Empress Gi

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"Empress Ki" redirects here. For the TV series, see Empress Ki (TV series).
Empress Gi
Empress of the Yuan dynasty
Empress Dowager
Empress of China
Reign 1340-1369/70 (29-30 years)
Spouse Toghun Temür
Issue Biligtü Khan Ayushiridara
Father Gi Ja-o
Born 1315
Died 1369/70 (aged 54-55)

Empress Gi (or Ki) (Korean: 기황후; 1315–1369/70), known as Empress Qi (or Ch'i) (Chinese: 奇皇后) in Chinese, and Öljei Khutugh in Mongolian (Өлзий хутуг, 完者忽都), was one of the primary empresses of Toghun Temür Khan of the Yuan Dynasty and the mother of Biligtü Khan. She was from a Korean aristocratic family.


Öljei Khutugh, a Yuan name by which she came to be known, was born to Gi Ja-o (奇子敖) in Haengju (幸州), in the Goryeo Dynasty of Korea. She had an elder brother named Gi Cheol (奇轍). She became a concubine of Toghun Temür and mothered Ayurshiridara. After the primary empress Tanashiri was overthrown in 1340[citation needed] because of the rebellion by her brother Tangqishi, Toghun Temür tried to install Öljei Khutugh as the empress. However Bayan, who held real power, opposed it. When Bayan was purged, Öljei Khutugh became the secondary empress in 1340 (the primary one was Bayan Khutugh of the Khunggirad clan). Her son Ayurshiridara was designated Crown Prince in 1353. Using her Korean eunuch Bak Bulhwa (朴不花) as her agent, she began a campaign to force the emperor to pass the imperial throne to her son Ayurshiridara. However her intentions became known to the emperor and he grew apart from her.

Depending on Öljei Khutugh's position in the imperial capital her brother Gi Cheol (Bayan Bukha) came to threaten the position of the king of Goryeo which was a client state of the Mongols. King Gongmin exterminated the Gi family in a coup in 1356. Upon this incident in her homeland Öljei Khutugh chose Tash Temür as the new king of Goryeo and dispatched troops to Korea. The Mongol troops were defeated by Goryeo army in crossing the Yalu River.

Within the Mongol capital an internal strife was fought between supporters and opponents of the Crown Prince. An opposition leader Bolud Temür finally occupied the capital in 1364. Ayurshiridara fled to Köke Temür who supported him but Öljei Khutugh was imprisoned by Bolud Temür. Bolud Temür was overthrown by Köke Temür the next year. Once again, she tried to install her son as the Khan, with the support of Köke Temür, but in vain. After Bayan Khutugh died, Öljei Khutugh was elevated to the primary empress.

The collapse of the Mongol rule of China in 1368 forced her to flee to Yingchang (應昌). In 1370 Toghun Temür died and Ayurshiridara ascended to the throne there. She became Empress Dowager, but soon after that went missing.

In popular culture[edit]


Ч.Далай - Монголын түүх 1260-1388

See also[edit]

Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Bayan Khutugh
Empress of China
Succeeded by
Empress Xiao Ci Gao (Ming Dynasty)