Mamluks were the earliest rulers of the Delhi Sultanate. They are also known as the Slave Kings because many of them were either slaves or were the sons of slaves and became Sultans.
The first of the slave kings was Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who was the general of Muhammad Ghori. After the death of Ghori, Qutb-ud-din stayed in India and established his kingdom.
After Aibak died, Aram Shah assumed power in 1210, but he was assassinated in 1211 by, Shams ud-Din Iltutmish.
When Iltutmish succeeded Qutb ud-din as Sultan, a separate kingdom was established in the northern India, namely Delhi Sultanate.
His rule was challenged a number of times, such as by Qubacha, and this led to a series of wars. Iltutmish conquered Multan and Bengal from contesting Muslim rulers, as well as Ranthambore and Siwalik from the Hindu rulers. He also attacked, defeated, and executed Taj al-Din Yildiz, who asserted his rights as heir to Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad Ghori.
Iltutmish rule lasted till 1236. Following his death, the Delhi Sultanate saw a succession of weak rulers, disputing Muslim nobility, assassinations, and short-lived tenures.
II. Rukn-ud-din Feroze (April 1236 – November 1236)
He was the fourth sultan of Mamluk Dynasty.
He ruled for only seven months and his mother, Shah Turkan, for all practical purposes was running the government
He abandoned himself to the pursuit of personal pleasure and debauchery, to the considerable outrage of the citizenry
On 9 November 1236, both Rukn-ud-din Feroze and his mother Shah Turkan were assassinated by the Chihalgani.
III. Razia Sultan (1236 – 1240)
Razia Sultana was the fifth Sultan.
She is notable for being the first female Muslim ruler of the Indian Subcontinent.
A daughter of Mamluk Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish, Razia administered Delhi during 1231-1232 when her father was busy in the Gwalior campaign
Impressed by her performance during this period, Iltutmish nominated Razia as his heir apparent after returning to Delhi.
Iltutmish was succeeded by Razia's half-brother Ruknuddin Feroze, whose mother Shah Turkan planned to execute her. During a rebellion against Ruknuddin, Razia instigated the general public against Shah Turkan, and ascended the throne after Ruknuddin was deposed in 1236.
She was married to Malik Ikhtiar-ud-din Altunia, the governor of Bathinda.
She was reportedly killed by her brother’s forces.
Her half brother Muizuddin Bahram Shah succeeded her.
IV. Muiz-ud-din Bahram (1240 - 1242)
He was the sixth sultan.
It was during this period of unrest that the Mongols invaded the Punjab and sacked Lahore. Muiz-ud-din Bahram was too weak to take any action against them, and the Chihalgani besieged him in the White Fort of Delhi and put him to death in 1242.
V. Ala-ud-din Masud(1242 – 1246)
He was the seventh sultan of the dynasty.
He was effectively a puppet for the Chihalgani and did not actually have much power or influence in the government. Instead, he became infamous for his fondness of entertainment and wine.
By 1246, the chiefs had become upset with Ala-ud-din Masud's increasing hunger for more power and replaced him with his cousin Nasiruddin Mahmud, who was another grandson of Iltutmish.
VI. Nasiruddin Mahmud(1246 – 1266)
He was the eighth sultan of the dynasty.
As a ruler, Mahmud was known to be very religious, spending most of his time in prayer and was renowned for aiding the poor and the distressed.
It was his Deputy Sultan, Ghiyas-ud-din Balban, who primarily dealt with state affairs.
VII. Ghiyas ud-Din Balban(1266 – 1287)
He was the wazir of the last Shamsi sultan, Nasiruddin Mahmud.
He was the ninth sultan of the Mamluk dynasty of Delhi.
Despite having only few military achievements, he was the most powerful ruler of the sultanate between Shamsuddin Iltutmish and Alauddin Khilji.
He tried to establish peace and order in India and built many outposts with garrisons of soldiers in areas where there had been disorder. Balban wanted to make sure everyone was loyal to the crown, so he established an efficient espionage system.
VIII. Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Qaiqabad (1287 – 1290)
He was the tenth and final Sultan of the Slave Dynasty.
Being still young at the time, he ignored all state affairs. After four years, he suffered a paralytic stroke and was later murdered in 1290 by a Khalji chief.
His three-year-old son Shamsuddin Kayumars nominally succeeded him, but the Slave dynasty had ended with the rise of the Khiljis.