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In the earlier blog, we discussed the governors of the Bengal Sultanate appointed by the Delhi Sultans. There were nearly around 25 governors appointed by Delhi Sultanate and six of them successfully issued coins in their name. Today we will discuss the first independent Sultan of Bengal Sultanate, the subsequent dynasties who ruled the Bengal Sultanate and about the coins of Bengal Sultanate.

Bengal has been always under trouble and turmoil. It was always under the pressure from the Delhi Sultanate. In the year 1310 CE, the provinces of Bengal were divided into two parts East and West Bengal. Later, in the year 1338 CE with the successful invasion of the Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah, the governor of East Bengal got tied up with the Delhi Sultanate.

 

After the death of the Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah in the year 1339 CE the provinces of Bengal came into the hands of the Shams al-Din Ilyas Shah. Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah was the first independent sultan of Bengal Sultanate. Later from 1339 CE till 1538 CE, the Bengal Sultanate was ruled by four dynasties

Ilyas Shahi Dynasties (1339-1406 CE)

Deva Dynasty (1406-1442 CE)

Ilyas Shahi Dynasties (1442-1481 CE)

Habshi King (1486-1493 CE)

Hussain Shahi dynasty (1493-1538 CE)

 

In the year 1552 CE the Bengal Sultanate came under the control of Sher Shah Suri. Sher Shah Suri and his family ruled Bengal till 1563 CE from Delhi. After the Sur dynasty, Bengal was ruled by the Afghan Kararani. The Kararani family ruled Bengal until 1576 CE and then Bengal came under the control of the Mughal Empire.

 

From the capture of Bengal in the year 1203 CE till 1574 CE, the Bengal Sultanate was ruled and dominated by many different dynasties of Turkic, Arab, and Persian, Bengali and Abyssinian origins.

 

The coins of the Bengal Sultanate have an inscription with the name and title of the ruler on the obverse side of the coin. These inscriptions are usually written within different geometric designs like circle, square, etc. All the coins of the Bengal Sultanate can be divided into four categories

 

  1. Name and title of king on the obverse side and shahada on the reverse side, sometimes the name of Abbasid Caliph is also written with Shahada
  2. Name and title of the king on the obverse side and name Abbasid Caliph on the reverse side
  3. Name and title of the king on the obverse side and religious title on the reverse
  4. Name and title on the king are spread on both obverse and reverse side of the coin.

 

Establishment of Ilyas Shah Dynasty

 

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Shams al-Din Ilyas Shah

When East Bengal tied up with Delhi Sultanate, the Delhi government lost its control over Bengal and the separate states were established by the governors. Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah got control over Sonargaon, Alauddin Ali Shah in Lakhnauti, and Shams al-Din Ilyas Shah got control over Satgaon.

Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah worked as a governor of Bengal for almost 19 years. In the year 1942, he defeated the rulers of Sonargaon and Lakhnauti and united the Bengal region under an independent power hold. Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah managed to conquer both East and West Bengal and sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate.

Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah was the first sultan of Bengal Sultanate; after sitting on the throne of the Bengal Sultanatehe proclaimed himself as the “Shah of Bangalah”. Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah played an important role in Indian Ocean trade and Asian Pacific trade. He had stretched his trade route from the Red Sea and East Africa in the west to China, Brunei, Malacca and Sumatra in the east.

The Ilyahi Shahi Dynasties ruled Bengal for almost 150 years. This dynasty was one of the leading diplomatic, economic and military powers in the Indian subcontinent. Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah was a liberal ruler, he used to treat all his members of the court equally.

Coins of the Bengal Sultanate issued by this dynasty with the legends inscribed within different geometric designs like circle, square, quadrifoil, Star, octofoil are very famous.

 

The above gold Tanks was issued by Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah.

obverse :- Al-Sultan Al-‘Adil Shams Al-Dunya Wa ‘L Din Abu ‘L Muzaffar Ilyas Shah Al-Sultan

Reverse: – Sikandar Al-Sani Yamin Al-Khilafa (Nasir) Amir Al-Mu ‘Minin

 

 

Deva Dynasty

 

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The reign of Ilyas Shah Dynasty was interrupted by the uprising power of Raja Ganesh. Raja Ganesh was the descendant of Deva Dynasties of Bengal. The ancestors of Raja Ganesh were the landlord of Bengal. When the Muslim rulers soughed out the noble landlord for their administrative affairs; Raja Ganesha was appointed as an officer of Pandua by Ilyas shahis. Later, when Ilyas Shah Dynasty started becoming weaker he took advantage of their weakness and seized power in Bengal. Raja Ganesh wanted to place his son, KansJha or Kans Shah on the throne of Bengal Sultanate. To place his son on the throne of the Bengal Sultanate he converted his son into Muslim and made him sit on the throne with the title Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah.

