Arughtai

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Arughtai, also known as Alutai (Chinese: 阿魯台; Wade–Giles: A-lu-t’ai; d. 1434), was a chingsang of the Northern Yuan dynasty based in Mongolia, who fought against the Yongle Emperor of Ming dynasty China and the Four Oirats.

According to the Mongolian and Chinese chronicles, there are similar named figures among the Western and Eastern Mongols. One of them named Asud Arugtai was a war prisoner of the Oirats, who was released by the Borjigin princess Samur while another person, Alutai, raided the Chinese districts. Whatever his origin, the Oirad leaders, Gulichi and Mahamud, overthrew Elbeg Khan in 1399; and the former had himself enthroned as Khagan who appointed Arugtai or Alutai chingsang (councillor). However, Mahamud and Arughtai defeated Ugetchi or Gulichi; and Mahamud himself died soon after that.

Map of Ming campaign against Bunyashiri Khan and Arughtai.

In 1409 Alutai (Arughtai) set up the heir, Öljei Temür Khan Bunyashiri, of the Yuan dynasty at Beshbalik, and ignored the Chinese demands for satisfaction regarding the murder of an envoy in the previous year. War followed, in which at first Alutai was successful, owing to the rashness of the Chinese; but in the following year he was beaten and fled. In 1413, for promising help against the Oirads, he received the title of Prince Hening (和寧) and sent a mission to China. Beaten by the Oirads, he sought refuge on the Chinese frontier; but as soon as his strength increased, he renewed his raids. The Emperor marched against him in 1422, 1423, and 1424, but Alutai never risked a pitched battle and supported Adai Khan against the Oirads. Ten years later he was surprised and slain by Oirads under Toghan (Esen's father), and his son submitted to China.

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This article incorporates material from Herbert Giles's A Chinese Biographical Dictionary (London: Arthur Probsthain, 1898), which is now in the public domain.