World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Töregene Khatun

Töregene Khatun (also Turakina) (1242–1246) was the Great Khatun and regent of the Mongol Empire from the death of her husband Ögedei Khan in 1241 until the election of her eldest son Güyük Khan in 1246.

A coin probably struck in Azerbaijan during the reign of Töregene Khatun (1244–46).


  • Background 1
  • Great Khatun of the Mongol Empire 2
  • Role in Mongol conquests 3
  • Güyük's coronation 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6


Born in the Naiman tribe, Töregene was given as wife to Qudu, the noble of the Merkit clan at first.[1] But Rashid-al-Din Hamadani named her first husband as Dair Usun of the Merkits.[2] When Genghis conquered the Merkits in 1204, he gave Töregene to Ögedei as his second wife. While Ögedei's first wife had no sons, Töregene gave birth to five sons.

She eclipsed all of Ögedei's wives and gradually increased her influence among the court officials. But Töregene still resented Ögedei's officials and the policy of centralizing the administration and lowering tax burdens. Töregene sponsored the reprinting of the Taoist canon in North China.[3] Through the influence of Töregene, Ögedei appointed Abd-ur-Rahman as tax farmer in China.

Great Khatun of the Mongol Empire

Soon after Ögedei died in 1241, at first power passed to the hands of Moqe, one of Genghis Khan's wives, who Ögedei inherited. With the support of Chagatai and her sons, Töregene assumed complete power as regent in spring 1242 as Great Khatun[4] and dismissed her late husband's ministers and replaced them with her own, the most important of whom was another woman, Fatima, a Tajik or Persian captive from the Middle Eastern campaign. She was a Shiite Muslim who deported Shiite shrine of Meshed to Mongolia.

She tried to arrest several of Ögedei's main officials. Her husband's chief secretary, Chinqai, and the administrator, Chagatayid Khan Qara Hülëgü executed him. Töregene appointed Arghun aqa of the Oirat as governor in Persia.

She put Abd-ur-Rahman in charge of general administration in North China and Fatima became even more powerful at the Mongol court. These actions led the Mongol aristocrats into a frenzy of extortionate demands for revenue.

Role in Mongol conquests

Töregene had friendly relations with Ögedei's commanders in China. The conflicts between the Mongols and the Song troops took place in the areas of Chengdu. Töregene sent her envoys to negotiate peace, but Song imprisoned them.[5] The Mongols captured Hangzhou and invaded Sichuan in 1242. She ordered Zhang Rou and Chagaan (Tsagaan) to attack the Song Dynasty. When they pillaged the Song territory, the Song court sent a delegation to ceasefire. Chagaan and Zhang Rou returned north after the Mongols accepted the term.[6]

During the reign of Ögedei, the auxiliaries crushed them at the battle of Köse Dağ in 1243. After that battle, the Sultanate of Rum, the Empire of Trebizond and the Lesser Armenia quickly declared their allegiance one by one to the Mongol Empire ruled by Töregene Khatun.

The Mongol troops under general Baiju probed the forces of Abbasid Iraq and Ayubid ruled Syria in 1244-46.

Güyük's coronation

She was in exercise of power in a society that was traditionally led only by men. She managed to balance the various competing powers within the empire, and even within the extended family of the descendants of David Ulu, the illegitimate son of the late king — and David Narin, the legitimate son of the same king. The highest-ranking European delegate was Alexander Nevsky's father, Grand Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodovich of Vladimir and Suzdal, who died suspiciously just after dining with Töregene Khatun.

The Mongols practiced polygamy. Ögedei Khan's favorite son was Kochu, who was his through another wife, and he had nominated Kochu's son Siremun to succeed him after his father suddenly died in China in 1237. But some sources mention that Khoch was a son of Töregene and she did not want little Shiremun to succeed.[1] Töregene opposed the choice in favor of Güyük, but despite the enormous influence she had on him, she was unable to persuade Ögedei to change his selection. She did, however, achieve her aims through cunning. When the lesser khans appointed her regent after her husband's death, she appointed her favorites to high positions in the imperial household and initiated what was to be a successful scheme to elevate her son Güyük. When Temüge Otchigen, the youngest brother of Genghis, gathered his men and tried to unsuccessfully seize the throne, Güyük quickly came to meet him. Töregene managed to keep a Kurultai from being held until it was sure her son Güyük was favored by the majority. Töregene passed power onto to her son Güyük in 1246. She retired west to Ögedei's appanage on the Emil.

Despite her role in ensuring Güyük's election as Khagan, the relationship between Töregene and her son eventually collapsed. Güyük's brother Koden accused Fatima of using witchcraft to damage his health; when Koden died a few months later, Güyük insisted that his mother hand Fatima over for execution. Töregene threatened her son Güyük that she would commit suicide to spite him. Güyük's men seized Fatima and put her to death by sewing up all of her orifices and dumping her into water; Töregene's supporters in the imperial household were simultaneously purged.[9] Within 18 months of Fatima's death, Töregene herself died under still unexplained circumstances.


  1. ^ a b C. P. Atwood Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p.544
  2. ^ Rashid al-Din-Jami al-tawarikh, Ta'rikh-i Ghazani
  3. ^ Australian National University. Institute of Advanced Studies East Asian History, p.75
  4. ^ The journey of William of Rubruck to the eastern parts of the world, 1253-55, p.62
  5. ^ Jeremiah Curtin The Mongols A History, p.343
  6. ^ J.Bor Mongol hiiged Eurasiin diplomat shastir, vol.II, p.224
  7. ^ C. P. Atwood Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p.555
  8. ^ Simon de Saint-Quentin, Histoire des Tartares, xxxi.143-144.
  9. ^ Man, John (2006). Kublai Khan: From Xanadu to Superpower. London:  


  • Jack Weatherford - The Women Who Ruled the Mongol Empire
  • Jack Weatherford - The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empireь Crown 2010
Töregene Khatun
House of Naiman (1242–1246)
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ögedei Khan
Great Khatun (regent) of the Mongol Empire
Succeeded by
Güyük Khan
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.