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Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic
abstract noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...
meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", derived from the
verbal noun A verbal noun or gerundial noun is a verb form that functions as a noun. An example of a verbal noun in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in ...
', meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms (i.e., the lack of dependence on any higher ruler), albeit without claiming the overall
caliphate A caliphate or khilāfah ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an institution or public office governing a territory under Islamic rule. The person who holds this office carries the title of caliph (; ar, خَلِيفَة , ) and is considered a poli ...
, or to refer to a powerful
governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...

governor
of a province within the caliphate. The adjective form of the word is "sultanic", and the
dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200px, The Pitt Building in Cambridge, which us ...
and lands ruled by a sultan are referred to as a sultanate ( '). The term is distinct from
king King is the title given to a male in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is , which title is also given to the of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contemporary indigenous peoples, the title may refer to . G ...

king
( '), despite both referring to a sovereign ruler. The use of "sultan" is restricted to Muslim countries, where the title carries religious significance, contrasting the more secular ''king'', which is used in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries. In recent years, "sultan" has been gradually replaced by "king" by contemporary hereditary rulers who wish to emphasize their secular authority under the rule of law. A notable example is
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
, whose monarch changed his title from sultan to king in 1957.


History of the term

The word derives from the Arabic and Semitic root ''salaṭa'' “to be hard, strong”. The noun ''sulṭān'' initially designated a kind of moral authority or spiritual power (as opposed to political power), and it is used in this sense several times in the
Qur'an The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or di ...

Qur'an
. In the early Muslim world, ultimate power and authority was theoretically held by the caliph, who was considered the leader of the caliphate. The increasing political fragmentation of the Muslim world after the 8th century, however, challenged this consensus. Local governors with administrative authority held the title of ''amir'' (traditionally translated as "commander" or "prince") and were appointed by the caliph, but in the 9th century some of these became ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' independent rulers who founded their own dynasties, such as the
Aghlabids 300px, An Aghlabid cistern in Kairouan The Aghlabids ( ar, الأغالبة) were an Arab dynasty of emirs from the Najd Najd, ( ar, نَجْدٌ, ) or the Nejd, forms the geographic center of Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthe ...
and
Tulunids The Tulunids (), were a Mamluk Mamluk ( ar, مملوك, mamlūk (singular), , ''mamālīk'' (plural), translated as "one who is owned", meaning "History of slavery in the Muslim world, slave", also Arabic transliteration, transliterated as ...
. Towards the late 10th century, the term "sultan" begins to be used to denote an individual ruler with practically sovereign authority, although the early evolution of the term is complicated and difficult to establish. The first major figure to clearly grant himself this title was the
Ghaznavid The Ghaznavid dynasty ( fa, غزنویان ''Ġaznaviyān'') was a Persianate society, Persianate Muslim dynasty of Turkic peoples, Turkic ''mamluk'' origin, ruling, at its greatest extent, large parts of Iran, Afghanistan, much of Transoxiana ...
ruler
Mahmud Mahmud is a of the male given name (), common in most parts of the . It comes from the Arabic root , meaning ''praise'', along with '. Mononym * (born 1992), full name Alessandro Mahmoud, Italian singer of Italian and Egyptian origin * (foa ...

Mahmud
(r. 998 – 1030 CE) who controlled an empire over present-day
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; /: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a at the crossroads of and . Afghanistan is bordered by to the east and south; to the west; , , and to the north; and to the northeast. Occupyin ...

Afghanistan
and the surrounding region. Soon after, the adopted this title after defeating the Ghaznavid Empire and taking control of an even larger territory which included
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of and one of the in the , and compared to its large population it has a small area at just 673 square kilometers (260 sq mi). Located along the , near the ruins of the city of and the anc ...

Baghdad
, the capital of the
Abbasid caliphs The Abbasid caliphs were the holders of the Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , ...

Abbasid caliphs
. The early Seljuk leader Tughril Bey was the first leader to adopt the epithet "sultan" on his
coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or f ...

coin
age. While the Seljuks acknowledged the caliphs in Baghdad formally as the universal leader of the
Muslim community Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is prono ...
, their own political power clearly overshadowed the latter. This led to various Muslim scholars – notably
Al-Juwayni Dhia' ul-Dīn 'Abd al-Malik ibn Yūsuf al-Juwaynī al-Shafi'ī ( fa, امام الحرمین ضیاءالدین عبدالملک ابن یوسف جوینی شافعی, 17 February 1028— 19 August 1085; 419—478 AH) was a Persian Persian may re ...
and
Al-Ghazali Al-Ghazali (, ; full name or , ; Latinized Algazelus or Algazel; – 19 December 1111) was a Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the ...

