In the last two blogs, we discuss how Bengal Sultanate was formed and how it was ruled by different dynasties. Today we will discuss the Ilyas Shah Dynasty and coinage of the Ilyas Shah Dynasty.

Ilyas Shah Dynasty was a Muslim dynasty that ruled India during the medieval period between the 14th and 15th century. This dynasty was formed by Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah in the year 1342 CE.

The Ilyas Shah Dynasty begins its rule with the Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah, the first independent rule of Bengal Sultanate. The rule of the Ilyas Shah Dynasty is considered an era of sovereignty, peace, and integrity.

The Ilyas Shah Dynasty had occupied a prominent place in the History of India. This dynasty had preserved remarkable political consistency and had also produced able rulers who had ruled these vast kingdoms like Bengal Sultanate for a very long period. The Ilyas Shah dynasty is one of the dynasties having a great political contribution to recover its political independence; they were also in a constant repeated aggression against Delhi Sultanate.




Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah

Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate in the year 1342 CE and laid the foundation of the Ilyas Shah Dynasty. To sit on the throne of Bengal Sultanate, he conquered both East and West Bengal and became the first independent ruler of Bengal Sultanate.

Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah started his carrier as a worker under the rule of Malik Firuz of Delhi Sultanate. Later in the year 1352 CE, Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah became the first sultan of Bengal Sultanate after conquering three cities Sonargaon, Lakhnauti, and Satgaon.

After getting control over the Bengal Sultanate Ilyas Shah also invaded Tirhut, Orissa/Jajnagar, and Nepal. He also marched towards Bihar and further moved towards Champaran, Gorakhpur, and Kashi.

Under the rule of the Ilyas Shah Dynasty, the Bengal Sultanate had enjoyed a strategic relationship with Ming China. During the rule of Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah and Alauddin Hussain Shah, this kingdom had reached at its height, when it had controlled most of the eastern subcontinent. After Sham Al-Din Ilyas Shah his son Sikandar Bin Ilyas and grandson Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah successfully expanded the military, diplomatic and architectural influence of the sultanate.

Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah issued coins in gold and silver. In gold he issued denominations like Double-Tanka, Tanka and Half-Tanka. In silver he issued denomination like Tanka, Half-Tanka, Quarter-Tanka and One-Eighth Tanka. The Silver tanka issued by him from mint Firuzabad are very common. All his coins were struck from the mint like Firuzabad, Satgaon, Sunargaon and Shahr-i-Nau.

The obverse of the coin is inscribed as Al-Sultan Al-Adil Shams Al-Dunya Wal Din Abul Muzaffar Ilyas Shah Al-Sultan

Reverse: – Sikandar Al-Thani Yamin Al-Khalifa (nasir) Amir Al-Muminin




Sikandar Bin Ilyas

Sikandar Bin Ilyas is considered as the second ruler of Ilyas Shah Dynasty. He sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate in the year 1357 CE and the ruled this sultanate for almost 33 years. During his reign, he had tried to maintain peace and prosperity in his kingdom. When Sikandar Bin Ilyas sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate, he faced many difficulties from the military campaign of Firuz Shah Tughluq of the Tughluq Dynasty. Firuz Shah Tughluq had made the expedition to Bengal in 1353CE during the rule of Shams Al-Din Ilyas Shah. However, like the first expedition, the second one also proved to be a failure for the Tughluq ruler. In the last phase of Sikandar Bin Ilyas, one of his sons Ghiyath Al-Din Azam rebelled against him and declared his independence at Sonargaon in the year 1367 CE. Eventually, Sikandar Bin Ilyas got killed in the battle against his son Ghiyath Al-Din Azam at a place known as Goalpara near Pandua. The next ruler who sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate was Ghiyath Al-Din Azam Shah.

Sikandar Bin Ilyas issued a large number of coins with different varieties. From a plain coin he has develop his coins to most artistic series. He had issued least 12 different varieties of coins.

