Mongke Khan: Fourth Khagan-Emperor of the Mongol Empire


Mongke (11 January 1209 to 11 August 1259) was the Mongol Empire's fourth khagan-emperor, reigning from 1 July 1251 until 11 August 1259. He was the first Khagan of the Toluid dynasty, and throughout his reign, he implemented major changes to strengthen the Empire's administration. The Mongols invaded Iraq and Syria, and the kingdom of Dali under Möngke (modern Yunnan).


Mongke Khan was a guy of average height, according to William of Rubruck.

Early Life

Mongke was the eldest son of Genghis Khan's adolescent son Tolui and Sorghaghtani Beki and was born on 11 January 1209. A shaman named Teb Tengri Khokhcuu claimed to have glimpsed in the stars a bright destiny for the kid and gave him the name Möngke, which means "forever" in Mongolian. Angqui, the childless queen of his uncle Ögedei Khan, reared at her palace (nomadic palace). Idi-dan Muhammed, a Persian scholar, was sent to teach Möngke writing. Genghis Khan held a ceremony on his grandchildren Möngke and Kublai after their first hunting in 1224 at the Ili River on his journey back home after the Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia. Möngke was fifteen years old when he killed a rabbit and an antelope with his brother, Kublai. Following Mongol tradition, their grandpa spread fat from the slaughtered animals onto their middle fingers. Möngke initially went to war in 1230, accompanying Ogedei Khan and his father Tolui into combat against the Jin dynasty. In 1232, Tolui died, and Ögedei made Sorghaghtani the leader of the Toluid appanage. Möngke congenital at least one of his father's brides, Oghul-Khoimish of the Oirat clan, as per Mongol custom. Möngke adored her and favoured her eldest daughter, Shirin, in particular.

In 1235, Ögedei sent him and his relatives to the West to battle the Kipchaks, Russians, and Bulgars. When Bachman, the most powerful Kipchak chief, escaped to an island in the Volga delta. Möngke pursued him over the river and apprehended him. Bachman refused to bow down on his knees when Möngke commanded him to, and Möngke's brother Bujek killed him. During the Mongol invasion of Rus', Möngke also fought in hand-to-hand fighting. Möngke and Kadan were instructed to subdue the tribes in the Caucasus while his cousins Shiban and Büri proceeded to Crimea. The Alan capital of Maghas was conquered by the Mongols, who slaughtered its people. Many Alan and Circassian chiefs submitted to Möngke. Möngke would return them to Mongolia after the invasion of Eastern Europe. He was also there at the Siege of Kiev (1240). Möngke was allegedly enthralled by Kiev's splendour and offered the city's surrender, but his envoys were assassinated. The city was sacked after Batu's army joined Möngke's forces. At the Battle of Mohi, he fought with Batu. Möngke went home in the summer of 1241, before the campaign's untimely conclusion when his uncle Ögedei summoned him in the winter of 1240–41. Ögedei, on the other hand, died. Temüge, Genghis Khan's lone surviving brother, attempted unsuccessfully to usurp the throne without the approval of a kurultai in 1246. The new Khagan Güyük tasked Möngke and Orda Khan, Batu's elder brothers, with the delicate duty of testing the Odchigin ("keeper of the hearth" - a title granted to both of Genghiz's younger brothers). In 1248, Güyük died en way to the West, and Batu and Möngke emerged as the leading candidates.

Toluid Revolution

Möngke travelled to the Golden Horde to see Batu, who was suffering from gout, on his mother's recommendation, Sorghaghtani. Batu chose to vote for him and held a kurultai at Ala Qamaq to show his support. The kurultai was visited by the commander of Genghis Khan's brothers' households and numerous prominent generals. Naqu and Khoja, Güyük's sons, were around for a short time before leaving. Despite Bala, Oghul Qaimish's scribe, who objected vehemently, the kurultai accepted Möngke. However, this kurultai's legitimacy was questioned due to its small turnout and remote location. Möngke was dispatched to Kodoe Aral in Mongolia, under the protection of his brothers Berke and Tuqa-temur and his son Sartaq, to construct an official kurultai. The gathering crowd declared Möngke the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire when Sorghaghtani and Berke held a second kurultai on 1 July 1251. A few of the Ögedeid and Chagatayid leaders, such as his cousin Kadan and the deposed Khan Qara Hülegü, recognised the decision.