Al-Ghazali
– attempting to develop theoretical justifications for the political authority of the Seljuk sultans within the framework of the formal supreme authority of the recognized caliphs. In general, the theories maintained that all legitimate authority derived from the caliph, but that it was delegated to sovereign rulers whom the caliph recognized. Al-Ghazali, for example, argued that while the caliph was the guarantor of Islamic law (''
shari'a Sharia (, ar, ), Islamic law, or Sharia law, is a religious law forming part of the Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the '' ...
''), coercive power was required to enforce the law in practice and the leader who exercised that power directly was the sultan. The position of sultan continued to grow in importance during the period of the
Crusades The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1095 and 1271 that h ...

Crusades
, when leaders who held the title of "sultan" (such as and the
Ayyubid dynasty The Ayyubid dynasty ( ar, الأيوبيون '; Kurdish languages, Kurdish: ئەیووبیەکان Eyûbiyan) was a Sunni Muslim dynasty of Kurds, Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin and centered in Egypt in the Middle Ages, Egypt, ruling over t ...

Ayyubid dynasty
) led the confrontation against the
Crusader states The Crusader States, also known as Outremer, were four Roman Catholic realms in the Middle East that lasted from 1098 to 1291. These were created by the leaders of the through and political intrigue. The four states were the (10981150) ...

Crusader states
in the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
. Views about the office of the sultan further developed during the crisis that followed the destruction of Baghdad by the
Mongols The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; russian: Монголы, ) are an East Asian East Asia is the eastern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") ...
in 1258, which eliminated the remnants of Abbasid political power. Thenceforth, the surviving descendants of the Abbasid caliphs lived in
Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic language, Coptic: ⲕⲁϩⲓⲣⲏ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Egypt, largest city of Egypt. The Greater Cairo, Cairo metropolitan area, with a population o ...

Cairo
under the protection of the
Mamluks Mamluk (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Stre ...
and were still nominally recognized by the latter. However, from this time on they effectively had no authority and were not universally recognized across the Sunni Muslim world. As protectors of the line of the Abbasid caliphs, the Mamluks recognized themselves as sultans and the Muslim scholar Khalil al-Zahiri argued that only they could hold that title. Nonetheless, in practice, many Muslim rulers of this period were now using the title as well. Mongol rulers (who had since converted to Islam) and other Turkish rulers were among those who did so. The position of sultan and caliph began to blend together in the 16th century when the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
conquered the Mamluk Empire and became the indisputable leading Sunni Muslim power across most of the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
,
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
, and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
. The 16th-century Ottoman scholar and jurist, , recognized the
Ottoman sultan The sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a Royal and noble ranks, position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", derived from the verbal noun ', mea ...
(
Suleiman the Magnificent Suleiman I ( ota, سليمان اول, Süleyman-ı Evvel; tr, I. Süleyman; 6 November 14946 September 1566), commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West and Suleiman the Lawgiver ( ota, قانونى سلطان سليمان, Ḳā ...

Suleiman the Magnificent
at the time) as the caliph and universal leader of all Muslims. This conflation of sultan and caliph became more clearly emphasized in the 19th century during the Ottoman Empire's territorial decline, when Ottoman authorities sought to cast the sultan as the leader of the entire Muslim community in the face of European (
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...

Christian
) colonial expansion. As part of this narrative, it was claimed that when Sultan
Selim I Selim I ( ota, سليم الأول; tr, I. Selim; 10 October 1470 – 22 September 1520), known as Selim the Grim or Selim the Resolute ( tr, links=no, Yavuz Sultan Selim), was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire fr ...

