Descent from Genghis Khan

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Descent from Genghis Khan in East Asia is well-documented by Chinese sources. His descent in West Asia and Europe was documented through the 14th century, in texts written by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani and other Muslim historians. With the advent of genealogical DNA testing, a larger and broader circle of people have begun to claim descent from Genghis Khan.

Paternity of Jochi[edit]

Jochi, Genghis Khan's eldest son, had many more recorded progeny than his brothers Ögedei, Chagatai, and Tolui—but there is some doubt over his paternity. According to The Secret History of the Mongols, the boy was sent to Genghis by Chilger, who had kidnapped his first wife Börte, keeping her in captivity for about a year. In one passage, Chagatai refers to Jochi as "bastard" (although the true meaning of the Mongol term is obscure). To this, Genghis Khan responds: "How dare you talk about Jochi like this? Is not he the eldest of my heirs? That I never heard such wicked words again!" (p255). All in all, Genghis Khan pronounces the words "Jochi is my eldest son" thrice (p210, 242, 254).

Modern historians speculate that Jochi's disputed paternity was the reason for his eventual estrangement from his father and for the fact that his descendants never succeeded to the imperial throne. On the other hand, Genghis always treated Jochi as his first son, while the failure of the Jochid succession may be explained by Jochi's premature death (which may have excluded his progeny from succession).

Another important consideration is that Genghis' descendants intermarried frequently. For instance, the Jochids took wives from the Ilkhan dynasty of Persia, whose progenitor was Hulagu Khan. As a consequence, it is likely that many Jochids had other sons of Genghis Khan among their maternal ancestors.


Asian dynasties descended from Genghis Khan included the Yuan dynasty (Kublaids) of China, the Hulaguids of Persia, the Jochids of the Golden Horde, the Shaybanids of Siberia, and the Astrakhanids of Central Asia. As a rule, the Genghisid descent played a crucial role in Tatar politics. For instance, Mamai (1335–1380) had to exercise his authority through a succession of puppet khans but could not assume the title of khan himself because he lacked Genghisid lineage.

Timur Lenk (1336–1405), the founder of the Timurid Dynasty, claimed descent from Genghis Khan. He associated himself with the family of Chagatai Khan through marriage. He never assumed the title Khan for himself, but employed two members of the Chagatai clan as formal heads of state. The Mughal imperial family of the Indian subcontinent descended from Timur through Babur and also from Genghis Khan (through his son Chagatai Khan).

The ruling Wang Clan of the Korean Goryeo Dynasty became descendants of the Genghisids through the marriage between King Chungnyeol (reigned 1274–1308) and a daughter of Kublai Khan. All subsequent rulers of Korea for the next 80 years, through King Gongmin, also married Borjigid princesses.

At a later period, Tatar potentates of Genghisid stock included the khans of Qazan and Qasim (notably a Russian tsar, Simeon Bekbulatovich, formally Grand Prince of All Rus' from 1575 to 1576, died 1616) and the Giray dynasty, which ruled the Khanate of Crimea until 1783.[1]

Other countries ruled by dynasties with (potential) descent from Genghis Khan are Moghulistan (through Chagatai Khan), the Northern Yuan dynasty (Kublaids), Kara Del (through Chagatai Khan), Khanate of Kazan (through Jochi), Qasim Khanate (through Ulugh Muhammad), the Kazakh Khanate (through Urus Khan), the Great Horde (remnant of the Golden Horde), the Khanate of Bukhara (Shaybanid Dynasty, later Janid Dynasty, descendants of Astrakhanids), the Khanate of Khiva (descendants of Shiban, the fifth son of Jochi), the Yarkent Khanate (through Chagatai Khan), the Arghun dynasty (claimed their descent Ilkhanid-Mongol Arghun Khan),[2] the Kumul Khanate (through Chagatai Khan) and the Khanate of Kokand (Shaybanid Dynasty).

The khans of the Khoshut Khanate were indirect descendants. They were descendants from a younger brother of Genghis Khan, Qasar.

As the Russian Empire absorbed Turkic polities, their Genghizid rulers frequently entered the Russian service. For instance, Kuchum's descendants became Russified as the Tsarevichs of Siberia. Descendants of Ablai Khan assumed in Russia the name of Princes Valikhanov. All these families asserted their Genghisid lineage. The only extant family of this group is the House of Giray, whose members left Soviet Russia for the United States and United Kingdom.