Soon after, Oghul's son Khoja and gedei's favoured grandson Shiremun arrived to "pay homage" to Möngke as the new monarch, bringing them the whole gedei faction's army.  Kheshig, Möngke's Kankali falconer, uncovered the attack preparations and informed his lord. He discovered his family guilty at the end of the inquiry conducted by his father's devoted servant Menggesar noyan. However, at first, he wished to show pity to them as described in the Great Yassa. Möngke's authorities objected, and he began punishing his kin as a result. From Mongolia and China Iraq in the West and in the east to Afghanistan, the trials took place across the Empire. As a result, Möngke and Batu's brother Berke conspired to have Oghul accused of black magic against Möngke. Oghul Qaimish was sewed up into a sack and flung into a river, drowned, after being captured and questioned by Sorghaghtani. This is the usual Mongol punishment for practising black magic. Büri, Eljigidei, Yesü Möngke, and Shiremun are among the aristocrats, bureaucrats, and Mongol commanders whose fatalities are estimated to number between 77 and 300. Most of the princes inclined from Genghis Khan, who was implicated in the plan, on the other hand, were exiled in some way. The anti-Möngke plan of Bala, an Uyghur scribe, and Idiqut Salindi, the Uyghur king, was discovered, and they were publicly killed. Following his ascension to the throne in 1251, Möngke said that he would follow in the footsteps of his forefathers but would not follow in the footsteps of other nations. To boost his legitimacy, he bestowed the title of Ikh Khagan on his father in 1252. Möngke and his ally Batu Khan shared the western portion of the Empire, maintaining the Empire's unity. Sorghaghtani, Möngke's mother, died in 1252.

Möngke abolished the estates of the Ögedeid and Chagataid families after their defeat and awarded obedient family members new domains in Turkestan or northwest China. Möngke declared a broad amnesty for prisoners and captives after the violent purge. Möngke also handed his brothers Kublai and Hulagu supervisory responsibilities to cement his control in North China and Iran. Rumours circulated that his brother Kublai established a de facto autonomous ulus (district) and siphoned off part of the tax revenues that should have been directed to the Karakorum. The Emperor dispatched two tax inspectors to Kublai's office in 1257. After discovering the fault, Kublai's office was disbanded, documented 142 violations of regulations, implicated Chinese officials, and even killed some. Möngke's authority collected all taxes in Kublai's estates. Kublai sent his women to the court of Khagan first, then personally appealed to Möngke, as his Confucian and Buddhist counsellors pointed out. Möngke forgave his brother as they hugged in tears.

