India c. 1500

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Map Code: Ax01897

The primary powers in pre-Mughal India occupied the far north and south of the subcontinent. Both Krishnadevaraya (r. 1509–29) of Viyanayagar, and Sikander Lodi (r. 1489–517) of the Delhi Sultanate were approximations of Renaissance rulers: cultured, expansive, open to trade and effective in both war and government. Although not inveterate campaigners, both expanded their dominions, at the expense of the Gajapatis of Orissa, and into the Deccan power vacuum following the disintegration of the Bahmani Sultanate. Rana Sanga, leader of the Rajput Confederacy, was a very different character. A battle-hardened veteran with one eye, one arm and 80 other war-wounds, he fought all his neighbours, conquering Malwa and plundering Gujarat. The Arghuns of Sind were early victims of the Mughal, Babur, displaced from Kandahar (1520). Bengal was enjoying a rare combination of independence and stability under Husain Shah (r. 1494–1519), while the Sultanates of Ahmadnagar, Berar and Golconda were emergent in India’s centre.

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