Friday, September 5, 2008

Rinchinbal Khan, Emperor Ningzong of Yuan

Rinchinbal was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire.

He was the second son of and a younger brother of . He was mothered by Babusha of the Naiman tribe when his father lived in exile in Central Asia.

When his father Kuśala died and was succeeded by , Rinchinbal was appointed to Prince of Fu. Although Tugh Temür Khan had a son named El Tegüs when he died in 1332, his widow and El Tegüs's mother Budashiri Khatun respected Tugh Temür's will of making Kuśala's son succeed the throne instead of El Tegüs.

The de facto ruler El Temür resisted letting Kuśala's eldest son Toghun Temür accede to the throne since he was suspected of having poisoned his father Kuśala. While Toghun Temür was kept far away from the capital Dadu, infant Rinchinbal was in Dadu and had became favored by Tugh Temür. Thus El Temür decided to install Rinchinbal as grand-khan, but he died two months later, aged only seven.

El Temür again asked Budashiri to install El Tegüs but was declined. He had no choice but to invite Toghun Temür back from far-away Yunnan.

Ukhaantu Khan, Emperor Huizong of Yuan

Ukhaantu Khan , born Toghun Temür, was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire. During his reign, the empire lost China to the Ming Dynasty. Toghun Temür was a buddhist student of Karmapas and is considered as a previous incarnation of Tai Situpa.

Before succession

Toghun Temür was born to when he stayed Central Asia in evacuation. Toghun Temür's mother was a daughter of the chief of the Qarluq tribe, whose rank was not high in the court.

Following the civil war broke out after Yesün Temür Khan's death in 1328, he attended his father Kuśala and entered Shangdu via Mongolia. But after Kuśala died and Kuśala's younger brother was restored to the throne, he was kept from the court. He was banished to Goryeo and then to Guangxi.

In 1332 when Tugh Temür died, his widow Budashiri Khatun respected his will to make Kuśala's son succeed the throne instead of his son El Tegüs. But it was not Toghun Temür but his younger brother who became the emperor. Rinchinbal died in two months, and the de facto ruler El Temür attempted to install El Tegüs again, but it was rejected by Budashiri. As a result, Toghun Temür was summoned back from Guangxi.

El Temür feared that Toghun Temür, who was too mature to be a puppet, would take against him since he was suspected of the assassination on Toghun Temür's father Kuśala. The enthronement of Toghun Temür was postponed for six months by El Temür. He managed to succeed to the throne in 1333 when El Temür died.

Struggles during the early reign

Toghun Temür appointed his nephew El Tegüs as Crown Prince, and was in ward to El Tegüs's mother Budashiri. But he was controlled by warlords even after El Temür's death. Among them, became as powerful as El Temür had been. He served as minister of the Secretariat and crushed a rebellion by El Temür's son.

As he was grew, he came to disfavor Bayan's autocratic rule. In 1340 he allied Bayan's nephew Toghtogha, who was in discord with Bayan, and banished Bayan by coup. He also kicked El Tegüs and Budashiri out of the court. He managed to purge officials that had dominated the administration, but it only resulted in another dictatorship, that of Toghtogha and his father Majartai. In 1347 he drove them into Gangsu with assistance from former officers of Kuśala and . But he called Toghtogha back in 1349. All he could do was to back up one side of warlords over power.

While the central government waged endless power struggles, people in the countryside suffered from frequent natural disasters; droughts, floods and the ensuing famines. The government's lack of policy led to a loss of the support from people. Illicit salt dealers who were disaffected with the government's salt monopoly raised a rebellion in 1348. It triggered many revolts around the empire. Among them, the Red Turban Rebellion, which started in 1351, grew into a nationwide turmoil.

In around 1338, Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq of Delhi Sultanate appointed Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta an ambassador to the Mongol court of Togan Temur in China. The gifts he was to take included 200 Hindu slaves. On the Doab plain they were attacked by Hindu insurgents; the imperial cavalry killed all 4,000 of them while losing 78 men, according to Battuta, who was separated, captured, and barely escaped being killed by brigands. Battuta also luckily escaped to China.

Disorder during the late reign

In 1354, when Toghtogha led a large army to crush the Red Turban rebels, Toghun Temür suddenly dismissed him for fear of betrayal. It resulted in Toghun Temür's restoration of power on the one hand and a rapid weakening of the central government on the other. He had no choice but to rely on local warlords' military.

He gradually lost his interest in politics and ceased to intervene political struggles. His son Ayushiridar, who became Crown Prince in 1353, attempted to seize power and came to conflict with Toghun Temür's aides who dominated politics instead of the khan. Toghun Temür was unable to conciliate the dispute. In 1364 the Shangxi-based warlord Bolad Temür occupied Dadu and expelled the Crown Prince from the winter base. In alliance with the Henan-based warlord K&, Ayushiridar defeated Bolad Temür in the next year. This internal struggle resulted in further weakening of political and military power of the central government.

Retreat to the north

Unifying rebel groups in Southern China and establishing the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang conducted military expeditions to Northern China and defeated the Yuan army in 1368. When Köke Temür lost battles against Ming General Xu Da and the Ming troops approached Hebei, Toghun Temür gave up Dadu and fled to the summer base Shangdu.

In 1369 when Shangdu also fell under the Ming's occupation, Toghun Temür fled northward to Yingchang, which was located in southern Mongolia. He died there in 1370 and his son Ayushiridara succeeded to the throne.

At the time of his death, the Mongolia-based empire maintained its influence, stretching the domination from the Sea of Japan to Altai Mountains. There were also pro-Yuan, anti-Ming forces in Yunnan and Guizhou. Even though its control over China had not been stable yet, the Ming considered that the Yuan lost the Mandate of Heaven when it abandoned Dadu, and that the Yuan was overthrown in 1368. The Ming did not treat Toghun Temür after 1368 and his successor Ayushiridar as legitimate emperors.

The Ming gave Toghun Temür the posthumous name ''Shundi'', which implied that he followed the Mandate of Heaven ceded emperorship to the Ming. But the Yuan gave their own temple name Huizong to him.

Even after Toghun Temür, there was still Mongol resistance to the Ming. In southwestern China, Basalawarmi, the self-styled "Prince of Liang", established a Mongol resistance movement in Yunnan and Guizhou that was not put down until 1381. In the north, Chinggisid khans ruled Mongolia and claimed succession to the Mongol Empire. Historians called the Yuan Dynasty after Toghun Temür the Northern Yuan.


Mongolian chronicles such as the Erdeni-yin tobchi include a poem known as the ''Lament of Toghun Temür''. It deals with his grieving after the loss of Dadu.

Biligtu Khan, Emperor Zhaozong of Northern Yuan

Biligtü Khan, born Ayushiridara , was the Mongol of the Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia.

He was born to and Khatun. He became crown prince but it caused an internal strife between his supporters and opponents. An opposition leader Bolud Temür occupied the capital in 1364. Ayushiridara fled to K&, a warlord. Köke Temür overthrer Bolud Temür in the next year.

In 1368 the Yuan Dynasty was expelled from China by the new Ming Dynasty. In 1370 his father Toghun Temür Khan died in Yingchang and Ayushiridara succeeded to the throne. Shortly after the succession, he fled to Karakorum and he changed the era name to Xuanguang there.

The Yuan Dynasty still remained a powerful empire. In 1372 Köke Temür won a victory over Ming in northern Mongolia. The victory in 1372 was not overwhelming. Ming's central army won a series of victories to arrive at the north of Ulan Bator and was finally defeated due to extended supply line. Ming's west army won a series of overwhelming victories. Ming's east army won a series of victories, but suffered comparable damage of Yuan. Ayushiridara died in 1378 and succeeded to the throne.

Uskhal Khan, Emperor Tianyuan of Northern Yuan

Uskhal Khan, born Tögüs Temür , was the Mongol of the Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia. He used the era name Tianyuan .

Although sources say that he was a son of Biligtü Khan, Tögüs Temür was his younger brother. He succeeded to the throne after Biligtü Khan died in 1378. He continued to press the Ming from the north, cooperating with Naghachu of the Jalayir in Manchuria. However, he suddenly faced a predicament in 1387 when Nagachu surrendered to the Ming due to a devastating famine. In 1388 he was raided by the Ming on the Buyir Nuur. In his escape to Karakorum, he was killed on the Tuul River by , a descendant of . This marked the fall of the Khubilai line and the rise of the Oirats.

Guyuk Khan

Güyük was the third of the Mongol Empire. He was the son of &, grandson of Genghis Khan, and reigned from 1246 to 1248. His brother was Kadan.

Early life

Güyük received military training and served as an officer under Genghis and Ögedei. In 1233, he conquered the short-lived Dongxia Kingdom of Puxian Wannu.

He participated in the invasion of Russia and eastern Europe in 1236-1241 with other Mongol princes, including his cousin . During the course of the invasion, Güyük quarreled violently with Batu and was recalled for a time to Mongolia. This breach between the families of and , the first and third sons of Genghis Kahn, would widen over time and prove the ultimate downfall of the Mongol Empire.

In the meantime Ögedei had died in 1241, and his widow T& had taken over as regent, a position of great influence and authority which she used to advocate for her son Güyük. Batu withdrew from Europe so that he might have some influence over the succession, but despite his delaying tactics, Töregene succeeded in getting Güyük elected in 1246.


Guyuk's enthronement on 24 August 1246, near the Mongol capital at Karakorum, was attended by a large number of foreign ambassadors: the Franciscan friar and envoy of Pope Innocent IV, ; the Grand Duke of Moscow Yaroslav II of Vladimir; the incumbents for the throne of ; the brother of the king of and historian, Sempad the Constable; the future , Kilij Arslan IV; and ambassadors of the Abbasid Caliphate and of the emperor of India. According to John of Plano Carpini, Güyük's formal election in a great ''kurultai'', or diet of the tribes, took place while his company was at a camp called ''Sira Orda'', or "Yellow Pavilian," along with 3,000 to 4,000 visitors from all parts of Asia and eastern Europe, bearing homage, tribute, and presents. They afterwards witnessed the formal enthronement at another camp in the vicinity called the "Golden Ordu," after which they were presented to the emperor.


Güyük reversed several unpopular edicts of his mother the regent and made a surprisingly capable khan, appointing Eljigidei in Persia in preparation for an attack on Baghdad and pursuing the war against the Song Dynasty. He was, nevertheless, insecure and won the disapproval of his subjects by executing several high-ranking officials of the previous regime for treason. Although Batu did not support Guyuk's election seriously, he expected the Great Khan as tradionalist and sent Andrey and Alexander Nevsky to Karakorum in Mongolia in 1247 after their father's death. Guyuk appointed Andrey Grand Duke of Vladimir and Alexander prince of Kiev.
In 1248, he demanded Batu come towards Mongolia to meet him, a move that some contemporaries regarded as a pretext for Batu's arrest. In compliance with the order, Batu approached bringing a large army. Güyük prepared for battle, and civil war seemed imminent.