Mongol Imperialism

Mongke prepared his decrees and maintained a careful eye on them when they were being revised. Möngke banned the Borjigin and non-Borjigid nobility from engaging in excessive expenditures. He also imposed taxes on merchants and prohibited gifts to princes, transforming them into regular incomes. Möngke put a stop to these abuses and dispatched imperial inspectors to monitor the Mongol-sponsored merchants' activities. He forbade them from utilising imperial relay stations, yam (route), and paizas, which gave the bearer the right to demand goods and services from civilian populations. With Güyük's death, several local authorities were unwilling to pay off Güyük's paper drafts. Möngke realised that if he failed to pay Güyük's financial commitments, merchants would be hesitant to do business with the Mongols. As a result, all drafts made by high-ranking Mongol elites were paid out to these merchants by Möngke. He employed authorities from North China, the Muslim world, and the Uyghur people. The Khagan's chief judge (darughachi) was Menggeser, a Jait-Jalayir official, while the primary scribe was the Christian Bulghai of the Keraites. Nine of Möngke Khan's 16 key provincial officers were unmistakably Muslims. He reappointed Güyük's three administrators in China, Turkestan, and Iran: Mahmud Yalavach, Masud Beg, and Arghun Aqa of the Oirat. Möngke distinguished between the roles of great judge and chief writer in court. Since the reign of Great Khan Ögedei, Möngke founded the Department of Monetary Affairs in 1253 to oversee the issuance of paper money to avoid the currency's over-issuance by Mongols and non-Mongol nobility. His rule created a single unit of measurement based on the sukhe or silver ingot; nevertheless, the Mongols permitted their foreign subjects to issue coins in the denominations and weights they were accustomed to. Mongol coinage grew under the reigns of ÖGedei, Güyük, and Möngke, with gold and silver coins in Central Asia and copper and silver coins in the Caucasus, Iran, and Bolghar. Möngke took a census of the Mongol Empire, which included Iran, Afghanistan, Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Central Asia, and North China, between 1252 and 1259. While China's census was finished in 1252, Novgorod was not tallied in the extreme northwestern part of the country until the winter of 1258–59. In 1257, a revolt against Mongol authority occurred in Novgorod, but Alexander Nevsky compelled the city to submit to Mongol census and taxes. Not only were houses recorded, but also the number of males aged 15 to 60 and the number of farms, cattle, vineyards, and orchards. Artisans were recorded separately in civilian records, while auxiliary and regular families were differentiated in military registrations. Clergy from the official religions were isolated from the rest of the clergy and were not counted. One copy of the new register was delivered to the Karakorum, while the other was maintained for the local government. Möngke attempted to establish a standardised poll tax collected by imperial agents and distributed to the needy units. Initially, the maximum rate in the Middle East was set at 10–11 gold dinars, while in China, it was set at 6–7 taels of silver. The landowner classes protested, and the fee was cut to 6–7 dinars and taels. Some officials increased the highest rate of 500 dinars for the rich. While the change did not reduce the tax burden, it did improve the predictability of payments.

Nonetheless, the census and the regressive taxes it allowed prompted rioting and opposition in the western regions. The Georgian monarch, David VI, revolted against the Mongols in 1259 but was defeated and fled to Kutaisi, where he de facto ruled over Imereti in western Georgia. He offered refuge to David VII, who subsequently sought to overthrow Mongol control in 1261. On the other hand, David Ulu made peace with the Mongols and returned to Tbilisi in 1262. The Georgian and Armenian nobility were brutally punished by Möngke and Batu's administrator, Arghun, by plundered their cities and murdering their notable leaders. The Georgians were split into six tumens by him.

Meanwhile, Baiju defeated the Seljuk Sultan Kaykaus II's revolt near Ankara in 1256, restoring Mongol control over Eastern Turkey. The Kashmiris had revolted at that time, and Möngke replaced the court with his generals, Sali and Takudar, and a Buddhist teacher, Otochi, as darughachi to Kashmir. However, Otochi was assassinated in Srinagar by the Kashmiri ruler. Sali attacked again, murdering the king and putting down the revolt, and the Mongol Empire ruled the country for many years after that.

Religious Policy

In 1251, Möngke accepted Güyük's nomination of Haiyun as leader of all the Mongol Buddhists. Namo, a Buddhist monk from Kashmir, was appointed leader of all Buddhist monks in the kingdom in 1253. All Buddhist clergy were free from taxes during the invasion of Tibet in 1252–53. Möngke bestowed patronage to Tibetan Karma Pakshi, the 2nd Karmapa Lama. Möngke was fascinated by the elderly Taoist monk Qiu Chuji, who had met Genghis Khan's grandfather in Afghanistan. Möngke appointed Li Zhichang as the Taoists' leader. The Taoists, on the other hand, had used their money and prestige to seize Buddhist temples. Möngke requested that the Taoists stop criticising Buddhism. Möngke ordered Kublai to put a stop to the religious war in his domain between Taoists and Buddhists. In early 1258, Kublai convened a meeting of Taoist and Buddhist leaders.

The Taoist allegation was formally denied during the meeting, and Kublai forcefully converted their 237 temples to Buddhism while destroying all copies of the forged scriptures. Möngke favoured Muslim views despite his conquests of the Abbasid Caliphate and the Isma'ili kingdom. He and Hulagu established the Twelver community of Najaf as a self-governing, tax-exempt polity. He spared clerics, monks, churches, mosques, monasteries, and physicians from taxation, much like his predecessors.  Throughout Möngke's sovereignty, Louis IX of France dispatched William of Rubruck as a diplomat searching for a Mongol-Muslim union. Möngke's Khatun Oghul-Khoimish had died by that time. Möngke finally received William Rubruck on 24 May 1254, after having the French ambassador wait for months.

