Battle of Kili, 1299

The battle of Kili of 1299 ended a Mongol siege of Delhi, and was the second of four major battles that reduced the Mongol threat to the Delhi Sultanate.

In 1296 'Ala al-Din Khalji had murdered his uncle and taken the throne of Delhi. Amongst his key supporters were his brother Ulugh Khan and his general Zafar Khan. In 1298 a Mongol force had invaded the Sultanate, but had been defeated at Jalandhar by an army led by Ulugh Khan and Zafar Khan. The public acclaim that Zafar Khan had received after this battle began to turn 'Ala al-Din against him, and at Kili would lead to his death.

The Mongol army of 1299 was said to have been 200,000 strong, twice the size of the army of 1298. It was led by Qutlugh Khwaja, the son of Dawa Khan of Transoxonia, and a descendant of Genghis Khan. The Delhi army was commanded by 'Ala al-Din in person. Zafar Khan commanded the right wing and Ulugh Khan the left wing.

The Mongols were able to reach Delhi without any problems. 'Ala al-Din then arrived with his army, and advanced to Kiki, just outside the city. The battle began with a successful attack by Zafar Khan and the Indian right wing, which drove the Mongol left wing off the battlefield. If the rest of the army had supported attack then the battle may have ended in a far more convincing victory for the sultanate, but 'Ala al-Din was perfectly happy to leave his rival to fight virtually unsupported. While the main Indian army made a limited demonstration, the Mongols were free to concentrate against Zafar Khan. His forces were isolated and surrounded. Qutlugh gave him the chance to surrender, but Zafar refused, and was killed in the fighting that followed.

Despite this setback the Delhi forces still had the upper hand. That night the Mongol army withdrew from the battlefield and retreated back towards their base. A series of more minor raids followed over the next few years, but the next major battle didn't take place until 1305, when a Mongol army was defeated at Amroha.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 April 2010), Battle of Kili, 1299 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_kili.html

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