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Chagatai Khan
Statue of Chagatai Khan in Mongolia
Khan of the Chagatai Khanate
Preceded by Genghis Khan
Succeeded by Qara Hülëgü
Personal details
Born c. 1183
Died 1241-42 (aged 58)
Spouse(s) Ebuskun
Religion Tengriism

Chagatai Khan (Urdu;Persian: چغتائی خان; Mongolian language: Цагадай, Tsagadai; b. 1183– d.1241 or 1242) was the second son of Genghis Khan. He was Khan of the Chagatai Khanate from 1226-1242 C.E.[1] The Chagatai language and Chagatai Turks take their names from him. He inherited most of what are now the five Central Asian states after the death of his father.[1] He was also appointed by Genghis Khan to oversee the execution of the Yassa, the written code of law created by Genghis Khan, though that lasted only until Genghis Khan was crowned Khan of the Mongol Empire.[1] The Empire later came to be known as the Chagatai Khanate, a descendant empire of the Mongol Empire. Chagatai Khan was considered hot-headed and somewhat temperamental by his relatives, because of his attitude of non-acceptance of Ogedai as Great Khan.[1] He was the most vocal about this issue among his relations. Chaghatai himself appears to have been a just and energetic governor, though perhaps rough and uncouth, and addicted to hard drinking.[1] At any rate, he was animated by the soldier-like spirit of his father, and succeeded in keeping order among as heterogeneous a population, as a kingdom was ever composed of.[1]

Administration & Religious Tolerance

In 1232, when sedition showed itself at Bukhara, he acted with promptness, if with severity, and saved his country from a far-reaching calamity.[1] He was, in all probability, an old-fashioned Mongol, for he stood by the Yassa and that he showed little favour to what was, at that time in his dominions, the comparatively new and rising religion of Islam.[1] He must, however, have been fairly tolerant, for it is recorded that his minister for Transoxiana was a Muslim, called the Jumilat-ul-Mulk, and that mosques and colleges were founded during his reign.[1] Chaghatai was neither ever inclined towards Christianity, though that religion, as practiced by the Nestorians, must have been familiar to him.[1]

Chaghatai's own capital was at Almaligh, in the valley of the Upper Ili, near the site of the present Kulja, and consequently in the extreme east of his dominion.[1] His reason for fixing it in that remote position, instead of at Bukhara or Samarkand, was probably one of necessity. His Mongol tribesmen and followers;the mainstay of his power—were passionately fond of the life of the steppes.[1] The dwellers in houses and towns were, in their eyes, a degenerate and effeminate race;the tillers of the soil, slaves who toiled like cattle, in order that their betters might pass their time in luxury. They would serve no Khan who did not pass a life worthy of free-born men and Chaghatai and his immediate successors probably saw, as his later descendants are described by Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat to have seen, that the one way of retaining the allegiance of his own people, was to humour their desires in this respect, and live, with them, a nomad's life.[1]

Death and Aftermath

The funeral of Chagatai Khan.

Chaghatai died in 1241, after a reign of about fourteen years, and within the same year the death of Ogedai occurred at Karakorum.[1] Thus two out of four of the chief divisions of the Mongol empire were suddenly deprived of their sovereigns, with the result that nearly the whole of the successors of Genghis Khan were set disputing for the succession.[1] However, for the time being, it ended in Turakina, Ogedai's widow, being appointed regent;[1] but there were set up lasting disputes among the rival claimants, and the seeds of much future mischief were sown. For long after, the disputes regarding the succession to the throne of the great Khan became inextricably mixed up with the affairs, more especially of the eastern part, of Chaghatai's Khanate.[1]

Little is known of the way in which Chaghatai disposed of his kingdom at his death, and there appears to be no mention, anywhere, of his having followed the ancestral custom of his house in distributing it among his descendants. He is recorded to have left a numerous family, but to have been succeeded by a grandson, and a minor, named Qara Hülëgü, while his widow, Ebuskun, assumed the regency.[1]