Rubruck explained that he had come to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then he stayed in the Karakorum to assist Christians and to participate in Mongol-sponsored discussions between competing religions. In 1255, Möngke Khan summoned William Rubruck to send him home. He explained to Rubruck: "We Mongols believe in a single God, through Whom we live and die," says a Mongol. He went on to say more, "God has given men diverse ways, just as He has given different fingers to the hand. God has given you the Scriptures, but you Christians do not follow them ". God had given the Mongols their shamans, he said. "If, when you hear and comprehend the decree of the everlasting God, you are reluctant to pay heed and trust it, and in this confidence, you raise an army against us, we know what we can do," Möngke told all Christians. The Latin Empire and the Nicaean Empire also visited the Mongol court to discuss conditions with Möngke Khan. King Hethum I of Lesser Armenia set off for Mongolia in 1252. He arrived in the Karakorum with numerous lavish gifts and met with Möngke. About 13 September 1254, he met with Möngke, counselled the Khagan on Christian problems in Western Asia, and secured papers from Möngke assuring the inviolability of his person and realm.

Hethum requested that the Khagan and his officers become Christians. Möngke replied that he longed for his followers to adore the Messiah but that he couldn't compel them to do so. Möngke also notified Hethum that he was planning an invasion on Baghdad and that if the Christians cooperated, he would return Jerusalem to them. Hethum actively urged other Crusaders to follow his lead and surrender to Mongol authority. Still, only his son-in-law Bohemond VI, the ruler of the Principality of Antioch and County of Tripoli, was convinced to do so sometime in the 1250s. Möngke's army in the West will soon be aided by the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and Bohemond VI. Shamans were influential in the court and even impacted war preparations.

Period of Conquest

The Capitulation of Goryeo

Möngke, as Khagan, seemed to take much more seriously than Güyük the history of global conquest he had inherited. All of his victories took place in East Asia and the Middle East. In 1252, Möngke picked Korea and the Dali Kingdom in Yunnan as his next conquering targets. Möngke dispatched envoys to Goryeo in October 1251 to announce his coronation. He also ordered that King Gojong appear before him and relocate his headquarters from Ganghwa Island to the Korean peninsula. However, the Goryeo court declined to send the king since he was ancient and could not travel long distances. So Möngke reassigned his envoys to certain missions. The envoys were warmly greeted by Goryeo authorities, although they chastised them for their king's refusal to obey his overlord Möngke's commands. Möngke gave Prince Yeku leadership of the army against Korea. However, a Korean in Möngke's court persuaded them to start their attack in July 1253. The Goryeo court was ordered to surrender by Yeku and Amuqan. The rulers declined to fight the Mongols, but the peasants were collected in mountain castles and islands. Jalairtai Qorchi devastated Korea with the help of Goryeo commanders who had joined the Mongols. When one of Yeku's envoys arrived at Gojong's new palace, he was greeted personally. King Gojong sent his stepson to Mongolia as a prisoner. In January 1254, the Mongols agreed to a cease-fire. Möngke learned the captive was not the Goryeo Dynasty's blood prince, and he hated the Goryeo court for misleading him. In 1254, Möngke's commander Jalairtai destroyed part of Goryeo and captured 206,800 people. Peasants were compelled to submit to the Mongols due to famine and despair. They created a chiliarchy office with local leaders in Yonghung. The Mongols began assaulting the coastal islands in 1255 after ordering defectors to build ships. The Mongols turned Korean defectors into a colony of 5,000 families on the Liaodong Peninsula.

The king and Kim Jun, a Choe clan servant, mounted a counter-coup in 1258, murdered the Choe family's leader, and petitioned for peace. However, the Mongols retreated from Korea when the Goryeo court sent the future king Wonjong of Goryeo as a hostage to the Mongol court and pledged to return to Gaegyeong.

