Gegeen Khan, Emperor Yingzong of Yuan

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Gegeen Khan Shidebala
Emperor Yingzong of Yuan
Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty
Khagan of the Mongols
Emperor of Yuan Dynasty
Reign April 19, 1320 – September 4, 1323
Coronation April 19, 1320
Predecessor Buyantu Khan Ayurbarwada
Successor Yesün Temür
Consort Sugabala
Full name
Mongolian: ᠭᠡᠭᠡᠭᠡᠨ ᠬᠠᠭᠠᠨ ᠰᠢᠳᠡᠪᠠᠯᠠ
Chinese: 硕德八剌
Shidebala Gegeen Khan
Era dates
Zhizhi (至治) 1321–1323
Posthumous name
Emperor Ruisheng Wenxiao (睿聖文孝皇帝)
Temple name
Yingzong (英宗)
Dynasty Yuan
Dynasty Borjigin
Father Ayurbarwada
Mother Radnashiri of the Khunggirat
Born February 22, 1303
Died September 4, 1323(1323-09-04) (aged 20)
Nan-po

Gegeen Khan (Mongolian: Шидэбал Гэгээн хаан, Shidebal Gegegen qaγan), also known as Emperor Yingzong of Yuan (Chinese: 元英宗, February 22, 1303 – September 4, 1323), born Shidibala, was the successor of Ayurbarwada to rule as Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, and is regarded as the ninth Great Khan of the Mongols in Mongolia. His name means "enlightened/bright khan" in the Mongolian language.

Early in his short reign, the Khunggirat faction played a key role in the Yuan court. When his grandmother Dagi (Targi) and the grand councillar Temuder died in 1322, his opponents seemed to have triumphed. Despite the Emperor's aim to reform the government based on the Confucian principles, Temuder's faction linked up with the Alan guard and assassinated the emperor in 1323. This was the first violent transition struggle in the Mongolian imperial history, which is also known as Coup d'état at Nanpo, that the Non-Borjigins overthrew the Emperor.

Peaceful succession[edit]

Shidibala was the eldest son of Ayurbarwada Buyantu Khan (Emperor Renzong) and Radnashiri of the Khunggirad clan. In return for his own crown princeship, Ayurbarwada promised his elder brother Khayishan to appoint Khayishan's son as Crown Prince after his succession.[1] But when Khayishan died, Khayishan's two sons were relegated to borderlands and pro-Khayishan officers were purged.

Shidibala's powerful grandmother Dagi installed Shidibala as Crown Prince in 1316, and then as Khan, since he was mothered by a Khunggirad khatun. He was made the nominal head of both the Secretariat and the Bureau of Military Affairs one year later.[2] At one time, his father Ayurbarwada had even toyed with the idea of abdicating the throne in favor of Shidebala.[3] Dagi's protégé Temuder was made as tutor to the heir apparent, Shidebala, after he failed to increase tax revenue.

Between Ayurbarwada's death in March 1320 and his own death in October 1322, Temüder attained a great power with the full support of Dagi. Immediately after her grandson's succession, Dagi reinstated Temüder as Minister of the Secretariat and took politics into her own hands more openly than during Ayurbarwada's reign.

Puppet regime[edit]

Shidebala succeeded his father on April 19, 1320. Empress Targi (Dagi) reappointed Temuder senior grand councillor. While Temuder's persecution of his opponents in the censorate alienated the new Emperor, Temuder remained in power until his death, which came only two years later.[4]

The return to power of Temudar was signalised by fresh excesses, and by the execution of several of those whom he suspected of having been the cause of his late trial. At length the young prince began to feel the leading strings of the Empress Dowager and Temudar rather irksome, and determined to speed on his inauguration.

From the beginning of his reign, Shidebala showed a political independence and resolution beyond his years. In a masterly move to counter the influence of the grand empress dowager and Temüder, Shidebala appointed the 22-year-old Baiju, a Jalayir and grandson of Antong, who had illustrious family background and good Confucian education, as the grand councillor of the left in the summer of 1320, which gave Shidabala several political advantages. Temuder was on the high-road to the attainment of supreme power when Baiju.[5] However, Baiju, the commander of the kheshig, who was descended from Muqali, the renowned general of Genghis Khan, and was a man of high character, gained great influence over the Emperor, and displaced that of Temuder.

Shidibala, the young emperor, however, did not sit with folded hands. The throne soon became the focus of loyalty for the Confucian scholar-officials in their struggle against the powerful Temüder. Shidibala was prepared for such a role, for he had been as well educated in Chinese as his father had been. Deeply affected by Confucianism as well as by Buddhism, Shidebala could cite Tang poems from memory and also was a creditable calligrapher.

Besides Confucianism, Shidibala was also devoted to Buddhism. In 1321 Shidbala built a Buddhist temple in honor of 'Phags-pa Lama on the mountains west of Dadu,[6] and when the censors reproached him he had several of them put to death; among them a very distinguished officer, named Soyaoelhatimichi, whose ancestors had been faithful dependents of the Mongol Imperial house. On the other hand, Islam suffered particularly severe discrimination during his reign.[7] It is said that the Emperor destroyed a temple built by the Muslims, at Shangdu, and prohibited them from buying slaves from the Mongols and selling them again to the Chinese.

