Mahmud of Ghazni (971-1030) was the first ruler to refer to himself as Sultan. Born to a Turkic Mamluk leader, he headed the Ghaznavid Empire, which covered most of the area between modern day Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.
He made himself and the Ghaznavid people very wealthy with a simple but brutal tactic: Looting India, one area at a time. In fact, he wanted to loot India every single year and succeeded in doing so 17 times with a hit and run tactic. His huge merciless armies would destroy temples and monuments to break the will of the people and then return for several years and repeat the process.
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Photo Credits / Sources:
By Вардгес Суренянц (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons