Gegeen Khan: Ninth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire

Gegeen Khan: Ninth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire


Gegeen Khan, also known by his temple named Yingzong (Emperor Yingzong of Yuan, February 22, 1302 – September 4, 1323), was the Yuan dynasty's successor to Ayurbarwada. Apart from becoming Emperor of China, he is known as the Mongol Empire's or Mongols' ninth Great Khan; however, this title was primarily nominal due to the empire's partition. In Mongolian, his name translates to "enlightened/bright khan." The Khunggirat faction was influential in the Yuan court early in his rule. His opponents appeared to have triumphed when his grandmother Dagi (Targi) and the grand councillor Temuder died in 1322. Despite the Emperor's desire to reorganize the administration using Confucian principles, Temuder's group collaborated with the Alan guard to assassinate him in 1323. The Non-Borjigins ousted the Emperor in the first violent transition fight in Mongolian imperial history, also known as the Coup d'état at Nanpo.

Peaceful Succession

Ayurbarwada Buyantu Khan (Emperor Renzong) and Radnashiri of the Khunggirad tribe had a son named Shidibala. In exchange for his crown princes, Ayurbarwada promised his elder brother Khayishan that he would designate Khayishan's son as Crown Prince after his succession. Khayishan's two sons were exiled to the borderlands after his death, and pro-Khayishan officials were removed. Shidibala's powerful grandmother Dagi appointed him Crown Prince in 1316, and then Khan because he was born to a Khunggirad Khatun. One year later, he was named the nominal head of both the Secretariat and the Bureau of Military Affairs. His father, Ayurbarwada, had even considered abdicating the kingdom in favour of Shidebala at one point. Temuder, Dagi's protégé, was appointed as teacher to Shidebala, the heir apparent when he failed to boost tax collection. Temüder ascended to tremendous prominence with Dagi's complete support between Ayurbarwada's death in March 1320 and his death in October 1322. Dagi reinstalled Temüder as Minister of the Secretariat immediately after her grandson's succession and brought politics into her own hands more openly than during Ayurbarwada's reign.

Puppet Regime

On April 19, 1320, Shidebala succeeded his father. Temuder was reappointed senior grand councillor by Empress Targi (Dagi). Despite the new Emperor's displeasure with Temuder's persecution of his opponents in the censorate, Temuder remained in power until his death two years later. Temudar's return to power was marked by further excesses and the execution of many of those he believed of being the cause of his late trial. After a while, the young prince began to find Empress Dowager and Temudar's leading-strings annoying, and he resolved to hasten his inauguration. Shidebala has shown political independence and resolves far above his years from the start of his rule. Shidebala appointed the 21-year-old Baiju, a Jalayir and grandson of Antong, who had an illustrious family background and good Confucian education, as the grand councillor of the left in the summer of 1320, in a masterful move to counter the influence of the grand empress dowager and Temüder, which gave Shidabala several political advantages. When Baiju arrived, Temuder was on his way to achieving supreme authority. However, Baiju, the kheshig commander, descended from Muqali, Genghis Khan's legendary general, and was a man of excellent character, gained significant influence over the Emperor and superseded Temuder. The young Emperor Shidibala, on the other hand, did not sit with his hands folded. In their struggle against the strong Temüder, the throne quickly became a centre of loyalty for the Confucian scholar-officials. Shidibala was well-prepared for such a role, having received the same level of Chinese education as his father. Shidebala, who Confucianism and Buddhism deeply influenced, could recite Tang literature from memory and was a skilled scribe. Shidibala practised Buddhism in addition to Confucianism. Shidbala erected a Buddhist shrine in honour of 'Phags-pa Lama on the mountains west of Dadu in 1321. When the censors objected, he executed several of them, including a prominent commander named Soyaoelhatimichi, whose ancestors had been loyal Mongol Imperial house dependents. Islam, on the other hand, was subjected to a great deal of discrimination during his rule. According to legend, the Emperor razed a Muslim temple in Shangdu and forbade Muslims from purchasing slaves from the Mongols and reselling them to the Chinese. Temuder was disgusted by Baiju's growing dominance. Baiju went to Liau tung to build a memorial for his forefathers. Temudar saw this as a chance to restore his place at the Yuan court, so he went to the palace and requested admission, but he was rejected, and he died shortly after. Empress Dagi (Targi) died around the same time in 1322–23.


The deaths of Dagi and Temüder in 1322 gave him complete authority. He was successful in removing the Khunggirad faction from the Shidibala-led new government. The powerful faction was pushed into a corner by brutal suppression, including the confiscation of Temüder's titles and estates, as well as the execution of his son. On the other side, he named Baiju as the right's grand counsellor. Baiju became Shidebala's most influential ally during the rest of his tenure as the lone grand councillor. They abolished several offices that were subject to the empress dowager and the empress. With the rise of Neo-Confucianism, new restrictions were imposed on Mongol women, who were previously allowed to roam around more freely in public. Shidibala began to restructure the administration based on Confucian ideas soon after becoming his own master, with the support of Baiju and followed his father Ayurbarwada's policy for active promotion of Chinese traditions. He and Baiju recruited many Chinese scholar-officials for the government, many of whom had resigned while Temüder was in charge. Zhang Gui, a seasoned administrator, was reappointed manager of governmental affairs and became Baiju's main partner in reforming the government. Aside from the three elderly scholars designated as Secretariat councillors, the Hanlin Academy has seven notable scholars. Around the same time, the Da Yuan Tong Zhi, or "the comprehensive institutions of the Great Yuan," a massive collection of Yuan Dynasty norms and regulations begun by his father, was amended to streamline administration and make justice more accessible. Furthermore, to reduce small landowners' labour responsibilities, Shidebala's administration mandated that landowners set aside a specific percentage of their registered holdings from which profits may be collected to meet corvée expenses.


Regardless of Shidebala's merits, his rule came to a terrible end on September 4, 1323, when the "Coup d'état at Nanpo" took place. Temuder's allies plotted against him because they were terrified of vengeance. Temüder's adopted son Tegshi was in charge. Five princes were involved, in addition to the high-ranking officials: Altan Bukha, the younger brother of Ananda, the former prince of An-si who was executed by Ayurbarwada's faction; Bolad, a grandson of Ariq Böke; Yerutömör, a son of Ananda; Kulud Bukha; and Ulus Bukha, a descendant of Möngke Khan. Shidibala and Bayiju were slain by Tegshi, who attacked Shidibala's Ordo with Asud guards and other soldiers under him while on his route from the Yuan Dynasty's summer residence Shangdu the capital Dadu. Tegshi requested Yesün Temür to take the throne, but Yesün Temür purged Tegshi's group before entering Dadu, fearing becoming a puppet of it. Shidibala's reign was brief; after Dagi's death, he barely ruled for a year. However, he was lauded in Chinese records because he and his father, with the help of their Sinicized Mongolian ministers and Chinese scholar-officials, worked tirelessly to further the Yuan's transformation along traditional Confucian lines. Shidibala's assassination was sometimes portrayed as a fight between the pro-Confucian and the opposing steppe elites because Yesün Temür Khan had ruled Mongolia before succession. His policies appealed to Chinese officials to His marriage Sugabala resulted in no children following in his footsteps.

Last updated: 2021-October-26
Tags: Mongol Empire
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