Selim I
captured Cairo in 1517, the last descendant of the Abbasids in Cairo formally passed on the position of caliph to him. This combination thus elevated the sultan's religious or spiritual authority, in addition to his formal political authority. During this later period, the title of sultan was still used outside the Ottoman Empire as well, as with the examples of the Somali aristocrats, Malay nobles and the
sultans of Morocco Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a Royal and noble ranks, position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", derived from the verbal noun ', meaning "authority" or ...
(such as the
Alaouite dynasty The Alaouite dynasty ( ar, سلالة العلويين الفيلاليين, ''Sulālat al-ʿAlawiyyīn al-Fīlālīyn'') – also rendered in English as 'Alawi, 'Alawid, or Alawite – is the current Moroccan royal family and reigning dynasty ...
founded in the 17th century). It was, however, not used as a sovereign title by
Shi'a Shia Islam or Shi'ism is the second largest branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life ...
Muslim rulers. The
Safavid dynasty The Safavid dynasty (; fa, دودمان صفوی, Dudmâne Safavi, ) was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Safavid Iran, Iran from 1501 to 1736. The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the Safavid order of Sufism, which was establi ...
of
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
, who controlled the largest Shi'a Muslim state of this era, mainly used the
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
title ''
Shah Shah (; fa, شاه, Šâh or Šāh, , ) was a title given to the emperors and kings of Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is ...

Shah
'', a tradition which continued under subsequent dynasties. The term ''sultan'', by contrast, was mainly given to provincial governors within their realm.


Feminine forms

As a feminine form of ''sultan'', used by Westerners, is Sultana or Sultanah and this title has been used legally for some (not all) Muslim women monarchs and sultan's mothers and chief consorts. However,
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
and
Ottoman Turkish Ottoman Turkish ( ota, لِسانِ عُثمانى, , ; tr, Osmanlı Türkçesi) was the standardized register (sociolinguistics), register of the Turkish language used in the Ottoman Empire (14th to 20th centuries CE). It borrowed extensively, ...
also uses ''sultan'' for imperial lady, as Turkish grammar—which is influenced by
Persian grammar Persian grammar ( fa, دستور زبان فارسی) is the grammar of the Persian language, whose dialectal variants are spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan (in Samarqand, Bukhara and the Surxondaryo Region) and Tajikistan. It is similar to th ...
—uses the same words for both women and men. However, this styling misconstrues the roles of wives of sultans. In a similar usage, the wife of a German
field marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space force ...

field marshal
might be styled ''Frau Feldmarschall'' (similarly, in French, constructions of the type ''madame la maréchale'' were historically used for the wives of office-holders). The female leaders in
Muslim history Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is prono ...
are correctly known as "sultanas". However, the wife of the sultan in the
Sultanate of Sulu The Sultanate of Sulu ( ar, سلطنة سولك, : كاسولتانن سين سوڬ, ) was a Muslim that ruled the islands in the , parts of in today's , certain portions of and north-eastern (present-day the certain parts of and ). The ...
is styled as the "panguian" while the sultan's chief wife in many sultanates of
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
and
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
are known as "permaisuri", "Tunku Ampuan", "Raja Perempuan", or "Tengku Ampuan". The
queen consort A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king King is the title given to a male in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is , which title is also given to the of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contem ...
in
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coa ...

Brunei
especially is known as ''Raja Isteri'' with the title of ''Pengiran Anak'' suffixed, should the queen consort also be a royal princess.


Compound ruler titles

These are generally secondary titles, either lofty 'poetry' or with a message, e.g.: *''Mani Sultan'' = ''Manney Sultan'' (meaning the "Pearl of Rulers" or "Honoured Monarch") - a subsidiary title, part of the full style of the
Maharaja Mahārāja (; also spelled Maharajah, Maharaj) is a Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in ...
of
Travancore The Kingdom of Travancore (Help:IPA/English, /ˈtrævənkɔːr/), also known as the Kingdom of Thiruvithamkoor, was an Indian kingdom from c. 1729 until 1949. It was ruled by the Travancore Royal Family from Padmanabhapuram, and later Thiruva ...
* ''
Sultan of Sultans Sultan of Sultans is the literal English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventual ...
'' - the sultanic equivalent of the style
King of Kings King of Kings was a ruling title employed primarily by monarchs based in the Middle East. Though most commonly associated with History of Iran, Iran (historically known as name of Iran, Persia in Western world, the West), especially the Achae ...
* Certain secondary titles have a devout Islamic connotation; e.g., Sultan ul-Mujahidin as champion of
jihad Jihad (; ar, جهاد, jihād ) is an Arabic word which literally means "striving" or "struggling", especially with a praiseworthy aim. In an Islamic context, it can refer to almost any effort to make personal and social life conform with Go ...
(to strive and to struggle in the name of Allah). * ''Sultanic Highness'' - a rare, hybrid western-Islamic honorific style exclusively used by the son, daughter-in-law and daughters of Sultan
Hussein Kamel of Egypt Sultan Hussein Kamel ( ar, السلطان حسين كامل; November 1853 – 9 October 1917) was the Sultan of Egypt from 19 December 1914 to 9 October 1917, during the British protectorate over Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), offic ...
(a British protectorate since 1914), who bore it with their primary titles of
Prince A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary title, hereditary, in so ...