The showdown never happened— Güyük died in route, in what is now Xinjiang; he had succumbed at about the age of forty-two to the combined effects of alcoholism and gout. His widow Oghul Qaimish took over as regent, but she would be unable to keep the succession within her branch of the family. M& succeeded as Khan in 1251.

Genghis Khan's sons and grandsons, were haunted by alcoholism, a vice that Genghis himself had detested. Despite this, Genghis himself once remarked that it was not realistic to expect a man not to get drunk on occasion. The death of Güyük had a profound effect on history. Güyük wanted to turn the Mongol power against Europe. Because of Güyük's premature death, Mongol family politics caused the Mongol efforts to be directed against southern China, which was eventually conquered in the time of Kublai Khan.

Güyük's reign showed that the split between Batu's line, the descendants of Jöchi, and the rest of the family was the fatal flaw in the unity of all the Mongol Empire. The civil war which split the empire into rival khanates might well have occurred in Güyük's time had he not died early. Batu eventually backed Möngke and helped to establish him as Great Khan, thereby replacing the house of Ögodei with that of Tolui.

Oghul Qaimish, whom Möngke had called "more contemptible than a bitch" to a European visitor, was executed after Batu and Möngke affected the family coup.

Mongke Khan

Möngke Khan , also transliterated as Mongke, Mongka, Möngka, Mangu or Mangku , was the fourth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1251 to 1259. He was the son of Tolui and Sorghaghtani Beki, brother of Hulagu and Kublai Khan, and a grandson of Genghis Khan.

Early career

Möngke is noted as participating in the campaign of 1236-1242. He led a mongol corpse against the Kypchaks and Alans and beheaded their leader Bachman, then destroyed Alani capital Maghas, before sacking italian ports in Crimea in 1239. Mongke was impressed by the splendour of Kiev and demanded their submission in order to save the city. But Kievans, who killed mongol envoy before, refused to surrender again and Mongols . Mongke fought against Hungarians at with Batu. In the summer of 1241, before the premature end of the campaign, Möngke returned home.

After the death of the third Great Khan, Güyük, Möngke found himself the champion of the factions of Genghis' descendants who aimed to supplant the branch of . , the senior male of the family, had almost come to open warfare with Güyük in 1248, the khan's early death precluding this. Batu joined forces with Tolui's widow to outmaneuver the regent, Ögedei's widow Oghul Qaimish. Batu called a kurultai in Siberia in 1250, which was protested as not being in Mongolia proper. However, Batu ignored the opposition, had his brother Berke call a kurultai within Mongolia, and elected Möngke khan in 1251.


Realizing they had been outmaneuvered, the Ögedeiid faction attempted to overthrow Möngke under the pretext of paying him homage, but their conspiracy was clumsy and easily avoided. Oghul Qaimish was sewn up into a sack and drowned.

In 1252 and 1256, He conducted a census all over Mongol Empire including Persia, Russia and North China. There was only uprising in Novgorod against the Mongol rule in 1257, but Alexander Nevsky forced the city to submit to Mongol census and taxation.

Möngke, as khan, seemed to take much more seriously the legacy of world conquest he had inherited than did Güyük. He concerned himself more with the war in China, outflanking the Song Dynasty through the conquest of in 1254 and an invasion of Indochina, which allowed the Mongols to invade from north, west, and south. Taking command personally late in the decade, he captured many of the along the northern front. These actions ultimately rendered the conquest a matter of time. He dispatched his brother Hulagu to the southwest, an act which was to expand the Mongol Empire to the gates of Egypt. European conquest was neglected due to the primacy of the other two theaters, but Möngke's friendliness with Batu ensured the unity of empire.

However, while conducting the war in China at Fishing Town in modern-day Chongqing, Möngke died near the site of the siege on August 11, 1259.

Notes on his death

There are several different accounts as to how he perished. Generally recorded as killed in action by cannon shot from Song Chinese artillery, he's also reported to have been killed by an arrow shot from a Chinese archer during the siege. Other accounts claim that he died of dysentery or even a cholera epidemic. In any case, his death forced Hülegü, along with his top general Guo Kan, Jalayirtai to abort their campaigns in Syria and Korea to engage the tenacious Southern Song, and would ultimately cause a civil war that destroyed the unity and invincibility of the Mongol Empire.

In popular folklore, famous Chinese novelist Jin Yong dramatized the death of Mongke Khan in his famous Condor Trilogy series , which describes a melancholic Southern Song warrior and martial artist by the name Yang Guo as the unwilling hero who fired the shot that killed the great Khan. Nevertheless, Mongke was the only Great Khan to have ever been killed in action.

Kublai Khan

Kublai or Khubilai Khan , was the fifth and last Khagan of the Mongol Empire. In 1271, he founded the Yuan Dynasty, which ruled over Mongolia, China Proper, and some adjacent areas, and became the first Yuan emperor.

He was the second son of Tolui and Sorghaghtani Beki and a grandson of Genghis Khan. The civil war between him and his younger brother Ariq B& over the succession to their older brother essentially marked the end of a unified Mongol empire.

Early years

Kublai Khan studied Chinese culture and became enamoured of it. In 1251, his elder brother became Khan of the Mongol Empire, and Kublai became the governor of the southern territories of the Mongol Empire. During his years as governor, Kublai managed his territory well, boosting the agricultural output of Henan and increasing social welfare spendings after receiving Xi'an. These acts received great acclaim from the Chinese warlords and were essential to the building of the Yuan Dynasty.

In 1253, Kublai was ordered to attack Yunnan, and he destroyed the Kingdom of Dali. In 1258, Möngke put Kublai in command of the Eastern Army and summoned him to assist with attacks on Sichuan and, again, Yunnan. Before Kublai could arrive in 1259, word reached him that Möngke had died. Kublai continued to attack Wuhan, but soon received news that his younger brother Ariq Böke had held a kurultai at the Mongolian imperial capital of Karakorum and was pronounced Great Khan. Most of Genghis Khan's descendants favored Ariq Böke as Great Khan; however, his two brothers Kublai and Hulegu were in opposition.

Kublai quickly reached a peace agreement with troops and returned north to the Mongolian plains, in order to oppose Ariq Böke's claim to the title of Great Khan.

Upon returning to his own territories, Kublai summoned a kurultai of his own, and was proclaimed Great Khan. Only a small number of the royal family supported Kublai's claims to the title, however the small number of attendees still proclaimed him Great Khan.

This subsequently led to warfare between Kublai and his younger brother Ariq Böke, which resulted in the eventual destruction of the Mongolian capital at Karakorum.

Both his brother and Kublai crowned themselves Khan in 1260, and the two brothers battled for three years before Kublai finally won. However, during this civil war, Yizhou governor Li revolted against Mongol rule. The revolt was swiftly crushed by Kublai, but this incident instilled in him a strong distrust of ethnic Hans. After he became emperor, Kublai instituted several anti-Han laws, such as banning the titles of and tithes to Han Chinese warlords.

Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty

The decisive steps to assume the role of a have taken place under Kublai Khan after some initial and rather inconclusive efforts under earlier rulers. As emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan worked to minimize the influences of regional lords who had held immense power before and during the Song Dynasty. Although Kublai Khan wished to signal to the Han Chinese that he intended to adopt the trappings and style of a Chinese ruler, his mistrust of ethnic Han Chinese caused him to appoint Mongols, Central Asians, Muslims and few Europeans to high positions more often than Han Chinese. Kublai lost his faith on Han Chinese when his Chinese minister's son revolted against him while he was fighting against Ariq Böke in Mongolia.

China proper and Mongolia itself were administered in 11 provinces during his reign with a governor and vice-governor each. According to the Chinese historian Professor Ting-hsueh Wu, of these 12 governors, 8 were Muslims. In the remaining districts, Muslims were vice-governors.

In the 8th Year of Zhiyuan , Kublai Khan officially declared the creation of the Yuan Dynasty, and proclaimed the capital to be at in the following year. His summer capital was in . To unify China, Kublai Khan began a massive offensive against the remnants of the southern Song Dynasty in the 11th year of Zhiyuan , and finally destroyed the Song Dynasty in the 16th year of Zhiyuan , unifying the country at last.

He ruled well, promoting economic growth with the rebuilding of the , repairing public buildings, and extending highways. However, Kublai Khan's domestic policy also included some aspects of the old Mongol living traditions, and as Kublai Khan continued his reign, these traditions would clash more and more frequently with traditional Chinese economic and social culture.

In 1273, He issued a new series of state sponsored bills, which was used throughout the country, although eventually a lack of fiscal discipline and inflation turned this move into an economic disaster in the later course of the dynasty. It was required to pay in only in the form of paper money called Chao. To ensure its use in circles, Kublai's government confiscated gold and silver from private citizens as well as foreign merchants. But traders received government-issued notes in exchange. That is why Kublai khan is considered to be the first of fiat money makers. The paper bills made collecting taxes and administering the huge empire much easier while reducing cost of transporting coins. Later Gaykhatu of the Ilkhanate attempted to adopt the system in Persia and Middle east, which was however a complete failure, and he was assassinated shortly after that.

He encouraged Asian arts and demonstrated religious tolerance, except in regards to Taoism. The empire was visited by several Europeans, notably Marco Polo in the 1270s who may have seen the summer capital Shangdu.

He made Goryeo a tributary ally in 1260. The Yuan helped stabilized his control over Korea in 1271. Kublai Khan also tried to establish tributary relationships with other countries, which were however rebuffed. Under pressure from his Mongolian advisors, Kublai decided to invade , Burma, and . These costly, failed attempts, along with the introduction of paper currency, caused inflation. However, Kublai Khan also forced warlords from the Northwest and Northeast to capitulate, ensuring stability for those regions. Kublai Khan died in the 31st year of Zhiyuan .

Invasions of Japan

Kublai Khan twice attempted to invade Japan; however, both times, it is believed that bad weather, or a flaw in the design of the ships, destroyed the fleets. The first invasion attempt took place in 1274, with a fleet of 900 ships. The second invasion occurred in 1281, with a fleet of over 1,170 large war junks, each close to 240 feet long. The campaign was badly organized, and the Korean fleet reached Japan well ahead of the Chinese fleet. Overall, the Japanese fought very little in the invasion, but the times they did, they lost.

