Sengge

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for the Tibetan village see Sengge, Tibet

Sengge (died 1671) was a Choros-Oirat prince and the successor to his father Erdeni Batur as ruler of the Dzungar Khanate. Sengge ruled the Dzungar state from 1653 until his murder in 1671 by his two older half-brothers Tsetsen Taishi and Tsodba Batur. Sengge is best known for defeating Erincin Lobsang Tayishi, the third Altan Khan, in 1667 and eliminating the Altan Khanate as a potential future threat to the Dzungar Khanate. While being Khong Tayiji of the Oirats, during one of his raids against Kirgizs, Sengge was captured by his enemies and said to have spent two to three years as a war prisoner.

Before his death in 1653 Erdeni Batur named his third son Sengge as his successor to the consternation and disbelief of Tseten and Tsobda Batur. Erdeni Batur's decision to name Sengge as the next ruler of the Dzungar Khanate was based on solely on his belief that Sengge was the ablest of his eight sons. For being the ablest Sengge was given the southern half of the Khanate. The northern half would be split among Erdeni Batur's remaining seven sons. The fourth son, Galdan, transferred his rights to Sengge.

Sengge's brothers were not content with their small land inheritance and were also jealous that Sengge was Khong Tayiji of the Dzungar Khanate. To gain a larger share for themselves both Tseten and Tsobda Batur made several attempts to assassinate Sengge. Though they did not succeed until 1671, 18 years after Sengge was enthroned, the continuous internecine warfare generated by their jealousy and hatred for their brother resulted in Sengge neglecting the legacy of his father and grandfather Khara Khula in building the Dzungar Khanate into a powerful Central Asian nation-state.

Since Sengge was not able to immediately exert control of the northern half of the Dzungar Khanate the commercial trading agreements between Russia and the Dzungar Khanate were no longer honored by the Oirat tribes roaming the northern border. Instead these tribes returned to the traditional nomadic practice of banditry crossing into Russian territory in southern Siberia to raid nearby Russian outposts and steal the items they previously had to acquire by trade.

Sengge was powerless to enforce the agreement his father, Erdeni Batur, had signed with Russia years earlier and honored throughout his reign. As a result Russia was compelled to engage in dialogue with numerous chiefs of small Oirat clans to no avail. Yet Sengge demanded from Russia that it stop claiming tribute from the small Siberian tribes that he deemed to be the vassals of only the Dzungar Khanate. This issue would cause several skirmishes between the Cossacks and the Dzungar forces during Sengge’s reign and would remain unresolved at the time of his death.

References[edit]

  • Bergholz, Fred W. The Partition of the Steppe: The Struggle of the Russians, Manchus, and the Zunghar Mongols for Empire in Central Asia, 1619–1758: A Study in Power Politics, American University Studies, Series IX, History, Vol. 109, Peter Lang Publishing, New York, NY (1993).
  • Howorth, Henry H. History of the Mongols: From the 9th to the 19th century: Part I. The Mongols Proper and the Kalmuks, Longmans Green and Co., London (1876).
Sengge
House of Choros (Чорос) the 14th century-1755
Died: 1670
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Erdeni Batur
Khong Tayiji of the Zunghar Khanate
1653–1670
Succeeded by
Galdan Boshugtu Khan