Mandukhai Khatun

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Mandukhai Khatun
Khatun of the Mongols
Stèle pour Mandukhaï Khatun.png
Modern illustration
Born c. 1449
Died 1510
Khagan Dayan Khan


House Borjigin
Dynasty Northern Yuan
Father Chorosbai chingsang

Mandukhai Khatun (Mongolian: Мандухай хатан, Chinese: 满都海哈屯; pinyin: Mǎndūhǎi Hātún), also known as Mandukhai Sechen Khatun (Mongolian: Мандухай сэцэн хатан, or Queen Manduhai the Wise), (c. 1449 – 1510) was the Khatun of the Northern Yuan dynasty based in Mongolia. She reunited the warring Mongols with her husband Batmunkh Dayan Khan.

Early life[edit]

Mandukhai was the only daughter of Chorosbai, chingsang (grand councillor) of the Ongud Mongols in eastern Mongolia. Her family were aristocrats. At the age of 18, Mandukhai was married to Manduul Khan, who ruled the Mongol Empire from 1473–1479. She was his third wife, and bore him two daughters. Mandukhai then took precedence over Yekhe Khabartu Yungin, the childless first wife. However, Manduul Khan was poisoned after 3 years by his advisor Esmel (Ismail), a spy for the Ming dynasty. He had no clear heir, leaving several Mongol princes struggling to become the Khan.

Mandukhai brought from hiding and adopted the seven-year-old orphan Batmunkh, son of the late Bayan Mongkhe Jonon, a direct descendant of Genghis Khan and part of the Altan Urug, who had also been killed by Esmel (Ismail). As Batumunkh was the last living descendant of Genghis Khan, Mandukhai had him proclaimed Dayan Khan, and she rejected the marriage offer by Unubold, a powerful noble. However, Unubold, himself a descendant of Hasar, younger brother of Genghis Khan, remained loyal to Mandukhai and the child Khan.

Khatun of Mongolia[edit]

With command over the Mongols, Mandukhai made war with the Oirats, and defeated them. After oppressing the Western Mongols who consistently waged civil wars, Mandukhai and Dayan Khan punished them by demanding that they follow five codes.

The codes included:

  • Crests of helmets must not exceed two fingers long
  • Eat meat without a knife
  • Do not call your Ger an Ordon (Palace)
  • Do refer to airag as tsegee
  • Sit upon your knees before khans

The Oirats accepted everything except for the second one. Her stunning victory over the Oirats brought back great reputation of the Chinggisids.

When Batmonkh turned nineteen, she married him and retained her control over the Mongols. The Oirats again rebelled and raided the Eastern Mongols. Mandukhai lead the great army against them. She defeated several Ming attacks and protected Mongolia, she wore the helmets and the sword and fought with the Ming soldiers. She was pregnant, but still fought and delivered twin boys during a long battle. The Western Mongols were subdued once again.

From 1480, Dayan Khan and Mandukhai increased the pressure on the Ming territory because they closed the border trade and killed a Mongol envoy. To contain her, the Ming dynasty rapidly expanded the Great Wall and now used the new artillery of gunpowder to defeat her troops. Mandukhai married Dayan Khan but continued to rule Mongolia.[1] She reoccupied Ordos area and stationed soldiers there to keep watch on China. She reenthroned Dayan Khan at the Eight White Yurts in Ordos but they had to flee a Chinese attack. Mandukhai with Dayan Khan went to Kherlen River in 1501 though her husband continued Mongol raids on the Ming dynasty.

Mandukhai died by 1510. According to the most credible sources, Mandukhai died of natural causes, although there are legends that would have been a double agent murdered by Ming or by one of her husband's concubines. Based on the film of Queen Mandukhai the Wise, she killed by Mongolian general Esmel (Ismail) who was the spy of Ming. Esmel (Ismail) who betrayed Mongols and co-operate with Ming army to attack and takeover the Mongols.

However, none of these stories consists of credible sources. As with Genghis Khan and other Great Khans, it seems that her grave was never found.

Marriage and Children[edit]

Madukhai married Manduul Khan and Dayan Khan.

Mandukhai and Manduula Khan's Children included:

  • 2 daughters

Mandukhai and Dayan Khan's children included:

  • Ulusbold
  • Turbolad
  • Barsubolad
  • Arusbolad
  • Alchubolad
  • Ochirbolad
  • Albolad
  • Töröltu (Gegeen abuhai)


Mandukhai managed to keep Dayan Khan in power as a descendant of Genghis Khan, and she defeated the Oirats. Both feats have contributed to the legends which formed about her life.

She left seven sons and three daughters. All the later khans and nobles of Mongolia are her descendants, including Altan Khan and Ligden Khan.

Queen Mandukhai the Wise (Mongolian: Мандухай сэцэн хатан, 1987) is a Mongolian film based on a novel of the same title by Shagdarjavyn Natsagdorj (1981); both recount her life. The music of the film created for Queen Mandukhai by Jantsannorov Natsag who is one of the famous Mongolian composer and musicologist.