Güshi Khan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gushi Khan, founder of the Khoshut Khanate

Güshi (or Gushri) Khan (1582–1655), a Khoshut prince and leader of the Khoshut Khanate, who had supplanted the Tümed[1] descendants of Altan Khan. His military assistance to the Gelug school enabled the 5th Dalai Lama to establish political control over Tibet. In 1637, Güshi Khan defeated a rival Mongolian prince Tsogtu Khung Taiji, a Kagyu follower, near Qinghai Lake (Kokonor) and established his khanate in Tibet.


Gushi Khan was born Torobaikhu, the 3rd son of Akhai Khatun and Khanai Noyan Khonggor, chief of the Oirat Khoshut tribe. At the age of 12, Torobaikhu had already won renown in battle against the Turkestanis.[2] In 1630 he succeeded his elder brother Baibaghas as chief of the Khoshut with the title Gushi or Guushi Khan.

Sonam Rapten, the Regent during the youth of Lozang Gyatso, the 5th Dalai Lama, sought the help of Gushri Khan to end persecution of the Gelugpa school, and unify Tibet. It took three years for Gushri Khan to install Lozang Gyatso as the head of a unified Tibet. The dGe-lugs-pa monasteries sent appeal for help against Karmapa and Bon-po partisans such as Tsogtu Taiji.[3]

The campaign was prepared in 1639. In the winter of 1640, Gushri defeated all the Dalai Lama's enemies and conquered Kham with other Oirat-Mongol forces from the Torghut and the Dörbet tribes assisted by Tibetans, overcoming resistance from Khalkha and Chahar Mongol tribes, allies of the king of Tsang and other anti-Gelug forces. The Eastern Mongols were defeated in Tibet at the same time as they were being crushed in Mongolia by the invading Manchus.[4]

Statues of the Fifth Dalai Lama and (apparently) Güshi Khan seen by Johann Grueber in the lobby of the Dalai Lama's palace in 1661

His invasion of Tibet resulted in overthrowing Karma Tenkyong, the prince of Tsang on April 13, 1642, displacing the rival dominant school of the Karmapas, and the Fifth Dalai Lama was then seated on the throne of the deposed king. The 5th Dalai Lama then gave Gushri Khan the title of King of Tibet.[5]

Gushi Khan died in January 1655 leaving ten sons. His son Dayan succeeded him, however, eight of them, with their tribes, settled in the strategically important Qinghai Lake region in Amdo and quarreled constantly over territory. The 5th Dalai Lama sent several governors in 1656 and 1659. The Mongols were gradually Tibetanised and played an important role in extending the Gelug school's influence in Amdo.[6]


  1. ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th Edition (1977), Vol. 18, p. 380h.
  2. ^ C.P.Atwood-Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p.211
  3. ^ René Grousset-The Empire of the Steppes, p.523
  4. ^ Laird, Thomas. (2006). The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama, pp. 158-161. Grove Press, New York. ISBN 978-0-8021-1827-1.
  5. ^ Laird, Thomas. (2006). The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama, pp. 158-161. Grove Press, New York. ISBN 978-0-8021-1827-1.
  6. ^ Karmay, Samten C. (2005). "The Great Fifth", p. 2. Downloaded as a pdf file on 16 December 2007 from: [1]

External links[edit]