Dali, Vietnam and Tibet

Möngke was primarily preoccupied with the battle in China, outflanking the Song dynasty by conquering the Kingdom of Dali (modern Yunnan) in 1254 and invading Indochina, allowing the Mongols to attack from the North, West, and South. In 1253, Möngke Khan sent Kublai to the Dali Kingdom. The royal family, the Gao, fought back and assassinated the Mongol envoys. The Mongols split their army into three groups. One of the wings flew east towards the Sichuan basin. The second column, led by Uryankhadai, travelled an arduous route into western Sichuan's highlands. Kublai personally made his way south across the plains, eventually colliding with the first column. Despite the killing of his emissaries, Kublai seized the capital city of Dali with Uryankhadai riding in from the north along the lakeshore. The Mongols installed King Duan Xingzhi as the local ruler and a pacification commissioner. Unrest broke out among the Black Jang after Kublai's departure. Uryankhadai, Subutai's son, had entirely pacified Dali by 1256. Kublai despatched a troop south after subjugating the Dali, led by Uriyangkhadai, Subutai's son. Uriyangkhadai dispatched envoys to the Vietnamese to seek a passage to invade the Southern Song, but the Tran Vietnamese imprisoned the Vietnamese envoys. In 1257, a Mongol column led by Uriyangkhadai, his son Aju, and 3,000 Mongols and 10,000 Yi tribe members entered Vietnam (then known as I Vit). They routed the Vietnamese army and sacked Thăng Long, the Vietnamese capital (renamed Hanoi in 1831). For the murder of the envoys, the people of Uriyangkhadai were put to death. The Mongols were unwell after a short stay at Thăng Long owing to the strange environment. When the Vietnamese realised it was time to expel the Mongols, they mounted a counter-offensive and won the critical battle of Dong Bo Dau. To prevent further conflict, the Tran agreed to accept Mongol rule, and Uriyangkhadai retreated. Trn Thái Tông, the Vietnamese monarch, paid tribute to Uriyangkhadai, who had fled Vietnam to avoid malaria. The Trn Dynasty agreed to vassalage terms and paid tribute to Möngke's authority. In 1251, Möngke appointed Qoridai as commander of the Mongol and Han armies in Tibet to consolidate his authority over the region. Qoridai invaded Tibet from 1252 to 1253, reaching Damxung. The Mongol rulers split the Central Tibetan monasteries as their appanages once they surrendered to the Mongols.

Conflicts with the Delhi Sultanate

Sali Noyan of the Tatar tribe was dispatched to the Indian borders with new soldiers in 1252–53 and given the Qara'unas. Hulagu, Möngke's brother, was Sali's subordinate. In 1248, the Mamluk Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud's brother, Jalal al-Din Masud, escaped into Mongol territory due to internal disputes in the Delhi Sultanate. Jalal al-Din Masud attended Möngke's inauguration as Khagan and requested Möngke's assistance reclaiming his ancestral domain, which Möngke granted. Sali launched assaults on Multan and Lahore in quick succession. The Mongols were joined by Sham al-Din Muhammad Kart, the client malik of Herat. Jalal al-Din assumed control of Lahore, Kujah, and Sodra as a client king. Kushlu Khan, a Delhi official, submitted to Möngke Khan in 1254 and received a Mongol darughachi. Kushlu went to Hulagu after failing to capture Delhi. Sali Noyan invaded Sind in force in the winter of 1257–58 and demolished Multan's defences; his men may have taken over the island's island stronghold of Bakhkar in the Indus.

Conquest of the Middle East

The Sultanate of Rum dynasty and the Lu'lu'id dynasty of Mosul were prioritised to the Mongol Empire when Möngke summoned a kurultai to plan for the next expedition 1252/53. Malik Kamil, the Ayyubid ruler of Mayyafariqin, and his cousin Malik Nasir Yusuf, the future Sultan of Aleppo, dispatched envoys to Möngke Khan darughachis (overseers) and a census on the Diyarbakr region. According to certain accounts, hundreds of assassins were dispatched by the Ismaili-imam Hashashin's Alaud-Din to assassinate Möngke in his palace. The Ismaili threat had been condemned by Shams-ud-Din, the top judge of Qazvin. As a result, Möngke determined to wipe out the cult. Möngke enlisted the help of the Jochid and Chagataid families in Hulagu's invasion of Iran and bolstered the army with 1,000 Chinese siege engineers. By the end of 1256, Möngke's forces, commanded by his brother Hulagu, had attacked the Ismailis in Iran, destroying the final significant resistance.

