Dayan Khan

Dayan Khan (Mongolian: Даян Хаан) (given name: Batumöngke; 1464–1517 /1543 ), was a Mongol khan who reunited the Mongols under Chinggisid supremacy in the Northern yuan dynasty in Mongolia. His reigning title, "Dayan", means the "Great Yuan" (大元) , as he enthroned himself as Great Khan of the Great Yuan , though the yuan dynasty, the principal khanate of the Mongol Empire, had already been overthrown by the native Chinese ming dynasty in China a century ago (1368). He is remembered as one of the most glorious Mongolian Emperors.

Dayan Khan and his queen, Mandukhai, eliminated Oirat power and abolished the taishi system used by both local and foreign warlords. Dayan Khan's victory at Dalan Tergin reunified the Mongols and solidified their corporate identity as Chinggisid people. His decision to divide the Six tumens of Eastern Mongolia as fiefs for his sons created decentralized but stable Borjigin rule over Mongolia for a century.


It is claimed that Batumongke was the son of Bayanmongke (fl. 1470-79) the Bolkhu jinong (or crown prince/viceroy) of the Borjigin clan and Shiker Taiko of the Uriyangkhai in Mongolia. His paternal grandmother, Sechen, was a daughter of Esen Tayshi of the oirats. Although Bolkhu and his family suffered through life's darkest hours during the reign of Esen and the internal conflict of the Northern yuan dynasty, they were welcomed by his uncle (brother) Manduul Khan (r. 1465-67) soon after his coronation.

Batumongke's father and his uncle Manduul had come to blows due to warlords' convictions, and Bayanmongke had fled and been murdered. Manduul's taishi Ismayil (also known as Isama) then took his wife Shikher and properties. In order to save Batumongke's life Shiker gave her child to the Bakhay family to nurse him. However, Temur-Qadag of the Tangud (already Mongolicized) took the child from Bakhay. Because of his Borjigin blood, Batumongke was well taken care by the Mongol commoners and minor nobles.

At the sudden death of Manduul Khan in 1467, Batumongke was five years old. Later he was adopted by Mandukhai Khatun, the widow of Manduul Khan. When Mandukhai's loyalists brought back Batumongke, he was suffering echinococcus. Mandukhai had him treated and the boy recovered soon.

Emperor and Mandukhai the Wise

As a direct descendant of Kublai Khan (r. 1260-1294), Mandukhai had him ascend to the throne at the Royal shrine kept by the Chakhar and he became known by the title "Dayan Khan" (meaning the "Great Khan of the Great Yuan", from 大元可汗), although one of the editors of chronicle in the 17th century mis-interpreted the meaning of Dayan of Dayan Khan as "whole" instead of the "Great Yuan" ). When he was aged nineteen, she married him, and retained great influence over court and military. They reunified the Mongol retainers of the former eastern region of the Mongol Empire. The oirats were defeated by the military skill of Mandukhai and control reclaimed over the Eastern Mongols. Batumongke and his queen Mandukhai led Mongol armies in 1483 against Ismayil Taishi who fled after the imperial victory over him to Hami where he was killed by other muslims and the Turco-Mongols. Dayan Khan's mother Shiker was brought back and given the title taikhu (empress dowager). However, she did not live long enough after that. The imperial power was supported by Unubold (Naybolad), the descendant of Hasar who was the brother of Genghis Khan, and the tribes ruled by descendants of Genghis Khan's brothers were allied. Most of the Four oirats remained in Mongolia surrendered and provided troops. Only Khoosai of the Tumed rejected to accept Dayan Khan's supremacy but he was then defeated.

The most important achievement of the couple was their defeat of the war-like oirats who had previously revolted against the rule of the Borjigin Emperors since the 14th century. By 1495, Batumongke won the Three Guards (Doyin Uriankhai, Ujiyed and Fuyu guard), tributaries of the ming dynasty, and had them incorporated into his Six tumens.

Early conflicts with China

While the golden horde lost its power in Russia in 1480, the Mongol raids on Chinese borderlands under ming dynasty became virtually constant. Under Dayan Khan they reached a new level of organization.

Dayan Khan intended to maintain good relations with ming dynasty of China at first. His envoys were sent to sign open-trade contract with gifts, but one of them was killed by the Ming court, so he launched military expeditions into the Ming China. Dayan Khan as a mature ruler had no interest in joining the Ming's tribute system.

Dayan Khan allied with the Monggoljins under Toloogen and Khooshai of Ordos. With Dayan Khan and Mandukhai's movement to the Eight white yurts in Ordos in 1500, they launched a massive attack on Ningxia and conquered some lands. At first their invasion caused trouble to the Ming Chinese but Yu, the officer of the ming dynasty, and his commander Wang ambushed the Mongols and organized unexpectedly vigorous counter attack to capture Dayan Khan the next year. Barely escaping the Ming attack, Dayan Khan relocated to the Kherlen River, yet large-scale raids all along the frontier continued through 1507.

