Friday, September 5, 2008

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.

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