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Layout of a 1908 Chinese re-edition of the Secret History of the Mongols: Yesügei steals Chiledu's wife, Hoelun, i.e. the future mother of Temüjin. Chinese transcription of the Mongolian text. On the right, with smaller characters, the Chinese-language glossary.

Hoelun (also Hoelun Üjin, Cyrillic: Өэлүн үжин, Өэлүн эх, Mother Hoelun, Öülen/Oulen) was the mother of Genghis Khan and the wife of his father Yesügei, the chief of the Khamag Mongol confederation.

Early life[edit]

Hoelun was born to the Olkhunut tribe. She later was engaged to a member of the Mergid confederation, but was abducted by Yesügei on her way back to the Mergid camp around 1159 AD.[citation needed] Yesügei made Hoelun his chief wife. This was an honor, since only the chief wife could give birth to his heirs. She gave birth to six children: five sons, Bekter, Temüjin (who would be later known as Genghis Khan), Hasar, Hachiun, and Temüge, and a daughter, Tamülün.


After Yesügei's death, Yesügei's Khiyad tribe abandoned Hoelun and her sons, including Genghis Khan. She raised Temujin and others in the harsh environment of the Mongolian steppes by herself with little support from others. According to Mongolian legend, Hoelun taught Genghis and his brothers the basics of unity and support for one another, even though Temüjin murdered his stepbrother Bekter in a disagreement which his stepbrother started over hunting spoils. Kachiun and Temujin had a fight with Bekter about him not sharing his hunting spoils with other members of the family and Temujin killed him in the ensuing fight. She and her children managed to survive due to her skill at gathering food, hunting at Khentii Mountains and fishing in Onon River. Hoelun is considered to have had a very strong personality derived from her experience of raising her children independently, with little or no support in the harsh Mongolian steppes.

Life with Temüjin[edit]

Together with his wife Börte, Hoelun was counted as one of the most trusted advisors of Genghis Khan. She also took care of war orphans under the orders of her son, adopting them and bringing them into the family as a part of an inclusionist policy aimed at creating loyalty among conquered tribes.[1] It was at her camp that a Tatar made an attempt to kill her young grandson Tolui, but was stopped by Altani and Hoelun's two guards.[2]


  1. ^ Weatherford, Jack (2004). "2: Tale of Three Rivers". Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Three Rivers Press. p.44. ISBN 0-609-80964-4.
  2. ^ Weatherford, Jack (2004). "The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire. p.9. ISBN 978-0-307-40716-0

See also[edit]