The growing influence of Baiju greatly disgusted Temuder. Baiju went to Liau tung to put up a monument to his ancestors. Temudar thought this a favourable opportunity of regaining his influence at the Yuan court, and presented himself at the palace, but was refused admittance, and died shortly after that. The Empress, Dagi (Targi), died about the same time in 1322–23.[8]

Self-assertion[edit]

In 1322, the deaths of Dagi and Temüder enabled him to seize full power. He was able to dismantle the Khunggirad faction from the Shidibala-led new administration. The severe suppression of the powerful faction including the deprivation of Temüder's titles and estates, the execution of his son drove it into the corner. On the other hand, he appointed Baiju as the grand councillor of the right. As the sole grand councillor throughout the rest of Shidebala's reign, Baiju became a powerful ally of Shidebala. They eliminated many offices subordinate to the personal establishments of the empress dowager and the empress.[9] The increasing influence of Neo-Confucianism saw greater limits placed on Mongol women who were allowed to move about more freely in public.[10]

Soon after becoming his own master and with the help of Baiju, Shidibala began to reform the government based on the Confucian principles, continued his father Ayurbarwada's policies for active promoting Chinese cultures. He and Baiju recruited for the government a great number of Chinese scholar-officials, many of whom had resigned when Temüder was in power. Heading of this list, Zhang Gui, a veteran administrator, was reappointed manager of governmental affairs and became Baiju's chief partner in carrying out reforms. Apart from the three elderly scholars appointed as councilors to the Secretariat, seven famous scholars were appointed to the Hanlin Academy. It was approximately at this same time that the Da Yuan Tong Zhi (大元通制, "the comprehensive institutions of the Great Yuan"), a huge collection of codes and regulations of the Yuan Dynasty began by his father, was revised in order to rationalize the administration and facilitate the dispensation of justice.

Furthermore, to relieve the labour burdens of small landowners, Shidebala's administration stipulated that landowners set aside a certain proportion of the lands registered under their ownership from which revenues could be collected to cover corvée expenses.[11]

Death[edit]

Regardless of the merits of Shidebala's reign, it came to a tragic end in September 4, 1323, known as the "Coup d'état at Nanpo".[12] A plot was formed among Temuder's supporters, who were afraid of vengeance overtaking them. It was headed by Temüder's adopted son Tegshi. Besides the high-ranking officials, five princes were involved: Altan Bukha, the younger brother of the former prince of An-si, Ananda, who was executed by Ayurbarwada's faction; and Bolad, a grandson of Ariq Böke; Orlug Temür, a son of Ananda; Kulud Bukha; and Ulus Bukha, a descendant of Möngke Khan.[13]

When Shidebala stayed at Nanpo on his way from the summer palace Shangdu to the capital Dadu of the Yuan Dynasty, Shidibala and Bayiju were assassinated by Tegshi, who attacked Shidibala's Ordo with Asud guards and other soldiers under him. Tegshi asked Yesün Temür to succeed the throne, but Yesün Temür purged Tegshi's faction before he entered Dadu because he feared to become a puppet of it.

Yesün Temür's reign was short; his direct rule lasted only for a year after Dagi's death. But he was glorified in Chinese records since he and his father, aided by their sinicized Mongolian ministers and Chinese scholar-officials, had made vigorous efforts to transform further the Yuan along traditional Confucian lines. From that point of view, Shidibala's assassination was sometimes explained as the struggle between the pro-Confucian faction and the opposite steppe elite faction, for Yesün Temür Khan had ruled Mongolia before succession and his policies appeared relatively unfavorable for Chinese officials.

His marriage to Sugabala, produced no children to succeed him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yuan shi, 31. p.639
  2. ^ Herbert Franke, Denis Twitchett, John King Fairbank The Cambridge History of China: Alien regimes and border states, 907–1368, p.527
  3. ^ Wei su-Wei tai-pu wen hsu chi, Yuan jen wen chi chen peng tsung khan. pp.17b-18a
  4. ^ C. P. Atwood Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p.532
  5. ^ Demetrius Charles de Kavanagh Boulger The History of China, p.383
  6. ^ Mongolia Society Occasional Papers, p.58
  7. ^ Denis Twitchett, Herbert Franke, John K. Fairbank, in The Cambridge History of China: Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p530-532.
  8. ^ Yuan Chen, Hsing-hai Chʻien, Luther Carrington Goodrich Western and central Asians in China under the Mongols, p.113
  9. ^ Yuan shi, 26. pp.625
  10. ^ Peggy Martin AP World History, p.133
  11. ^ Huang Chin-Chin-hua Huang hsien sheng wen chi, pp.9b
  12. ^ Henry Hoyle Howorth, Ernest George Ravenstein History of the Mongols: From the 9th to the 19th Century, p.382
  13. ^ Yuan shi, 114. pp.2876
Gegeen Khan, Emperor Yingzong of Yuan
Born: 1303 Died: 1323
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ayurbarwada Buyantu Khan, Emperor Renzong
Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty
1320–1323
Succeeded by
Yesün Temür Khan, Emperor Taiding
Preceded by
Ayurbarwada Buyantu Khan
Great Khan of the Mongol Empire
1320–1323
Succeeded by
Yesün Temür Khan
Preceded by
Emperor Renzong
Emperor of China
1320–1323
Succeeded by
Emperor Taiding