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The Bengal Sultanate, officially the Sultanate of Bengal, was a Muslim state and empire based in the Indian subcontinent on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.[1] It was an important power in South and Southeast Asia.[2] Its rulers carried the title of King of Kings in the East. The kingdom's heartland was in Bengal, which is today divided between Bangladesh and East India, but its realm included large parts of North India and western Myanmar. Its bordering countries included the Delhi Sultanate, Tibet, Ahom and Burmese states. Several dynasties ruled over Bengal Sultanate sequentially. It disintegrated at the end of the 16th century and was absorbed into the Pan-South-Asian Mughal Empire and the Arakanese Kingdom of Mrauk U

Sultanate of Bengal
বাংলা সালতানাত

The Sultanate of Bengal in 1500, including Bengal and parts of Bihar, Assam and Arakan
Capital Gaur, Pandua, Sonargaon
Languages Persian, Bengali, Maithili, Magadhi, Odia, Assamese and Arabic
Religion Sunni Islam (official), Hinduism, Buddhism
Government Monarchy
 •  1342–1358 Ilyas Shah (first)
 •  1572–1576 Daud Khan Karrani (last)
Historical era Late medieval
 •  Establishment 1352
 •  Fall of Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah 1538
 •  Re-establishment 1554
 •  Battle of Raj Mahal 12 July 1576
Currency Tangka
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Delhi Sultanate
Sur Empire
Sur Empire
Mughal Empire
Bengal Subah
Today part of  Bangladesh



Delhi lost its hold over Bengal in 1338, thus paving the way for the assumption of independence by Ilyas Khan.[3] In 1342, a local warlord, Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah proclaimed himself as monarch of the Kingdom of Lakhnauti. He would go on to consolidate his rule by conquering the other independent kingdoms of Bengal before proclaiming himself as Sultan of Bengal.

The absorption of Bengal into the Mughal Empire was a gradual process beginning with the defeat of Bengali forces under Sultan Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah by Babur at the Battle of Ghaghra and ending with the Battle of Raj Mahal where the Pashtun Karrani dynasty, the last reigning Sultans of Bengal were defeated.

List of Sultans

Ilyas Shahi dynasty (1342-1414)

Name Reign Notes
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

House of Raja Ganesha (1414-1435)

Name Reign Notes
Raja Ganesha 1414–1415
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

Restored Ilyas Shahi dynasty (1435-1487)

Name Reign Notes
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

Habshi rule (1487-1494)

Name Reign Notes
Shahzada Barbak 1487
Saifuddin Firuz Shah 1487–1489
Mahmud Shah II 1489–1490
Shamsuddin Muzaffar Shah 1490–1494

Hussain Shahi dynasty (1494-1538)

Name Reign Notes
Alauddin Hussain Shah 1494–1518
Nasiruddin Nasrat Shah 1518–1533
Alauddin Firuz Shah II 1533
Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah 1533–1538

Governors under Suri rule (1539-1554)

Name Reign Notes
Khidr Khan 1539–1541 Declared independence in 1541 and was replaced
Qazi Fazilat 1541–1545
Muhammad Khan Sur 1545–1554 Declared independence upon the death of Islam Shah Suri

Muhammad Shah dynasty (1554-1564)

Name Reign Notes
Muhammad Khan Sur 1554–1555 Declared independence and styled himself as Shamsuddin Muhammad Shah
Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah I (not to be confused with Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah of Lakhnauti) 1555–1561
Ghiyasuddin Jalal Shah 1561–1563
Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah II 1563-1564

Karrani dynasty (1564-1576)

Name Reign Notes
Taj Khan Karrani 1564–1566
Sulaiman Khan Karrani 1566–1572
Bayazid Khan Karrani 1572
Daud Khan Karrani 1572–1576

Mint towns



The Sixty Dome Mosque in Bagerhat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Old Gateway of Gaur
Tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah at Sonargaon.
Silver tanka of Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah
The Sona Mosque in Rajshahi
The Firoz Minar at Gaur
Ruins of Shamsuddin Ahmad Shah's palace in Dinajpur


The most enduring legacy of the Bengal Sultanate is its architectural heritage. A distinct Bengali-Islamic architecture developed during its reign, which combined indigenous traditions with influences from Persia and Byzantium. It featured multiple and single domed mosques with complex terracotta and stone ornamentation.

The most grand testament to their imperial ambitions is reflected in the ruins of the Adina Mosque, the largest mosque ever built in the Indian subcontinent.[4] The mosque has a plan similar to the Great Mosque of Damascus and elements of the pre-Islamic Sassanid Taq Kasra monument.[4][5] The Mosque City of Bagerhat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sultanate-mosques are scattered throughout Bangladesh and West Bengal.


And with the three cups of wine, this dispute is going on.

All the poets of Hindustan have become excited

That this Persian ode, to Bengal is going on.

-A excerpt of a poem jointly penned by Hafez and Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah in the 14th century.[6]

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 acknowledging the grandeur of the king's court and the literary quality of Bengali-Persian poetry.[7]

Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz

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.[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ David Lewis (31 October 2011). Bangladesh: Politics, Economy and Civil Society. Cambridge University Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-139-50257-3. 
  2. ^ Barbara Watson Andaya; Leonard Y. Andaya (19 February 2015). A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia, 1400–1830. Cambridge University Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-521-88992-6. 
  3. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4. 
  4. ^ a b "The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760" (PDF). Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  5. ^ Hasan, Perween (2007). Sultans and Mosques: The Early Muslim Architecture of Bangladesh. I.B.Tauris. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-84511-381-0. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Persian – Banglapedia". 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Sufi Literature – Banglapedia". 
  • Richard Maxwell Eaton (1996). The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204–1760. University of California Press
  • Hussain, Syed Ejaz (2003). The Bengal Sultanate: Politics, Economy and Coins, A.D. 1205–1576. Manohar. ISBN 978-81-7304-482-3.
  • Perween Hasan (15 August 2007). Sultans and Mosques: The Early Muslim Architecture of Bangladesh. I.B.Tauris. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-1-84511-381-0.
  • The Grammar of Sultanate Mosque in Bengal Architecture, Nujaba Binte Kabir (2012)

Further reading

  • Yegar, Moshe (2002). Between Integration and Secession: The Muslim Communities of the Southern Philippines, Southern Thailand, and Western Burma/Myanmar. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. p. 23–24. ISBN 978-0-7391-0356-2.