The Bidar Sultanate was defeated in 1619.
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FAQs on Deccan Sultanates

Q.1. What are the five kingdoms of the Deccan sultanates?

The five kingdoms of the Deccan Sultanates were Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar, and Berar.

Q.2. Which kingdom of the Deccan sultanates was invaded by Akbar?

Akbar invaded the Ahmadnagar sultanate when it was under the rule of Chand Bibi (regent of Bahadur Shah).

Q.3. Where were the Deccan sultanates located?

The Deccan sultanates were situated between the Krishna River and the Vindhya Range on the Deccan plateau.

Q.4. What does the word Deccan mean in Deccan sultanates?

The word Deccan comes from the Sanskrit word Daksina, which means south. The Deccan sultanates were situated to the south of India.