Chagatai's son Mutukan (Mö'etüken) was killed during the siege of Bamiyan in 1221.[2]

Turkistan, Transoxiana, and the adjacent regions were controlled directly by his descendents but not Kashghar, Yarkand, Khotan, Aksu, and the southern slopes of the Tian Shan mountains;or, in other words, to the province south of the line of the Tian Shan, which is called, in our times, Eastern Turkistan.[1] As regards this province, Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat says that it was given by Chaghatai, presumably at his death, to the clan or house of Dughlat, whose members were reckoned to be of the purest Mongol descent, and one of the noblest divisions of that people.[1] The Dughlats were thus made hereditary chiefs, or Amirs, of the various districts of Eastern Turkistan, as far back as the time of Chaghatai, for it is chiefly on this incident that hinges the permanent division of the Chaghatai realm into two branches, at a later date.[1]


Baidar was the second son of Chagatai Khan. He participated in the European campaign ("The elder boys campaign" as it was known in Mongolia) with his nephew Büri from 1235-1241. He commanded the Mongol army assigned to Poland with Kadan and, probably, Orda Khan

Early in May 1241 they entered Moravia. Various small, unprotected places were plundered. Only cities of Olomouc, Brno and Uničov resisted. When they attempt to take the town of Olomouc they were beaten by the Czech royal army in a battle of Olomouc, and Baidar were killed by King Václav, then rest continued via Brno, to join Batu's main army in Hungary. Although Bohemia remained unmolested, Moravia had much to endure. The destruction in Poland, Silesia and Moravia was all much of the same kind.

Some European chronicles claim Baidar was not killed near Olomouc in 1240 as Baidar later participated in the election of Güyük Khan in 1247.


In the Baburnama, written by Babur, Page 19, Chapter 1; describes the genealogy of his maternal grandfather Yunas Khan as:

"Yunas Khan descended from Chaghatai Khan, the second
son of Chingiz Khan (as follows,) Yunas Khan, son of Wais
Khan, son of Sher-'ali Aughlon, son of Muhammad Khan, son
of Khizr Khwaja Khan, son of Tughluq-timur Khan, son of
Aisan-bugha Khan, son of Dawa Khan, son of Baraq Khan,
son of Yesuntawa Khan, son of Muatukan, son of Chaghatai
Khan, son of Chingiz Khan"


Genealogy of Abdul Karim Khan according to [[Tarikh e Rashidi|Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat]]
  1. Chingiz Khan
  2. Chaghatai Khan
  3. Mutukan
  4. Yesü Nto'a
  5. Ghiyas-ud-din Baraq
  6. Duwa
  7. Esen Buqa I
  1. Tughlugh Timur
  2. Khizr Khoja
  3. Muhammad Khan (Khan of Moghlustan)
  4. Shir Ali Oglan
  5. Uwais Khan(Vaise Khan)
  6. Yunus Khan
  7. Ahmad Alaq
  1. Sultan Said Khan
  2. Abdurashid Khan
  3. Abdul Karim Khan (Yarkand)


"Chughtai Khanates" A research project by Dr Abdul Rauf Mughal


Yesugei Baghatur
Temüjin (Genghis Khan)
Preceded by
Chagatai khanate established
Khan of Chagatai Khanate
Succeeded by
Qara Hülëgü


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat, N. Elias, Sir Edward Denison Ross (31-Dec-2008). A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia: The Tarikh-i-Rashidi. Cosimo, Inc.,. pp. 696. ISBN 9781605201504. Retrieved 2013-01-20. 
  2. Ratchnevsky, Paul (1991) Genghis Khan: His Life and Legacy Blackwell, Oxford, UK, page 164, ISBN 0-631-18949-1
  3. The Babur Nama in Englis, Zahiru'd-din Mubammad Babur Padshah Ghdzt, ANNETTE SUSANNAH BEVERIDGE
  4. The Tarikh-i-Rashidi: a history of the Moghuls of central Asia by Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat; Editor: N. Elias,Translated by Sir Edward Denison Ross,Publisher:S. Low, Marston and co., 1895

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