Slave Dynasty Rulers- Mamluk Dynasty, Slave Dynasty in India [1206 to 1290] | UPSC Notes

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : November 7th, 2022

Slave Dynasty, also known as the Mamluk Dynasty, was introduced by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who is known to be the dearest slave of the Muslim general, Sultan Muhammad of Ghur. It is the first dynasty to rule as the Delhi Sultanate. The slave dynasty was ruined by Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji, who overthrew the last Mamluk ruler, Muiz ud din Qaiqabad (in 1290). The Slave Dynasty lasted from AD 1206 to AD 1290, with Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Qaiqabad as the last ruler of Slave Dynasty. 

Slave Dynasty Rulers are listed below in chronological order. Know more about the contribution of the Gulam Dynasty and rulers such as Iltutmish, Balban, Razia Sultan and more. 

Table of Content

What is Slave Dynasty?

Slave Dynasty is the first dynasty to rule over the Delhi Sultanate. The Slave dynasty is also known as the Mamluk dynasty. The Mamluk dynasty was founded by the Slave Dynasty Founder Qutb ud- Din Aibak in Delhi. The word Mamluk' means owned'. The Mamluk was a strong military class that originated around the 9th century CE in the Islamic empire of the Abbasid Caliphs. The Mamluks controlled political and military power in Egypt. 

Slave Dynasty PDF

High-profile officers, army generals, and soldiers were called slaves during that era. They had devoted their lives to their masters. Thus, the word slave originated from there itself.

  • Slave Dynasty ruled from 1206 to 1290.
  • The Khilji (or Khalji) dynasty, the second dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, succeeded the Slave Dynasty.

Slave Dynasty Rulers 

The Slave Dynasty or Mamluk Dynasty ended when Khilji ruler Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji overthrew the last rulers of the Slave Dynasty. 

  1. Qutb ud- Din Aibak (1206- 1210 AD).
  2. Aram Shah (1210-1211 AD).
  3. Iltutmish (1211-1236 AD).
  4. Rukn-ud-din Feroze (1236 AD).
  5. Razia-al-Din (1236- 1240 AD).
  6. Muiz-ud-din Bahram (1240- 1242 AD).
  7. Ala-ud-din-Masud (1242-1246 AD).
  8. Nasiruddin Mahmud (1246- 1266 AD).
  9. Ghiyas-ud-din-Balban (1266- 1286 AD).
  10. Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Qaiqabad (1286- 1290 AD).

Slave Dynasty Founder - Qutb-ud-Din Aibak

The founder of the Slave Dynasty was Qutb-ud-Din Aibak. He ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1206 AD. He belonged to a Turkish family in Central Asia.

  • He was brought as a slave to Muhammad Ghori (ruler of Gur in Afghanistan). The works of the Aibak were liked by everyone in the court, including the ruler. Further, he was promoted and gained the position of most trusted general and commander of Ghori.
  • After the assassination of Muhammad Ghori, Aibak called himself the Sultan of Delhi in 1206 and became the first ruler of the Slave Dynasty.
  • He constructed one of the oldest Islamic monuments, The Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in Delhi. The construction of Qutub Minar in Delhi also began during his initial years of reign.
  • The kingdom's people called him 'Lakh Bash', which means a gift of lakhs due to his generous nature.
  • He died in 1210. Aram Shah succeeded him as the 2nd ruler of the Slave Dynasty.

Iltutmish (1211 – 1236)

In 1210 AD, Qutb-ud-Din Aibak died accidentally in Lahore while playing chovgan (a form of Polo). Aram Shah succeeded him. He was a weak ruler. He was the rumored son of Aibak. He ruled the Ghurid region in Northern India. A group of nobles played his assassination. This group wanted Shamsuddin IItutmish to rule the kingdom. Illtutmish was born in Central Asia and was the son-in-law of Aibak.

  • IItutmish is known to be the greatest slave ruler in Delhi. He expanded the capital from Lahore to Delhi. 
  • Iltutmish ruled the Delhi Sultanate for about 25 years and expanded its territories. Apart from expanding territories, he also contributed a lot to the welfare of society.

