Sultanate of Bengal
|Capital|| Pandua (1352-1450)|
|Common languages|| Persian, Bengali (official)|
|Religion|| Islam (official)|
• Unification of Bengal
• Mughal invasion
|Today part of|
The Sultanate of Bengal (also known as the Bengal Sultanate; Bangalah (Persian : بنگالهBangālah, Bengali : বাঙ্গালা/বঙ্গালা) and Shahi Bangalah (Persian : شاهی بنگالهShāhī Bangālah, Bengali : শাহী বাঙ্গলা) was the sovereign power of Bengal for much of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. It emerged after more than a century of rule by the Delhi Sultanate. The Bengal Sultanate was a cosmopolitan and important Muslim state in Asia. Described by the Europeans as the richest country to trade with, it was the first independent unified Bengali kingdom under Muslim rule. The region became widely known as Bangalah and Bengala under this kingdom. The two terms are precursors to the modern terms Bangla and Bengal. In European and Chinese accounts, the Bengal Sultanate was described as a major trading nation in the medieval period.
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.
Bengali, also known by its endonym Bangla, is an Indo-Aryan language primarily spoken by the Bengalis in South Asia. It is the official and most widely spoken language of Bangladesh and second most widely spoken of the 22 scheduled languages of India, behind Hindi. In 2015, 160 million speakers were reported for Bangladesh, and the 2011 Indian census counted another 100 million. With approximately 260–300 million total speakers worldwide, Bengali is the 6th most spoken language by number of native speakers and 7th most spoken language by total number of speakers in the world.
In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.
The kingdom was formed after Delhi's governors in Bengal declared independence. Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah united the region's states into a single government headed by an imperial Sultan. Aside from a population of Bengalis, the kingdom was a stronghold for Persianate Turkic immigrants, Moorish merchants and Sufi clerics. It was notable for religious pluralism, in which Hindus played an important role in government, the military, land ownership and the arts. Bengal's economy flourished after the stoppage of wealth outflow to Delhi.Shipbuilding and textile manufacturing became the largest industries. Bengali silver currency had a greater supply than Delhi. The kingdom played an important role in Indian Ocean trade and Asian Pacific trade, with a maritime network stretching from the Red Sea and East Africa in the west to China, Brunei, Malacca and Sumatra in the east. Bengali ships were the largest vessels in Southeast Asia. In the west, Bengal won wars against Delhi and Jaunpur; captured the attention of the Persian poet Hafez; traded with the Maldives; financed colleges in the Hejaz; and imported mercenaries from Africa. In the early 16th-century, permission was given for setting up the Portuguese settlement in Chittagong, which was the first European trading colony in Bengal.
Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah was the first Sultan of Bengal and founder of the Ilyas Shahi dynasty, which lasted for nearly one hundred and fifty years. A Sunni Muslim of Sistani Afghan origin, he unified the Bengal region into an Islamic kingdom during the 14th century. Popularly known as Ilyas Shah, he waged military campaigns across the eastern Indian subcontinent and defeated the rulers of Delhi, Sonargaon, Satgaon, Nepal, Orissa and Assam. Based in Pandua, his campaigns reached as far as the Kathmandu Valley, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Champaran and Cuttack. His campaigns were considered "world-conquering" in the context of medieval India. Ilyas Shah has been described as the Bengali equivalent of Alexander or Napoleon.
Sultan is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", derived from the verbal noun سلطة sulṭah, meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms, albeit without claiming the overall caliphate, or to refer to a powerful governor of a province within the caliphate. The adjective form of the word is "sultanic", and the dynasty and lands ruled by a sultan are referred to as a sultanate.
Bengalis, also rendered as the Bengali people, Bangalis and Bangalees, are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group native to the Bengal region in South Asia, specifically in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, presently divided between Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam's Barak Valley, who speak Bengali, a language from the Indo-Aryan language family. The term "Bangalee" is also used to denote people of Bangladesh as a nation.
At the height of its territorial empire, the kingdom ruled over areas in eastern South Asia and Southeast Asia. It restored Min Saw Mon as the king of Arakan after the Reconquest of Arakan. The Sultans were very Persianized.Literature was fostered in Persian and Bengali, with strong Sufi influences. Bengali architecture evolved significantly during this period, with several external influences. Mosques were the most important civic architecture. Sultan Sikandar Shah built the largest mosque in the Indian subcontinent.