Dr. Kenzo Hayashida, the , headed the investigation that discovered the wreckage of the second invasion fleet off the western coast of Dokdo. His team's findings strongly indicate that Kublai Khan rushed to conquer Japan and attempted to construct his enormous fleet in only one year . This forced the Chinese to use any available ships, including river boats, in order to achieve readiness. Most importantly, the Chinese, then under the Khan's control, were forced to build many ships quickly in order to contribute to the fleet in both of the invasions. Hayashida theorizes that, had Kublai used standard, well-constructed ocean-going ships, which have a curved keel to prevent capsizing, his navy might have survived the journey to and from Japan and might have conquered it as intended.

Stephenie Meyer, author of ''Kublai Khan'' , writes, "The cost of these defeats led the Khan to devalue the central currency, further exacerbating growing inflation. He also increased tax assessments. These economic problems lead to growing resentment of the Mongols, who paid no taxes, among the Chinese populace." David Nicole writes in ''The Mongol Conquerors'' that "these disastrous defeats shattered the myth of Mongol invincibility throughout Asia." He also wrote that Kublai Khan was determined to mount a third invasion, despite the horrendous cost to the economy and to his and Mongol prestige of the first two defeats, and only his death prevented such a third attempt, despite the unanimous agreement of his advisors against such an attempt."

In 1293, Yuan navy captured 100 japanese from Okinawa.

Invasions of Vietnam

Kublai Khan also twice invaded Dai Viet. The first one is started in December 1284 when Mongols under the commander of Toghan crossed the border and quickly occupied Thăng Long in January 1285 after the victory battle of Omar in Vạn Kiếp and at the same time Sogetu from Champa moved northward and rapidly marched to Nghe An where the army of the Tran under the general Tran Kien surrender him. However, the and the commander-in-chief Trần Hưng Đạo turns the tide from defence to attack the Mongols. In April, General Tr& defeats Sogetu in Chuong Duong and then the Trần kings won a big battle in Tây Kết where Sogetu died. Soon after, general Tr& also won the battle in Hàm Tử while Toghan was defeated by Tr& and the Mongols failed their second attempt to invade & .

The second invasion to & of Kublai Khan was in 1287 after the more careful preparation by Kublai Khan for a big fleet and a large stock of food for the Mongols since 1286. The Mongols under the commander of Toghan moved to Vạn Kiếp and met the infantry and cavaltry of Omar and there they quickly won the battle. The naval fleet rapidly won the battle in Vân Đồn but they left the heavy cargo ships with full stock of food for the Mongols behind. And general Tr& quickly captured all of the food. As foreseen, the Mongolians in Thăng Long suffered an acute shortage of food. Without any news about the supply fleet Toghan found himself in a tight corner and had to order his army to retreat to Vạn Kiếp. This was when Đại Việt's Army began the general offensive by recapturing a number of locations occupied by the Mongol invaders. Groups of infantry were given orders to attack the Mongols in Vạn Kiếp. Toghan had to split his army into two and retreat.
In early April the naval fleet led by Omar and escorted by infantry fled home along the . As bridges and roads were destroyed and attacks were launched by Đại Việt's troops, the Mongols reached Bạch Đằng without the infantry escorted. Đại Việt's small flotilla engaged in battle and pretended to retreat. The Mongols eagerly pursued Đại Việt troops and fell into their prearranged battlefield. "Thousands" of Đại Việt's small boats from both banks quickly appeared, fiercely launched the attack and broke the combat formation of the enemy. Inflicted with a sudden and strong attack, the Mongols tried to withdraw to the sea in panic. Hitting the stakes, their boats were halted, many of which were broken and sunken. At that time, a number of fire rafts quickly rushed toward them. Frightened, the Mongolian troops jumped down to get to the banks where they were dealt a heavy blow an army led by the Trần king and Tr&. The Mongolian naval fleet was totally destroyed and Omar was captured. At the same time, Đại Việt's Army made continuous attacks and smashed to pieces Toghan’s army on its route of withdrawal through Lạng Sơn. Toghan risked his life making a shortcut through forests to flee home. The third attempt of invasion to & failed too.

Although these failures ended Kublai Khan’s dream of expanding his territory southward, especially to control the Spice Route, in 1288-1293, the states of , Champa and had recognized Kublai's supremacy in order to avoid more conflicts.


On 5 May 1260 Kublai was elected Khan at his residence in Shangdu and he began to organize the . Zhang Wenqian, who was a friend of Guo and like him was a central government official, was sent by Kublai Khan in 1260 to Daming where unrest had been reported in the local population. Guo accompanied Zhang on his mission. Guo was not only interested in engineering, but he was also an expert astronomer. In particular he was a skilled instrument maker and understood that good astronomical observations depended on expertly made instruments. He now began to construct astronomical instruments, including water clocks for accurate timing and armillary spheres which represent the celestial globe.

Zhang advised Kublai Khan that his friend Guo was a leading expert in hydraulic engineering. Kublai knew the importance of water management, for irrigation, transport of grain, and flood control, and he asked Guo to look at these aspects in the area between Dadu and the Yellow River. To provide Dadu with a new supply of water, Guo found the Baifu spring in the Shenshan Mountain and had a 30 km channel built to bring the water to Dadu. He proposed connecting the water supply across different river basins, built new canals with many sluices to control the water level, and achieved great success with the improvements which he was able to make. This pleased Kublai Khan and led to Guo being asked to undertake similar projects in other parts of the country. In 1264 he was asked to go to Gansu province to repair the damage that had been caused to the irrigation systems by the years of war during the Mongul advance through the region. Guo travelled extensively along with his friend Zhang taking notes of the work which needed to be done to unblock damaged parts of the system and to make improvements to its efficiency. He sent his report directly to Kublai Khan.

Later life

In the later part of his life, Kublai developed severe gout. He also gained weight due to a fondness for eating animal organs and other delicacies. This also more than likely increased the amount of purines in his blood, leading to his problems with gout, and ultimately to his death in 1294. His overeating may have been related to the deaths of not only his favorite wife, but also his chosen heir.

Coleridge poem

Kublai and Shangdu or Xanadu are the subject of the English Romantic Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem ''Kubla Khan''. Coleridge makes Xanadu a symbol of mystery and splendour.

Temur Khan-Emperor Chengzong of Yuan

Emperor Chengzong of Yuan China was the second leader of the Yuan Dynasty to rule as Emperor of China between 1294 and 1307. He was a son of crown prince Zhenjin and the grandson of Kublai Khan. During his rule, he made peace with other khanates and became their nominal overlord.

Early career

Kublai ordered him to guard the Liao River area and Liaodong in the east from Nayan and other rival relatives in 1287. He managed to repulse them with the assistance of Kublai's generals. Prince Temur was appointed a governor of Karakorum and surrounding areas in 1293. Three Chagatai princes submitted to him while he was defending Eastern Mongolia


Temur Khan was originally not the successor of Kublai Khan, but he did become the successor after the ideal choices of Kublai Khan all died. Temür had obtained the seal of heir apparent and was backened by his mother Kököjin and by merited officials of Khubilai, namely Üs Temür, , Turk Bukhumu , and Öljei all experienced with the Chinese state bureaucracy and honored military leaders. These highly estimated persons could enforce the election of Temür against his competitor and brother Gamala.

Many other high post of his empire were filled with people of different origin, Mongols, Han Chinese, Muslims and few Christians, although many of these statesmen were guided by the Confucian principle.

He banned sales and distill of alcohols in Mongolia in 1297. historian Rene Grousset applaused his activity in the book ''Empire of Steppes''.

Temur Khan was a competent emperor of the Yuan Dynasty. He kept the empire the way Kublai Khan left it though he didn't make any great achievements. He continued many of Kublai Khan's economic reforms and tried to recover the economy from the highly-costed campaigns during Kublai Khan's reign. He allowed the empire to heal from the wounds of particularly . One problem was that corrupt officials started to show up during his reign, but overall, the empire was still in a good shape. The Emperor died in Khanbalik in 1307.

Military Campaigns

Soon after he was enthroned, Emperor Chengzong called off all preparations for further expansions to Japan and whose new ruler ignored his grandfather's emmisary in 1291, initiated by his grandfather. Kings of Annam, Burma and Sukhotai visited Khanbalik to greet him as their overlord in 1295 and again in 1300. Temur released Annam emissary to show his goodwill. After Annamese prince's compliment, he left the idea of Vietnamese campaign and said all his ministers: "They are our friendly subjects. Do not attack their people". But he had to quell rebellions in the southwestern mountainous area, lead by tribal chieftains like Song Longji and female leader Shejie in 1296. It took long months for the generals Liu Shen and Liu Guojie to supress these rebellions. By the request of Mien prince, Temur dispatched a detachment of Mongols to Burma in 1297. They successfully repelled Shan brothers from Myanmar.

Yuan troops extinguished Naiyan's remnants under Khadan in Manchuria and Altai during his reign.

Oljeitu Temur Chenzong sent his messengers to Japan and Champa to demand submission. Champa responded positively but Kamakura shogunate did not. In 1300, a detachment of Yuan army invaded to protect his vassals from Thai warlords without success. That year, Chenzong launched a large offensive against Kaidu's raid. of White Horde also asked help from Temur against Kaidu and his rebel cousin. But the emperor's mother admonished him to lead army for pursuing enemies. Kaidu and his number two Duwa defeated by Yuan army and Kaidu died following year. Shortly afterward, the political situation in Central Asia changed.

Temur and the other khanates

Ghazan Khan was friendly to Temur Khan. Ghazan sent his envoys with precious gifts to greet Temur who was most respected person of House of Tolui at time. In response, Temur said "Descendants of Chingis khan shall be friendly to each other forever".

In 1304, Duwa of Chagatai Khanate, Kaidu's son Chapar, Tokhta of Golden Horde and Ilkhan Oljeitu negotiated peace with Temür Khan, in order to maintain trade and diplomatic relations. And they all agreed him to be their nominal overlord.

Temur deigned Oljeitu as the new khan of the Ilkhanate in 1304. Except the conflict between Duwa and Chapar, all khanates were peaceful thereafter.

Kulug Khan, Emperor Wuzong of Yuan

Külüg Khan , born Khayishan, was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire.

He was the eldest son of Darmabala and Dagi of the influential Khunggirad clan, and the full brother of . Since his uncle did not have the legitimate heir, he was considered a major candidate for the grand-khan. In 1299 he was sent to Mongolia to assume an army that defended the western front of the Yuan against Kaidu and other princes of Central Asia under him. In 1301 he defeated Kaidu, who died from a battle wound. In recognition of the great victory, Külüg Khan was given the title of Prince Huanning in 1304. In 1306 he forced Melig Temür to accept a surrender in the Altai Mountains. For these military achievements he gained a high reputation among Mongol princes and non-Mongol corps.