Iltutmish Conquest and Consolidation

The Slave Dynasty ruler, IItutmish, captured Bihar in the 1210s and invaded Bengal in 1225. He also took over the region of the Indus River Valley in 1228-1229 after the decline of Mongols, the Khwarazm kings, and Qabacha.

  • IItutmish successfully fought against the Mongols and Rajputs. He also prevented and fought against the invasion by Genghis Khan.
  • His contribution to the construction included the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and the Qutb Minar.
  • Two coins were introduced in the Iltutmish dynasty,: the silver tanka and the copper jital. 
  • He added the Iqtadari system, dividing the realm into Iqtas and handing them to nobles for pay.

He passed away in 1236, and his daughter Razia Sultana succeeded him since he didn't think his sons were up to the job.

Razia Sultan

Razia Sultana was also known as Razia-al-Din. He was also assassinated by a group of elites who decided to put Razia on the throne. After the death of Iltutmish, the throne was transferred to Rukn-ud-din Firuz, the half-brother of Razia Sultana.

  • Razia Sultana was an efficient ruler who was popular for her fair judgments. Malik Ikhtiar-ud-din Altunia, who was the governor of Bathinda, married Razia Sultana. 
  • Razia Sultan ruled as a Slave dynasty ruler from 1236 – 1240. 
  • She was the first and last Muslim ruler of Delhi

Who Ruled After Razia Sultan?

She was conspired by the troops sent by her brother- Muizuddin Bahram Shah, who inherited the throne after Razia Sultan.

Slave Dynasty Ruler Nasir-ud-din-Mahmud 

  • Nasir-ud-din-Mahmud was the ninth Sultan of the slave dynasty. His real name was Bahauddin. He was born in Turkey.
  • Iltutmish acquired Nasir-ud-din-Mahmud as a slave. He was later promoted and allowed to hold military campaigns as a military officer.

Balban (Ghiyas ud din Balban)

Ghiyas ud din Balban, famously known as Balban was the ruler of the Slave Dynasty from 1266 – 1287. After the death of Nasir, Barban, who had no male heirs, declared himself the Sultan. He maintained civil reforms and military and administrative management.

  • Balban was called the strict ruler due to his strict obedience and austerity to the king. 
  • Balban imposed a minimum penalty on his subjects and had a proper spy system to regulate the nobles. He popularized the Persian festival in Navroz, India.

After the death of Balban, Qiqubad, his grandson, inherited the throne. Later, Quaiqubad died of a brain stroke in 1290. He was succeeded by his son Shamsuddin Kayumars who was just three years old. Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khilji also murdered him.

Contributions of the Slave Dynasty

The Rulers of the Slave Dynasty contributed to the field of art and architecture.

  • Qutb-ud-Din Aibak formed the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in Delhi. He also built the Adhai din ka-jhonpra mosque situated in Ajmer.
  • The construction of Qutb Minar also started during his reign. He dedicated this site to Sufi Saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bhaktiyar Kaki.
  • Iltutmish helped in the construction of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque. He is also credited with establishing a strong footing in the Slave dynasty.
  • Iltutmish also introduced a new currency called Tanka. Under his rule, the Qutb Minar was built completely.

Ghiyas-ud-din-Balban was an effective ruler who devoted much of his time to strengthening governance.

  • Many poets have written about the greatness of this emperor, who was well-known for his dignity. He was so much into his religion that he always dressed in full traditional attire, even in front of his private attendants.
  • The period of Ghiyas-ud-din-Balban was also marked by an enhancement of creativity in the form of poems and paintings. The emperors used to hire poets and artists as slaves.

The most popular institution developed in the Slave dynasty was that of chalgan or the forty. They were the personal supporters of Iltutmish. The word 'Chalgan' was used for the high-profile corps that was powerful.

  • The cabinet of the emperor comprised these chalgans who suggested different policies and plan strategies during the time of civil war but gradually they breached the administration by overlooking their favors.
  • They started calling themselves deputy of the sultan' because of their authority.

Decline of the Mamluk Dynasty

The rule of the Mamluk dynasty came to an end within a century. After the decline of the Mamluk dynasty, Khaljis came into existence. There were several circumstances that led to the decline of the Slave Dynasty.