Hashashin Imam Rukn ad-Din asked for permission to travel to the Karakorum to meet with Great Khan Möngke personally. Hulagu dispatched him on the long voyage to Mongolia, but Möngke chastised him and fired him once he arrived. Rukn ad-Din was assassinated under mysterious circumstances. Envoys from Baghdad attended the coronation of Möngke in 1251 for the Abbasids to reach an agreement with the Mongols. Möngke, on the other hand, warned Hulagu that if Al-Musta'sim, the Caliph, refused to see him in person, Hulagu was to demolish Baghdad. Hulagu then proceeded into Iraq, conquering Baghdad in 1258. With the news of his victory in Baghdad, Hulagu sent Möngke part of his war spoils. To congratulate him on his win, Möngke sent a Chinese envoy. The invasion of the caliphate infuriated Malik Kamil, who revolted and killed his Mongol supervisor. Yoshumut, Hulagu's son, invested in Mayyafariqin and killed Malik Kamil. In 1259, they crossed into Syria, capturing Damascus and Aleppo on their way to the Mediterranean. The Ayyubid Sultan Malik Nasir Yusuf, fearful of the Mongol advance, refused to visit Hulagu and fled. However, he was kidnapped by the Mongols in Gaza.

South China

Töregene Khatun dispatched an embassy to Zhao Yun in 1241 to offer peace proposals and debate them (posthumously known as Emperor Lizong). The ambassador was apprehended by the Song court and imprisoned in a castle with his entourage of seventy people. Although the ambassador died, his suite was imprisoned until the year 1254. That year, the Mongol army attempted but failed to capture Hejiu. To demonstrate their wish for peace, the Chinese released the late envoy's suite. Möngke focused his full concentration on the Song dynasty's conquest. Late in the decade, he took personal command and seized several fortified cities along the northern front. Möngke sent his younger brother Kublai and the veteran general Uriyangkhadai to capture the Dali Kingdom in 1252. The operations effectively defeated and pacified the tribes from the summer of 1253 to the early spring of 1254, with Uriyangkhadai's military expertise proving helpful in combat. Uriyangkhadai defeated surrounding tribes in Tibet after Kublai's return to northern China before heading east to the Trn dynasty in 1257. Möngke moved off for South China in October 1257, leaving his administration in the Karakorum to his brother, Ariq Böke, with Alamdar as an assistant, and pitched up camp near the Liu-pan mountains in May the following year. In 1258, he launched an attack on Song strongholds in Sichuan, capturing Paoning (modern-day Langzhong). Möngke prohibited his soldiers from pillaging people. Möngke chastised his kid when he accidentally damaged a crop in a Chinese peasant's farm. Meanwhile, Uriyangkhadai's armies invaded Vietnam in 1258, led by generals Trechecdu and Aju, and conquered the capital of the Trn dynasty, Thang Long.

While Chinese source material indicated that Uriyangkhadai's army left Vietnam after nine days owing to bad weather, his forces did not leave until 1259. Möngke held Tsagaan Sar, the Mongol New Year feast, on the mountain Zhonggui on 18 February 1259. At this feast, his relative Togan, a Jalair leader, claimed that the climate in South China was hazardous and that the Great Khagan should travel north for protection. Möngke was encouraged to stay with his army by Baritchi of the Erlat tribe, who deemed this counsel cowardly. Möngke, who intended to seize the city nearby, was delighted by these comments. The Song commander assassinated his emissary, who had been dispatched to the city to request submission. Uriyangkhadai's army raided Guangxi from Thang Long in 1259 as part of a concerted Mongol invasion that included armies fighting in Sichuan under Möngke and other Mongol armies striking in Shandong and Henan today.