Prince
('; ) or
Princess Princess is a regal rank and the feminine equivalent of prince A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title o ...
, after 11 October 1917. They enjoyed these titles for life, even after the Royal Rescript regulating the styles and titles of the Royal House following Egypt's independence in 1922, when the sons and daughters of the newly styled king (', considered a promotion) were granted the title , or
Royal Highness Royal Highness is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashion, ...

Royal Highness
. *''Sultan-ul-Qaum'' - a title meaning King of the Nation, given to 18th-century
Sikh Sikhs ( or ; pa, ਸਿੱਖ, ', ) are people who adhere to Sikhism, a Monotheism, monotheistic religion that originated in the late 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, based on the revelation of Guru Nanak. The te ...

Sikh
leader
Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Sultan Jassa Singh Ahluwalia (3 May 1718 – 22 October 1783) was a prominent Sikh , region2 = , pop2 = 700,000 , ref2 = , region3 = , pop3 = 500,000 , ref3 = , region4 = , pop4 = 450,500 , ref4 ...
by his supporters


Former sultans and sultanates


Sultanates in Anatolia and Central Asia

*
Ghaznavid Empire The Ghaznavid dynasty ( fa, غزنویان ''ġaznaviyān'') was a Persianate Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam, a Monotheism, monotheistic Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religion. The derivation of "Muslim" is fro ...

Ghaznavid Empire
; its ruler,
Mahmud of Ghazni Yamīn-ud-Dawla Abul-Qāṣim Maḥmūd ibn Sebüktegīn ( fa, یمین‌الدوله ابوالقاسم محمود بن سبکتگین; 2 November 971 – 30 April 1030), usually known as Mahmud of Ghazni ( fa, ) or Mahmud Ghaznavi was the fo ...

Mahmud of Ghazni
, was the first
Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...

Muslim
sovereign to be known as sultan. *
Great Seljuk Empire The Great Seljuk Empire or the Seljuk Empire, was a high medieval The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period of European history that lasted from around AD 1000 to 1250. The High Middle Ages In the history of Eur ...
*
Sultanate of Rum The Sultanate of Rum) or Seljuks of Turkey ( tr, Türkiye Selçukluları) or Rum Seljuk Sultanate ( fa, سلجوقیان روم, Saljuqiyān-e Rum, lit=Seljuks of Rome) was a Turko-Persian The composite Turco-Persian tradition
*
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
*
Timurid Empire The Timurid Empire ( fa, ), self-designated as Gurkani ( fa, , ''Gūrkāniyān''), was a Persianate A Persianate society is a society that is based on or strongly influenced by the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym ...


Caucasus

* Elisu Sultanate and a few others. A Sultan ranked below a Khan.


Levant and Arabian peninsula

*in
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
: ** ** Mamluk Sultans *in present-day
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...

Yemen
, various small sultanates of the defunct
Aden Protectorate The Aden Protectorate ( ar, محمية عدن ') was a British protectorate in southern Arabia which evolved in the hinterland of the port of Colony of Aden, Aden and in the Hadramaut following the conquest of Aden by Great Britain in 1839, a ...

Aden Protectorate
and
South Arabia South Arabia also known as Greater Yemen is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographic areas which at some point in time had a cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior an ...
: *:
Audhali Audhali ( ' or '), or the Audhali Sultanate ( ar, سلطنة العوذلي '), was a state in the British Aden Protectorate. It was a founding member of the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South in 1959 and its successor, the Federation of S ...