Eastern South Asia is a subregion of South Asia. It includes the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. Geographically, it lies between the Eastern Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal. Two of the world's largest rivers, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, flow into the sea through Eastern South Asia. The region includes the world's highest mountainous terrain and the world's largest delta, and has a climate ranging from alpine and subalpine to subtropical and tropical. Since Nepal, Bhutan, and northeast India are landlocked, the coastlines of Bangladesh and East India serve as the principal gateways to the region.
South Asia, or Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan SAARC countries and, for some authorities, adjoining countries to the west and east. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian Plate, which rises above sea level as Nepal and northern parts of India situated south of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. South Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean and on land by West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Narameikhla Min Saw Mon was the last king of Launggyet Dynasty and the founder of Mrauk-U Dynasty of Arakan.
The kingdom was ruled by five dynasties. These included the Ilyas Shahi dynasty, the Hussain Shahi dynasty, the Suri dynasty, the Karrani dynasty; and the dynasty established by Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah. The sultanate's reign was interrupted by Raja Ganesha's coup and the rebellion of African mercenaries in the 15th-century;and the invasion of Sher Shah Suri in the 16th-century.
The Ilyas Shahi dynasty also called the ইলিয়াস শাহী রাজবংশ was the first independent Turkic Muslim ruling dynasty in late medieval Bengal, which ruled from the 14th century to the 15th century. It was founded in 1342 by Shamsuddin Iliyas Shah.
The Hussain Shahi dynasty ruled from 1494-1538. Alauddin Husain Shah, considered as the greatest of all the sultans of Bengal for bringing a cultural renaissance during his reign. He conquered Kamarupa, Kamata, Jajnagar, and Orissa and extended the sultanate all the way to the port of Chittagong, which witnessed the arrival of the first Portuguese merchants. Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah gave refuge to the Afghan lords during the invasion of Babur though he remained neutral.The hindu people of bengal gave him the titles of Nripati Tilak and jagatbhusan. He was also known as Akbar of bengal. He encourage the translation of Sanskrit literature in Bengali. He built a famous mosque named chota sona masjid.
The Karrani dynasty was founded in 1564 by Taj Khan Karrani, an ethnic Pashtun from the Karlani tribe. It was the last dynasty to rule the Sultanate of Bengal.
The kingdom began to disintegrate in the 16th century, in the aftermath of Sher Shah Suri's conquests. The Mughal Empire began to absorb Bengal under its first emperor, Babur. The second Mughal emperor Humayun occupied the Bengali capital of Gaurh. In 1576, the armed forces of emperor Akbar defeated the last reigning Sultan Daud Khan Karrani. The region later became Mughal Bengal. The eastern Bhati region was ruled by remnants of the sultanate, known as the Twelve Bhuiyans, until the early 17th-century. The Twelve Bhuiyans resisted Mughal expansion under their leader Isa Khan before succumbing to Mughal conquest by the early 1600s.
The Mughal Empire, or Mogul Empire, founded in 1526, was an empire that comprised the majority of the Indian subcontinent. It was established and ruled by the Timurid dynasty, with Turco-Mongol Chagatai roots from Central Asia, claiming direct descent from both Genghis Khan and Timur, and with significant Indian Rajput and Persian ancestry through marriage alliances; the first two Mughal emperors had both parents of Central Asian ancestry, while successive emperors were of predominantly Persian and Rajput ancestry. The dynasty was Indo-Persian in culture, combining Persianate culture with local Indian cultural influences visible in its court culture and administrative customs.
Babur, born Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad, was the founder and first Emperor of the Mughal dynasty in India. He was a direct descendant of Emperor Timur (Tamerlane) from what is now Uzbekistan.
Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad, better known by his regnal name, Humayun, was the second emperor of the Mughal Empire, who ruled over territory in what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India, and Bangladesh from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556. Like his father, Babur, he lost his kingdom early but regained it with the aid of the Safavid dynasty of Persia, with additional territory. At the time of his death in 1556, the Mughal Empire spanned almost one million square kilometres.
