House of Borjigin

"Mongol dynasty" redirects here. For the branch of this dynasty which ruled China, see Yuan dynasty.
"Altan urag" redirects here. For the folk rock band, see Altan Urag.
Country Mongolia
Titles Khagan, Khan
Founder Bodonchar Munkhag
Final sovereign Ligden Khan
Current head Unknown
Founding ca. 900 AD
Deposition 1635–20th century
Cadet branches Before Genghis Khan: Khiyan, Tayichigud, Jurkhin; after Genghis Khan: Khiyad-Borjigin, Jochids, Khorchin-Borjigins, Girays, Sheybanids, Khoshut
Ethnicity Mongol

Borjigin (plural Borjigid; 24px Borjigit, also known as the Altan urug (Mongolian: Алтан ураг, Altan urag, Golden kin), were the imperial clan of Genghis Khan and his successors.

The Mongolian Borjigin clan is the most renowned family clan in Eurasia. The senior Borjigids provided ruling princes for Mongolia and Inner Mongolia until the 20th century.[1] The clan formed the ruling class among the Mongols some other peoples of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Today, the Borjigid are found in most of Mongolia, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.[1]


The patrilineage began with Blu-grey Wolf (Börte Chino) and Fallow Doe (Gua Maral). As in The Secret History of the Mongols, their 11th generation descendant Dobu Mergen's widow Alan Gua the Fair was impregnated by a ray of light.[2] Her youngest son became the ancestor of the later Borjigid.[3] He was Bodonchar Munkhag (the Simple), who along with his brothers sired the entire Mongol nation.[4] According to Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, many of the older Mongolian clans were founded by members of the Borjigin — Barlas, Urud, Manghud, Taichiut, Chonos, Kiyat, etc. The first Khan of the Mongol was Bodonchar Munkhag's great-great-grandson Khaidu Khan. Khaidu's grandsons Khabul Khan and Ambaghai Khan (founder of the Taichiut clan) succeeded him. Thereafter, Qabul's sons, Hotula Khan and Yesugei, and great-grandson Temujin (Genghis Khan) ruled the Khamag Mongol. By the unification of the Mongols in 1206, virtually all of Temujin's uncles and first cousins died, and from then on only the descendants of Yesugei Baghatur formed the Borjigid.

Mongol Empire

The Borjigin family ruled over the Mongol Empire from the 13th to 14th century. The rise of Genghis (Chingis) narrowed the scope of the Borjigid-Kiyad clans sharply.[5] This separation was emphasized by the intermarriage of Genghis's descendants with the Barlas, Baarin, Manghud and other branches of the original Borjigid. In the western regions of the Empire, the Jurkin and perhaps other lineages near to Genghis's lineage used the clan name Kiyad but did not share in the privileges of the Genghisids. The Borjigit clan had once dominated large lands stretching from Java to Iran and from Indo-China to Novgorod. In 1335, with the disintegration of the Ilkhanate in Iran, the first of numerous non-Borjigid-Kiyad dynasties appeared. Established by marriage partners of Genghisids, these included the Suldus Chupanids, Jalayirids in the Middle East, the Barulas dynasties in Chagatai Khanate and India, the Manghud and Onggirat dynasties in the Golden Horde and Central Asia, and the Oirats in western Mongolia.

In 1368, under Toghun Temür, the Yuan Dynasty was overthrown by the Ming Dynasty in China but members of the family continued to rule over Mongolia into the 17th century, known as the Northern Yuan Dynasty. Descendants of Genghis Khan's brothers, Hasar and Belgutei, surrendered to the Ming in the 1380s. By 1470 the Borjigin lines were severely weakened, and Mongolia was in almost chaos.

Post-Mongol Empire

After the breakup of the Golden Horde, the Khiyat continued to rule the Crimea and Kazan until the late 18th century. They were annexed by the Russian Empire and the Chinese. In Mongolia, the Kublaids reigned as Khagan of the Mongols, however, descendants of Ögedei and Ariq Böke usurped the throne briefly.

Under Dayan Khan (1480–1517) a broad Borjigid revival reestablished Borjigid supremacy among the Mongols proper. His descendants proliferated to become a new ruling class. The Borjigin clan was the strongest of the 49 Mongol banners from which the Bontoi clan proper supported and fought for their Khan and for their honor. The eastern Khorchins were under the Hasarids, and the Ongnigud, Abagha Mongols were under the Belguteids and Temüge Odchigenids. A fragment of the Hasarids deported to Western Mongolia became the Khoshuts.

The Qing Dynasty respected the Borjigin family and the early emperors married the Hasarid Borjigids of the Khorchin. Even among the pro-Qing Mongols, traces of the alternative tradition survived. Aci Lomi, a banner general, wrote his History of the Borjigid Clan in 1732–35.[6] The 18th century and 19th century Qing nobility was adorned by the descendants of the early Mongol adherents including the Borjigin.[7]


Among the Asian dynasties descended from Genghis Khan were the Yuan Dynasty of China, the Ilkhanids of Persia, the Jochids of the Golden Horde, the Shaybanids of Siberia, and the Astrakhanids of Central Asia. As a rule, the Genghisid descent was crucial in Tatar politics. For instance, Mamai had to exercise his authority through a succession of puppet khans but could not assume the title of khan himself because he was not of the Genghisid lineage.