Audhali
, Fadhli,
Haushabi Haushabi or Hawshabi ( ''al-Ḥawshabī'' or ''al-Ḥawāshab''), or the Haushabi Sultanate ( ''Salṭanat al-Ḥawāshab''), was a state in the British Aden Protectorate. Its capital was Musaymir. The area is now part of the Republic of Yemen ...
,
Kathiri Kathiri ( ar, ٱلْكَثِيْرِي, al-Kathīrī), officially the Kathiri State of Seiyun in Hadhramaut ( ar, ٱلسَّلْطَنَة ٱلْكَثِيْرِيَّة - سَيْؤُوْن - حَضْرَمَوْت, al-Salṭanah al-Kathīrīyah - ...
,
Lahej Lahij or Lahej ( ar, لحج, Laḥj, links=no) is a city and an area located between Ta'izz and Aden in Yemen ) , image_map = File:Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a (''Houthi ta ...
,
Lower Aulaqi Lower Aulaqi ( '), or the Lower Aulaqi Sultanate ( ar, سلطنة العوالق السفلى '), was a state in the Aden Protectorate, the Federation of Arab Emirates of the South, and its successor, the Federation of South Arabia. Its capital wa ...
,
Lower Yafa Lower Yafa, Lower Yafa'i ( '), or the Sultanate of Lower Yafa ( ar, سلطنة يافع السفلى ''),'' was a state in the British Aden Protectorate. Lower Yafa was ruled by the Al Afifi dynasty and its capital was at Jaʿār, Jaar. This fo ...
, Mahra,
Qu'aiti Qu'aiti ar, ٱلْقُعَيْطِي '), officially the Qu'aiti State in Hadhramaut ( ar, ٱلدَّوْلَة ٱلْقُعَيْطِيَّة ٱلْحَضْرَمِيَّة, Ad-Dawlah Al-Quʿayṭiyyah Al-Ḥaḍramiyyah or the Qu'aiti Sultanate o ...
, Subeihi, Upper Aulaqi,
Upper Yafa Upper Yafa or Upper Yafa'i ( ar, يافع العليا ''),'' officially State of Upper Yafa ( ar, دولة يافع العليا '')'', was a military alliance in the British Aden Protectorate and the Protectorate of South Arabia. It was rul ...
and the Wahidi sultanates *in present-day Saudi Arabia: **Nejd, Sultans of Nejd **Hejaz, Sultans of the Hejaz *Oman – Sultan of Oman (authentically referred to as ''Hami''), on the southern coast of the Arabian peninsula, still an independent sultanate, since 1744 (assumed the formal title of Sultan in 1861)


North Africa

*in Algeria: Sultanate of Tuggurt (Touggourt), Sultanate of Tuggurt, Zayyanid dynasty, Sultans of Tlemcen *in Egypt: ** **Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), Mamluk Sultans **Sultanate of Egypt, Sultans of the Muhammad Ali dynasty *in
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
, until Mohammed V of Morocco, Mohammed V changed the style to Malik (king) on August 14, 1957, maintaining the subsidiary style Amir al-Mu'minin (Commander of the Faithful) *in Sudan: **Sultanate of Darfur, Darfur **Dar al-Masalit **Dar Qimr **Funj Sultanate of Sinnar (Sennar) **Kordofan *in Chad: **Baguirmi Kingdom, Baguirmi (main native title: List of rulers of Baguirmi, Mbang) **Ouaddai Kingdom, Wada'i (main native title: Kolak), successor state to Birgu **Dar Sila (actually a wandering group of tribes)


Horn of Africa

*Ajuran Sultanate, in southern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia *Adal Sultanate, in western Somaliland, southern Djibouti, and the Somali Region, Somali, Harari Region, Harari and Afar Region, Afar regions of Ethiopia *Isaaq Sultanate, in Somaliland and the Somali Region, Somali region of Ethiopia *Habr Yunis Sultanate, in Somaliland and Somali Region, Somali region of Ethiopia *Majeerteen Sultanate (Migiurtinia), in northern Somalia *Sultanate of the Geledi, in southern Somalia *Sultanate of Aussa, in northeastern Ethiopia *Sultanate of Harar, in eastern Ethiopia *Sultanate of Hobyo, in central Somalia *Sultanate of Ifat, in Somaliland, Djibouti and eastern Ethiopia *Sultanate of Mogadishu, in south-central Somalia *Sultanate of Showa, in central Ethiopia *Bimaal#Bimaal Sultanate, Bimaal Sultanate, in south eastern Somalia centred in Merka


Southeast Africa and Indian Ocean

*Angoche Sultanate, on the Mozambique, Mozambiquan coast (also several neighbouring sheikdoms) *various sultans on the Comoros; however on the Comoros, the normally used styles were alternative native titles, including Mfalme, Phany or ''Jambé'' and the 'hegemonic' title Sultani tibe *the Maore (or Mawuti) sultanate on Mayotte (separated from the Comoros)


''Maliki''

Apparently derived from the Arabic ''malik'', this was the alternative native style of the sultans of the Kilwa Sultanate in Tanzania Mainland, Tanganyika (presently the continental part of Tanzania).


