Advent of Malabar Sultanate
Malabar Sultanate unofficially known as the Madurai Sultanate was a short lived independent Muslim kingdom based in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The sultanate was proclaimed in 1335 when the then Viceroy of Madurai, Jalaluddin Ahsan Khan declared his independence from the Delhi Sultanate. Ahsan Khan and his descendants ruled Madurai and surrounding territories until 1378 when the last sultan, Ala-ud-Din Sikandar Shah fell in battle against the forces of the Vijayanagara Empire led by Kumara Kampana. In this short reign of 43 years, the Madurai Sultanate had 8 different rulers.
Tamil Nadu in 14th Century
In the early 14th Century, most of South India and the entire Tamil Nadu was subjected to repeated invasions by armies of the Delhi Sultanate. There were three separate invasions within a period of fifteen years. The first invasion was that of Malik Kafur in 1311 AD which sacked Madurai. Following this there were two more expeditions from the Delhi Sultanate - the second in 1314 AD led by Khusrav Khan and the third in 1323 AD by Ulugh Khan.
Birth of Madurai Sultanate
In 1325, Ulugh Khan acceded to the throne in Delhi as Muhammad bin Tughluq. His plans for invading Persia and Khorasan bankrupted his treasury and led to the issuing of token currency. This led to counterfeiting and further worsened the Sultanate's finances. He was unable to pay his huge army and the soldiers stationed in distant provinces revolted. The first province to rebel was Bengal and Malabar soon followed. The Governor of Malabar, Jalaluddin Ahsan Khan declared independence and set up the Madurai Sultanate. The exact year of founding of the Madurai Sultanate is not clear. The numismatic evidence points to 1335 AD as the founding year. The Persian historian Firishta however places the year of Malabar's revolt as 1340AD.
Decline of Madurain Sultanate
This short lived Muslim dynasty at Madurai came into existence following the decline of the Second Pandyan Empire, and ruled Madurai, Trichinopoly and parts of South Arcot, for the next 48 years, first as feudatories of the Delhi Sultanate and later as independent monarchies lasting until 1378. The Madurai Sultanate was destroyed by the rise of Vijayanagar, later preceded by the Madurai Nayaks. Between 1344 and 1357, the Madurai Sultanate went into a decline due to infighting and the rise of Vijayanagar in the North. This is inferred by the lack of any coinage issued during this period. However coins from 1358 to 1378 bearing the names of three Madurai Sultans - Shams-ud-Din Adil Shah, Fakhr-ud-Din Mubarak Shah and Ala-ud-Din Sikandar Shah - have been found. This indicates an interruption of the Muslim power during 1344-57 AD and a brief revival during 1357-1378 AD.