Gegeen Khan

Image Source: Public Domain

About Gegeen Khan

Lifespan: 1302-1323 A.D

Reign Years: 1320 – 1323 A.D

Given Name: Borjigin Suddhipala

Reign Name: Yingzong

Gegeen Khan – Yuan Dynasty

Gegeen Khan was Ayurbarwada’s successor when it came to ruling the Yuan Dynasty. Other than the Emperor of China, he was known as the ninth Great Khan of the Mongols.

The Succession of Gegeen Khan

Gegeen Khan was born with the name Shidibala and was the eldest son of Ayurbarwada Buyantu Khan or Emperor Renzong. As for his mother, she was Radnashiri from the Khunggirad clan.

After receiving the crown prince’s position, Ayurbarwada, in return, made a promise to his older brother, Khayishan. He said that after his succession, he would appoint his brother’s son as the crown prince. Yet when Khayishan died, his sons were sent to the borderlands, and all the pro-Khayishan officials were purged.

Dagi was Shidibala or Gegeen Khan’s powerful grandmother. She installed him as the crown prince in 1316. Eventually, she placed him as the Mongols’ Khan since he was mothered by the Khunggirad Khatun.

Shidibala then became the nominal head of the Bureau of Military Affairs and the Secretariat a year later.

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Puppet Regime under the Power of Temuder

In April 1320, Shidibala was able to succeed his father. Empress Dagi then reappointed Temuder as the senior grand councilor.

The persecution of Temuder’s opponents in the censorate somehow isolated the new Yuan Emperor. Temuder stayed in power until he died, and this was only two years later.

During his short reign, the Khunggirat group played an important role in the Yuan Empire’s court. When Dagi and Temuder died in 1322, his enemies appeared to have triumphed.

At some point, the young prince started getting irked by how the empress dowager and Temudar ruled. So, he was determined to speed up his inauguration.

When he began his reign as the Yuan Emperor, Shidebala displayed political independence and resolution. To counter the empress dowager and Temuder’s influence, Gegee Khan appointed Baiju, a Jalayir with illustrious family background.

Shidibala even had a good education in Confucian, which gave him a few political advantages. Plus, he was a former rival of Temuder.

The senior grand councilor was on the road to acquiring supreme power. However, the suppression of Temuder’s titles and estates, as well as the execution of his son, drove him to a corner.

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Administration Led by Gegeen Khan

In 1322, the deaths of both Dagi and Temuder allowed Gegeen Khan to seize power. He tried driving the Khunggirad group from the Shidibala-led administration.

When Gegeen Khan appointed Baiju as his grand councilor of the right, he became the sole councilor throughout Shidabala’s rule. From there, Baiju became one of the Yuan Emperor’s powerful allies. They eliminated tons of offices subordinate to the empress dowager’s personal establishments.

The growing influence of Neo-Confucianism received greater limits set on Mongol women. This was most evident for those who could freely move about in public.

After becoming his own master and with the assistance of Baiju, Gegeen Khan started reforming the government. He based these on Confucian principles and continued his father’s policies that actively promoted Chinese cultures.

Both the Yuan Emperor and Baiju recruited numerous Chinese scholar-officials for the government. Interestingly, most of them were people who resigned and left when Temuder was still in power.

Death and End of Gegeen Khan’s Rule

In 1323 Gegeen Khan and Baiju stayed at Nanpo. The two were on their way from Shangdu to Dadu, yet Tegshi, Temuder’s adopted son, assassinated them.

His rule as Yuan Emperor was short-lived, and his direct reign only lasted for one year after the empress dowager’s death.

Despite the short duration of his rule, Gegeen was glorified in Chinese records. That’s because he continued the protective policies of Ayurbarwada that were focused on the Chinese cultures.

From there, the Yuan Emperor’s assassination was, at times, described as a struggle between the pro-Mongolian and pro-Chinese groups. This was due to Yesun Temur Khan’s previous rule who had unfavorable policies for the Chinese officials.