The Delhi Sultanate lost its hold over Bengal in 1338 when separatist states were established by governors, including Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah in Sonargaon, Alauddin Ali Shah in Lakhnauti and Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah in Satgaon. In 1352, Ilyas Shah defeated the rulers of Sonargaon and Lakhnauti and united the Bengal region into an independent kingdom. He founded the Turkic Ilyas Shahi dynasty which ruled Bengal until 1490. During this time, much of the agricultural land was controlled by Hindu zamindars, which caused tensions with Muslim Taluqdars. The Ilyas Shahi rule was challenged by Raja Ganesha, a powerful Hindu landowner, who briefly managed to place his son, Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah, on the throne in the early 15th century, before the Ilyas Shahi dynasty was restored in 1432. The late 1480s saw four usurper sultans from the mercenary corps. Tensions between different Muslim communities often affected the kingdom.
The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic empire based in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526). Five dynasties ruled over the Delhi Sultanate sequentially: the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90), the Khalji dynasty (1290–1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414), the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51), and the Lodi dynasty (1451–1526). The sultanate is noted for being one of the few powers to repel an attack by the Mongols ,, caused the decline of Buddhism in East India and Bengal, and enthroned one of the few female rulers in Islamic history, Razia Sultana, who reigned from 1236 to 1240.
Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah ruled an independent kingdom in areas that lie within modern-day eastern and southeastern Bangladesh, centered in Sonargaon. He is also the first Muslim ruler to conquest Chittagong, the principal port of Bengal region in 1340 AD.
Alauddin Ali Shah was an independent ruler of Lakhnauti, the old capital of Bengal.
After a period of instability, Alauddin Hussain Shah gained control of Bengal in 1494 when he was prime minister. As Sultan, Hussain Shah ruled till 1519. The dynasty he founded reigned till 1538. Muslims and Hindus jointly served in the royal administration during the Hussain Shahi dynasty. This era is often regarded as a golden age of the Bengal Sultanate, in which Bengali territory included areas of Arakan, Orissa, Tripura and Assam.The sultanate gave permission for establishing the Portuguese settlement in Chittagong. Sher Shah Suri conquered Bengal in the 16th century, during which he renovated the Grand Trunk Road. After conquering Bengal, Sher Shah Suri proceeded to Agra. His governor in Bengal rebelled and later reclaimed the sultanate. The Pashtun Karrani dynasty was the last royal family of the kingdom.
The absorption of Bengal into the Mughal Empire was a gradual process. It began with the defeat of Bengali forces under Sultan Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah by Babur at the Battle of Ghaghra. Humayun occupied the Bengali capital of Gaur during the invasion of Sher Shah Suri against both the Mughals and Bengal Sultans. Mughal rule formally began with the Battle of Raj Mahal when the last reigning Sultan of Bengal was defeated by the forces of Akbar. The Bengal Subah was created. The eastern deltaic Bhati region remained outside of Mughal control until being absorbed in the early 17th-century. The delta was controlled by a confederation of twelve aristocrats of the former sultanate, who became known as the Twelve Bhuiyans. Their leader was Isa Khan, a former nobleman of the sultanate. The Mughal government eventually suppressed the remnants of the sultanate in Bhati and brought all of Bengal under imperial rule.
The Bengal Sultanate was an absolute monarchy. The Ilyas Shahi dynasty promoted a Persianate society. It copied the pre-Muslim Persian tradition of monarchy and statecraft. The courts of the capital cities sanctified the sultan, used Persianized royal paraphernalia, adopted an elaborate court ceremony modeled on the Sasanian imperial paradigm, employed a hierarchical bureaucracy, and promoted Islam as the state religion. The rise of Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah saw more native elements inducted in the courts.The Hussain Shahi dynasty employed many Hindus in the government and promoted a form of religious pluralism.
Military strength was the existential basis of medieval kingdoms in Bengal and other parts of India. The sultans had a well-organised army, including cavalry, artillery, infantry and war elephants; and a navy. Due to the riverine geography and climate, it was not feasible to use cavalry throughout the year in Bengal. The cavalry was probably the weakest component of the Bengal Sultanate's army, as the horses had to be imported from foreign countries. The artillery was an important section. Portuguese historian João de Barros opined that the military supremacy of Bengal over Arakan and Tripura was due to its efficient artillery. The artillery used cannons and guns of various sizes.
The paiks formed the vital part of the Bengal infantry during this period. There were occasions when the paiks also tackled political situations. The particular battle array of the foot-soldiers who used bows, arrows and guns attracted the attention of Babur.