In 1307 when Temür Khan died, he returned eastward to Khara Khorum and watched the situation. Temür's widow Bulghan of the Bayaud tribe had kept away the Khunggirad-mothered brothers of Khayishan and Ayurbarwada and attempted to set up , a cousin of Temür. The Khunggirad faction arrested Ananda and Bulghan by coup and recalled Ayurbarwada and Dagi from Henan. Then Khayishan decided to hold the coronation ceremony in Shangdu just as his great-grandfather Khubilai Khan did, and advanced southward with the most part of his army. He was welcomed by Ayurbarwada, who gave up khanship, and ascended to the throne. He had executed Ananda and Bulghan before succession.

The Khayishan administration was founded on the unstable balance between Khayishan, his younger brother Ayurbarwada and their mother Dagi of the Khunggirad clan. Khayishan appointed Ayurbarwada as Crown Prince on the condition that he would pass the status to Khayishan's son after succession. He generously gave bonus to imperial princes and Mongol aristocrats, and enjoyed popularity among them. Meanwhile he was plagued by financial difficulties which was caused by free-spending policies and longstanding military spending. So he brought back the department of Shangshusheng for financial affairs in parallel with the Zhongshusheng for administrative affairs. He changed branch offices of Zhongshusheng to those of Shangshusheng to strengthen monopoly in salt and other goods. He issued new bills called Zhida-yinchao to replace Zhiyuan-chao. His anti-inflation plans did not achieve adequate results in his short reign, and dissatisfied Chinese officers and commoners.

He gave key posts to his retainers who had followed him since he had been stationed in Mongolia. He favored non-Mongol corps including the Kipchak, the Asud and the Qangl&. In contrast, he did not reward abundantly the Khunggirad faction who had carried out a coup against Bulghan.

In 1310, Kaidu's son Chapar, who tried to unsuccessfully overthrow Kebek, gave up to Khayishan, ending half-century lasted mongol civil war.

Immediately after Khayishan died and Ayurbarwada succeeded in 1311, the unsatisfactory Khunggirad faction came together under his mother Dagi and purged pro-Khayishan officials. It also broke Ayurbarwada's promise to appoint Khayishan's son as Crown Prince. It drove Khayishan's sons and out of the central government. Pro-Khayishan generals cherished grievances until they managed to set up Tugh Temür in 1323.

Ayurbarwada Buyantu Khan, Emperor Renzong of Yuan

Ayurbarwada Buyantu Khan or Buyantu Khan was the 4th emperor of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty in China.


Buyantu Khan stood out among other Yuan Emperors as an adopter of the . He was mentored by Confucian academic Li Meng.

Buyantu Khan was also known for his reform efforts for the Yuan government. Buyantu Khan's reform efforts included the disbanding of the Department of State Affairs , which resulted in the execution of 5 high-ranking officials, and the reintroduction of the imperial examination system for public officials similar to the one in previous dynasties of China. A race-based quotas were set for these examinations, allowing a certain number of both Mongol and Han Chinese to enter the government as civil officials. For example, starting in 1313 examinations were introduced for prospective officials - testing their knowledge on significant historical works - in 1315 300 appointments went to the court, with an extra quarter of the positions being given to non-Chinese people. These reforms were made at the displeasure of the Mongol nobility.

He also made an alliance with Oljeitu against Esen Buqa I of Chagatai Khanate, who attacked the Yuan forces, and defeated the latter in 1316. After Esen Buqa's death, Kebek mitigated the situation with Yuan Dynasty.

Gegeen Khan, Emperor Yingzong of Yuan

Gegeen Khan , born Shidibala was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire.

He was the eldest son of and Radnashiri of the Khunggirad clan. In return for his own crown princeship, Ayurbarwada promised his elder brother to appoint Khayishan's son as Crown Prince after his succession. But when Khayishan died, Khayishan's two sons were relegated to borderlands and pro-Khayishan officers were purged. Shidibala's powerful grandmother Dagi installed Shidibala as Crown Prince, and then as Khan, since he was mothered by a Khunggirad khatun.

At that time, the empire was nearly bankrupt due to longtime lax financial policies, but there were little the puppet of Dagi and her retainers could do. Immediately after her grandson's succession, Dagi reinstated Temüder as Minister of the Secretariat and took politics into her own hands more openly than during Ayurbarwada's reign.

In 1322, the deaths of Dagi and Temüder enabled him to seize power. He attempted to drive the Khunggirad faction from the Shidibala-led new administration. He appointed as Minister of the Secretariat Bayiju of the Jalayir, a grandson of Antung and former rival of Temüder. The severe suppression of the powerful faction including the deprivation of Temüder's titles and estates, the execution of his son drove it into the corner.

In the eighth month of 1323 when he stayed at Nanpo on his way from the summer palace Shangdu to the winter base Dadu, Shidibala, and Bayiju, were assassinated by Temüder's adopted son Tegshi, who attacked Shidibala's Ordo with Asud guards and other soldiers under him. Tegshi asked to succeed the throne, but Yesün Temür purged Tegshi's faction before he entered Dadu because he feared to become a puppet of it.

His reign was short; his direct rule lasted only for a year after Dagi's death. But he was glorified in Chinese records since he continued Ayurbarwada's protective policies for Chinese cultures. From that point of view, Shidibala's assassination was sometimes explained as the struggle between the pro-Chinese faction and the pro-Mongol faction, for Yesün Temür Khan had ruled Mongolia before succession and his policies appeared unfavorable for Chinese officials.

Yesun Temur Khan, Emperor Taiding of Yuan

Yesün Temür Khan was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire who reigned from 1323 to 1328. In Chinese, he is known as the Taiding Emperor from his era's name. It is likely that he was the Khan visited by the Franciscan monk Odoric, who left an excellent record of his travels.

He was born in Mongolia in 1293 to , the eldest son of Crown Prince Jinggim, who was presumed heir to his father Khubilai Khan. Kamala was appointed as Jinong in 1292 after Jinggim's death, but he lost the race for successor to his younger brother . Khanship was assumed by Temür, Darmabala and their sons and grandson, so Kamala and his son Yesün Temür were out of the race. As Jinong, Kamala owned Mongolia north of the Gobi Desert and enshrined Genghis Khan in the . In 1302 Kamala died and Yesün Temür took over as Jinong.

In 1323 when was assassinated by Grand Censor Tegshi, Yesün Temür was backed up by the rebellious group since he was mothered by Buyan Kelmish of the Khunggirad clan. In response he ascended to the throne at the great ordo of Genghis Khan in Mongolia. But he sent troops to Dadu and executed rebellious officers before he entered Dadu because he feared to become a puppet of them.

He did nothing significant for his five year reign. He left the empire's governance to his Muslim aide Dawlat Shah. He suddenly died in Shangdu in 1328. His son Ragibagh was installed by Dawlat Shah but was defeated by his rival in a year.

Ragibagh Khan, Emperor Tianshun of Yuan

Ragibagh was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire who reigned in 1328. Although he should have been the eleventh grand-khan in succession to Yesün Temür Khan, he was dethroned by his rival who was installed by coup before Ragibagh's succession. He is not usually counted as the eleventh khan.

Ragibagh was the eldest son of Yesün Temür Khan. His mother Babukhan Khatun came from the Khunggirad clan, who had held power through marriage to the imperial family. He became Crown Prince at infancy in 1324. In the sixth month of 1328 when Yesün Temür suddenly died in Shangdu, he was installed by the powerful Muslim officer Dawlat Shah there in the next month.

However, Yesün Temür's sudden death triggered an uprising of an anti-mainstream faction who had been dissatisfied with monopolization of power by Yesün Temür's aides including Dawlat Shah who had served him since he was stationed in Mongolia as Jinong. In the eighth month, the Qipchaq commander El Temür, who was stationed in Dadu, launched a coup and called for installation of 's son. was welcomed into Dadu in the same month in which Ragibagh ascended to the throne.

Ragibagh's army advanced on Dadu but was severely defeated by El Temür's troops. In the tenth month, J&'s descandant Örüg Temür, who controlled eastern Mongolia, besieged Shangdu, taking the side of Tugh Temür. Dawlat Shah was executed by the Dadu faction after surrender, but it is not known what happened to the little khan.

Note on his name

Due to scarcity of historical sources and their multilinguality, Ragibagh's name has a lot of variants. The Tibetan ''Red Annals'' calls him "Ra khyi phag." The later Mongolian chronicles such as the ''Erdeni-yin tobchi'' and the ''Altan tobchi'' spell him Radzibaγ or Raǰibaγ. The Chinese ''History of the Yuan'' refers to him as A-su-ji-ba , but it is apparently a misspelling of A-la-ji-ba . The initial "a" prevents the word from starting with "r" in . It looks like a modern Mongolian painter interpreted his name as "Asidkebe" . In Chinese he is also known as the Tianshun Emperor for era name.

Khutughtu Khan, Emperor Mingzong of Yuan

Khutughtu Khan , born Kuśala , was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire.

He was the eldest son of . Since the Khayishan administration was founded on the unstable balance between Khayishan, his younger brother and their mother Dagi of the Khunggirad clan, Khayishan appointed Ayurbarwada as Crown Prince on the condition that he would pass the status to Kuśala after succession. However, when Khayishan suddenly died and Ayurbarwada succeeded to the throne in 1311, Dagi, Temüder and other members of the Khunggirad faction installed Ayurbarwada's son instead of Kuśala because his mother came from the Ikires clan, not the Khunggirad clan. He was relegated to Yunnan but fled to -ruled in Central Asia after a failed revolt in Shaanxi. The khan Esen bukha heard that Kuśala was living near his realm, then he came to greet Kusala. Since then, Kusala had been backed by chagataid princes.

Although the rival faction was purged by Yesün Temür Khan when Shidibala Khan was assassinated, he remained in Central Asia. He extended his influence in his stronghold which was located to the west of Altai Mountains.

In 1328 when Yesün Temür Khan died, a civil war erupted between Shangdu-based and Dadu-based . The former was a son of Yesün Temür and backed up by the former Yesün Temür administration led by Dawlat Shah, and the latter was Kuśala's younger brother who was supported by the former Khayishan faction led by the Qipchaq commander El Temür and the Asud commander . This ended in the victory of Tugh Temür since he secured support from princes, aristocrats and warlords in the south of the Gobi Desert. At the same time, Kuśala, with the support from Chaghadaid princes such as Eljigidey, entered Mongolia. He also got support from princes and generals of Mongolia, and with overwhelming military power in the background, put pressure on Tugh Temür, who had already ascended to the throne.

Realizing disadvantages, Tugh Temür declared abdication. In the next year, El Temür brought the imperial seal to Kuśala in Mongolia and announced Dadu's intent to welcome him. Kuśala ascended to the throne in the north of Khara Khorum and Tugh Temür became Crown Prince.