After the Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah his son, Shams-ud-Din Ahmad Shah sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate.

Coins of this dynasty are different as compared to the other coins of Bengal Sultanate. The Deva Dynasty coins are very notable as the language and script used by them on their coins is Bengali and the date used is of Saka era.

Coins issued by Jalal Al-Din Muhammad have his name and title written within the geometrical design on the obverse side. Some coins issued by him have the image of Lion facing towards the right, with the short inscription above.

Coins issued by Danujamarddana Deva and Mahendra Deva have similar legends used on their coins which reads as

Sri Sri ……….. (King’s name)

Sri Chandi Charana Parayana

The last ruler of Deva Dynasty was Shams-ud-Din Ahmed Shah. In the year 1436 CE he was killed by one of his noble and once again the power of the Bengal Sultanate came into the hands of Ilyas Shah Dynasty. The ruler who restores Ilyas Shah Dynasty was Mahmud Shah the descendant of the Shams al-Din Ilyas Shah. The last ruler of Ilyas Shah Dynasty was Jalal-ud-Din Fath Shah; he was killed by one of his Habshi commanders, Sultan Shahzada, who sat on the throne under the title Barbak Shah. This was the end of Ilyas Shah Dynasty from Bengal.

 

The above coin was issued by Danumarddana Deva

Obverse: sri sri danuja marddana deva

Reverse: sri chandi charana parayana

 

 Habshi King

 

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After Ilyas Shah Dynasty the Habshi king sat on the throne of the Bengal Sultanate with the title Saif-Al-Din Firuz. He sat on the throne of the Bengal Sultanate in the year 1488 CE and ruled it till 1490 CE. After Saif-Al-Din Firuz his son Qutb-Al-Din Mahmud sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate. Qutb-Al-Din Mahmud was murdered by an Abyssinian named Sidi Badr; who later sat on the throne of the Bengal Sultanate under the title Shams-Al-Din Muzaffar. Shams-Al-Din Muzaffar was a very violent and cruel ruler. Due to his cruelty and violence a rebellion broke out among common people. He ruled the Bengal Sultanate for almost 3 years. After 3 years he was killed by his Wazir, Sayyid Husain.

 

The above coin was issued by Saif Al-Din Firuz

Obverse: Saif Al-Dunya Wa ‘L Din Abu ‘L Muzaffar Firuz Shah Al-Sultan Khallada Allah Mulkahu Wa Sultanahu

Reverse: Shahada

 

Hussain Shahi dynasty

 

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Hussain Shahi dynasty begins with the reign of Hussain Shah. Hussain Shah was the great Sultan of all the sultans of Bengal for bringing a cultural Renaissance during his reign. His rule was one of the most prosperous periods of Bengal Sultanate. Hussain Shah sat on the throne of the Bengal Sultanate in the year 1493 CE and ruled it till 1519 CE.

Hussain Shahi Dynasty rules the Bengal Sultanate for almost 44 years. The last ruler of the Hussain Shahi dynasty; Ghiyath-Al-Din Mahmud was not a successful ruler. He is considered as weak, pleasure-loving and easy-going ruler. Due to his this attitude, he didn’t put much attention on his state affairs. His reign is marked by the rebellions amongst the people led by Sher Khan, a governor of south Bihar on half of Afghan Lohanis. Sher Khan invaded Bengal and drove Mahmud out of Bengal. Later Mahmud took refuge at the court of Mughal Emperor Humayun.

 

The above coin was issued by Ala Al-Din Hussain Shah

Obverse:- Al-Sultan Al-Fath Al-Kamru Wa Kamta Wa Jajnagar Wa Urissa ‘Ala’ Al-Dunya Wa ‘L Din Abu ‘L Muzaffar

Reverse:- Husain Shah Al-Sultan Bin Sayyid Ashraf Al-Husaini Khallada Allah Mulkahu Wa Sultanahu

 

Conclusion

The Bengal Sultanate was ruled by different dynasties in the different years in the medieval period. The coins of the Bengal Sultanate are very unique compared to the other sultanate like Delhi, Malwa, Gujarat, Kashmir, etc. The weight of the silver tanka was a little under a standard; the weight of tanks issued from certain mints was reduced in later years.

 

India has a lot of such lesser known dynasties and beautiful their coinages. You can buy rare Indian Coins online and many more exciting products from our site.

The Mintage World Team comprises of experts, researchers and writers from the field of Philately, Notaphily and Numismatics who try to shed light on some of the most interesting aspects of coins, banknotes and stamps from not just India but across the globe as well.

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