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Country Mongol Empire, Northern Yuan dynasty, Mongolia, China (Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang)
Titles Khagan, Khan
Founded ca. 900 AD
Founder Bodonchar Munkhag
Final ruler Ligden Khan
Deposition 1635–
Ethnicity Mongol
Cadet branches Before Genghis Khan: Khiyan, Tayichigud, Jurkhin; after Genghis Khan: Khiyad-Borjigin, Jochids, Khorchin-Borjigins, Girays, Sheybanids, Khoshut
Mongol Empire circa 1207

Borjigin (plural Borjigid; Mongolian: Боржигин, Borjigin; Борджигин, Bordžigin; Mongolian script: Borjigit 1.png, Borjigit), is the last name of the imperial clan of Genghis Khan and his successors. The senior Borjigids provided ruling princes for Mongolia and Inner Mongolia until the 20th century.[1] The clan formed the ruling class among the Mongols and some other peoples of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Today, the Borjigid are found in most of Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang,[1] although genetic research has shown that descent from Genghis Khan is common in Central Asia.


The patrilineage began with Blu-grey Wolf (Börte Chino) and Fallow Doe (Gua Maral). As in The Secret History of the Mongols, their 11th generation descendant Dobu Mergen's widow Alan Gua the Fair was impregnated by a ray of light.[2] Her youngest son became the ancestor of the later Borjigid.[3] He was Bodonchar Munkhag , who along with his brothers sired the entire Mongol nation.[4] According to Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, many of the older Mongolian clans were founded by members of the Borjigin — Barlas, Urud, Manghud, Taichiut, Chonos, Kiyat, etc. The first Khan of the Mongol was Bodonchar Munkhag's great-great-grandson Khaidu Khan. Khaidu's grandsons Khabul Khan and Ambaghai Khan (founder of the Taichiut clan) succeeded him. Thereafter, Qabul's sons, Hotula Khan and Yesugei, and great-grandson Temujin (Genghis Khan) ruled the Khamag Mongol. By the unification of the Mongols in 1206, virtually all of Temujin's uncles and first cousins died, and from then on only the descendants of Yesugei Baghatur formed the Borjigid.

Mongol Empire

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

The Borjigin family ruled over the Mongol Empire from the 13th to 14th century. The rise of Genghis (Chingis) narrowed the scope of the Borjigid-Kiyad clans sharply.[5] This separation was emphasized by the intermarriage of Genghis's descendants with the Barlas, Baarin, Manghud and other branches of the original Borjigid. In the western regions of the Empire, the Jurkin and perhaps other lineages near to Genghis's lineage used the clan name Kiyad but did not share in the privileges of the Genghisids. The Borjigit clan had once dominated large lands stretching from Java to Iran and from Indo-China to Novgorod. In 1335, with the disintegration of the Ilkhanate in Iran, the first of numerous non-Borjigid-Kiyad dynasties appeared. Established by marriage partners of Genghisids, these included the Suldus Chupanids, Jalayirids in the Middle East, the Barulas dynasties in Chagatai Khanate and India, the Manghud and Onggirat dynasties in the Golden Horde and Central Asia, and the Oirats in western Mongolia.

In 1368, under Toghun Temür, the Yuan dynasty was overthrown by the Ming dynasty in China but members of the family continued to rule over Mongolia homeland into the 17th century, known as the Northern Yuan dynasty. Descendants of Genghis Khan's brothers, Hasar and Belgutei, surrendered to the Ming in the 1380s. By 1470 the Borjigin lines were severely weakened, and Mongolia was almost in chaos.

Post-Mongol Empire

The Tumens of Mongolia Proper and vassal states of the Mongol Empire by 1400

After the breakup of the Golden Horde, the Khiyat continued to rule the Crimea and Kazan until the late 18th century. They were annexed by the Russian Empire and the Chinese. In Mongolia, the Kublaids reigned as Khagan of the Mongols, however, descendants of Ögedei and Ariq Böke usurped the throne briefly.