Obverse: – Al Wathiq Bi tayid Al Rahman Abul Mujahid Sikandar Bin Ilyas Bin Ilyas Shah Al Sultan (within circle) and the name of four caliphs and al imam legend in margin

Reverse: – Yamin khalifat allah nasir amir al mu minin ghawth al islam wa l muslimin khallada khilafatuhu in Octofoil, date and mint name written out in margins




Ghiyath Al-Din Azam Shah

Ghiyath Al-Din Azam Shah was the third sultan of Bengal Sultanate; he is considered as one of the most prominent sultan of Bengal Sultanate. After sitting on the throne of Bengal Sultanate Ghiyath Al-Din Azam Shah tried to maintain a good friendship with Khwaja Jahan, the ruler of Jaunpur.

Ghiyath Al-Din Azam Shah sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate after killing is father Sikandar Ilyas Shah in the Battle of Goalpara in 1390 CE. After sitting on the throne of Bengal Sultanate ; in the beginning of his reign he conquered and occupied Kamarupa (modern-day Assam).

Ghiyath Al-Din Azam issued coins in gold and silver. In gold, he issued denominations like Tanka and One-Sixth Tanka and in silver; in silver he issued denominations like Three Tankas, Tanka, Half-Tanka, Quarter-Tanka, One-Eighth Tanka, and One-Sixteen Tanka. Though he had issued a large number of silver tanka, but the factional tanka issued by are also very common.

All the coins issued by him were minted in Firuzabad, Muazzamabad and Satgaon. Coins minted in ‘Arsah Chatgaon’ are rare. Ghiyath Al-Din Azam was the first ruler from Ilyas Shah Dynasty to issued coins from the mint ‘Arsah Chatgaon’. He had also issued coins from the mint Jannatabad (city of Paradise) which had been tentatively identified as Lakhnauti.

The above coin was issued by Ghiyath Al-Din Azam Shah; The obverse of this coin is inscribed as Ghiyath Al-Dunya Wa ‘L Din Abul  Muzaffar A ‘Zamshah Al-Sultan- Long Legend; Al-Sultan Al-A ‘Zam Etc In Margin. The reverse of this coin is inscribed as Nasir Amir Al-Mu Minin Ghawth Al-Islam Wa ‘L Muslimin Khallada Allah Mulkahu.

After Ghiyath Al-Din Azam Shah is son Saif Al-Din Shah sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate. Saif Al-Dini Shah ruled the Bengal Sultanate for 2-3 years. After Saif Al-Din Shah his brother Shihabuddin Bayazid Shah sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate. Shihabuddin Bayazid Shah ruled Bengal Sultanate for almost 1 year. During the reign of Shihabuddin Bayazid Shah; Raja Ganesh a powerful Hindu landowner became very powerful. Raja Ganesh wanted to place his son Jadu on the throne of Bengal Sultanate. Raja Ganesh made a plot to kill Shihabuddin Bayazid Shah and made his son Jadu to sit on the throne of Bengal Sultanate after converting him into to Islam and in this way the rule of Deva Dynasty started in Bengal Sultanate.

The last ruler of the 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 the Ilyas Shah Dynasty with the reign of Nasruddin Mahmud Shah. When Naruruddin Mahmud Shah sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate he shifted his capital from Gaur to Pandua and ruled for the next 28 years until his death in 1459 CE. After Nasuruddin Mahmud Shah his son RuknuddinBarbak Shah sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate and he ruled for the next 15 years. Later after RuknuddinBarbak Shah his son, Shams Al-Din Yusuf Shah sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate.




Shams Al-Din Yusuf Shah 

Shams Al-Din Yusuf Shah ruled Bengal Sultanate for almost seven and a half years. Later, after the death of the Shams Al-Din Yusuf Shah, both Sikandar Shah II and Jalaluddin Fath Shah sat on the throne of Bengal Sultanate one after another. The last ruler of Bengal Sultanate Jalaluddin Fath Shah who was killed by an Abyssinians slave named Shahzada and in this way rule of the Ilyas Shahi dynasty came to an end.

Shams Al-Din Yusuf Shah issued coins only in silver metal. Generally all the issued by him bears king’s name and title on the obverse side and ‘Shahada’ on the reverse side.

Obverse:- Shams Al-Dunya Wa’l Din Abul Muzaffar Yusuf Shah Bin Barbakshah Sultan Bin Mahmud Shah Sultan.

Reverse:-  Shahada, mint and date.

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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