Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent
13th- to 16th-century Muslim conquests across the Indian subcontinent / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent mainly took place between the 13th and the 18th centuries. Earlier Muslim conquests in the subcontinent include the invasions which started in what is now modern-day Pakistan, especially the Umayyad campaigns during the 8th century and the resistance to them by the Rajputs.
Mahmud of Ghazni, who was the first Sultan, and preserved an ideological link to the suzerainty of the Abbasid Caliphate, invaded and plundered vast parts of Punjab and Gujarat during the 11th century.
After the capture of Lahore and the end of the Ghaznavids, the Ghurid ruler Muhammad of Ghor laid the foundation of Muslim rule in India. In 1206, Bakhtiyar Khalji led the Muslim conquest of Bengal, marking the easternmost expansion of Islam at the time. The Ghurid Empire soon evolved into the Delhi Sultanate, ruled by Qutb ud-Din Aibak, the founder of the Mamluk dynasty. With the Delhi Sultanate established, Islam was spread across most parts of the Indian subcontinent.
In the 14th century, the Khalji dynasty under Alauddin Khalji, extended Muslim rule southwards to Gujarat, Rajasthan, and the Deccan. The successor Tughlaq dynasty temporarily expanded its territorial reach to Tamil Nadu. The disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate, mainly caused by Timur's invasion in 1398, caused several Muslim sultanates and dynasties to emerge across the Indian subcontinent, such as the Gujarat Sultanate, Malwa Sultanate, Khandesh Sultanate, Bahmani Sultanate, Jaunpur Sultanate, Madurai Sultanate, and the wealthy and powerful Bengal Sultanate, a major trading nation in the world. Some of these, however, were followed by Hindu reconquests and resistance from the native powers and states, such as the Kamma Nayakas, Vijayanagaras, and Rajput states.
The Sur Empire, ruled by Sher Shah Suri, controlled vast swaths of northern parts of India during the exile of emperor Humayun which was followed by Humayun's triumphant return from Persia and led to the total dominance of the Indian subcontinent by the Mughal Empire which was one of the three gunpowder empires.
Emperor Akbar gradually enlarged the Mughal Empire to include a large portion of the subcontinent. Despite the militaristic nature of their empire the Mughals did not systematically oppress the diverse subjects that they came to rule . Especially under Akbar the great who stressed the importance of religious tolerance and winning over the goodwill of the subjects, a multicultural empire came into being with various non-Muslim subjects being actively integrated into the mughal empires bureaucracy and military machinery . The economic and territorial zenith of the Mughals was reached at the end of the 17th century, when under the reign of emperor Aurangzeb the empire witnessed the full establishment of Islamic Sharia through the Fatawa al-Alamgir.
The Mughals went into a sudden decline immediately after achieving their peak following the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, due to a lack of competent and effective rulers among Aurangzeb's successors. Other factors included the expensive and bloody Mughal-Rajput Wars and the Mughal–Maratha Wars. The Afsharid ruler Nader Shah's invasion in 1739 was an unexpected attack which demonstrated the weakness of the Mughal Empire. This provided opportunities for various regional states such as Rajput states, Mysore Kingdom, Nawabs of Bengal and Murshidabad, Maratha Empire, Sikh Empire, and Nizams of Hyderabad to declare their independence and exercising control over large regions of the Indian subcontinent further accelerating the geopolitical disintegration of the Indian subcontinent. The Maratha Empire replaced Mughals as the dominant power of the subcontinent.
After the Battle of Plassey, the Battle of Buxar, Anglo-Mysore Wars, Anglo-Maratha Wars and Anglo-Sikh Wars the British East India Company seized control of much of the Indian subcontinent. Throughout the 18th century, European powers continued to exert a large amount of political influence over the Indian subcontinent, and by the end of the 19th century most of the Indian subcontinent came under European colonial domination, most notably the British Raj.
Considering the complex history of the Muslim conquests of India, their recollection and legacy is indubitably controversial. The legacy of the Muslim conquest of South Asia is a hotly debated issue even to this day.