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The history of Delhi began in 736 AD with the founding of Lal Kot by the Tomara clan of Rajputs. Their tumultuous rule was neatly ended in 1192 by Muhammad Ghauri and his slave general Qutab-Ud-Din Aibak who swept in from central Asia and conquered North India, introducing it to Islam and founding the Delhi Sultanate.
For the next 300 years Delhi was wracked by political instability especially in 1398, when the city was sacked by another Central Asian warlord, Timur.
By the early 16th century the Lodi Dynasty, the Delhi Sultanate's ruling family, had made its share of enemies in the region. Too timid to challenge the Sultanate on their own, they requested help from Timur's grandson, Babur, who battled the Lodis into submission and launched the Mughal Empire, which would knit together huge swaths of South Asia for the next two centuries.
The Mughals constantly shifted their capital between Delhi and Agra leaving each city with tombs, palaces and forts. In fact old Delhi's grandest edifices were built during the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. In the 18th century Mughal power declined and the British jumped into a yawning power void.
India was made an official part of the British Empire in 1911, the imperial capital was moved to Delhi and the city began to attract the attention of Indian Nationalists, who proclaimed that the flag of an Indian Republic would one day fly from the Red fort. With a speech by the Prime Minister delivered from the Red Fort and a tremendous parade in front of the city's most important British Buildings, today's Delhi celebrates the vindication of the nationalist's predictions every August 15, Independence Day.