War elephants played an important part in the Bengal army. Apart from carrying war materials, elephants were also used for the movement of the armed personnel. In riverine Bengal the usefulness of elephants, though very slow, could not be minimised. The navy was of prime necessity in riverine Bengal. In fact, the cavalry could ensure the hold over this country for a period of six months whereas the boats backed by the paiks could command supremacy over the other half of the year. Since the time of Iwaz Khalji, who first organised a naval force in Islamic Bengal, the war boats played an important role in the political affairs of the country. The chief of the admiralty had various responsibilities, including shipbuilding, river transport, to fit out strong boats for transporting war elephants; to recruit seamen; to patrol the rivers and to collect tolls at ghats. The efficiency of the navy eroded during the Hussain Shahi dynasty. The sultans also built forts, including temporary mud walled forts.
|Name of Conflict||Belligerents||Outcome|
|Bengal Sultanate-Delhi Sultanate War (1353–1359)||Velanati Chodas||Delhi Sultanate||Victory|
|Bengal Sultanate-Jaunpur Sultanate War (1415-1420)|| Timurid Empire |
|Reconquest of Arakan (1429-1430)||Launggyet||Burmese Kingdoms||Victory|
|Bengal Sultanate–Kamata Kingdom War (1498)||Kamata Kingdom||Victory|
|Bengal Sultanate-Kingdom of Mrauk U War of 1512-1516||Kingdom of Mrauk U||Victory|
| Battle of Ghaghra |
|Eastern Afghan Confederates||Mughal Empire||Defeat|
| Battle of Raj Mahal |
The economy of the Bengal Sultanate inherited earlier aspects of the Delhi Sultanate, including mint towns, a salaried bureaucracy and the jagirdar system of land ownership. The production of silver coins inscribed with the name of the Sultan of Bengal was a mark of Bengali sovereignty.
Bengal was more successful in perpetuating purely silver coinage than Delhi and other contemporary Asian and European governments. There were three sources of silver. The first source was the leftover silver reserve of previous kingdoms. The second source was the tribute payments of subordinate kingdoms which were paid in silver bullion. The third source was during military campaigns when Bengali forces sacked neighboring states.
The apparent vibrancy of the Bengal economy in the beginning of the 15th-century is attributed to the end of tribute payments to Delhi, which ceased after Bengali independence and stopped the outflow of wealth. Ma Huan's testimony of a flourishing shipbuilding industry was part of the evidence that Bengal enjoyed significant seaborne trade. The expansion of muslin production, sericulture and the emergence of several other crafts were indicated in Ma Huan's list of items exported from Bengal to China. Bengali shipping co-existed with Chinese shipping until the latter withdrew from the Indian Ocean in the mid-15th-century. The testimony of European travelers such as Ludovico di Varthema, Duarte Barbosa and Tomé Pires attest to the presence of a large number of wealthy Bengali merchants and shipowners in Malacca.Bengal was also an entrepot. For example, horses were imported into Bengal and re-exported to China.
A vigorous riverine shipbuilding tradition existed in Bengal. The shipbuilding tradition is evidenced in the sultanate's naval campaigns in the Ganges delta. The trade between Bengal and the Maldives, based on rice and cowry shells, was probably done on Arab-style baghlah ships. Chinese accounts point to Bengali ships being prominent in Southeast Asian waters. A vessel from Bengal, probably owned by the Sultan of Bengal, could accommodate three tribute missions- from Bengal, Brunei and Sumatra- and was evidently the only vessel capable of such a task. Bengali ships were the largest vessels plying in those decades in Southeast Asian waters.
All large business transactions were done in terms of silver taka. Smaller purchases involved shell currency. One silver coin was worth 10,250 cowry shells. Bengal relied on shiploads of cowry shell imports from the Maldives. Due to the fertile land, there was an abundance of agricultural commodities, including bananas, jackfruits, pomegranate, sugarcane, and honey. Native crops included rice and sesame. Vegetables included ginger, mustard, onions, and garlic among others. There were four types of wines, including coconut, rice, tarry and kajang. Bengali streets were well provided with eating establishments, drinking houses and bathhouses. At least six varieties of fine muslin cloth existed. Silk fabrics were also abundant. Pearls, rugs and ghee were other important products. The finest variety of paper was made in Bengal from the bark of mulberry trees. The high quality of paper was compared with the lightweight white muslin cloth.
Europeans referred to Bengal as "the richest country to trade with".Bengal was the eastern pole of Islamic India. Like the Gujarat Sultanate in the western coast of India, Bengal in the east was open to the sea and accumulated profits from trade. Bengal also followed the prosperous Malabar Coast of southern India in becoming a center for re-exports. Merchants from around the world began to trade in the Bay of Bengal. Cotton textile exports were a unique aspect of the Bengali economy. Marco Polo noted Bengal's prominence in the textile trade. In 1569, Venetian explorer Caesar Frederick wrote about how merchants from Pegu in Burma traded in silver and gold with Bengalis. Overland trade routes such as the Grand Trunk Road connected Bengal to northern India, Central Asia and the Middle East.
The Taka was the currency of the Bengal Sultanate. Locations hosting a mint also served as provincial capitals, known as mint towns. The following includes a partial listing of mint towns in the Bengal Sultanate.
Bengali was the most spoken language. Persian was an administrative and commercial language. Men wore white shirts, cotton fabrics of various colors, turbans, sarongs, lungis, dhutis, leather shoes, and belts to wrap their robes on the waist. Women wore cotton saris. Upper-class women wore gold jewelry. There were various classes of artisans, as well as physicians and fortune tellers. There was a class of musicians who would gather by the houses of the rich during dawn and play music; and they would be rewarded with wine, food and money during breakfast hours. Some men would have performances with a chained tiger. The Hindu minority did not eat beef. The streets and markets included bathing areas, eating and drinking places, and dessert shops. Betel nut was offered to guests. The population included royalty, aristocrats, natives and foreigners. Many of the rich built ships and went abroad for trade. Many were agriculturalists. Punishments for breaking the law included expulsion from the kingdom, as well as bamboo flogging.
Bengal was a melting pot under the sultanate. It received settlers from North India, the Middle East and Central Asia. They included Turks, Afghans, Persians and Arabs.An important migrant community were Persians. Many Persians in Bengal were teachers, lawyers, scholars and clerics. Mercenaries were widely imported for domestic, military and political service. One particular group of mercenaries were the Abyssinians.
Political relations between China and the Indian subcontinent became nonexistent after the decline of Buddhism in India.In the 15th century, the Bengal Sultanate revived the subcontinent's relations with China for the first time in centuries. Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah began sending envoys to the Ming dynasty. He sent ambassadors in 1405, 1408 and 1409. Emperor Yongle of China responded by sending ambassadors to Bengal between 1405 and 1433, including members of the Treasure voyages fleet led by Admiral Zheng He. The exchange of embassies included the gift of an East African giraffe by Sultan Shihabuddin Bayazid Shah to the Chinese emperor in 1414. China also mediated an end to the Bengal-Jaunpur War after a request from Sultan Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah.
Ming China considered Bengal to be "rich and civilized" and one of the strongest countries in the entire chain of contacts between China and Asian states during the 15th-century.
Following Vasco Da Gama's landing in southern India, Portuguese traders from Malacca, Ceylon and Bombay began traversing the sea routes of the Bay of Bengal. In the early 16th century, Bengal received official Portuguese envoys.Permission was given for the establishment of the Portuguese settlement in Chittagong.
There are records of diplomatic relations between Sultan Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah and Sultan Ashraf Barsbay of Mamluk Egypt. The latter sent the Bengali sultan a robe of honor and a letter of recognition.
There are records of envoys from the East African city state of Malindi being hosted in the Bengali court.Animals constituted a significant part of tributes in medieval courts. The East African envoys brought giraffes, which were noticed by Chinese envoys.
There are records of contacts between Sultan Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah and Sultan Shahrukh Mirza, the Timurid ruler of Herat.
Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam began sending envoys to the neighboring Jaunpur Sultanate. He sent elephants as gifts to Sultan Khawja Jahan.The two kingdoms fought a war between 1415 and 1420. The end of the war brought a long period of peace between the neighboring states. In 1494, Sultan Husayn Shah Sharqi of Jaunpur took refuge in Bengal.
Chinese accounts state that Bengali ships carried an embassy from the Bruneian Empire to Ming China.
The island of Sumatra lies at the southeastern tip of the Bay of Bengal. Northern Sumatra was ruled by the Aceh Sultanate. Chinese accounts state that Bengali ships carried a Sumatran embassy to Ming China.
European accounts refer to the presence of a large number of Bengali merchants in the Malacca Sultanate. The merchants were wealthy shipowners. It is yet to be ascertained whether these merchants had a significant role in the Sultan's court.Ship-owning merchants were often royal envoys.