The word "Chingisid" derives from the name of the Mongol conqueror Genghis (Chingis) Khan (c. 1162–1227 CE). Genghis and his successors created a vast empire stretching from the Sea of Japan to the Black Sea.

  • The Chingisid principle,[8] or golden lineage, was the rule of inheritance laid down in the (Yassa), the legal code attributed to Genghis Khan.
  • A Chingisid prince was one who could trace direct descent from Genghis Khan in the male line, and who could therefore claim high respect in the Mongol and Turkic world.
  • The Chingisid states were the successor states or Khanates after the Mongol empire broke up following the death of the Genghis Khan's sons and their successors.
  • The term Chingisid people was used to describe the people of Genghis Khan's armies who came in contact with Europeans, primarily the Golden Horde, led by Batu Khan, a grandson of Genghis. These were predominantly OghuzTurkic speaking people rather than Mongols. (Although the aristocracy was largely Mongol, Mongols were never more than a small minority in the armies and the lands they conquered.) Europeans often (incorrectly) called the people of the Golden Horde Tartars.

Babur and Humayun, founders of the Mughal Empire in India, asserted their authority as Chinggisids. Because they claimed it through their maternal lineage, they had never used the clan name Borjigin.

The last ruling monarch, Mohammed Alim Khan (d. 1944), of Genghisid ancestry was overthrown by Red Army in 1920.

Yuan Dynasty family tree

Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire in 1206. His grandson, Kublai Khan, after defeating his younger brother Ariq Böke, founded the Yuan Dynasty in China in 1271. The dynasty was overthrown by the Ming Dynasty during the reign of Toghaghan-Temür in 1368, but it survived in Mongolia, known as the Northern Yuan. Although the kingship was usurped by Esen Tayisi of the Oirats in 1453, he was overthrown in the next year. A recovery of the khaganate was achieved by Dayan Khan, but the territory was segmented by his descendants. The last khaan Ligden died in 1634 and his son Ejei Khongghor submitted himself to Hong Taiji the next year, ending the Northern Yuan regime.[9] However, the Borjigin nobles continued to rule their subjects until the 20th century under the Qing.[10][11]

Or in a different version (years of reign over the Northern Yuan Dynasty [up to 1388] are given in brackets).

Modern relevance

The Borjigin held power over the Mongolia for many centuries (even during Qing period) and only lost power when Communists took control in the 20th century. Aristocratic descent was something to be forgotten in the socialist period.[12] Joseph Stalin's henchmen executed some 30,000 Mongols including Borjigin nobles in a series of campaigns against their culture and religion.[13] Clan association has lost its practical relevance in the 20th century, but is still considered a matter of honour and pride by many Mongolians. In 1920s the communist regime banned the use of clan names. When the ban was lifted again in 1997, most families had lost knowledge about their clan association. Because of that, a disproportionate number of families registered the most prestigious clan name Borjigin, many of them without historic justification.[14] The label Borjigin is used as a measure of cultural supremacy.[15]

In Inner Mongolia, the Borjigid or Kiyad name became the basis for many Chinese surnames.[5] The Inner Mongolian Borjigin Taijis took the surname Bao (from Borjigid) and in Ordos Qi (Qiyat). A genetic research has proposed that as many as 16 million men from Manchuria to Afghanistan may have Borjigid-Kiyad ancestry,[16] but the professionalism of that study is being criticised. The Qiyat clan name is still found among the Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Karakalpaks.

List of Kiyad-Borjigin dynasties

Prominent Kiyads or Borjigins

Rulers of the Khamag Mongol (11th century–1206)

Emperors and rulers of the Mongol Empire (1206–1368)

Genghis Khan's brothers

Rulers of the Khanates

Yuan Dynasty
Golden Horde

Chagatai Khanate

Post-Mongol Empire Golden Horde (1360–1502)

Crimean Khanate (1441–1783)

Kazan Khanate (1438–1552)

Uzbek Khanates (15th – mid 20th century)

Kazakh Khanate (1456–1847)

Northern Yuan Dynasty (1368–1691)

Ruler of the Tumed


Empress of the Qing Dynasty (1636–1717)


See also


  • Wada Sei 和田清. Tōashi Kenkyū (Mōko Hen) 東亜史研究 (蒙古編). Tokyo, 1959.
  • Honda Minobu 本田實信. On the genealogy of the early Northern Yüan, Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher, XXX-314, 1958.
  • Okada Hidehiro 岡田英弘. Dayan Hagan no nendai ダヤン・ハガンの年代. Tōyō Gakuhō, Vol. 48, No. 3 pp. 1–26 and No. 4 pp. 40–61, 1965.
  • Okada Hidehiro 岡田英弘. Dayan Hagan no sensei ダヤン・ハガンの先世. Shigaku Zasshi. Vol. 75, No. 5, pp. 1–38, 1966.


Royal house
House of Borjigin
Preceded by
Liao Dynasty
Ruling House of Mongolia
11th century–1635
Great Khan's seat in Chahar was conquered by the Aisin Gioro
New title Ruling House of the Mongol Empire
Northern Yuan Dynasty
the Empire collapsed
Preceded by
Song Dynasty
Ruling House of China
Protector of Tibet
Preceded by
Khwārazm-Shāh dynasty
Ruling House of Persian Empire
Succeeded by
Chupanid Suldus
Preceded by
The Khanate established
Ruling House of the Golden Horde
Succeeded by
Kiyat Girays

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