Wives, Concubines and Children

Principal Wives

  • Qutuqtai Khatun - Uladai Küregen's daughter, Butu Küregen's son, from Khongirad's Ikeres clan
    • Baltu
      • Töre Tömür
    • Ürüng-Tash
      • Sarban (who died at young age)
      • Öljei (who died at young age)
      • Möngke Temür
    • Princess Bayalun
  • Yesü'er Khatun
  • Oghul Tutmish or Oghul Qaimish (Oirats' Qutuqa Beki's daughter)
    • Princess Shirin - Chochimtai Küregen is her husband (Olkhunut's Taiju Küregen's son)
    • Princess Bichige - Chochimtai Küregen is her husband (Olkhunut's Taiju Küregen's son)
  • Chübei Khatun


  • Bayavchin ( who is from Bayaut tribe)
    • Shiregi
  • Quitani (from the Khongirad's Eljigin's clan)
    • Asutai - Ariq Böke's election was endorsed.
      • Öljei
      • Hulachu
      • Hantum
      • Öljei Buqa


Modern historians and pundits cannot agree on the actual cause of Möngke Khan's premature demise. His final military action is believed to have taken place at Diaoyu Fortress in modern-day Chongqing, when Möngke is thought to have died, forcing the Mongol-led troops to retire from all battlefronts. Möngke is said to have been slain in combat during an attack on Diaoyu Fortress, according to Chinese accounts. A modern song by a Southern Song poet depicts the "victory in Sichuan," in which Möngke is claimed to have been slain by a crossbow bolt during the siege, which is supported by the Syriac monk Bar Hebraeus' writings. However, according to the official History of Yuan narrative published during the Ming dynasty, he died of a wound inflicted by a stone projectile fired from a cannon or launched from a trebuchet. Given the lack of clarity with which Mongol historiography depicts khans' deaths, it's conceivable that the Mongols covered up the tale by saying that Khan died of sickness, leading to the narrative being told in Persian chronicles. Möngke died of dysentery or cholera near the siege site on 11 August 1259, according to Persian accounts largely originating from Rashid al-Din; the Chinese source History of Yuan does not directly corroborate this. However, it does mention a fatal disease outbreak in the Mongol camp during the campaign.

Möngke was on a Mongol battleship that sunk in the Chinese waters while the Mongols were besieging an island fortress, according to Armenian historian Hayton of Corycus. Because Hayton's book is known for its blatant mistakes and mash-ups of events, his story of Möngke's death might be a misinterpretation of Kublai Khan's Japanese invasions. Chubei, Möngke's youngest wife, perished in the Liupanshan Mountains a month after Möngke died. Möngke's son Asutai carried his father's body to Burkhan Khaldun, Mongolia, where he was interred beside Genghis Khan and Tolui. After Möngke died in 1259, his two younger brothers, Kublai Khan and Ariq Böke, fought a four-year Toluid Civil War. Despite Kublai Khan's final victory, the succession battle and succeeding Kaidu–Kublai conflict effectively divided the Mongol Empire for good. The Mongol realm did not recognise a single supreme ruler until 1304, when all Mongol khans surrendered to Kublai's successor, Temür Khan, albeit the late Khagans' power did not depend on the same foundations Genghis Khan and his first three successors. When Kublai Khan founded the Yuan dynasty in China in 1271, Möngke Khan was named Xianzong on the Empire's official records.

Foreign Influence in the Karakorum

In the Karakorum, Hungarians, Russians, Germans, and a Parisian goldsmith, Guillaume Boucher, were seen by Flemish missionary and adventurer William of Rubruck in 1252 1253. He even heard of Saxon miners in Dzungaria and other foreigners who knew how to make yurts, including a woman from the Duchy of Lorraine. Möngke exiled families from China in the year 1253 to restore and maintain the imperial orders. He built Chinese, European, and Persian buildings in Karakorum's capital city. Guillaume Boucher created a huge silver tree with pipes that discharge various beverages and a victorious angel at its apex to illustrate the building. Foreign commercial districts, Buddhist monasteries, mosques, and churches were all erected from the ground up. Markets could be found outside the four gates and in the Muslim quarter. Outside the Karakorum wall, Chinese farmers cultivated vegetables and cereals.

Last updated: 2021-October-18
Tags: Mongol Empire
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