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This article is about a Mongol Khan. For other uses, see Toqto’a.

Tokhta (Toqta, Tokhtai, Tochtu or Tokhtogha) (died c. 1312) was a khan of the Golden Horde, son of Mengu-Timur and great grandson of Batu Khan.

Obverse: "Just the Khan Tokhta" with the tamgha (imperial seal) of the House of Batu

His name "Tokhtokh" means "hold/holding" in the Mongolian language.

Early reign under Nogai[edit]

In 1288, Tokhta was ousted by his cousins. In 1291, he reclaimed the throne with the help of Nogai Khan. Tokhta gave the Crimea to Nogai as a gift. Nogai then beheaded many of the Mongol nobles, who were supporters of Tulabuga, thanks to his new supposed puppet khan.

Tokhta wanted to eliminate the Russian princes' semi-independence. To that effect, he sent his brother Dyuden (Tudan) to Rus lands in 1293, whose army would devastate fourteen towns. Tokhta himself (known here as Tokhta-Temur) went to Tver, forcing Dmitry Alexandrovich (Nogai's ally) to abdicate. The Russians chroniclers depicted these events as "The harsh-time of Batu returns". Some scholars claim that Tokhta and Nogai worked together.

Soon, Tokhta and Nogai began a deadly rivalry. The Khan's father-in-law Saljiday of the Khunggirads, his wife Bekhlemish,[1] the granddaughter of Tolui and other Chingisids in the Horde also complained about Nogai's contrariness to him. Nogai refused to come to the court of the Khan. And they disagreed on trade rights of Venetians and Genoese merchants as well.

The Khan's force lost the first battle with Nogai in 1299-1300. Nogai did not chase him and returned. Tokhta asked Ghazan his aid. The latter refused because he did not want to mix himself up with their quarrels. In 1300, Tokhta finally defeated Nogai at the battle of the Kagamlyk River near Poltava and united the lands from the Volga to the Don under his authority. But Nogai's son Chaka fled to at first Alans then to Bulgaria and reigned as emperor there. Soon after it enraged Tokhta, Theodore Svetoslav sent Chaka's head to the Khan to show his allegiance. Tokhta divided Nogai's land which stretched from Crimea and Russian principalities to modern Romania into brother Sareibugha and his sons.

Later reign[edit]

The Mongol Empire, c. 1300. The gray area is the later Timurid Empire.

While Tokhta was busy dealing with Nogai, Bayan Khan asked for his help against the rebels in the White Horde. Unfortunately, Tokhta was unable to send him any assistance. In 1301, Bayan was forced to flee to Tokhta. Tokhta then helped him to reassert his authority by attacking Kuruichik, who was backed by Qaidu. The forces of the Golden Horde then won the conflict with the Chagatai Khan Duwa and Qaidu's son Chapar.

After solidifying his control over the Russian Principalities and the Kipchak steppes, Tokhta demanded that the Ilkhan Ghazan give back the regions of Azerbaijan and the Arran. Ghazan refused his request and replied, "That land was conquered by our ancestors Indian steel sword." Tokhta then decided to restore the former alliance with the Mamluks of Egypt and sent them his envoys. During the reign of Oljeitu, the respective armies of the Golden Horde and the Ilkhanate engaged in a small border conflicts, but this was not to last long.

In 1304, messengers from Chagatai Khanate and Yuan Dynasty arrived in Sarai. They introduced their masters' plan and idea of peace. Tokhta accepted the nominal supremacy of the Yuan Khaan Temür Öljeytü Chengzong, the grandson of Kublai Khan; at the same time Muhammad Khudabanda Öljeitü ruled Ilkhanid Persia and Duwa retained nominal sovereignty in the Khanate of Chagatai. Postal system and trade routes restored again. Golden Horde sent 2 tumens (20,000) to buttress the Yuan frontier.

Tokhta arrested the Italian residents of Sarai, and besieged Caffa in 1307. The cause was apparently Tokhta's displeasure at the Italian trade in Turkic slaves who were mostly sold for soldiers to the Egyptian Mamluk Sultanate. The Genoese resisted for a year, but in 1308 set fire to their city and abandoned it. Relations between the Italians and the Golden Horde remained tense until 1312 when Tokhta died during preparations for a new military campaign against the Russian lands. Some sources claimed that he died without a male heir. But Yuan shi and some Muslim sources says that he had at least 3 sons and one of them was murdered by Ozbeg's supporters.

Although he was Shamanist, he was interested in Buddhism. He was the last non-Muslim khan of Golden Horde.

He married Maria Palaiologina, born in 1297, bastard daughter of Andronikos II Palaiologos, Emperor of Byzantium. Their daughter Marija married Narimantas, Grand-Duke of Veliki Novgorod.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rashid al-Din - universal History, Encyclopedia of Mongolia and Mongol Empire, see: Golden Horde
  • David Morgan, The Mongols
  • Ж.Бор - Монгол хийгээд Евразийн дипломат шастир боть II
  • J.J.Saunders- The history of Mongol conquests
Preceded by
khan of Blue Horde and Golden Horde
Succeeded by
Uzbeg Khan