Alternative History

The Delhi Khanate within the Mongol Empire

The Delhi Khanate was a state in northern India in the 13th and 14th centuries that was presided over by a Turco-Mongol ruling class. Originally a part of the greater Mongol Empire, it had become effectively independent from Karakorum by the time of Kublai Khan, and from then on gave only nominal recognition to the supremacy of the Great Khans.

The first Mongol raids into India started during their conquest of the Shansabanid Empire, beginning with the Battle of the Indus in 1221. Shah Firuz V fled across the river into his Indian territories, pursued by two Mongol tumens, and set up a new capital at Delhi. The Mongols ravaged the Punjab, Sindh and Kashmir, forcing the various local rulers to pay tribute, before withdrawing to continue their campaigns elsewhere.

In 1258, after having their ambitions in the west frustrated, the Mongols resolved to complete the conquest of the Shansabanids and launched a full-scale invasion of India. Firuz V was defeated and killed at the Battle of Chenab in August of that year, and his remaining armies scattered and were overcome one by one. After bloody examples had been made of Lahore, Multan and a few other cities, most towns submitted themselves to Mongol rule the moment an army was sighted on the horizon. By 1265 the Delhi Khanate encompassed the whole of the Indo-Gangetic plain.

By the end of the 14th century India had become discontent under the Mongols. The Chauhan Rebellion of 1392 deposed the Borjigin in a lightning coup, and the Chauhan Dynasty took their place before anyone outside Delhi realised what had happened. Many Turco-Mongols continued to serve in the armed forces and the civilian government, and were gradually absorbed into wider Indian society.