What is a Sultanate?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

A sultanate is a sultan's domain, the territory ruled by a sultan, just as a kingdom is a territory ruled by a king. Sultan is the name for an Islamic sovereign. Like a monarchy, a sultanate is a government in which supreme power resides in one person. Some sultans have absolute power, and others’ authority is constitutionally limited.

The Delhi Sultanate in India lasted about 200 years.
The Delhi Sultanate in India lasted about 200 years.

There are few sultanates in the world today, but historically, there were more. Historically, the rulers of Turkey were called Sultans. Seljuk was an 11th century khan who began the dynasty that bore his name. Tugrul Bey, a Seljuk leader, occupied Baghdad and demanded that the caliph there grant him recognition as a sultan. This recognition inaugurated the Seljuk sultanate. The Delhi Sultanate was the name used for a number of different Muslim dynasties in India, beginning in 1192 and lasting until 1398.

Malaysia is officially divided into states with a constitutional monarchy as its government, and its monarch has the title, "sultan."
Malaysia is officially divided into states with a constitutional monarchy as its government, and its monarch has the title, "sultan."

Some historic sultanates switched to other forms of government in the twentieth century. Wadai was a sultanate until it was taken over by the French over the period from 1903 to 1913. The Maldives was a sultanate until it became a republic in 1968.

Several sultanates have continued into the twenty-first century. Brunei, officially called the State of Brunei Darussalam, is one such sultanate. The sultanate was established here in the 15th century, survived a British protectorate established in 1888, and continued with Brunei’s independence in 1984, when the sultan became an absolute monarch, although a legislative council was re-established in 2004 after a hiatus. The leader combines the roles of sultan and prime minister, and the government type is classified as a constitutional sultanate.

Malaysia is officially divided into states with a constitutional monarchy as its government, but could be called a sultanate by virtue of the fact that its supreme leader, titled the Paramount Ruler, is a sultan. Oman, officially called the Sultanate of Oman, also has as its chief executive a leader who combines the titles of sultan and prime minister.

Unlike secular sultans, caliphs are considered to be the religious heirs of Muhammed.
Unlike secular sultans, caliphs are considered to be the religious heirs of Muhammed.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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anon342765

What is the culture of the sultanates? Their beliefs?

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