Swahili Coast

* List of sultans of Zanzibar, Sultanate of Zanzibar: two incumbents (from the Omani dynasty) since the de facto separation from Oman in 1806, the last assumed the title Sultan in 1861 at the formal separation under British auspices; since 1964 union with Tanganyika (part of Tanzania) ''Mfalume'' is the title of various native Muslim rulers, generally rendered in Arabic and in western languages as Sultan: *in Kenya: **Rulers of Pate, Pate on part of Pate island (capital also named Pate), in the Lamu Archipelago **Wituland, became a German, then British protectorate *in Tanganyika (territory), Tanganyika (presently part of Tanzania): of Hadimu, on the island of that name; also styled ''Jembe''


''Sultani''

This was the native ruler's title in the Tanzanian state of Uhehe.


West and Central Africa

*In Cameroon: **Kingdom of Bamum, Bamoun (Bamun, 17th century, founded uniting 17 chieftaincies) 1918 becomes a sultanate, but in 1923 re-divided into the 17 original chieftaincies. **Bibemi, founded in 1770 - initially styled ''lamido'' **Mandara Kingdom, Mandara Sultanate, since 1715 (replacing Wandala kingdom); 1902 Part of Cameroon **Rey Bouba Sultanate founded 1804 *in the Central African Republic: **Bangassou created c.1878; 14 June 1890 under Congo Free State protectorate, 1894 under French protectorate; 1917 Sultanate suppressed by the French. **Dar al-Kuti - French protectorate since December 12, 1897 **Rafai c. 1875 Sultanate, April 8, 1892, under Congo Free State protectorate, March 31, 1909, under French protectorate; 1939 Sultanate suppressed **Zemio c. 1872 established; December 11, 1894, under Congo Free State protectorate, April 12, 1909, under French protectorate; 1923 Sultanate suppressed *in Niger: Arabic alternative title of the following autochthonous rulers: ** the Amenokal of the Aïr confederation of Tuareg people, Tuareg ** the Sarkin Damagaram since the 1731 founding of the Sultanate of Damagaram (Zinder) *in Nigeria most monarchies previously had native titles, but when most in the north converted to Islam, Muslim titles were adopted, such as ''emir'' and sometimes ''sultan''. ** in Sayfawa dynasty, Borno (alongside the native title ''Mai'') ** since 1817 in Sokoto, the suzerain (also styled Amir al-Mu´minin and Sarkin Musulmi) of all Fulbe jihad states and premier traditional Muslim leader in the Sahel (according to some once a caliph)


Southern Asia

*Bahmani Sultanate: Bahmani Shahs *Bengal Sultanate, Sultanate of Bengal: Ilyas Shahi dynasty, Ilyas Shahi, Ganesha dynasty, Ganesha, Habshi, Hussain Shahi dynasty, Hussain Shahi, Muhammad Shah and Karrani dynasty, Karranis *Deccan sultanates, Sultanates of the Deccan: **Adil Shahi dynasty, Adil Shahi of Bijapur **Bidar Sultanate, Barid Shahi of Bidar **Berar Sultanate, Imad Shahi of Berar **Ahmadnagar Sultanate, Nizam Shahi of Ahmednagar **Qutb Shahi dynasty, Qutb Shahi of Golconda *Delhi Sultanate, Sultanate of Delhi: Mamluk dynasty (Delhi), Mamluks, Khalji dynasty, Khiljis, Tughlaq dynasty, Tughlaqs, Sayyid dynasty, Sayyids and Lodi dynasty, Lodis *Gujarat Sultanate, Sultanate of Gujarat: Muzaffarids (Gujarat), Muzaffarids *Jaunpur Sultanate, Sultanate of Jaunpur: Sharqi dynasty *Farooqui dynasty, Sultanate of Kandesh: Faruqi dynasty *Malwa Sultanate, Sultanate of Malwa: three dynasties *Madurai Sultanate, Sultanate of Madurai *Arakkal kingdom, Sultanate of Laccadive and Cannanore, Arakkal Kingdom *History of Kashmir, Sultanate of Kashmir: Shah Mir dynasty, Shahmirids and Chak dynasty, Chaks *Sultanate of Maldives