The unrest of the right wing

A delegation from the Three Right Wing tumens ( Ordos, Tümed and Yöngshiyebü) invited Dayan Khan to rule them. Because Iburai Taishi (also known as Ibrahim), an Uighur adventurer or an Oirat/Kharchin warlord, and Mandulai dominated the area, the three tumens discontented with their power. In one skirmish raid on one of the rebel groups, the imperial army killed Ibrahim's younger brother before that. Dayan Khan dispatched to the Three Right Wing Tumens his sons Ulusbaikh (Ulusbold) and Barsubolad Sainalag. As Ulusbold was being enthroned as jinong, he was killed in a riot and Barsubolad escaped. In revenge, Dayan khan attacked the Three Right Wing Tumens with his three Left Wing Tumens (Chakhar, Khalkha and Uriankhai), the Khorchin and the Abagha. Because a large group of the Uriankhai tumen defected to Iburai, Dayan Khan was first defeated at Turgen Stream at present-day Tumed territory.

In 1510, he crushed the Three Right Wing Tumens and killed Mandulai the Ordos elder. Iburai fled to Kokenuur ( Qinghai ) where he remained active to 1533. Dayan Khan dispersed the rebel Uriankhais among other 5 tumens. Instead of enslaving the Right Wing Tumens, Dayan Khan had Barsubolad enthroned as jinong (晉王) in 1513, abolishing old titles like taishi (太師) and chingsang (丞相) of the yuan dynasty. He exempted his soldiers from imposts and made them Darqan. According to an ancient Mongolian source, the Mongols were again peaceful thereafter thanks to the policy of Dayan Khan and his khatun Maudukhai.

With defeats of Iburai and Ismayil, Dayan and Mandukhai could remove the power of descendants of the Alans, the Kypchaks and the Hami muslim warlords from the Northern Yuan court in Mongolia.

Conflicts with the Ming Dynasty

From 1513 Mongol invasions of China recommenced. Dayan Khan built forts in Xuanhua and Datong. He also stationed 15,000 cavalry on Ming territory. His Mongols numbering up to 70,000 invaded China in 1514 and 1517. His sons established a series of permanent bases along the Chinese border where the Mongols could keep watch on the Chinese. Batumongke Dayan Khan repeatedly sought trade relation with the Ming, but rejection turned him more and more to outright warfare.

The high point of Mongol power came in 1517, when Dayan Khan moved on Beijing itself. Although, the Chinese held the Mongols off in a major battle, Dayan Khan and his successors continued to threaten China until 1526. The Mongolian armies raided the ming dynasty not only in the north, but also in the hitherto quiet west. The Ming Emperor Zhengde lost his protecrate Hami to the Turpans at the same time. In 1542 Dayan Khan defeated Chinese troops just before his death.

Dayan Khan and Mandukhai's nation now stretched from the Siberian tundra and Lake Baikal in the north, across the Gobi, to the edge of the Yellow River and south of it into the Ordos. The lands extended from the forests of Manchuria in the East past the Altai Mountains and out onto the steppes of Central Asia.


He reorganized the Eastern Mongols into 6 tümens (literally "ten thousand") as follows.

Left Wing: Khalkha, Chahar and Uriankhai

Right Wing: Ordos, Tümed and Yöngshiyebü (including Asud and Kharchin)

They functioned both as military units and as tribal administrative bodies. Northern Khalkha people and Uriyankhan were attached to the South Khalkha of eastern Inner Mongolia and Doyin Uriyangkhan of the Three Guards, respectively. After the failed rebellion of the northern Uriankhai people, they were divided in 1538 and mostly annexed by the northern Khalkha. Under Dayan Khan or his successors, the Eastern Mongols compelled the Barga to surrender. However, his decision to divide the Six tumens to his sons, or taijis, and local tabunangs-sons in law of the taijis created a decentralized system of Borjigin rule that secured domestic peace and outward expansion for a century. Despite this decentralization there was a remarkable concord wthin the Dayan Khanid aristocracy and intra-Chinggisid civil war remained unknown until the reign of Ligden Khan (1604–34).

Marriage and children

Dayan Khan married Mandukhai the Wise, Guushi and Jimsgene.

Dayan Khan Batumongke and Mandukhai's children included:





Töröltu (Gegeen abuhai)




Dayan Khan Batumongke and Jimsgene's children included:



Dayan Khan and Guushi (Khusei) khatun's children included:


Chin taiji

His sons were made tribal chiefs. Many princes in Mongolia were his descendants such as Altan Khan and Ligden Khan. Dayan Khan and his successor Khagans led the Chahar tümen directly. The Chinese chroniclers of the ming dynasty considered him as Holy Emperor who restored former glory of the Mongol Empire. There is so much that is uncertain about Dayan Khan's life after the death of Mandukhai. The dates of death range from 1517 until 1543.

Last update 20-06-2012

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