Mahmud of Ghazna

Mahmud of Ghazna (mämōdˈ, gŭzˈna) [key], 971?–1030, Afghan emperor and conqueror. He defeated (c.999) his elder brother to gain control of Khorasan (in Iran) and of Afghanistan. In his raids against the states of N India, Mahmud, a staunch Muslim, destroyed Hindu temples, forced conversions to Islam, and carried off booty and slaves. Hindus especially abhorred his destruction of the temple to Shiva at Somnath in Gujarat. Mahmud's territorial gains lay mainly W and N of Afghanistan and in the Punjab. At Ghazna (see Ghazni), his capital, he built a magnificent mosque. His successors in the Ghaznavid dynasty, which Mahmud founded, ruled over a reduced domain with the capital at Lahore until 1186.

See biographies by M. Nazim (1931) and M. Habib (2d ed. 1967); C. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids (1973) and The Later Ghaznavids (1977).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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