Southeast and East Asia

In
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
(formerly in the Dutch East Indies): *On Kalimantan **Sultanate of Banjar **Sultanate of Berau **Sultanate of Bulungan **Sultanate of Gunung Tabur **Sultanate of Kubu **Kutai, Kutai Kartanegara Sultanate **Sultanate of Mempawah **Sultanate of Paser **Sultanate of Pontianak **Sultanate of Sambaliung **Sultanate of Sambas *On Sulawesi **Sultanate of Buton **Bone state, Sultanate of Bone **Sultanate of Gowa **Luwu, Sultanate of Luwu **Sultanate of Soppeng **Wajoq, Sultanate of Wajoq *On Java **Sultanate of Banten **Sultanate of Cirebon - the rulers in three of the four palaces (''kraton''), from which divided Cirebon was ruled: Kraton Kasepuhan, Kraton Kanoman and Kraton Kacirebonan (only in Kraton Kaprabonan was the ruler's title Panembahan) **Sultanate of Demak **Pajang, Sultanate of Pajang **Sumedang Larang Sultanate **Sultanate of Mataram (was divided into two kingdoms: the Sultanate of Yogyakarta and Sunanan Surakarta) *** Sultanate of Yogyakarta (The Divine Sultanate of which its ruler Sri Sultan Hamengkubowono is considered a divine being, a half God) *** Surakarta Sunanate, Sunanate of Surakarta (''susuhunan'', a high-ranked monarch, equivalent to emperor) *In the Maluku Islands **Kingdom of Iha, Sultanate of Iha (Saparua) **Sultanate of Honimoa/ Siri Sori (Saparua) **Sultanate of Huamual (West Seram) **Sultanate of Tanah Hitu (Ambon) **Sultanate of Ternate **Sultanate of Tidore **Sultanate of Bacan **Sultanate of Jilolo **Sultanate of Loloda, later occupied by Ternate *In the Nusa Tenggara **Bima Sultanate on Sumbawa island *In the Riau Archipelago: sultanate of Lingga-Riau by secession in 1818 under the expelled sultan of Johore (on Malaya) Sultan Abdul Rahman Muadzam Syah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud *In Sumatra **Aceh Sultanate (full style ''Sultan Berdaulat Zillullah fil-Alam'') **Sultanate of Asahan ** Awak Sungai, established 17th century at the split in four of Minangkabau people, Minangkabau, in 1816 extinguished by Netherlands East Indies colonial government **Sultanate of Deli **Sultanate of Indragiri **Sultanate of Langkat (previous style Raja) **Palembang Sultanate (Darussalam), also holding the higher title of Susuhunan **Pagaruyung Kingdom, Sultanate of Pagaruyung **Peureulak, Sultanate of Perleuak **Riau-Lingga Sultanate **Samudera Pasai Sultanate **Sultanate of Serdang **Sultanate of Siak In
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
: * In Peninsular Malaysia, where all nine of the country's present sultanates are located: ** Sultanate of Perlis ** Sultanate of Johor ** Sultanate of Kedah ** Sultan of Kelantan, Sultanate of Kelantan ** Sultan of Pahang, Sultanate of Pahang ** Sultan of Perak, Sultanate of Perak ** Sultan of Selangor, Sultanate of Selangor ** Sultan of Terengganu, Sultanate of Terengganu * Furthermore, the ruler of Luak Jelebu, one of the constitutive states of the Negeri Sembilan confederation, had the style Sultan in addition to his principal title ''Undang Luak Jelebu''. *Sultanate of Malacca In
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coa ...

Brunei
: * Sultan of Brunei, Brunei (on Borneo island) In China: * Dali, Yunnan, capital of the short-lived Panthay Rebellion ** Furthermore, the ''Qa´id Jami al-Muslimin'' (Leader of the Community of Muslims) of Pingnan Guo ("Pacified South State", a major Islamic rebellious polity in western Yunnan province) is usually referred to in foreign sources as Sultan. * In the Philippines: * Sultanate of Buayan * Sultanate of Maguindanao *
Sultanate of Sulu The Sultanate of Sulu ( ar, سلطنة سولك, : كاسولتانن سين سوڬ, ) was a Muslim that ruled the islands in the , parts of in today's , certain portions of and north-eastern (present-day the certain parts of and ). The ...
(Sulu, Basilan, Palawan and Tawi-Tawi islands and part of eastern Sabah on North Borneo) * Confederation of Sultanates in Lanao In Thailand: * Pattani Kingdom, Sultanate of Patani * Sultanate of Singgora