The Qing dynasty of China completely exterminated one branch (Ligdan Khan's descendants) of the Borjigids after an anti-Qing revolt in 1675 by Ejei Khan's brother Abunai and Abunai's son Borni against the Qing.[3] The Qing Emperors then placed the Chahar Mongols under their direct rule. The Emperors of the Qing dynasty and the Emperor of Manchukuo were also indirect descendants by Qasar, a younger brother of Genghis Khan.

The Crimean Khanate Khan Meñli I Giray was the maternal grandfather of Suleiman the Magnificent through his daughter, Ayşe Hafsa Sultan. Thereafter, the Ottoman dynasty also claimed descent from Genghis Khan through his son Jochi.

Russia and East Europe[edit]

After the Mongol conquest of Rus', the Rurik dynasty rulers of Russian principalities were eager to obtain political advantages for themselves and their countries by marrying into the House of Genghis. Alexander's grandson Yury of Moscow married a sister of Öz Beg Khan, but they had no progeny. On the other hand, petty Mongol princelings of Genghisid stock very rarely settled in Russia. For instance, Berke's nephew adopted the Christian name Peter and founded St. Peter's Monastery in Rostov, where his descendants were long prominent as boyars.[4]

St. Theodore Stratelates, the patron saint of Fyodor the Black, as illustrated in his personal Gospel Book.

The issue of three Russian-Mongol marriages may be traced down to the present. One was the marriage of St. Fyodor the Black, later proclaimed a patron saint of Yaroslavl, to a daughter of the Mongol khan Mengu-Timur.[5] Fyodor's relations with the khan were idyllic: he spent more time in the Horde (where he was given extensive possessions) than in his capital. Male-line descendendants of Fyodor's marriage to the Tatar Princess include all rulers of Yaroslavl (from there on) and two dozens princely families (such as the Shakhovskoy, Lvov, or Prozorovsky, among others), which passed Genghis genes to some aristocratic families of Russia.[citation needed] After the 1917 revolution, most of these families fled, leaving no one in Russia.

Gleb, Prince of Beloozero, a grandson of Konstantin of Rostov, was another Rurikid prince influential at the Mongol court. Gleb married the only daughter of Sartaq Khan. From this marriage descends the House of Belozersk, whose scions include Dmitry Ukhtomsky and Belosselsky-Belozersky family.

The most problematic is the marriage of Narimantas, the second son of Gediminas of Lithuania, to Toqta's daughter. The earliest source for this marriage is the "Jagiellonian genealogy", compiled in the 18th-century from Ruthenian chronicles by one Joannes Werner. While the marriage is not impossible (Narimont spent several years in the Horde), there are no extant chronicles that mention Narimont's wife. This highly uncertain gateway derives particular interest from the fact that the House of Golitsyn, Khovansky and Kurakin princely families are Narimont's agnatic descendants.

Sergei Saltykov, a lover of Catherine the Great, claimed descent from the Golitsyns; if the above suggestion of Narimantas's marriage is correct, and if Paul I of Russia was the son of Saltykov rather than Catherine's husband as is often claimed, it would mean that the remaining tsars of Russia (as well as their descendants – including the current reigning monarchs of Spain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, the former Greek royal family, the last two German kaisers and Charles, Prince of Wales, among other notables) could be descendants of Genghis Khan.

DNA evidence[edit]

Numerous scientists have created their own theories about the Y-chromosomal haplogroup (and therefore patrilineal ancestry) of Genghis Khan. The proposed candidates include Haplogroup C-M217, Haplogroup O-M175 Haplogroup R1b, and Haplogroup Q-M242.[6]

Zerjal et al. (2003) identified a Y-chromosomal lineage haplogroup C*(xC3c) present in about 8% of men in a region of Asia "stretching from northeast China to Uzbekistan" (about 0.5% of the world total), which would be around 16 million men at the time of publication, "if [Zerjal et al's] sample is representative."[7] The authors propose that the lineage was likely carried by male-line descendants of Genghis Khan, because of its presence in certain ethnic groups rumored to be their descendants. One study published in the Russian Journal of Genetics found that 24% of Mongolians carry this haplogroup, and that it occurs in low frequencies in neighboring Turkic states (with the exception of Kazakhstan).[8]

A white paper by the American Society of Human Genetics Ancestry and Ancestry Testing Task Force, Royal et al. (2010) observed the Zerjal et al. hypothesis:

Although such a connection is by no means impossible, we currently have no way of assessing how much confidence to place in such a connection. We emphasize, however, that whenever formal inferences about population history have been attempted with uniparental systems, the statistical power is generally low. Claims of connections, therefore, between specific uniparental lineages and historical figures or historical migrations of peoples are merely speculative.[9]

The Y lineage of Qasar (Genghis Khan’s full brother) has been identified as O-M175, which is common throughout East Asia and especially Han Chinese. This suggests that Genghis Khan himself may be O-M175.[citation needed]

Research published in 2016 suggested that Genghis possibly belonged to the haplogroup R-M343 (R1b).[10] Five bodies, dating from about 1130–1250, were found in graves in Tavan Tolgoi, Mongolia. Anthropologically, all five of the bodies belong to the East Asian race. The authors also suggested they are members of the Golden Family. They hypothesize that Genghis Khan may have belonged to haplogroup R1b-M343, for the same reasons Zerjal et al. suggested that Genghis Khan belonged to the C3 haplogroup; such as the high presence of haplogroup R1b in some rumored male-line descendants of the Golden Family, as well as the Tavan Tolgoi bodies themselves. However, the same authors also suggested that it is more likely that bodies belong to unions of clan marriages between the female lineages of Genghis Khan Borjigin clan and the males of the Ongud clan, which would allow the Mongol queen to solidify her rule over the subjugated Ongud Kingdom. It is still unclear if the bodies belong to members of the Golden family and unclear if they are male-line descendants of Genghis Khan or male descent of other clans and tribes from Mongolia or Central Asia.

In 2017 a Chinese research team suggested that the Y chromosome C-M217*-Star Cluster likely traces back to ordinary Mongols, rather than Genghis Khan, and that "a direct linking of haplogroup C-M217 to Genghis Khan has yet to be discovered."[11] In a review paper published in Human Genetics, authors Chiara Batini and Mark Jobling cast doubts on Zerjal's 2003 theory that Genghis Khan is linked to haplogroup C[12]

In 2019, a Chinese research team study suggested that Haplogroup C2b1a1b1-F1756[13] might be the true candidate of the true Y lineage of Genghis Khan. A genetic study of the molecular genealogy of Northwest China shows that the Lu clan claimed to be the descendants of Khulgen [Wikidata] the sixth son of Genghis Khan, and belong to Y-DNA haplogroup C2b1a1b1 F1756,[13] which is also closely related to the paternal lineage of the Tore clan from Kazakhstan, which claimed to be paternally descendants of Jochi, the first son of Genghis Khan.[14]However, the claim that the Lu clan is descendant of Khulgen is controversial and disputed by several other studies. [15]

Popular culture[edit]

