Razia Sultan is the only woman ever to be crowned the Sultan of Delhi. After the death of Razia’s father, her brother was crowned sultan but was killed less than seven months on the throne. From 1236 to 1240, Razia’s reign, while noble and forward-thinking, did not sit well with Muslim nobles who disliked being under a female ruler.

Her rise to power is doubly notable not only because of her gender, but because her ancestors were not nobility, they were slaves. Her father, Iltutmish, had risen in ranks through support of the Turkish nobility and became the sultan. Iltutmish, was just a legendary for being the first sultan to appoint a woman as successor—his daughter Razia.
Throughout his life, Iltutmish made sure Razia had military training and was educated properly. Though her rule lasted less than 4 years, while in power Razia proved to be loyal, noble, and just. As sultan, Razia dropped her veil and wore masculine clothing. She led her armies proudly from the front. She was respected by her subjects, devoted to her empire, and loved by its people.

razia-sultana1-e1444502710197But it was jealousy that brought Razia down. Turkish nobles planned a revolt including her childhood lover. Razia was kidnapped and held captive. Allowing her younger brother to usurp the throne.

As sultan, Razia ordered coins to be minted to read, “Pillar of women, Queen of the times, Sultana Razia, daughter of Shamsuddin Altumish”.

A builder of schools and libraries, Razia Sultan was also early STEM supporter, allowing for books on sciences to be widely read and enjoyed.