The Delhi Sultanate initially received tributes from the Bengal Sultanate between 1353 and 1359. Tributes stopped after a war and peace treaty in 1359. The Delhi Sultanate gradually weakened, leaving Bengal as the most powerful state in eastern India.
Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam sponsored the construction of madrasas (Islamic theological schools) in Mecca and Medina.The schools became known as the Ghiyasia Madrasa and Banjaliah Madrasa. Taqiuddin Fasi, a contemporary Arab historian, was a teacher at the madrasa in Mecca. The madrasa in Medina was built at a place called Husn al-Atiq near the Prophet's Mosque. Several other Bengali sultans also sponsored madrasas in Mecca and Medina, including Sultan Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah.
The kingdom was visited by noblemen from city states such as the Venetian Republic, including Niccolo De Conti, Caeser Frederick and Ludovico di Varthema.
Muslim poets were writing in the Bengali language by the 15th century. By the turn of the 16th century, a vernacular literature based on concepts of Sufism and Islamic cosmology flourished in the region. Bengali Muslim mystic literature was one of the most original in Islamic India.
And with the three washers [cups of wine], this dispute is going on.
All the parrots [poets] of India have fallen into a sugar shattering situation (become excited)
That this Persian candy [ode], to Bangalah [Bengal] is going on.
-An excerpt of a poem jointly penned by Hafez and Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah in the 14th century.
With Persian as an official language, Bengal witnessed an influx of Persian scholars, lawyers, teachers and clerics. It was the preferred language of the aristocracy and the Sufis. Thousands of Persian books and manuscripts were published in Bengal. The earliest Persian work compiled in Bengal was a translation of Amrtakunda from Sanskrit by Qadi Ruknu'd-Din Abu Hamid Muhammad bin Muhammad al-'Amidi of Samarqand, a famous Hanafi jurist and Sufi. During the reign of Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah, the city of Sonargaon became an important centre of Persian literature, with many publications of prose and poetry. The period is described as the "golden age of Persian literature in Bengal". Its stature is illustrated by the Sultan's own correspondence with the Persian poet Hafez. When the Sultan invited Hafez to complete an incomplete ghazal by the ruler, the renowned poet responded by acknowledging the grandeur of the king's court and the literary quality of Bengali-Persian poetry.
In the 15th century, the Sufi poet Nur Qutb Alam pioneered Bengali Muslim poetry by establishing the Rikhta tradition, which saw poems written half in Persian and half in colloquial Bengali. The invocation tradition saw Islamic figures replacing the invocation of Hindu gods and goddesses in Bengali texts. The literary romantic tradition saw poems by Shah Muhammad Sagir on Yusuf and Zulaikha, as well as works of Bahram Khan and Sabirid Khan. The Dobhashi culture featured the use of Arabic and Persian words in Bengali texts to illustrate Muslim conquests. Epic poetry included Nabibangsha by Syed Sultan, Janganama by Abdul Hakim and Rasul Bijay by Shah Barid. Sufi literature flourished with a dominant theme of cosmology. Bengali Muslim writers produced translations of numerous Arabic and Persian works, including the Thousand and One Nights and the Shahnameh.
The large number of mosques built during the Bengal Sultanate indicates the rapidity with which the local population converted to Islam. The period between 1450 and 1550 was an intensive mosque building era. These mosques dotted the countryside, ranged from small to medium sizes and were used for daily devotion. Most mosques were either of rectangular or square shape. The rectangular building without an enclosed courtyard became a popular type for both large and medium-sized mosques. Bengali mosques would be covered several small domes. Other features of Bengali mosques would include corner towers, curved roofs, multiple mihrabs, pointed arches and in some cases, a dome in the shape of a hut's roof. Bengali mosques had a conspicuous absence of minarets. Ponds were often located beside a mosque. Arabic inscriptions in the mosques often include the name of the patron or builder. The most commonly cited verse from the Quran in inscriptions was Surah 72, Al-Jinn. A glimpse of houses in the Bengal Sultanate can be seen in the Iskandar Nama (Tale of Alexander) published by Sultan Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah.
The buildings were made of brick. The brick mosque with terracotta decoration represented a grand structure in the Bengal Sultanate. They were often the gift of a wealthy patron and the fruit of extraordinary effort, which would not be found in every Muslim neighborhood.