On his way to Dadu, Kuśala met with Tugh Temür in Ongghuchad near Shangdu in the eight month. He suddenly died only 4 days after a banquet with Tugh Temür. It seems that Kuśala was poisoned by El Temür since he feared being lost power to princes and officers of Chaghadai Ulus and Mongolia, who followed Kuśala. Tugh Temür was restored to the throne.

Jayaatu Khan, Emperor Wenzong of Yuan

Jayaatu Khan , born Tugh Temür, was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire.

He was the second son of and a Tangut woman. was his elder brother. When his father Khayishan suddenly died and his younger brother inherited khanship in 1311, he and his brother was removed from the central government by his grandmother Dagi and other Khunggirad faction members including Temüder since they were not mothered by Khunggirad khatuns. After Ayurbarwada's son ascended the throne in 1320, Tugh Temür was relegated to Hainan. When Shidibala was assassinated and Yesün Temür Khan took over as khan, his condition was relaxed. He was given the title of Prince of Huai and was moved to Jiangkang and then to Jiangling.

When Yesün Temür Khan died in Shangdu in 1328, Tugh Temür was recalled to Dadu by the Qipchaq commander El Temür since his more influential brother Kuśala stayed in far-away Central Asia. He was installed as grand-khan in Dadu in the 9th month while Yesün Temür's son succeeded to the throne in Shangdu with the support from Yesün Temür's favorite retainer Dawlat Shah. Gaining support from princes and officers in southern Mongolia and Northern China, Dadu-based Tugh Temür eventually won the civil war.

At the same time, however, his elder brother Kuśala gathered support from princes and generals in Mongolia and and entered Khara Khorum with the overwhelming military presence. Realizing disadvantages, Tugh Temür declared abdication. In the next year, El Temür brought the imperial seal to Kuśala in Mongolia and announced Dadu's intent to welcome him. Kuśala ascended to the throne in the north of Khara Khorum and Tugh Temür became Crown Prince. On his way to Dadu, Kuśala met with Tugh Temür in Ongghuchad near Shangdu in the eight month. Only 4 days after a banquet with Tugh Temür, he suddenly died, or was supposedly killed with poison by El Temür since he feared being lost power to princes and officers of Chaghadai Ulus and Mongolia, who followed Kuśala. Tugh Temür was restored to the throne. El Temür purged pro-Kuśala officers and brought power to warloards.

prince Changshi, who would become a khan later, sent 200 captives to Jayaatu as a gift. The Yuan emperor rewarded him with precious stones.

He was just on a string during his latter three-year reign. Warlords' despotic rule clearly marked the decline of the empire. He is known for cultural contribution instead. He ordered to compile an encyclopaedia named ''Jingshi Dadian'', supported Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucianism and devoted himself in Buddhism. He supervised the construction of the Stupa of Master Zhaozhou in the Buddhist Baolin Temple.

He died in 1332. Although he had a son named El Tegüs, he left a will to make Kuśala's son succeed to the throne. So Kuśala's second son was installed only at the age of six.

Other Mongol khans: , Tarmashirin and Ozbeg paid tributes to the Yuan court during his reign.

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan , born , was the Mongol founder, '''' and posthumously declared ''Khagan'' of the Mongol Empire, the contiguous empire in history.

He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia. After founding the Mongol Empire and being proclaimed "Genghis Khan", he pursued an aggressive foreign policy by starting the Mongol invasions of and . During his life, the Mongol Empire eventually occupied most of Asia.

Genghis Khan died in 1227 after defeating the Tanguts. He was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Mongolia at a location unknown. His descendants went on to stretch the Mongol Empire across most of Eurasia by conquering and/or creating vassals out of all of modern-day China, Korea, Caucasus, Central Asian countries and substantial portions of modern Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Early life


Because of the lack of contemporary written records, there is very little factual information about the early life of Temüjin. The few sources that provide insight into this period are often conflicting.

Temüjin was born around 1162 in a Mongol tribe near Burkhan Khaldun mountain and the and rivers in modern day Mongolia, not far from its current capital Ulaanbaatar. The Secret History of the Mongols purports that Temüjin was born with a blood clot grasped in his fist, an indication in the traditional Mongolian folklore that he was destined to become a great leader. He was the third-eldest son of his father , a minor tribal chief of the Kiyad and an ally of Ong Khan of the Kerait tribe, and the eldest son of his mother Hoelun. According to the Secret History, Temüjin was named after a Tatar chieftain that his father had just captured. The name also suggests that they may have been descended from a family of blacksmiths .

Yesükhei's clan was called Borjigin , and Hoelun was from the Olkhunut tribe. Like other tribes, they were nomads. Because his father was a chieftain, as were his predecessors, Temüjin was of a noble background. This relatively higher social standing made it easier to solicit help from and eventually consolidate the other Mongol tribes.
No accurate portraits of Genghis exist today, and any surviving depictions are considered to be artistic interpretations. Persian historian Rashid al-Din recorded in his "''''" that the legendary "glittering" ancestor of Genghis was tall, long-bearded, red-haired, and green-eyed. Rashid al-Din also described the first meeting of Genghis and Kublai Khan, when Genghis was shocked to find Kublai had not inherited his red hair. Genghis's Borjigid clan, al-Din also revealed, had a legend involving their clan: it began as the result of an affair between Alan-ko and a stranger to her land, a glittering man who happened to have red hair and bluish-green eyes. Modern historian Paul Ratchnevsky has suggested in his Genghis biography that the "glittering man" may have been from the Kyrgyz people, who historically displayed these same characteristics. Controversies aside, the closest depiction generally accepted by most historians is the portrait currently in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan .

Family and lineage

Temüjin was related on his father's side to Qabul Khan, Ambaghai and Qutula Khan who had headed the Mongol confederation. When the switched support from the Mongols to the Tatars in 1161, they destroyed Qabul Khan. Genghis' father, Yesükhei , emerged as the head of the ruling clan of the Mongols, but this position was contested by the rival Tayichi’ud clan, who descended directly from Ambaghai. When the Tatars grew too powerful after 1161, the Jin moved their support from the Tatars to the Kerait.

Childhood and Family

Temüjin had three brothers named Khasar , Khajiun, and Temüge, and one sister named Temülen , as well as two half-brothers named Bekhter and Belgutei.

Like many of the nomads of Mongolia, Temüjin's early life was difficult. At nine years old, as part of the marriage arrangement, he was delivered by his father to the family of his future wife B&, who were members of the Onggirat tribe. He was to live there in service to Deisechen, the head of the household, until he reached the age of 12. At this time, none of the tribal confederations of Mongolia were united politically, and arranged marriages were often used to solidify temporary alliances. Temujin grew up observing the tough political climate of Mongolia, surrounded by tribal warfare, thievery, raids, corruption and continuing acts of revenge carried out between the various confederations, all compounded by interference from foreign forces such as the Chinese dynasties to the south.

While heading home, his father was poisoned during a meal with the neighbouring Tatars, who had long been enemies of the Mongols. Temüjin returned home to claim the position of khan. However, his father's tribe refused to be led by a boy so young. They abandoned him and his family, including his mother Hoelun, leaving them without protection.

For the next several years, Temüjin and his family lived in poverty, surviving primarily on wild fruits, marmots, and other small game hunted by Temüjin and his brothers. It was during one hunting excursion that 13-year-old Temüjin killed his half-brother, Bekhter, during a fight which resulted from a dispute over hunting spoils. This incident cemented his position as head of the household.

In another incident in 1182 he was captured in a raid and held prisoner by his father's former allies, the Ta'yichiut. The Ta'yichiut enslaved Temüjin , but with the help of a sympathetic watcher, the father of Chilaun , he was able to escape from the by hiding in a river crevice. It was around this time that Jelme and Bo'orchu, two of Genghis Khan's future generals, joined forces with him. Along with his brothers, they provided the manpower needed for early expansion. Temüjin's reputation also became relatively widespread after his escape from the Ta'yichiut.


Temüjin's mother Ho'elun taught him many lessons about the unstable political climate of Mongolia, especially the need for s. As previously arranged by his father, Temüjin married B& of the Konkirat tribe around when he was 16 in order to cement alliances between their respective tribes. Börte had four sons, Jochi , , , and Tolui . Genghis Khan also had many other children with his other wives, but they were excluded from the succession, and records of daughters are nonexistent. Soon after Börte's marriage to Temüjin, she was kidnapped by the Merkits, and reportedly given away as a wife. Temüjin rescued her with the help of his friend and future rival, Jamuka, and his protector, Ong Khan of the Kerait tribe. She gave birth to a son, Jochi, nine months later, clouding the issue of his parentage. Despite speculation over Jochi, Börte would be his only empress, though Temüjin did follow tradition by taking several wives.

According to traditional historical accounts, the issue over Jochi's paternity was voiced most strongly by Chagatai. In The Secret History of the Mongols, just before the invasion of the Khwarezmid Empire by Genghis Khan, Chagatai declares before his father and brothers that he would never accept Jochi as Genghis Khan's successor. In response to this tension and possibly for other reasons, it was Ögedei who was appointed as successor. He subsequently ruled as Khagan after Genghis Khan's death.

Jochi died in 1226, during his father's lifetime. Some scholars, notably Ratchnevsky, have commented on the possibility that Jochi was secretly poisoned by an order from Genghis Khan. Rashid al-Din reports that the great Khan sent for his sons in the spring of 1223, and while his brothers heeded the order, Jochi remained in Khorasan. Juzjani suggests that the disagreement arose from a quarrel between Jochi and his brothers in the siege of Urgench. Jochi had attempted to protect Urgench from destruction, as it belonged to territory allocated to him as a fief. He concludes his story with the clearly apocryphal statement by Jochi: "Genghis Khan is mad to have massacred so many people and laid waste so many lands. I would be doing a service if I killed my father when he is hunting, made an alliance with Sultan Muhammad, brought this land to life and gave assistance and support to the Muslims." Juzjani claims that it was in response to hearing of these plans that Genghis Khan ordered his son secretly poisoned; however, as Sultan Muhammad was already dead in 1223, the accuracy of this story is questionable.

Temüjin put absolute trust in generals, such as Muqali, Jebe and Subutai, and regarded them as brothers, often extending them the same privileges and trust normally reserved for close family members. He allowed them to make decisions on their own when they embarked on campaigns far from the Mongol Empire capital Karakorum. Temüjin also became blood brother with Jamuka, and they vowed to remain eternally faithful.


Genghis Khan's religion is widely speculated to be Shamanism or Tengriism, which was very likely among nomadic Mongol- tribes of Central Asia. But he was very tolerant religiously, and interested to learn philosophical and moral lessons from other religions. To do so, he consulted among others with missionaries, merchants, and the monk Qiu Chuji.

