urug

Mandukhai Khatun (Mandukhai Sechen Khatun & Queen Manduhai the Wise) B. 1449 D. 1510

She reunited the warring Mongols with her husband Batmunkh Dayan Khan.

Mandukhai was the only daughter of Chorosbai, chingsang (grand councillor) of the Ongud Mongols in eastern Mongolia. At the age of 18, Mandukhai was married to Manduul Khanas, who ruled the Mongol Empire from 1473–1479.

After the death of Manduul Khan in 1479 at the hands of his own advisor Esmel (Ismail), a spy and an agent of the Ming dynasty, the throne was left without an heir. 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). Because Batumunkh was the last living descendant of Genghis Khan, Mandukhai had him proclaimed Dayan Khan, 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.

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 Oirats accepted everything except for the second one (Eat meat without a knife). 

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. To contain her, the Ming dynasty rapidly expanded the Great Wall and used the new artillery of gunpowder to defeat her troops. Mandukhai married Dayan Khan but continued to rule Mongolia. 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 then 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 a double agent sent by Ming or by one of her husband’s concubines killed her. 

In her life she bore seven sons and three daughters, and it was from her line that successive khans and nobles of Mongolia were descended.

As with Genghis Khan and other Great Khans, it seems that her grave was never found.

Sources:

Secret History of the Mongol Queens

Weatherford, Jack (2010). The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire.

Wikipedia

Virtuti nihil obstat et armis