Current sultans

Sultans of sovereign states * Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang di-pertuan of Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace * Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, Sultan of the Oman, Sultanate of Oman Sultans in Federal Monarchies * Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor, Ibrahim Ismail, Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan of Johor, Malaysian State of Johor, The Abode of Dignity and its occupied territories * Sultan Sallehuddin of Kedah, Sallehuddin, Sultan and Yang-di Pertuan of Kedah, Malaysian State of Kedah, the Abode of Safety * Sultan Muhammad V, Al-Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan of Kelantan, Malaysian State of Kelantan, the Abode of Bliss and its dependencies * Al-Sultan Abdullah of Pahang, Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, Sultan and Ruler of Pahang, Malaysian State of Pahang, the Abode of Tranquility * Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak, Nazrin Shah, Sultan, Yang di-Pertuan and the Ruler of Perak, Malaysian State of Perak, the Abode of Grace and its dependencies * Sultan Sharafuddin of Selangor, Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan of Selangor, Malaysian State of Selangor, the Abode of Sincerity * Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, Mizan Zainal Abidin, Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan of Terengganu, Malaysian State of Terengganu, the Abode of Faith Sultan with power within Republic * Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, Sultan and List of governors of Yogyakarta, Governor of Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesian Special Region of Yogyakarta In some parts of the Middle East and North Africa, there still exist regional sultans or people who are descendants of sultans and who are styled as such. See List of current constituent Asian monarchs and List of current constituent African monarchs.


Princely and aristocratic titles

By the beginning of the 16th century, the title sultan was carried by both men and women of the Ottoman dynasty and was replacing other titles by which prominent members of the imperial family had been known (notably ''khatun'' for women and ''bey'' for men). This usage underlines the Ottoman conception of sovereign power as family prerogative. Western tradition knows the Ottoman ruler as "sultan", but Ottomans themselves used "padişah" (emperor) or "hünkar" to refer to their ruler. The emperor's formal title consisted of "sultan" together with "khan" (for example, Sultan Suleiman Khan). In formal address, the sultan's children were also entitled "sultan", with imperial princes (Şehzade) carrying the title before their given name, with imperial princesses carrying it after. Example, Şehzade Mehmed, Şehzade Sultan Mehmed and Mihrimah Sultan (daughter of Suleiman I), Mihrimah Sultan, son and daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent. Like imperial princesses, living mother and main consort of reigning sultan also carried the title after their given names, for example, Hafsa Sultan, Suleiman's mother and first valide sultan, and Hürrem Sultan, Suleiman's chief consort and first haseki sultan. The evolving usage of this title reflected power shifts among imperial women, especially between Sultanate of Women, as the position of main consort eroded over the course of 17th century, the main consort lost the title "sultan", which replaced by "kadin", a title related to the earlier "khatun". Henceforth, the mother of the reigning sultan was the only person of non imperial blood to carry the title "sultan". In Kazakh Khanate a Sultan was a lord from the ruling dynasty (a direct descendants of Genghis Khan) elected by clans, i.e. a kind of princes. The best of sultans was elected as khan (title), khan by people at Kurultai. See :ru:Казахские султаны


Military rank

In a number of post-caliphal states under Mongol or Turkic peoples, Turkic rule, there was a Feudalism, feudal type of military hierarchy. These administrations were often decimal (mainly in larger empires), using originally princely titles such as Khan (title), khan, malik, amir as mere rank denominations. In the Persian empire, the rank of sultan was roughly equivalent to that of a modern-day Captain (OF-2), captain in the West; socially in the fifth-rank class, styled 'Ali Jah.


See also

* Mansa (title), Mansa * Khan (title), Ilkhan and Khakhan * Emir (Amir) * Atabeg * Bey * Baig * Mirza * Caliph * Datu * Maharajah * Malik * Mir (title) * Padishah * Pasha * Raja *
Shah Shah (; fa, شاه, Šâh or Šāh, , ) was a title given to the emperors and kings of Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is ...

Shah
and Shahanshah * Vizier * Zoltán


References

{{Authoritarian types of rule Heads of state Islamic honorifics Military ranks Royal titles Noble titles Positions of authority Sultans, Titles Ottoman titles Titles of national or ethnic leadership Titles in Afghanistan Titles in Bangladesh Titles in Pakistan Titles in Iran Filipino paramount rulers Filipino royalty