Yesun Temur

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About Yesun Temur

Lifespan: 1293-1328 A.D

Reign Years: 1323 – 1328 A.D

Given Name: Borjigin Yesun-Temur

Reign Name:

Yesün Temür – Yuan Dynasty

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.

The Rise of Yesun Temur

In 1323, when Emperor Yingzong was assassinated by Esen Temur and the Grand Censor Tegshi, the group welcomed Yesun Temur. That’s because his mother, Buyan Kelmish, was part of the Khunggirad clan.

According to Yuan’s official history, the envoy Walus was seized due to Yesun Temur. A notice about the plot was sent to Shidebala Khan, yet the messengers arrived late.

Yesun Temur wasn’t only the principal beneficiary of this conspiracy but was likely a participant as well. There are claims stating that Dawlat Shah, his administrator, ensured close contact with the conspirators.

After acquiring the imperial seal provided by these conspirators, he ascended the throne in Mongolia, October 1323. There, Esen Temur was given the position of grand councilor of the right. As for Tegshi, he became the Bureau of Military Affairs’ manager.

After learning that he could raise suspicion as a party to these murders, he immediately reversed his tactics. He ordered Esen Temur, Tegshi, and others to be put to death.

Under the rule of Chang Kuei, the officials of the late Khagan sent him a letter. In the letter, it urged Yesun Temur to take the throne to punish the conspirators.

Before entering Dadu and Shangdu, he ordered troops to execute rebellious officers since he worried about becoming their puppet. The five princes involved in the incident were exiled to Hainan, Yunnan, and other distant areas.

Because of this, Chinese officials continued urging the Yuan Dynasty emperor to broaden the purge. They wanted him to extend it to all of Temuder and Tegshi’s former allies and families. However, Temur Khan refused the offer.

Instead, he issued an amnesty rule and seized the properties of the conspirators who were executed. These were then returned to their respective families.

The Administration of Yesun Temur

As someone who took the throne via violence and intrigue, Yesun Temur attempted to acquire the biggest support possible. He had to secure the required support as Emperor of China from the country’s populace. Yesun Temur displayed great respect for the Confucian tradition from the beginning of his rule as the Yuan Dynasty emperor.

The primary basis of his administration was something reconciliatory. It’s because he wanted to gain support from all vital religious and political groups.

To gain their support, the Khagan made up for the injustices of Temuder to a lot of the Mongol empire’s officials. The names of those posthumously killed officials were cleared, and exiled members of the Secretariat were dismissed. A few months after Temur’s reign, they were re-appointed into position.

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Yesun Temur’s End of Reign

When Yesun Temur died in August 1328, he left the Mongol empire’s control to Khatun Babukhan and Dawlat Shah, his two Muslim aides.

The death of Yesun led to the most destructive and bloodiest succession struggle within Yuan’s history. It was an issue that brought the imperial line back to the Khaishan house for the entire dynasty.

As for the heir of the throne, the Yuan Dynasty emperor’s son, Ragibagh, was installed by Dawlat Shah. Yet, he was defeated by Tugh Temur during the coup in Dadu. The incident was known as the “War of the Two Capitals”.