Khutughtu Khan Kusala: 13th Great Khan of the Mongol Empire

Khutughtu Khan Kusala: 13th Great Khan of the Mongol Empire


Khutughtu Khan, commonly known as Emperor Mingzong of Yuan (December 22, 1300 – August 30, 1329), was a son of Khayishan who took the Yuan dynasty's throne in 1329 but died soon after. He is also known as the 13th Great Khan of the Mongol Empire or Mongols, even though this title was purely nominal owing to the empire's split.

Early Life and Exile

Khayishan (Külüg Khan or Emperor Wuzong) and a Mongol-Ikhires lady had him as their eldest son. Due to the unstable equilibrium that formed the Khayishan government. His younger brother Ayurbarwada and their mother Dagi of the Khunggirad clan, Khayishan named Ayurbarwada as Crown Prince, understood that he would pass the position on to Kuala following succession. After Khayishan died in 1311, Ayurbarwada ascended to the throne. Because his mother was from the Ikhires clan, not the Khunggirad clan, Dagi, Temüder, and other members of the Khunggirad faction placed Ayurbarwada's son Shidebala as the next monarch in 1320 instead of Kuala. Kuala was given the title of king of Chou and banished to Yunnan in 1316 to secure Shidebala's succession, but, following an unsuccessful uprising in Shaanxi, he escaped to the Esen Bukha-ruled Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, as a pro-Khayishan official recommended. The Chagatayid Khan Esen bukha came to greet Kuala when he heard he was residing near his kingdom. The Chagatayid princes backed Kusala after that. He married Mailaiti, a daughter of Temuder of the Qarluq, while in exile in Central Asia.

Brief Accession and Sudden Death

When Shidibala Khan (Emperor Yingzong) was killed, Yesün Temür Khan (Emperor Taiding) eliminated the opposing group, although he stayed in Central Asia. His power grew at his fortress, which was located west of the Altai Mountains. When Yesün Temür Khan died in 1328, a civil war occurred between Shangdu-based Ragibagh and Dadu-based Tugh Temür, known as the War of the Two Capitals. The former was Kuala's younger brother, supported by the former Khayishan faction led by the Qipchaq commander El Temür and the Merkit commander Bayan, a governor in Henan latter, was Kuala's younger brother. He was supported by the former Yesün Temür administration led by Dawlat Shah. Tugh Temür won because he supported most princes, aristocrats, and warlords in the Gobi Desert's south. Tugh Temür invited his brother to visit him at Dadu. At the same period, Kuala invaded Mongolia from the Tarbagatai area, aided by the Chaghadayid chieftain Eljigidey and Duwa Temür (in the Khangai Mountains). He also received backing from Mongolian princes and generals, and with overwhelming military might, he applied pressure to Tugh Temür, who had already gained the throne. On February 27, 1329, north of Karakorum, Kuala ascended to the throne. Tugh Temür surrendered on April 3 of that year, and El Temür delivered the imperial seal to Kuala in Mongolia a month later, signalling Dadu's intention to receive him. On May 15, Kuala reacted by appointing Tugh Temür as his heir apparent. Kuala then selected his loyalists to key positions in the Secretariat, the Bureau of Military Affairs, and the Censorate. Kuala set off towards Dadu with 1,800 men in tow. Tugh Temur had established Zhongdu in Ongghuchad (Onggachatu), where he met him on August 26. Only four days after supper with Tugh Temür, he died unexpectedly. According to the Yuan shi, the unlucky Kuala Khan perished as a result of violence. El Temür appears to have poisoned Kuala because he was afraid of losing control to princes and officials from the Chagatai Khanate and Mongolia who had followed him. On September 8, Tugh Temür was returned to the throne.


Mailaiti, a descendant of the great Qarluq ruler, Arslan, bowed to Genghis Khan, and Babusha of the Naiman were Khutughtu Khan's wives. Two Mongol emperors were born to them, including Toghon Temür, the last Mongolian emperor to dominate China.




  • Külüg, Wuzong
  • Concubine Shoutong


  • Toghon Temür, Huizong, first son




  • Princess Changguo








  • Rinchinbal, Ningzong, second son


  • Princess Minghui Zhenyi, personal name Budaxini