Khutughtu Khan, Emperor Mingzong of Yuan

Khutughtu Khan (Mongolian: Хутагт хаан, Hutagt haan, Qutuγtu qaγan), also known as Emperor Mingzong of Yuan (Chinese: 元明宗, December 22, 1300 – August 30, 1329), born Kuśala (Qošila, Küsala, Küsele, Хүслэн Höslen), was a son of Khayishan who briefly ascended the throne of the yuan dynasty in 1329, but died soon after he seized the throne of Great Khan of the Mongols and Emperor of China.

Early life and exile

He was the eldest son of Khayishan (Külüg Khan or Emperor Wuzong) and a Mongol-Ikhires woman. Since the Khayishan administration was founded on the unstable balance between Khayishan, his younger brother Ayurbarwada and their mother Dagi of the Khunggirad clan, Khayishan appointed Ayurbarwada as Crown Prince on the condition that he would pass the status to Kuśala after succession.

However, after Khayishan's death Ayurbarwada succeeded to the throne in 1311, Dagi, Temüder and other members of the Khunggirad faction installed Ayurbarwada's son Shidebala as the new ruler instead of Kuśala because his mother came from the Ikhires clan, not the Khunggirad clan.

To ensure Shidebala's succession, he was rewarded with the title of king of Chou and relegated to Yunnan in 1316; but fled to Esen Bukha-ruled Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, as a pro-Khayisan official advised, after a failed revolt in Shaanxi . When the Chagatayid Khan Esen bukha heard that Kuśala was living near his realm, he came to greet him. Since then, Kusala had been backed by the Chagatayid princes. While his exile in Central Asia, he married Mailaiti, a daughter of Temuder of the Qarluq.

Brief accession and sudden death

Although the rival faction was purged by Yesün Temür Khan (Emperor Taiding) when Shidibala Khan (Emperor Yingzong) was assassinated, he remained in Central Asia. He extended his influence in his stronghold which was located to the west of Altai Mountains.

In 1328 when Yesün Temür Khan died, a civil war erupted between Shangdu-based Ragibagh and Dadu-based Tugh Temür. The former was a son of Yesün Temür and backed up by the former Yesün Temür administration led by Dawlat Shah, and the latter was Kuśala's younger brother who was supported by the former Khayishan faction led by the Qipchaq commander El Temür and the Merkit commander Bayan, a governor in Henan . This ended in the victory of Tugh Temür since he secured support from most of the princes, aristocrats and warlords in the south of the Gobi Desert. Tugh Temür summoned his brother to come to Dadu.

At the same time, Kuśala, with the support from Chaghadayid leaders, Eljigidey and Duwa Temür, entered Mongolia from Tarbagatai region. He also got support from princes and generals of Mongolia, and with overwhelming military power in the background, put pressure on Tugh Temür, who had already ascended to the throne. Kuśala enthroned himself on 27 February 1329 north of Karakorum.

Tugh Temür declared abdication. In the next year, El Temür brought the imperial seal to Kuśala in Mongolia and announced Dadu's intent to welcome him. Kuśala in response made Tugh Temür his heir apparent. Kuśala had proceeded to appoint his own loyal followers to important posts in the Secretariat, the Bureau of Military Affairs, and the Censorate.

On his way to Dadu, on 26 August Kuśala, who brought with him 1,800 men, met with Tugh Temür in Ongghuchad (Onggachatu) where Tugh Temur built the city of Zhongdu. He suddenly died only 4 days after a banquet with Tugh Temür. The Yuan shi states that the luckless Kuśala Khan died of violence. It seems that Kuśala was poisoned by El Temür since he feared being lost power to princes and officers of the Chagatai Khanate and Mongolia, who followed Kuśala. Tugh Temür was restored to the throne on 8 September.

Family and children

Khutughtu Khan had two wives. They gave birth to two future Mongol emperors, including Toghan Temur, the last Yuan emperor in China.

Khutughtu Khan married Mailaiti, a descendant of the famous Qarluq chief, Arslan, who submitted to Genghis Khan: Their children included:

Toghan Temur

His another wife was Babusha of the Naiman who gave birth to:


Last update 19-06-2012

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