  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the motorway contractor Mr. Prosser is (unknown to himself) a direct patrilineal descendant of Genghis Khan. This manifests itself in a predilection for fur hats, a desire to have axes hanging above his front door, being slightly overweight and occasional visions of screaming Mongol hordes.
  • Fictional character Shiwan Khan, who is described as the last living descendant of Genghis appears in The Shadow, a collection of serialized dramas, originally on 1930s radio. He also appeared in the 1994 film adaptation, The Shadow.
  • Marvel Comics supervillains the Mandarin and his son Temugin, both primarily opponents of Iron Man, are descendants of Genghis Khan.
  • In a spoof of the 1989 comedy film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure by the sketch show Robot Chicken, a crowd member admonishes Bill and Ted for choosing Genghis Khan to bring to the future as he slaughtered millions, erroneously claiming 6% of all Mongolians were his direct descendants resulting from rape.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to some scholars, the Girays were regarded[by whom?] as the second family of the Ottoman Empire after the House of Ottoman: "If Rome and Byzantium represented two of the three international traditions of imperial legitimacy, the blood of Genghis Khan was the third. ... If ever the Ottomans became extinct, it was understood that the Genghizid Girays would succeed them." (Simon Sebag Montefiore. Prince of Princes: The Life of Potemkin. London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000, p. 244).
  2. ^ The Travels of Marco Polo - Complete (Mobi Classics) By Marco Polo, Rustichello of Pisa, Henry Yule (Translator)
  3. ^ Li & Cribb 2014 Archived 2016-04-04 at the Wayback Machine, p. 51.
  4. ^ See the medieval life of St. Peter of the Horde and records of the Petrovsky Monastery.
  5. ^ Later sources indicate that Fyodor's father-in-law was Nogai and his mother-in-law was one of Nogai's wives, whose father was Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos.
  6. ^ Shao-Qing, Wen; Hong-Bing, Yao (5 June 2019). "Molecular genealogy of Tusi Lu's family reveals their paternal relationship with Jochi, Genghis Khan's eldest son". Journal of Human Genetics. 64 (8): 815–820. doi:10.1038/s10038-019-0618-0. PMID 31164702. S2CID 174810181.
  7. ^ Zerjal, T.; Xue, Y.; Bertorelle, G.; Wells, R. S.; Bao, W.; Zhu, S.; Qamar, R.; Ayub, Q.; Mohyuddin, A.; Fu, S.; Li, P.; Yuldasheva, N.; Ruzibakiev, R.; Xu, J.; Shu, Q.; Du, R.; Yang, H.; Hurles, M. E.; Robinson, E.; Gerelsaikhan, T.; Dashnyam, B.; Mehdi, S. Q.; Tyler-Smith, C. (2003). "The Genetic Legacy of the Mongols". American Journal of Human Genetics. 72 (3): 717–721. doi:10.1086/367774. PMC 1180246. PMID 12592608.
  8. ^ Derenko, M. V.; Malyarchuk, B. A.; Wozniak, M.; Denisova, G. A.; Dambueva, I. K.; Dorzhu, C. M.; Grzybowski, T.; Zakharov, I. A. (2007). "Distribution of the male lineages of Genghis Khan's descendants in northern Eurasian populations". Russian Journal of Genetics. 43 (3): 334–337. doi:10.1134/S1022795407030179. S2CID 24976689.
  9. ^ Royal, Charmaine D.; Novembre, John; Fullerton, Stephanie M.; Goldstein, David B.; Long, Jeffrey C.; Bamshad, Michael J.; Clark, Andrew G. (2010-05-14). "Inferring Genetic Ancestry: Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 86 (5): 661–73. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.03.011. ISSN 0002-9297. PMC 2869013. PMID 20466090.
  10. ^ Lkhagvasuren, Gavaachimed; Shin, Heejin; Lee, Si Eun; Tumen, Dashtseveg; Kim, Jae-Hyun; Kim, Kyung-Yong; Kim, Kijeong; Park, Ae Ja; Lee, Ho Woon; Kim, Mi Jin; Choi, Jaesung; Choi, Jee-Hye; Min, Na Young; Lee, Kwang-Ho (2016). "Molecular Genealogy of a Mongol Queen's Family and Her Possible Kinship with Genghis Khan". PLOS ONE. 11 (9): e0161622. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1161622L. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161622. PMC 5023095. PMID 27627454.
  11. ^ Wei, Lan-Hai; Yan, Shi; Lu, Yan; Wen, Shao-Qing; Huang, Yun-Zhi; Wang, Ling-Xiang; Li, Shi-Lin; Yang, Ya-Jun; Wang, Xiao-Feng; Zhang, Chao; Xu, Shu-Hua; Yao, Da-Li; Jin, Li; Li, Hui (2018). "Whole-sequence analysis indicates that the y chromosome C2*-Star Cluster traces back to ordinary Mongols, rather than Genghis Khan". European Journal of Human Genetics. 26 (2): 230–237. doi:10.1038/s41431-017-0012-3. PMC 5839053. PMID 29358612.
  12. ^ Batini, Chiara; Jobling, Mark (2017). "Detecting past male-mediated expansions using the Y chromosome". Human Genetics. 136 (5): 547–557. doi:10.1007/s00439-017-1781-z. hdl:2381/39780. PMID 28349239. S2CID 3713050.
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ Wen, Shao-Qing; Hong-Bing, Yao; Du, Pan-Xin; Lan-Hai Wei (2019). "Molecular genealogy of Tusi Lu's family reveals their paternal relationship with Jochi, Genghis Khan's eldest son". Journal of Human Genetics. 26 (2): 230–237. doi:10.1038/s10038-019-0618-0. PMID 31164702. S2CID 174810181.
  15. ^ Liu, Yi (2020). "A commentary on molecular genealogy of Tusi Lu's family reveals their paternal relationship with Jochi, Genghis Khan's eldest son". Journal of Human Genetics. doi:10.1038/s10038-020-00857-y. PMID 33127984.

Further reading[edit]

  • Chapin, David (2012). Long Lines: Ten of the World's Longest Continuous Family Lineages. College Station, Texas: ISBN 978-1-60264-933-0.