Sultans
Sultan, originally, according to the Qurʾān, moral or spiritual authority; the term later came to denote political or governmental power and from the 11th century was used as a title by Muslim sovereigns.
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Agung
Agung, third sultan of the Mataram dynasty of central Java who brought his domain to its greatest territorial and military power. In the early years of Sultan Agung’s reign, he consolidated the sultanate by subduing the autonomous trade-based coastal states of Padang and Tuban in 1619; Banjermasin,...
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Muḥammad ibn Tughluq
Muḥammad ibn Tughluq, second sultan of the Tughluq dynasty (reigned 1325–51), who briefly extended the rule of the Delhi sultanate of northern India over most of the subcontinent. As a result of misguided administrative actions and unexampled severity toward his opponents, he eventually lost his...
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Sh. Abdur Rashid
Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muʿizzaddin Waddaulah
Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muʿizzaddin Waddaulah, 29th sultan of Brunei. Hassanal Bolkiah was the eldest son of Sultan Sir Haji Omar Ali Saifuddin. He was educated privately and later attended the Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, England. In...
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Hassan I
Hassan I, sultan of Morocco (1873–94), whose policy of internal reforms brought his country a degree of stability previously unknown and who succeeded in preserving the independence of that North African nation. Hassan’s succession on Sept. 12, 1873, was peaceful, but throughout his reign he was...
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Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī
Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī, Marīnid sultan of Morocco (reigned 1331–51) who increased the territories of his dynasty and, for a brief time, created a united North African empire. In 1331 Abū al-Ḥasan succeeded his father, Abū Saʿīd, to the throne. With the goals of expelling the Christians from Spain and...
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Iltutmish
Iltutmish, third and greatest Delhi sultan of the so-called Slave dynasty. Iltutmish was sold into slavery but married the daughter of his master, Quṭb al-Dīn Aibak, whom he succeeded in 1211. He strengthened and expanded the Muslim empire in northern India and moved the capital to Delhi, where he...
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Ibrāhīm Lodī
Ibrāhīm Lodī, last Afghan sultan of Delhi of the Lodī dynasty. He was a suspicious tyrant who increasingly alienated his nobles during his reign. The son of Sikandar, Ibrāhīm succeeded to the throne on his father’s death (Nov. 21, 1517) and was quickly faced with continuing disputes between the...
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Qalāʾūn
Qalāʾūn, Mamlūk sultan of Egypt (1279–90), the founder of a dynasty that ruled that country for a century. In the 1250s Qalāʾūn was an early and devoted supporter of the Mamlūk commander Baybars, and, after the latter became sultan of Egypt and Syria in 1260, Qalāʾūn’s career advanced rapidly. U...
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Ḥusayn Shah ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn
Ḥusayn Shah ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn, founder of the Ḥusayn Shāhī dynasty of Bengal. He is often regarded as the most illustrious ruler (1493–1519) of late medieval Bengal. The details of ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn’s early life are obscured by myth and legend. His father is said to have been a direct descendant of the...
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Al-Malik al-Kāmil
Al-Malik al-Kāmil, sultan (from 1218) of the Ayyūbid line, who ruled Egypt, Palestine, and Syria during the Fifth and Sixth crusades. On his accession to the sultanate, al-Kāmil engaged the armies of the Fifth Crusade and eventually negotiated their withdrawal from Egypt in 1221. During this...
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Abulfatah Agung
Abulfatah Agung, ruler of the powerful Javanese sultanate of Bantam from 1651 to 1683. Agung encouraged English and French trade but successfully opposed Dutch expansion into the area in the early part of his reign. In the 1670s, however, when he attempted to change the succession to his throne...
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Qaboos bin Said
Qaboos bin Said, sultan of Oman (1970–2020). Qaboos, a member of Oman’s Āl Bū Saʿīd dynasty, was educated at Bury Saint Edmunds, Suffolk, England, and at Sandhurst, the Royal Military Academy, in Berkshire, England. He was called home in 1965 by his father, Saʿīd ibn Taymūr, who kept his son a...
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Baybars I
Baybars I, most eminent of the Mamlūk sultans of Egypt and Syria, which he ruled from 1260 to 1277. He is noted both for his military campaigns against Mongols and crusaders and for his internal administrative reforms. The Sirat Baybars, a folk account purporting to be his life story, is still...
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Hassanein Muhammad Rabie
Abu Bakar
Abu Bakar, sultan of the Malay state of Johore (now part of Malaysia) from 1885 to 1895. He maintained independence from Britain and stimulated economic development in Johore at a time when most Southeast Asian states were being incorporated into European colonial empires. Under an 1824 British...
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Iskandar Muda
Iskandar Muda, sultan of Aceh in northern Sumatra under whom the region achieved its greatest territorial expansion and an international reputation as a centre of trade and of Islamic learning. When Iskandar Muda began his reign in 1607, he immediately undertook a series of naval actions that won...
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Murad I
Murad I, Ottoman sultan who ruled from 1360 to 1389. Murad’s reign witnessed rapid Ottoman expansion in Anatolia and the Balkans and the emergence of new forms of government and administration to consolidate Ottoman rule in these areas. Murad ascended the throne in succession to his father, Orhan....