  • The Sultans from Slave Dynasty called themselves foreigners'. At that time, the feeling of brotherhood and harmony was not shared by the people of India.
  • The Hindus started conspiring against Muslim rulers. The deviousness of the Hindus toward the Sultans created chaos and confusion, making it difficult for the Sultanate to control the people of the Kingdom.
  • The autocratic military rule authorized the centre with immense power.
  • No rights were given to the provincial governors. They acted like the puppets of the Sultans. Their survival in the court depended on following the directions given by the Sultans. This affected their promotions and demotions.
  • The dynasty also followed the divine right theory, in which the Sultans of the Mamluk dynasty claimed themselves to be the descendants of the God on earth. The subjects denied this theory. Such tension led to the downfall of the Mamluk dynasty.

The Sultans in India depended on Muslim Amirs for their survival. The Muslim Amirs were honoured with gifts and high posts by the Sultanate. Military security and financial aid were given to them in return. They were powerful as well, and such authority made them from The forty' which increased the power of the Amirs. Later on, they started neglecting the will of the king.

Iltutmish wanted Razia to sit on the throne, but by sources, Muslim Amirs enthroned Ruknuddin. The rising power of the Muslim Amirs contributed to the decline of the Slave dynasty.

Slave Dynasty UPSC

The Slave dynasty UPSC Topic is an important part of the history syllabus of the UPSC exams. The Slave dynasty became more important as it was the first to rule the Delhi Sultanate. It is observed that many questions come in the Mains and the UPSC Prelims exam from this topic. Apart from the first two phases of exams, the Slave dynasty is among the hot topics from history in the interview round.

The candidates must prepare for this topic properly. To understand Slave Dynasty in detail, you can take the help of UPSC History Books and Indian History Notes for UPSC.

Slave Dynasty UPSC Prelims Question

Download the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to revise and practice the questions asked in the exam.

Choose the correct answer from the given options.

Question: Which ruler of the Delhi Sultanate completed the construction of the Qutub Minar?

  1. Qutb-ud-din Aibak
  2. Ghiyas-ud-din-Balban
  3. Muiz-ud-din Bahram
  4. Iltutmish

Answer: D

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FAQs on Slave Dynasty

  • All Rulers of the Slave Dynasty or Mamluk Dynasty Rulers are listed below

    • Qutb ud-Din Aibak
    • Aram Shah 
    • Iltutmish
    • Rukn-ud-din Feroze
    • Razia al-Din
    • Muiz-ud-din Bahram
    • Ala-ud-din Masud
    • Nasiruddin Mahmud
    • Ghiyas-ud-din Balban 
    • Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Qaiqabad


  • The Slave Dynasty is also called the Mamluk Dynasty or Gulam Dynasty. The word Mamluk means owned. The Mamluk referred to the strong military class that found its origin in the Islamic empire of the Abbasid Caliphs. During that era, all the officers and army generals were called Slaves, and they worked for their rulers. That’s how the dynasty was named. 

  • The Slave Dynasty was founded by Qutb ud-Din Aibak and reigned from 1206 to 1210. Aibak was a slave to Muhammad Ghori, and after his death, he called himself the Ruler. 

  • Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Qaiqabad was the last ruler of the Slave Dynasty / Mamluk Dynasty. Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khilji ruled Delhi after the Slave Dynasty.

  • Illutmish completed the construction of the Qutub Minar during his rule. He spent much of his wealth on constructing mosques, waterworks, and civil amenities across the Delhi Sultanate. He also built Shamshi Talab. He had built Sultan Ghari, a funerary monument for his son, Nasiruddin.

  • Some primary reasons that marked the decline of the Mamluk dynasty include a lack of warfare skills among the rulers, weak rulers, and an improper administration system.

  • Razia Sultan, daughter of Iltutmish, was the ruler of Delhi and the Slave Dynasty after the death of Iltutmish. Razia Sultan is the first and last woman ruler of Delhi. 

  • The Mamluk dynasty ended after the murder of Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Qaiqabad. After his death, the Khilji dynasty began under the reign of Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khilji.

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