The Delhi Sultanate was a Muslim kingdom based mostly in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526). Five dynasties ruled over Delhi Sultanate sequentially, the first four of which were of Turkic origin: 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 of Muhammad Ghori, was the first sultan of Delhi and his dynasty conquered large areas of northern India. Afterwards the Khilji dynasty was also able to conquer most of central India, but both failed to unite the Indian subcontinent. This sultanate also is noted for being one of the few states to repel an attack from the Mongol Empire, and enthroned one of the few female rulers in Islamic history, Razia Sultana from 1236 to 1240.

The Delhi Sultanate reached its peak in terms of geographical reach, during the Tughlaq dynasty, covering most of the Indian subcontinent. The sultanate declined thereafter, with continuing Hindu-Muslim wars, and kingdoms such as Vijayanagara Empire re-asserting their independence as well as new Muslim sultanates such as Bengal Sultanate breaking off.

The Delhi Sultanate caused destruction and desecration of ancient temples of South Asia, as well as led to the emergence ofIndo-Islamic architecture. In 1526, it fell and was replaced by the Mughal Empire.

By 962 AD, Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms in South Asia were under a wave of raids from Muslim armies from Central Asia and Persia. Among them was Mahmud of Ghazni, who raided and plundered kingdoms in north India from east of the Indus river to west of Yamuna river seventeen times between 997 and 1030. Mahmud of Ghazni raided the treasuries but retracted each time, only extending Islamic rule into western Punjab.

The wave of raids on north Indian and western Indian kingdoms by Muslim warlords continued after Mahmud of Ghazni, plundering and looting these kingdoms. The raids did not establish or extend permanent boundaries of their Islamic kingdoms. The Ghurid Sultan Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad began a systematic war of expansion into north India in 1173. He sought to carve out a principality for himself by expanding the Islamic world, a tradition common among the warring orthodox (Sunni) and heterodox (Shia) warlords in West and Central Asia since the 9th century onwards. Mu’izz sought a Sunni Islamic kingdom of his own extending east of the Indus river, and he thus laid the foundation for the Muslim kingdom called the Delhi Sultanate. Some historians chronicle the Delhi Sultanate from 1192 due to the presence and geographical claims of Mu'izz al-Din in South Asia by that time.

Mu'izz al-Din was assassinated in 1206, by Ismāʿīlī Shia Muslims in some accounts or by Hindu Khokhars in others. After the assassination, one of Mu’izz slaves the Turkic Qutbu l-Din Aibak, assumed power, becoming the first Sultan of Delhi.