An exceptional building was the Adina Mosque, the imperial mosque of Bengal and the largest mosque ever built in the Indian subcontinent.The monumental structure was designed in the hypostyle of early Islam with a plan similar to the Umayyad Mosque. The style is associated with the introduction of Islam in new areas.
|Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah||1342–1358||Became the first sole ruler of whole Bengal comprising Sonargaon, Satgaon and Lakhnauti.|
|Sikandar Shah||1358–1390||Assassinated by his son and successor, Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah|
|Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah||1390–1411|
|Saifuddin Hamza Shah||1411–1413|
|Muhammad Shah bin Hamza Shah||1413||Assassinated by his father's slave Shihabuddin Bayazid Shah on the orders of the landlord of Dinajpur, Raja Ganesha|
|Shihabuddin Bayazid Shah||1413–1414|
|Alauddin Firuz Shah I||1414||Son of Shihabuddin Bayazid Shah. Assassinated by Raja Ganesha|
|Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah||1415–1416||Son of Raja Ganesha and converted into Islam|
|Raja Ganesha||1416–1418||Second Phase|
|Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah||1418–1433||Second Phase|
|Shamsuddin Ahmad Shah||1433–1435|
|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|
|Saifuddin Firuz Shah||1487–1489|
|Mahmud Shah II||1489–1490|
|Shamsuddin Muzaffar Shah||1490–1494|
|Alauddin Hussain Shah||1494–1518|
|Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah||1518–1533|
|Alauddin Firuz Shah II||1533|
|Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah||1533–1538|
|Khidr Khan||1539–1541||Declared independence in 1541 and was replaced|
|Muhammad Khan Sur||1545–1554||Declared independence upon the death of Islam Shah Suri|
|Muhammad Khan Sur||1554–1555||Declared independence and styled himself as Shamsuddin Muhammad Shah|
|Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah I||1555–1561|
|Ghiyasuddin Jalal Shah||1561–1563|
|Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah II||1563-1564|
|Taj Khan Karrani||1564–1566|
|Sulaiman Khan Karrani||1566–1572|
|Bayazid Khan Karrani||1572|
|Daud Khan Karrani||1572–1576|
The Qutb Shahi dynasty was a territory in south India. It was initially a highly Persianate Muslim Turkmen dynasty established in the 16th century that eventually adopted the regional culture of the Deccan.
Indo-Persian culture refers to those Persian aspects that have been integrated into or absorbed into the cultures of the Indian subcontinent.
The Tughlaq dynasty also referred to as Tughluq or Tughluk dynasty, was a Muslim dynasty of Turko-Indian origin which ruled over the Delhi sultanate in medieval India. Its reign started in 1320 in Delhi when Ghazi Malik assumed the throne under the title of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq. The dynasty ended in 1413.
Sonargaon is a historic city in central Bangladesh. It is one of the old capitals of the historic region of Bengal and was an administrative center of eastern Bengal. It was also a port and trading center. During British colonial rule, merchants built many Indo-Saracenic townhouses in the Panam neighborhood. Sonargaon was central to the muslin trade in Bengal.
Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah was the third Sultan of Bengal and the Ilyas Shahi dynasty. He was one of the most prominent medieval Bengali sultans. He established diplomatic relations with the Ming Empire of China, pursued cultural contacts with leading thinkers in Persia and conquered Assam.
The history of Bengal is intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent and the surrounding regions of South Asia and Southeast Asia. It includes modern-day Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam's Barak Valley, located in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, at the apex of the Bay of Bengal and dominated by the fertile Ganges delta. The advancement of civilisation in Bengal dates back four millennia. The region was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Gangaridai. The Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers act as a geographic marker of the region, but also connects the region to the broader Indian subcontinent. Bengal, at times, has played an important role in the history of the Indian subcontinent.
Pandua is a historic city of the Indian subcontinent. It was the first capital city of the Bengal Sultanate for 114 years between the mid 14th and mid 15th centuries. It continued to be a "mint town" until the 16th-century. The capital later shifted to Gaur. Pandua was described by travelers as a cosmopolitan administrative, commercial and military base, with a population of natives, royalty, aristocrats and foreigners from across Eurasia.
