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a dynasty of Turkic descent that ruled the Ghaznavid state (tenth century to the 12th), founded in 962 by the Samanid military leader Alptigin.
In 962, Alptigin declared himself the independent ruler of the city of Ghazni, relying on the support of guardsmen who were personally loyal to him and from whose ranks he himself had come. The Ghaznavid state reached the peak of its power under Subuktigin (977-97) and especially under Mahmud al-Ghazni (998-1030), when its territory included present-day Afghanistan, a number of regions in Iran and Middle Asia, and the northern and northwestern provinces of India. With the flourishing of the Ghaznavid state, its rulers encouraged the development of science and culture. Outstanding scholars and poets lived and worked at the Ghaznavid court, including Biruni, Utbi, Baihaki, Gardizi, and Firdousi.
The aggressive campaigns of the Ghaznavids were accompanied by the ruin of entire provinces, the destruction of the irrigation system, and the plundering and enslavement of the population. These policies weakened the Ghaznavid state and intensified the class struggle, as shown by popular uprisings and also by the growing activity of religious sects and tendencies (the Ismailians, the Karmathians, and the Sufis). The disintegration of the state began under Masud I (1030-41). After 1040 its territory included only part of present-day Afghanistan and the Punjab. At the end of the 1170’s the Ghurids inflicted the final blow on the Ghaznavids, forcing them into northern India. After the capture in 1186 of Lahore, which had been under the rule of the Ghaznavid Khosrov-Malik (from 1160 to 1186 or 1187), the Ghaznavid state and dynasty ceased to exist.