The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived dynasties, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, mostly of Turkic and Pashtun (Afghan) origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty. The five dynasties were the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90); the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320); the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414); the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51); and the Afghan Lodi dynasty (1451–1526).
Qutb-ud-din Aibak, a former slave (Mamluk) of Muhammad of Ghor, was the first sultan of Delhi and his dynasty managed to conquer large areas of northern India. Afterwards the Khalji dynasty was also able to conquer most of central India, but both failed to unite the Indian subcontinent. The sultanate are also noted for being one of the few states to repeatedly defeat the Mongol Empire.
The Sultanate ushered in a period of Indian cultural renaissance. The resulting "Indo-Muslim" fusion of cultures left lasting syncretic monuments in architecture, music, literature, religion and clothing. It is surmised that the Urdu language (literally meaning "horde" or "camp" in various Turkic dialects) was born during this period as a result of the intermingling of the local speakers of Sanskritic Prakrits with immigrants speaking Persian, Turkic and Arabic under the Muslim rulers. The Delhi Sultanate is the only Indo-Islamic empire to have enthroned one of the few female rulers in India, Razia Sultana (1236–1240). In 1526 the Delhi Sultanate was absorbed by the emerging Mughal Empire.