The Adina Mosque was the largest mosque in the Indian subcontinent. It was built during the Bengal Sultanate as a royal mosque by Sikandar Shah, who is also buried in the mosque. Shah was a member of the Ilyas Shahi dynasty and carried lofty titles such as "the exalted Sultan" and "Caliph of the Faithful". The mosque is situated in Pandua, a former royal capital. The vast architecture is associated with the hypostyle of the Umayyad Mosque, which was used during the introduction of Islam in new areas. The early Bengal Sultanate harboured imperial ambitions after having defeated the Delhi Sultanate twice in 1353 and 1359. The Adina Mosque was commissioned in 1373. The sultanate disintegrated during the sixteenth century with the rise of the Mughal Empire..
Abul Mujahid Sikandar Shah, commonly known as Sikandar Shah; also known as Alexander Shah; was the second Sultan of Bengal and the Ilyas Shahi dynasty. He was the son of Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah. Sikandar Shah continued to project the imperial ambitions of his father. He defeated the Sultan of Delhi in 1359. His reign is also noted for its grandiose architectural projects.
Saptagram was a major port, the chief city and sometimes capital of southern Bengal, in ancient and medieval times, the location presently being in the Hooghly district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is about 4 km from Bandel, a major rail junction. By the early twentieth century, the place had dwindled to a group of insignificant huts. The port had to be abandoned because of the silting up and consequent drying of the Saraswati River. It influenced the subsequent development and growth of Kolkata. H. E. A. Cotton writes, "Here then may be traced nucleus of the future city of Calcutta, and as time went on the silting up of the river opposite Satgaon still further favoured her fortunes."
Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah was a 15th-century Sultan of Bengal and an important figure in medieval Bengali history. Born a Hindu to his aristocratic father Raja Ganesha, the patriarch of the Ganesha dynasty, he assumed the throne of Bengal after a coup which overthrew the Ilyas Shahi dynasty. He converted to Islam and ruled the Bengal Sultanate for 16 years. As a Muslim king, he brought Arakan under Bengali suzerainty and consolidated the kingdom's domestic administrative centres. He pursued relations with the Timurid Empire, Mamluk Egypt and Ming China. Bengal grew in wealth and population during his reign. He also combined Bengali and Islamic architecture.
Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah I was the son and successor of Sultan Shamsuddin Firoz Shah of the Bengal kingdom of Lakhnauti. He ruled the kingdom as an independent ruler during 1322-1324 CE and as a governor during 1324-1328 CE.
Ghiyath al-Din, also transcribed as Ghiyāthu'd-Dīn, Ghiyasuddin, etc. is the name of many persons in the Islamic world. It may refer to:
Chattogram has been a seaport since ancient times. The region was home to the ancient Bengali Buddhist Samatata and Harikela states. It later fell under of the rule of the Gupta Empire, the Pala Empire and the Vesali kingdom of Arakan till the 7th century. Arabs traded with the port from the 9th century AD. An account by historian Lama Taranath has revealed a Buddhist king Gopichandra had his capital at Chittagong in the 10th century, and according to Tibetan tradition, Chittagong was the birthplace of 10th century Buddhist Tantric Tilayogi. In the Fourteenth Century, explorer Ibn Battuta passed through Chittagong during his travels.
Bengali Muslims are an ethnic, linguistic, and religious population who make up the majority of Bangladesh's citizens and the largest minority in the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam. They are Bengalis who adhere to Islam and speak the Bengali language. They form the largest Bengali and the second largest Muslim ethnic group in the world.
The Bengal Sultanate–Jaunpur Sultanate War was a conflict between the Bengal Sultanate and the Jaunpur Sultanate in the Indian subcontinent. The conflict ended after diplomatic pressure from the Timurid Empire and the Ming Empire.
Syed Ibrahim Danishmand was a 16th century landowner and Islamic scholar who belonged to the Sufi Qadiriyya order. Well respected during his lifetime, Danishmand was considered an expert in several Islamic and secular subjects. He is believed to be among the first of the Qadiriyya order to have operated and preached in Bengal.
Shah-i-Bangalah, Shah-i-Bangaliyan and Sultan-i-Bangalah
Bengal [...] was rich in the production and export of grain, salt, fruit, liquors and wines, precious metals and ornaments besides the output of its handlooms in silk and cotton. Europe referred to Bengal as the richest country to trade with.
Bengal [...] was rich in the production and export of grain, salt, fruit, liquors and wines, precious metals and ornaments besides the output of its handlooms in silk and cotton. Europe referred to Bengal as the richest country to trade with.
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