Uniting the confederations

The Central Asian plateau around the time of Temüjin was divided into several tribes or confederations, among them Naimans, Merkits, , Tatars, Mongols, Keraits that were all prominent in their own right and often unfriendly toward each other as evidenced by random raids, revenges, and plundering.

Temüjin began his slow ascent to power by offering himself as an ally to his father's ''anda'' , who was Khan of the Kerait, and is better known by the Chinese title Ong Khan , which the granted him in 1197. This relationship was first reinforced when Börte was captured by the Merkits; it was to Toghrul that Temüjin turned for support. In response, Toghrul offered his vassal 20,000 of his Kerait warriors and suggested that he also involve his childhood friend Jamuka, who had himself become Khan of his own tribe, the Jadaran. Although the campaign was successful and led to the recapture of Börte and utter defeat of the Merkits, it also paved the way for the split between the childhood friends, Temüjin and Jamuka.

The main opponents of the Mongol confederation around 1200 were the Naimans to the west, the Merkits to the north, Tanguts to the south, the Jin and Tatars to the east. By 1190, Temüjin, his followers and advisors united the smaller Mongol confederation only. In his rule and his conquest of rival tribes, Temüjin broke with Mongol tradition in a few crucial ways. He delegated authority based on merit and loyalty, rather than family ties. As an incentive for absolute obedience and following his rule of law, the Yassa code, Temüjin promised civilians and soldiers a wealth from future possible war spoils. As he defeated rival tribes, he didn't drive away enemy soldiers and abandon the rest. Instead, he took the conquered tribe under his protection and integrated its members into his own tribe. He would even have his mother adopt orphans from the conquered tribe, bringing them into his family. These political innovations inspired great loyalty among the conquered people, making Temüjin stronger with each victory.

Toghrul's son Senggum was jealous of Temüjin's growing power, and his affinity with his father. He allegedly planned to assassinate Temüjin. Toghrul, though allegedly saved on multiple occasions by Temüjin, gave in to his son and became uncooperative with Temüjin. Temüjin learned of Senggum's intentions and eventually defeated him and his loyalists. One of the later ruptures between Toghrul and Temüjin was Toghrul's refusal to give his daughter in marriage to Jochi, the eldest son of Temüjin, a sign of disrespect in the Mongolian culture. This act led to the split between both factions, and was a prelude to war. Toghrul allied himself with Jamuka, who already opposed Temüjin's forces; however the internal dispute between Toghrul and Jamuka, plus the desertion of a number of their allies to Temüjin, led to Toghrul's defeat. Jamuka escaped during the conflict. This defeat was a catalyst for the fall and eventual dissolution of the Kerait tribe.

The next direct threat to Temüjin was the Naimans , with whom Jamuka and his followers took refuge. The Naimans did not surrender, although enough sectors again voluntarily sided with Temüjin. In 1201, a kurultai elected Jamuka as , "universal ruler", a title used by the rulers of the Kara-Khitan Khanate. Jamuka's assumption of this title was the final breach with Temüjin, and Jamuka formed a coalition of tribes to oppose him. Before the conflict, however, several generals abandoned Jamuka, including Subutai, Jelme's well-known younger brother. After several battles, Jamuka was finally turned over to Temüjin by his own men in 1206.

According to the ''Secret History'', Temüjin again offered his friendship to Jamuka, asking him to return to his side. Temüjin had killed the men who betrayed Jamuka, stating that he did not want disloyal men in his army. Jamuka refused the offer of friendship and reunion, saying that there can only be one Sun in the sky, and he asked for a noble death. The custom is to die without spilling blood, which is granted by breaking the back. Jamuka requested this form of death, despite the fact that in the past Jamuka had been infamously known to have boiled his opponent's generals alive.

The rest of the Merkit clan that sided with the Naimans were defeated by Subutai, a member of Temüjin's personal guard who would later become one of the successful commanders of Genghis Khan. The Naimans' defeat left Genghis Khan as the sole ruler of the Mongol plains, which means all the prominent confederations fell and/or united under Temüjin's Mongol confederation. Accounts of Genghis Khan's life are marked by claims of a series of betrayals and conspiracies. These include rifts with his early allies such as Jamuka and Wang Khan , his son Jochi, and problems with the most important Shaman who was allegedly trying break him up with brother Qasar who was serving Genghis Khan loyally. Many modern scholars doubt that all of the conspiracies existed and suggest that Genghis Khan was probably inclined towards paranoia as a result of his experiences.

His showed a deep interest in gathering good and understanding the motivations of his rivals as exemplified by his extensive spy network and route systems. He seemed to be a quick student, adopting new technologies and ideas that he encountered, such as siege warfare from the . Many legends claim that Genghis Khan always was at the front in battles, but these may not be historically accurate.

As a result by 1206 Temüjin had managed to unite or subdue the Merkits, Naimans, Mongols, Keraits, Tatars, and disparate other smaller tribes under his rule. It was a monumental feat for the "Mongols" . At a ''Kurultai'', a council of Mongol chiefs, he was acknowledged as "" of the consolidated tribes and took the new "Genghis Khan". The title Khagan was not conferred on Genghis until after his death, when his son and successor, Ögedei took the title for himself and extended it posthumously to his father . This unification of all confederations by Genghis Khan established peace between previously warring tribes and a single political and military force under Genghis Khan.

Military campaigns

Western Xia Dynasty

During the 1206 political rise for Genghis Khan, the Mongol nation or Mongol Empire created by Genghis Khan and his allies was neighboured to the west by the Tanguts' . To its east and south was the , founded by the Manchurian Jurchens, who ruled northern China as well as being the traditional overlord of the Mongolian tribes for centuries.

Temüjin organized his people, army, and his state to first prepare for war with Western Xia, or Xi Xia, which was closer to the Mongolian lands. He correctly believed that the more powerful Jin Dynasty's young ruler would not come to the aid of Xi Xia. When the Tanguts requested help from the Jin Dynasty, they were flatly refused.

The Mongols learned from captives of the abundant green pastures beyond the Bulgar territory, allowing for the planning for conquest of Hungary and Europe. The Russian princes then sued for peace. Subutai agreed but was in no mood to pardon the princes. As was customary in Mongol society for nobility, the Russian princes were given a bloodless death. Subutai had a large wooden platform constructed on which he ate his meals along with his other generals. Six Russian princes, including Mstislav III of Kiev, were put under this platform and crushed to death.

Genghis Khan recalled Subutai back to Mongolia soon afterwards, and Jebe died on the road back to Samarkand. Subutai and Jebe's famous cavalry expedition, in which they encircled the entire Caspian Sea defeating all armies in their path, except for that of the Volga Bulgars, remains unparalleled to this day, and word of the Mongol triumphs began to trickle to other nations, particularly Europe.

These two campaigns are generally regarded as reconnaissance campaigns that tried to get the feel of the political and cultural elements of the regions. In 1225 both divisions returned to Mongolia. These invasions ultimately added Transoxiana and to an already formidable empire while destroying any resistance along the way.

Under Genghis Khan's grandson Batu and the Golden Horde, the Mongols returned to definitively conquer Volga Bulgaria and the Kievan Rus in 1237, concluding the campaign in 1240.

Western Xia and Jin Dynasty

The vassal emperor of the Tanguts had refused to take part in the war against the Khwarezmid Empire. While most of the Mongol forces under Genghis Khan and his generals were out on campaign against the Khwarezmid Empire, the Western Xia and the defeated Jin Dynasty formed a coalition to resist the Mongols, counting on the campaign against the Khwarezmids to drain the Mongols' ability to respond effectively. Their cause was further emboldened by the Khan's expeditions further west, which had drawn the bulk of his army off into prolonged campaigns in Persia and Eastern Europe.

In 1226, immediately after returning from the east, Genghis Khan began a retaliatory attack on the Tanguts. His armies quickly took Heisui, Ganzhou and Suzhou , and in the autumn he took Xiliang-fu. One of the Tangut generals challenged the Mongols to a battle near Helanshan, but was soundly defeated. In November, Genghis laid siege to the Tangut city Lingzhou, and crossed the Yellow River, defeating the Tangut relief army. According to legend, it was here that Genghis Khan reportedly saw a line of five stars arranged in the sky, and interpreted it as an omen of his victory.

In 1227, Genghis Khan's army attacked and destroyed the Tangut capital of Ning Hia, and continued to advance, seizing Lintiao-fu, Xining province, Xindu-fu, and Deshun province in quick succession in the Spring. At Deshun, the Tangut general Ma Jianlong put up a fierce resistance for several days and personally led charges against the invaders outside the city gate. Ma Jianlong later died from wounds received from arrows in battle. Genghis Khan, after conquering Deshun, went to Liupanshan to escape the severe summer. The new Tangut emperor quickly surrendered to the Mongols, and the rest of the Tanguts officially surrendered soon after. Not happy with their betrayal and resistance, Genghis Khan ordered the entire imperial family to be executed, effectively ending the Tangut lineage.

Death and burial

In 1227, after defeating the Tangut people, Genghis Khan died . The reason for his death is uncertain and speculations abound. Some histories maintain that he fell off his horse during a horseback pursuit from the land of present day Egypt due to battle wounds and physical fatigue, ultimately dying of his injuries. Others contend that he was felled by a protracted illness such as pneumonia. The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle alleges he was killed by the Tanguts in battle. Later Mongol chronicles connect Genghis' death with a Tangut princess taken as war booty. One chronicle from the early 17th century even relates that the princess hid a small pair of pliers inside her vagina, and hurt the Great Khan so badly that he died. Some Mongol authors have doubted this version and suspected it to be an invention by the rival Oirads.

Genghis Khan asked to be buried without markings, according the customs of his tribe. After he died, his body was returned to Mongolia and presumably to his birthplace in , where many assume he is buried somewhere close to the Onon River and the Burkhan Khaldun mountain . According to legend, the funeral escort killed anyone and anything across their path to conceal where he was finally buried. The Genghis Khan Mausoleum, constructed many years after his death, is his memorial, but not his burial site.

On October 6, 2004, a joint Japanese-Mongolian archaeological dig uncovered what is believed to be Genghis Khan's palace in rural Mongolia, which raises the possibility of actually locating the ruler's long-lost burial site. Folklore says that a river was diverted over his grave to make it impossible to find Other tales state that his grave was stampeded over by many horses, over which trees were then planted, and the permafrost also did its part in hiding the burial site.

