Khutughtu Khan Kusala

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About Khutughtu Khan Kusala

Lifespan: 1300-1329 A.D

Reign Years: 1329 A.D

Given Name: Borjigin Qoshila

Reign Name: Mingzong

Khutughtu Khan Kusala – Yuan Dynasty

Khutughtu Khan Kusala was born and given the name Kusala. He was also known by the name Mingzong or Emperor Mingzong of Yuan. His father was Khayishan, the person who captured the Yuan Dynasty in 1329, yet died right after.

Aside from being China’s emperor, he was known as the 13th Great Khan of the Mongols. However, this title was nominal because of the empire’s division.

Early Life of Emperor Mingzong

Khutughtu Khan Kusala was the eldest son of Khayishan or Emperor Wuzong. His mother was a Mongol-Ikhires woman. The administration of Emperor Wuzong was established between himself, Ayurbarwada (Kusala’s younger brother), and their mother from the Khunggirad clan.

Because of this, Khayishan chose Ayurbarwada as the crown prince yet under one condition. He should pass the title to Khutughtu Khan Kusala after his succession. Yet after Emperor Wuzong’s death, Ayurbarwada succeeded the throne in 1311, but chose Shidebala, his son, as the new ruler.

To guarantee Shidebala’s succession, Khutughtu Khan Kusala was given the title King of Chou. He was assigned to Yunnan, but as advised by a pro-Khayishan official, he headed to Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia instead.

After settling in the area, his presence was heard of by the Chagatayid Khan, Esen Bukha. Kusala was visited and greeted by the ruler, and from there, he was backed by the princes of Chagatayid.

While he was in exile, Khutughtu Khan Kusala married the daughter of Temuder of Qarluq, Mailaiti.

Brief Accession of Mingzong of Yuan

Rival factions were abolished by Yesun Temur Khan. When Shidibala Khan was killed, Kusala stayed in Central Asia.

During this time, he strengthened his influence and power in his stronghold. It was located in the western part of the Altai Mountains.

In 1328, when Yesun Temur Khan died, the war of the capitals started between Ragibagh and Tugh Temur. The former was Yesun Temur’s son, while the latter was the younger brother of Kusala.

Ragibagh was supported by the former Yesun Temur administration that was headed by Dawlat Shah. As for Tugh Temur, he was assisted by the former Khayishan faction headed by the Qipchaq commander, El Temur. Another individual supported Tugh Temur, and this was the Merkut Commander, Bayan, who was also a Henan governor.

The battles commenced until Tugh Temur had emerged victorious. This was possible since he was able to secure support from most of the princes, warlords, and aristocrats. These people hailed from the areas south of the Gobi Desert.

After winning, Tugh Temur summoned his brother to Dadu.

Simultaneously, Emperor Mingzong, with the assistance of the Chaghadayid leaders, entered Mongolia. He even acquired the support of various Mongolian generals and princes. With the overwhelming military power that Mingzong acquired, it put pressure on Tugh Temur who already took over the throne.

In February 1329, Kusala or Mingzong of Yuan, enthroned himself in the northern area of Karakorum.

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Death of Khutughtu Khan Kusala

Tugh Temur abdicated in April 1329, and then after a month, El Temur took the imperial seal to Emperor Mingzong who was in Mongolia. This was to announce the intentions of Dadu to welcome him.

Kusula responded and made Tugh Temur his heir in May of the same year. He then continued appointing his loyal followers with vital positions in the Secretariat, Censorate, and Bureau of Military Affairs.

With 1,800 men, Kusala left for Dadu to meet with Tugh Temur in Ongghuchad. This area was where he established Zhongdu City.

Everything was fine until the 4th day of Kusala’s visit. After a banquet with Tugh Temur, he died instantly. The Yuan Shi claims that Khutughtu Khan Kusala died of violence, though some assume El Temur poisoned him.

It’s likely that he did this since he didn’t want to lose power. Especially to the Chagatai Khanate and Mongolian leaders who followed Mingzong of Yuan.

With that, Tugh Temur took the throne again in September of the same year.