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Sanj Khoyt, The History of the Khoshuds

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Terbish, Baasanjav 
Churyumova, Elvira 


Sanj talks about the history of the Khoshuds. This is his story: According to the Secret History of Mongols, Chingis Khan’s bodyguards consisted of three parts, including keptyul (night guard), khorchin (bowmen) and turgak (day guards). Chingis Khan’s younger brother Khasar, however, was not in command of these imperial bodyguards. Khasar was in charge of the Khingan tumen. The Japanese scholar Khidekhiro Okada wrote an article about the Oirats, using Mongolian, Chinese and other sources. He supports the idea that Khoshud lords were descendants of Khasar. At least three Oirat chronicles, including those by Gaban Sharab, Batur Ubashi Tyumen and Sumba Khambo, trace the Khoshud lineage back to Chingis Khan’s younger brother. Most probably, Khasar’s descendants ruled over the Khorchins (who today live in Inner Mongolia, China). Okada also writes about three garrisons during the Ming Dynasty. The Chinese referred to them as Uriankhai. Kublai’s descendants returned to Mongolia (following the collapse of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty in China). Kublai’s brother Ariq Boke ruled over some Oirats and Khoits. When back in Mongolia, Chingis Khan’s direct descendants fought with each other by using their vassals who gradually seized their power. In the first half of the 15th century the Oirat lord Togon-taishi subjugated three garrisons of Odzhiyet. Thus, the ancestors of the Khoshuds became part of the Oirats, according to Okada. The new ulus (administrative unit) was named Khoshud. In his work Gaban Sharab mentions that it was Togon-taishi who gave the name of Khoshud. It is important to distinguish the ruling clans from the ruled ones. Chronicles usually mention ruling ones only. It was often the case that the ruled people took the name of their rulers. Initially, the Khoshuds comprised a small ulus (administrative unit), which gradually grew in size. In the 16th century the political situation was unstable, with the Western and Eastern Mongols pushing the Oirats from the central arena. As a consequence, the Oirats lost their power, and were forced to move westwards. Some chronicles mention the composition of the Oirats, which included the Torghuts, Khoshuds, and Khoits. The Oirats had special chulgan – meetings in which they discussed various matters of urgency. For around a hundred years it was Khoshuds who chaired these meetings. Since the Khoshuds had a Borjigin lineage, their leaders had the title of taij/taishi ‘prince’ (which is a word of Chinese origin). Baibagas and Chokur (of the Khoshud) had a long conflict. Having lost the support of his allies, Chokur took his people and moved westwards reaching the Volga first among the Oirat clans. At that time, in Tibet the Gelug school was losing its ground to its rival, the Kagyu school. In order to support Gelug, in 1630 the Oirat lords sent an army to Tibet, consisting of Batur Khuntaij (of the Choros), Daichin (of the Torghuts from the Volga), Sultan taij (of the Khoits), and Dalai taij (of the Derbets). After a successful military operation, the victorious army returned home, although some Khoshuds remained near the lake of Kokonur (today Qinghai province of China). Today their number is estimated at 70,000-80,000. With time, the Khoshuds established their own Khoshud Khanate that existed for a hundred years until it was destroyed by the new Qing Dynasty in China. In 1646, two Derbet and Khoshud lords, Dalai Batur and Kundulen Ubashi, attacked Dzungar soldiers who were on their way home from a campaign against the Kazakhs. This prompted a retaliation by the Dzungar, and as a consequence Dalai Batur and Kundulen Ubashi had to retreat westwards to the Torghut territory from where Kundulen Ubashi set off for southern Siberia. There Kundulen Ubashi quarreled with his two cousins, Ablai and Ochirtu. Being overpowered, in 1669 Ablai submitted to Kundulen Ubashi. Ablai with his allies attacked the Torghuts that were under the rule of the then young Ayuka, who had to retreat. A vast territory from Yaik to the Lower Volga was occupied by Ablai who demanded payment from the Russian tsar. In 1670-71 Ablai quarreled with his allies, the Derbet lords. In 1672 Ayuka and his allies attacked Ablai in the Urals, taking him a prisoner. Ablai’s son, Tsagan, ran to his uncle and later to the Kazakhs. This and other events led to the number of the Khoshuds diminish.



Khoshud, history

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.