Genghis Khan left behind an army of more than 129,000 men; 28,000 were given to his various brothers and his sons. Tolui, his youngest son, inherited more than 100,000 men. This force contained the bulk of the elite Mongolian cavalry. By tradition, the youngest son inherits his father's property. Jochi, , &, and Kulan's son Gelejian received armies of 4,000 men each. His mother and the descendants of his three brothers received 3,000 men each.

Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan

Politics and economics

The Mongol Empire was governed by a civilian and military code, called the Yassa, created by Genghis Khan.
The Mongol Empire did not emphasize the importance of ethnicity and in the administrative realm, instead adopting an approach grounded in meritocracy. The exception was the role of Genghis Khan and his family. The Mongol Empire was one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse empires in history, as befitted its size. Many of the empire's nomadic inhabitants considered themselves ''Mongols'' in military and civilian life, including , Mongols, and others and included many diverse of various ethnicities as part of the Mongol Empire such as .

There were tax exemptions for religious figures and, to some extent, teachers and s. The Mongol Empire practiced religious tolerance to a large degree because Mongol tradition had long held that religion was a very personal concept, and not subject to law or interference. Sometime before the rise of Genghis Khan, Ong Khan, his mentor and eventual rival, had converted to Nestorian Christianity. Various Mongol tribes were Buddhist, Muslim, shamanist or Christian. Religious tolerance was thus a well established concept on the Asian steppe.

Modern Mongolian historians say that towards the end of his life, Genghis Khan attempted to create a under the Great Yassa that would have established the legal equality of all individuals, including . However, there is no contemporary evidence of this, or of the lifting of discriminatory policies towards sedentary peoples such as the Chinese. Women played a relatively important role in Mongol Empire and in family, for example was briefly in charge of the Mongol Empire when next male Khagan was being chosen. Modern scholars refer to the alleged policy of encouraging trade and communication as the Pax Mongolica .

Genghis Khan realised that he needed people who could govern cities and states conquered by him. He also realised that such administrators could not be found among his Mongol people because they were nomads and thus had no experience governing cities. For this purpose Genghis Khan invited a prince, , who worked for the Jin and had been captured by the Mongol army after the Jin Dynasty were defeated. Jin had captured power by displacing Khitan. Genghis told Chu'Tsai, who was a lineal descendant of Khitan rulers, that he had avenged Chu'Tsai's forefathers. Chu'Tsai responded that his father served the Jin Dynasty honestly and so did he; he did not consider his own father his enemy, so the question of revenge did not apply. Genghis Khan was very impressed by this reply. Chu'Tsai administered parts of the Mongol Empire and became a confidant of the successive Mongol Khans.


Genghis Khan expected unwavering loyalty from his generals, and granted them a great deal of autonomy in making command decisions. Muqali, a trusted general, was given command of the Mongol forces against the Jin Dynasty while Genghis Khan was fighting in Central Asia, and Subutai and Jebe were allowed to pursue the Great Raid into the Caucausus and Kievan Rus, an idea they had presented to the Khagan on their own initiative. The Mongol military also was successful in siege warfare, cutting off resources for cities and towns by diverting certain rivers, taking enemy prisoners and driving them in front of the army, and adopting new ideas, techniques and tools from the people they conquered, particularly in employing Muslim and Chinese siege engines and engineers to aid the Mongol cavalry in capturing cities. Also one of the standard tactics of the Mongol military was the commonly practiced to break enemy formations and to lure small enemy groups away from the larger group and defended position for ambush and counterattack.

Another important aspect of the military organization of Genghis Khan was the and supply route or '''', adapted from previous Chinese models. Genghis Khan dedicated special attention to this in order to speed up the gathering of military intelligence and official communications. To this end, Yam waystations were established all over the empire.


Before his death, Genghis Khan divided his among his sons , , Tolui, and Jochi into several Khanates designed as sub-territories: their were expected to follow the Great Khan, who was, initially, Ögedei.

Following are the Khanates in the way in which Genghis Khan assigned after his death:
* : &, as ''Great Khan'', took most of Eastern Asia, including China; this territory later to comprise the Yuan Dynasty under Kubilai Khan.
* Mongol homeland : , being the youngest son, received a small territory near the Mongol homeland, following Mongol custom.
* Chagatai Khanate: Chagatai Khan, Genghis Khan's second son, was given Central Asia and northern Iran.
* Blue Horde to Batu Khan, and White Horde to Orda Khan, both were later combined into the Kipchak Khanate, or , under Toqtamysh. Genghis Khan's eldest son, Jochi, had received most of the distant Russia and Ruthenia. Because Jochi died before Genghis Khan, his territory was further split up between his sons. Batu Khan launched an invasion of Russia, and later Hungary and Poland, and crushed several armies before being summoned back by the news of Ögedei's death.

After Genghis Khan

Contrary to popular belief, Genghis Khan did not conquer all of the areas of the Mongol Empire. At the time of his death, the Mongol Empire stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Sea of Japan. The empire's expansion continued for a generation or more after Genghis's death in 1227. Under Genghis's successor & the speed of expansion reached its peak. Mongol armies pushed into Persia, finished off the Xi Xia and the remnants of the Khwarezmids, and came into conflict with the imperial Song Dynasty of China, starting a war that would last until 1279 and that would conclude with the Mongols gaining control of all of China.

Perceptions and legacy

Like other notable conquerors, Genghis Khan is portrayed differently by those he conquered and those who conquered with him. Negative views of Genghis Khan are very persistent within histories written by many different cultures, from various different geographical regions. They often cite the cruelties and destructions brought upon by Mongol armies. However, other authors cite positive aspects of Genghis Khan's conquests as well.

Positive perception

Genghis Khan is credited with bringing the Silk Road under one cohesive political environment. This allowed increased communication and trade between the , Middle East and Asia, thus expanding the horizons of all three cultural areas. Some historians have noted that Genghis Khan instituted certain levels of meritocracy in his rule, and was tolerant of different religions. In much of modern-day Turkey, Genghis Khan is looked on as a great military leader, and it is popular for male children to carry his title as name.

In Mongolia

Traditionally Genghis Khan had been revered for centuries among the Mongols, and also among other ethnic groups like the , largely because of his association with Mongol statehood, political and military organization, and his historic victories in war. He eventually evolved into a larger-than-life figure chiefly among the Mongols.

During the communist period, Genghis Khan was often described as reactionary, and positive statements about him were generally avoided. In 1962, the erection of a monument at his birthplace and a conference held in commemoration of his 800th birthday led to criticism from the Soviet Union, and resulted in the dismissal of Tömör-Ochir, a secretary of the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee. In the early 1990s, when democracy was established in Mongolia, the memory of Genghis Khan with the Mongolian traditional national identity has had a powerful revival. Genghis Khan became the central figure of the national identity. He is now a source of pride for Mongolians with ties to their historic roots. For example, it is not uncommon for Mongolians to refer to Mongolia as "Genghis Khan's Mongolia," to themselves as "Genghis Khan's children," and to Genghis Khan as the "father of the Mongols" especially among the younger generation. His name and likeness are endorsed on products, streets, buildings, and other places. His face can be found on everyday commodities, from liquors to the largest denominations of 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 Mongolian t& . Mongolia's main international airport has been renamed Chinggis Khaan International Airport, and major Genghis Khan statues have been erected before the parliament and near Ulaanbaatar. There have been repeated discussions about regulating the use of his name and image to avoid trivialization. In summary, Mongolians see him as the fundamental figure in the founding of the Mongol Empire, and therefore the basis for Mongolia as a country.

Genghis Khan is now widely regarded as one of Mongolia's greatest and most legendary leaders. He is responsible for the emergence of the Mongols as a political and ethnic identity. He reinforced many Mongol traditions and provided stability and unity during a time of great uncertainty, due to both internal and external factors. He is also given credit for the introduction of the traditional Mongolian script and the creation of the , the first written Mongolian law. There is a chasm in the perception of his brutality - Mongolians maintain that the historical records written by non-Mongolians are unfairly biased against Genghis Khan; and that his butchery is exaggerated, while his positive role is underrated.

In China

The People's Republic of China considers Genghis Khan to be an ethnic minority hero. The rationale for this claim is the fact that there are more ethnic Mongols living inside the PRC than outside, including Mongolia. While Genghis Khan never conquered all of China, his grandson Kublai Khan completed that conquest, and established the Yuan Dynasty that is often credited with re-uniting China. There has also been much artwork and literature praising Genghis as a great military leader and political genius. The years of the Mongol-established Yuan Dynasty left an indelible imprint on Chinese political and social structures for subsequent generations. However, the legacy of Genghis Khan and his successors, who completed the conquest of China after 65 years of struggle, remains a mixed topic, even to this day.

In publications

Genghis Khan is recognized in number of large and popular publications and by other authors, which include the following:
* Genghis Khan is ranked #29 on Michael H. Hart's .
* An article that appeared in the Washington Post on December 31, 1995 selected Genghis Khan as "Man of the Millennium".
* Genghis Khan was nominated for the "Top 10 Cultural Legends of the Millennium" in 1998 by Dr G. Ab Arwel, voted by the five Judges, Prof. D Owain, Mr. G. Parry, , Dr. C Campbell of Oxford University, and Mr S Evans and Sir B. Parry of the International Museum of Culture, Luxembourg.
* National Geographic's 50 Most Important Political Leaders of All Time.

Negative perceptions

In Iraq and Iran, he is looked on as a destructive and warlord who caused enormous damage and destruction. Similarly, in Afghanistan he is generally viewed unfavorably though some groups display ambivalency as it is believed that the of Afghanistan are descendants of a large Mongol garrison stationed therein. The invasions of Baghdad and Samarkand caused mass murders, such as when portions of southern Khuzestan were completely destroyed. His descendant Hulagu Khan destroyed much of Iran's northern part. Among the Iranian peoples he is regarded as one of the most despised conquerors of Iran, along with and Tamerlane. In much of Russia, Middle East, China, Ukraine, Poland and Hungary, Genghis Khan and his regime are credited with considerable damage and destruction. Presently Genghis Khan, his descendants, his generals, and the Mongol people are remembered for their ferocious and destructive conquests by the region's history.

Genghis Khan Effect

Zerjal et al
identified a present in about 8% of the men in a large region of Asia . The paper suggests that the pattern of variation within the lineage is consistent with a hypothesis that it originated in Mongolia about 1,000 years ago. Such a spread would be too rapid to have occurred by genetic drift, and must therefore be the result of natural selection. The authors propose that the lineage is carried by likely male-line descendants of Genghis Khan, and that it has spread through social selection.


In addition to most of the Mongol nobility up to the 20th century, the Mughal emperor Babur's mother was a descendant. Timur , the 14th century military leader, claimed descent from Genghis Khan.

