Battle of Kherlen

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Battle of Kherlen
Date September 23, 1409
Location Kherlen River
Result Eastern Mongol victory
Eastern Mongols (Northern Yuan dynasty) Ming dynasty
Commanders and leaders
Qiu Fu †
Unknown 1,000 cavalry

The Battle of Kherlen was a battle between the Eastern Mongols (Northern Yuan dynasty) and Ming China that took place at the banks of Kherlen River (Kerulen) in the Mongolian Plateau on 23 September 1409.[1]

After Bunyashiri had been crowned with the title of Öljei Temür in 1403, the Yongle Emperor sent an envoy to congratulate him and demand his submission in 1409. Öljei Temür Khagan Bunyashiri detained the envoy to express he was not willing to join the tributary relationship with the Ming.[2] The leader Arughtai beheaded another envoy of the Yongle Emperor in the same year and declared his allegiance to the Khagan. The Eastern Mongols had been routed to the Kerulen River by recent attacks of the Oyirad Mongols, thus the Yongle Emperor took the opportunity for a punitive expedition. He send a force of 1,000 cavalry against the Eastern Mongols according to Ming chronicles, but the much-later History of Ming gave the unrealistic and exaggerated figure of 100,000.[3]

Lured deep into the steppe of Mongolia, the Ming army was completely routed and defeated. Qiu Fu, with several other commanders, was killed by Arughtai west of Onohu.

In the aftermath of this battle, the Yongle Emperor would personally lead a punitive expedition against the Eastern Mongols, annihilating large proportions of their Mongol forces.[4]


  1. ^ Shih-Shan Henry Tsai-Perpetual Happiness: The Ming Emperor Yongle, p.167
  2. ^ Frederick W. Mote, Denis Twitchett, John King Fairbank - The Cambridge history of China:The Ming dynasty, 1368-1644, Part 1, p.226
  3. ^ Rossabi, Morris (1998). "The Ming and Inner Asia". The Cambridge History of China, Volume 8: The Ming Dynasty, 1398–1644, Part 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 227–228. ISBN 9780521243339. 
  4. ^ Chan, Hok-lam (1998). "The Chien-wen, Yung-lo, Hung-hsi, and Hsüan-te reigns, 1399–1435". The Cambridge History of China, Volume 7: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 226. ISBN 9780521243322.