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The Bengal Sultanate (Middle Bengali: শাহী বাঙ্গালা Shahī Baṅgala, Classical Persian: سلطنت بنگاله Saltanat-e-Bangālah) was a medieval Indian sultanate based in Bengal between the fourteenth and sixteenth century. It was the dominant power of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, with a network of mint towns spread across the region. The Bengal Sultanate had a circle of vassal states in the subcontinent, including parts of Odisha in the southwest, Arakan in the southeast, and Tripura in the east.
Sultanate of Bengal
|Religion||State religion: Sunni Islam (Hanafi)|
Minority religions: Hinduism
• 1342–1358 (first)
• 1572–1576 (last)
|Daud Khan Karrani|
• Raja Ganesha's rebellion
• Suri invasion
• Baro-Bhuyan resistance
|Today part of||Bangladesh|
The Bengal Sultanate controlled large parts of the eastern Indian subcontinent during its five dynastic periods, reaching its peak under Hussain Shahi dynasty. Its raids and conquests reached Nepal in the north, Assam in the east, and Jaunpur and Varanasi in the west. It was reputed as a thriving trading nation and one of Asia's strongest states. Its decline began with an interregnum by the Suri Empire, followed by Mughal conquest and disintegration into petty kingdoms. The Bengal Sultanate was a Sunni Muslim monarchy with Bengali, Turco-Persian, Indo-Afghan and Abyssinian elites. The most prominent dynasties were the Ilyas Shahi, House of Ganesha and Hussain Shahi dynasty. The empire was known for its religious pluralism where non-Muslim communities co-existed peacefully. While Persian was used as the primary official, diplomatic and commercial language, it was under the Sultans that Bengali first received court recognition as an official language. The cities of the Bengal Sultanate are termed as Mint Towns where the historical taka was minted. These cities were adorned with stately medieval buildings. In 1500, the royal capital of Gaur was the fifth-most populous city in the world. Other notable cities included the initial royal capital of Pandua, the economic hub of Sonargaon, the Mosque City of Bagerhat, and the seaport and trading hub of Chittagong. The Bengal Sultanate was connected to states in Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and Europe through maritime links and overland trade routes. The Bengal Sultanate was a major trading center on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. It attracted immigrants and traders from different parts of the world. Bengali ships and merchants traded across the region, including in Malacca, China, and the Maldives.
The Bengal Sultanate was described by contemporary European and Chinese visitors as a prosperous kingdom. Due to the abundance of goods in Bengal, the region was described as the "richest country to trade with". The Bengal Sultanate left a strong architectural legacy. Buildings from the period show foreign influences merged into a distinct Bengali style. The Bengal Sultanate was also the largest and most prestigious authority among the independent medieval Muslim-ruled states in the history of Bengal.