In modern culture

There are several films about the Mongolian ruler, most notably:

*''The Conqueror'', released in 1956 and starring John Wayne as Temüjin and Susan Hayward as Börte.
*'''', released in 1965 and starring Omar Sharif.
*''Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea'', also known as "The Descendant of Gray Wolf") a Japanese-Mongolian film released in 2007 about the life of Genghis Khan.
*'''', a film by Sergei Bodrov released in 2007.
*, by Conn Iggulden 2007-

Name and title

There are many theories about the origins of Temüjin's title. Since people of the Mongol nation later associated the name with ''ching'' , such confusion is obvious, though it does not follow etymology.

One theory suggests the name stems from a palatalised version of the Mongolian and word ''tenggis'', meaning "ocean", "oceanic" or "wide-spreading". (Lake Baikal and ocean were called ''tenggis'' by the Mongols. However, it seems that if they had meant to call Genghis ''tenggis'' they could have said "Tenggis Khan", which they did not. Zhèng meaning "right", "just", or "true", would have received the Mongolian adjectival modifier ''-s'', creating "Jenggis", which in medieval romanization would be written "Genghis" . It is likely that the 13th century Mongolian pronunciation would have closely matched "Chinggis". See Lister and Ratchnevsky, referenced below, for further reading.

The English spelling "Genghis" is of unclear origin. claims it to derive from a spelling used in original Persian reports. However, review of historical Persian sources does not confirm this.

According to the Secret History of the Mongols, Temüjin was named after a powerful warrior of the Tatar tribe that his father Yesügei had taken prisoner. The name "Temüjin" is believed to derive from the word ''temür'', meaning iron . The name would imply skill as a blacksmith.

More likely, as no evidence has survived to indicate that Genghis Khan had any exceptional training or reputation as a blacksmith, the name indicated an implied lineage in a family once known as blacksmiths. The latter interpretation is supported by the names of Genghis Khan's siblings, Temülin and Temüge, which are derived from the same root word.

Name and spelling variations

Genghis Khan's name is spelled in variety of ways in different languages such as , : ''Cengiz Han'', ''Chengez Khan'', ''Chinggis Khan'', ''Chinggis Xaan'', ''Chingis Khan'', ''Jenghis Khan'', ''Chinggis Qan'', ''Djingis Kahn'' etc. Temüjin is written in as .

Short timeline

* 1155–1167: Temüjin born in .
* At the age of nine—Temüjin's father poisoned by the Tatars, leaving him and his family destitute
* c. 1184: Temüjin's wife B& kidnapped by Merkits; calls on blood brother Jamuka and Wang Khan for aid, and they rescued her.
* c. 1185: First son Jochi born, leading to doubt about his paternity later among Genghis' children, because he was born shortly after B&'s rescue from the Merkits.
* 1190: Temüjin unites the Mongol tribes, becomes leader, and devises code of law Yassa.
* 1201: Wins victory over Jamuka's Jadarans.
* 1202: Adopted as Ong Khan's heir after successful campaigns against Tatars.
* 1203: Wins victory over Ong Khan's Keraits. Ong Khan himself is killed by accident by allied Naimans.
* 1204: Wins victory over Naimans .
* 1206: Jamuka is killed. Temüjin given the title ''Genghis Khan'' by his followers in Kurultai .
* 1207–1210: Genghis leads operations against the Western Xia, which comprises much of northwestern China and parts of Tibet. Western Xia ruler submits to Genghis Khan. During this period, the Uyghurs also submit peacefully to the Mongols and became valued administrators throughout the empire.
* 1211: After kurultai, Genghis leads his armies against the Jin Dynasty that ruled northern China.
* 1215: Beijing falls, Genghis Khan turns to west and the Khara-Kitan Khanate.
* 1219–1222: Conquers Khwarezmid Empire.
* 1226: Starts the campaign against the Western Xia for forming coalition against the Mongols, being the second battle with the Western Xia.
* 1227: Genghis Khan dies after conquering the Tangut people. How he died is uncertain, although legend states that he was thrown off his horse in the battle, and contracted a deadly fever soon after.

Further reading

* Via the Internet Archive's copy of the History Channel Web site.
* Stevens, Keith. Retrieved 22 May 2008.

Primary sources



Tolui, also rendered Toluy or Tolui , was the youngest son of Genghis Khan by B&. His ulus, or territorial inheritance, at his father's death in 1227 was the homelands in Mongolia, and it was he who served as civil administrator in the time it took to confirm as second khan. Before that, he had served with distinction in the campaigns against the and the Khwarezmid Empire, where he was instrumental in the capture and massacre at Merv.

Genghis Khan's succession

When Genghis Khan was deciding who should succeed him he had trouble choosing between Tolui and Ögodei. Tolui had amazing military skills and was very successful as a general, but Genghis Khan chose Ögodei because Ögodei was more capable politically. Genghis Khan felt that Tolui would be too cautious to be an effective leader.

After Genghis Khan's death, Mongol nobles gathered together and elected Tolui as the new Khan, but Tolui rejected their decision and gave the Khanate to his brother, Ögodei, fulfilling his father's wishes. The Mongol nobles' moves were partly influenced by the tradition that the youngest son inherits his father's properties and partly because Tolui had the largest and most powerful army at the time.

Death and Legacy

According to the Secret History of the Mongols, Tolui sacrificed himself in order to cure Ögödei from a very severe illness during a campaign in China. The shamans had determined that the root of Ögödei's illness were China's spirits of the earth and the water, who were upset that their subjects had been driven away and their land devastated. Offering land, animals and people had only lead to an aggravation of Ögödeis illness, but when they offered to sacrifice a family member, Ögödei got better immediately. Tolui volunteered and died directly after consuming a cursed drink.

Perhaps more important than him was the role his family, the Toluids, had in shaping the destinies of the Mongol Empire. Through his Christian wife Sorghaghtani Beki, Tolui fathered M&, , Ariq Boke, and , and thus was the progenitor of the last of the great Khans, the Yuan Dynasty of China, and of the .

Rivalry between the Toluids and the sons of Ögedei and Jochi caused stagnation and infighting during the regency periods after the deaths of Ögedei and his son . However, it was a rivalry from among Tolui's own sons, Kublai and Ariq Boke, that fragmented the power of the empire and set the western khanates against each other in the early 1260s.

Ogedei Khan

Ögedei Khan, , was the third son of Genghis Khan and second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire by succeeding his father. He continued the expansion of the empire that his father had begun, and was the Great Khan when the Mongol Empire reached its furthest extent west during the . Like all of Genghis' primary sons, he participated extensively in conquests in Western China and Central Asia.


Ögedei was the third son of Genghis Khan, and was considered to be his father's favorite son, ever since his childhood. As an adult Ögedei was known for his ability to sway doubters in any debate in which he was involved, simply by the force of his personality. He was a physically big, jovial and very charismatic man, who seemed mostly to be interested in enjoying good times. He was intelligent and steady in character. His charisma was partially credited for his success in keeping the Mongol Empire on the path that his father had set.

Ögedei was also known to be a humble man, who knew his human limitations, did not believe himself to be a genius, and was willing to listen and use the great generals that his father left him, as well as those he himself found to be most capable. Like all Mongols at his time, he was raised and educated as a warrior from childhood, and as the son of Genghis Khan he was a part of his father's plan to establish a world empire. His military experience was notable for his willingness to listen to his generals, and adapt to the circumstances. He was an extremely pragmatic person, much like his father, and looked at the end, rather than the means. His steadiness of character and dependability were the traits that his father most valued, and that gained him the role of successor to his father, despite his two older brothers.

Ascendancy to Supreme Khan

He was elected supreme khan in 1229, according to the kurultai held after Genghis' death, although this was never really in doubt as it was Genghis' clear wish that he be succeeded by Ögedei. His charisma is partially credited for his success in keeping the Empire on his father's path. Thanks mostly to the organization left behind by Genghis Khan, and the personal charisma of Ögedei, the affairs of the Mongol Empire remained for the most part stable during his reign. To this it must again be added that Ögedei was an extremely pragmatic man, and knew his limitations. He had no delusions that he was his father's equal as a military commander or organizer, and used the abilities of those he found most capable.

In 1235, Great khan finished Karakorum, the capital of Mongol Empire.

During his reign, the Mongols completed the destruction of the Jurchen empire , coming into contact and conflict with the Southern Song. In 1235, under the khan's direct generalship, the Mongols began a war of conquest that would not end for forty-five years, and would result in the complete annexation of all of China. Mongol armies , established permanent control of proper and, most notably, expanded westward under the command of Batu Khan to subdue the Russian steppe. Their western conquests included almost all of Russia , Hungary, and Poland. Ögedei's sons Kadan and attacked Poland and Transylvania, respectively.

Ögedei Khan had granted permission to invade the remainder of Europe, all the way to the "Great Sea," the Atlantic Ocean, and only his death prevented the possible invasions of Austria, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain, and the remaining small European principalities. Indeed, Mongol forces were moving on Vienna, launching a fierce winter campaign against Austria and Germany in the first wave into Western Europe, when Ögedei died. Some historians believe only his death prevented the complete conquest of Europe.

The Mongol expansion throughout the Asian continent under the leadership of Ögedei helped bring political stability and re-establish the Silk Road, the primary trading route between East and West.

Aftermath of Ögedei's death

Ögedei's death in 1241 brought the Mongol invasion of Europe to a premature end. The commanders heard the news as they were advancing on Vienna, and withdrew for the Ikh kurultai in Mongolia, never again to return so far west.

His son eventually succeeded him after the five-year regency of his widow T&. But Batu Khan, Khan of the Kipchak Khanate in Russia, never accepted Guyuk, who died on the way to confront him. It was not until 1255, well into the reign of Mongke Khan, that Batu felt secure enough to again prepare to invade Europe. Fortunately for the Europeans, he died before his plans could be implemented. His son intended to carry them out, but he also died, and in 1258, Batu's brother Berke, ascended to the Kipchak Khanate. A Muslim, he was more interested in stopping his cousin from doing any more damage to the Holy Land than invading Europe. Historians mark the decline of the united Mongol Empire from Ogedei's death, though Mongke's ascension halted the interfamilial fighting for a time.

At the death of Mongke, Mongke's youngest brother Arik Boke was declared the Great Khan. Then there was 4-year long civil war between Arik Böke and Kublai Khan, who was also Mongke's brother. Eventually, Kublai Khan won. Kaidu, a descendant of Ogedei, refused to recognize Kublai Khan as the Great Khan. This started many battles between Kaidu and Kublai Khan. After Kaidu's son, Ogedei's line basically finished in the struggle for power. The unity of the Mongols ended because of the power struggle among the various Mongol princes. Kublai Khan's descendants were recognized as the Great Khan only in Mongolia and China and the surrounding areas.