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Sultan
Sultan, originally, according to the Qurʾān, moral or spiritual authority; the term later came to denote political or governmental power and from the 11th century was used as a title by Muslim sovereigns. Maḥmūd of Ghazna (reigned ad 998–1030) was the first Muslim ruler to be called sultan by his c...
ENCYCLOPEDIA / SULTANS
Saladin
Saladin, Muslim sultan of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine, founder of the Ayyūbid dynasty, and the most famous of Muslim heroes. In wars against the Christian Crusaders, he achieved great success with the capture of Jerusalem (October 2, 1187), ending its nearly nine decades of occupation by the...
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Paul E. Walker
Malik-Shāh
Malik-Shāh, third and most famous of the Seljuq sultans. Malik-Shāh succeeded his father, Alp-Arslan, in 1072 under the tutelage of the great vizier Niẓām al-Mulk, who was the real manager of the empire until his death. Malik-Shāh had first to overcome a revolt of his uncle Qāwurd (Kavurd) and an...
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Sanjar
Sanjar, Seljuq prince of Khorāsān from c. 1096 to 1157, whose fame almost eclipses that of the “Great Seljuqs” because of the length of his reign, his power and victories in its first half, his disasters in the second, and the fact that he was the last real Seljuq sultan in Iran. Appointed governor...
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Barghash
Barghash, sultan of Zanzibar (1870–88), a shrewd and ambitious ruler, who, for most of his reign, looked to Britain for protection and assistance but eventually saw his domains divided between Germany and his former protector. Although not the first heir to the throne of his father, Saʿīd ibn...
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Aybak
Aybak, first Mamlūk sultan of Egypt (1250–57) in the Turkish, or Baḥrī, line. Upon the death of al-Ṣaliḥ, the last great sultan of the Ayyūbid dynasty, his son succeeded him but offended his father’s slave guards, or Mamlūks, who killed him (April 30, 1250). Shajar al-Durr, al-Ṣaliḥ’s widow,...
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Mahmud Muzaffar Shah
Mahmud Muzaffar Shah, last sultan of Riau (Riouw) and Lingga (archipelagoes south of Singapore), whose deposition cleared the way for Dutch colonial control. Mahmud was crowned sultan in 1834, and, when the regency of his father ended in 1841, he resolved to restore the power wielded by his...
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Alp-Arslan
Alp-Arslan, second sultan of the Seljuq Turks (1063–72), who inherited the Seljuq territories of Khorāsān and western Iran and went on to conquer Georgia, Armenia, and much of Asia Minor (won from the Byzantines). Alp-Arslan was the son of Chaghri Beg, the ruler of Khorāsān in Iran, and the nephew...
BIOGRAPHY
WRITTEN BY
Claude Cahen
Mahmud Shah
Mahmud Shah, sultan of Malacca (now Melaka) from 1488 until capture of the city by the Portuguese in 1511, after which he founded the kingdom of Johor (Johore). At the time of Mahmud Shah’s accession the city-state of Malacca was at the peak of its power and was the preeminent trade centre of...
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Abd al-Aziz
Abd al-Aziz, sultan of Morocco from 1894 to 1908, whose reign was marked by an unsuccessful attempt to introduce European administrative methods in an atmosphere of increasing foreign influence. Abd al-Aziz was proclaimed sultan upon the death of his father, Hassan I, but did not begin direct rule ...
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Tippu Sultan
Tippu Sultan, sultan of Mysore, who won fame in the wars of the late 18th century in southern India. Tippu was instructed in military tactics by French officers in the employ of his father, Hyder Ali, who was the Muslim ruler of Mysore. In 1767 Tippu commanded a corps of cavalry against the...
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Al-Ashraf Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Khalīl
Al-Ashraf Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Khalīl, Mamlūk sultan of Egypt who completed his father Qalāʾūn’s campaign to drive the Franks from Syria. He captured Acre (now ʿAkko, Israel) in the spring of 1291, and the remaining crusader fortresses were surrendered by the end of the year. He was murdered by his emirs,...
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Orhan
Orhan, the second ruler of the Ottoman dynasty, which had been founded by his father, Osman I. Orhan’s reign (1324–60) marked the beginning of Ottoman expansion into the Balkans. Under Orhan’s leadership, the small Ottoman principality in northwestern Anatolia continued to attract Ghazis (warriors...
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Sultan Idris ibn Raja Iskandar
Sultan Idris ibn Raja Iskandar, sultan of Perak, 1887–1916. Idris succeeded to the throne of Perak only 13 years after the British had declared a protectorate over the state. He reigned during a crucial and formative period in its history, during which it became a part of the unified Federated...
BIOGRAPHY
Alauddin
Alauddin, sultan of the Malay kingdom of Johor (Johore) from 1528. He is sometimes considered the cofounder of the kingdom with his father, Mahmud Shah, the last sultan of Melaka (Malacca), who established Johor on the island of Bintan (southeast of Singapore) in 1512–13. Sometime after his...
BIOGRAPHY
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