Under Dayan Khan (1480–1517) a broad Borjigid revival reestablished Borjigid supremacy among the Mongols proper. His descendants proliferated to become a new ruling class. The Borjigin clan was the strongest of the 49 Mongol banners from which the Bontoi clan proper supported and fought for their Khan and for their honor. The eastern Khorchins were under the Hasarids, and the Ongnigud, Abagha Mongols were under the Belguteids and Temüge Odchigenids. A fragment of the Hasarids deported to Western Mongolia became the Khoshuts.

The Qing dynasty respected the Borjigin family and the early emperors married the Hasarid Borjigids of the Khorchin. Even among the pro-Qing Mongols, traces of the alternative tradition survived. Aci Lomi, a banner general, wrote his History of the Borjigid Clan in 1732–35.[6] The 18th century and 19th century Qing nobility was adorned by the descendants of the early Mongol adherents including the Borjigin.[7]


Among the Asian dynasties descended from Genghis Khan were the Yuan dynasty of China, the Ilkhanids of Persia, the Jochids of the Golden Horde, the Shaybanids of Siberia, and the Astrakhanids of Central Asia. As a rule, the Genghisid descent was crucial in Tatar politics. For instance, Mamai had to exercise his authority through a succession of puppet khans but could not assume the title of khan himself because he was not of the Genghisid lineage.

The word "Chingisid" derives from the name of the Mongol conqueror Genghis (Chingis) Khan (c. 1162–1227 CE). Genghis and his successors created a vast empire stretching from the Sea of Japan to the Black Sea.

  • The Chingisid principle,[8] or golden lineage, was the rule of inheritance laid down in the (Yassa), the legal code attributed to Genghis Khan.
  • A Chingisid prince was one who could trace direct descent from Genghis Khan in the male line, and who could therefore claim high respect in the Mongol and Turkic world.
  • The Chingisid states were the successor states or Khanates after the Mongol empire broke up following the death of the Genghis Khan's sons and their successors.
  • The term Chingisid people was used to describe the people of Genghis Khan's armies who came in contact with Europeans, primarily the Golden Horde, led by Batu Khan, a grandson of Genghis. These were predominantly OghuzTurkic speaking people rather than Mongols. (Although the aristocracy was largely Mongol, Mongols were never more than a small minority in the armies and the lands they conquered.) Europeans often (incorrectly) called the people of the Golden Horde Tartars.

Babur and Humayun, founders of the Mughal Empire in India, asserted their authority as Chinggisids. Because they claimed it through their maternal lineage, they had never used the clan name Borjigin.

The last ruling monarch, Mohammed Alim Khan (d. 1944), of Genghisid ancestry was overthrown by Red Army in 1920.

Yuan dynasty family tree

Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire in 1206. His grandson, Kublai Khan, after defeating his younger brother Ariq Böke, founded the Yuan dynasty in China in 1271. The dynasty was overthrown by the Ming dynasty during the reign of Toghaghan-Temür in 1368, but it survived in Mongolia homeland, known as the Northern Yuan dynasty. Although the kingship was usurped by Esen Tayisi of the Oirats in 1453, he was overthrown in the next year. A recovery of the khaganate was achieved by Dayan Khan, but the territory was segmented by his descendants. The last khaan Ligden died in 1634 and his son Ejei Khongghor submitted himself to Hong Taiji the next year, ending the Northern Yuan regime.[9] However, the Borjigin nobles continued to rule their subjects until the 20th century under the Qing.[10][11]

Yuan genealogy.png

Or in a different version (years of reign over the Northern Yuan dynasty [up to 1388] are given in brackets).

Modern relevance and descent from Genghis Khan

Navaanneren, Minister of the Interior, who along with the 23rd Tushiyetu Khan Dorjsurenkhoroljav (1908–1937) was the last of the Borjigin with the title of Khan in Mongolia. He was executed during the great purges of 1937.

The Borjigin held power over Mongolia for many centuries (even during Qing period) and only lost power when Communists took control in the 20th century. Aristocratic descent was something to be forgotten in the socialist period.[12] Joseph Stalin's henchmen executed some 30,000 Mongols including Borjigin nobles in a series of campaigns against their culture and religion.[13] Clan association has lost its practical relevance in the 20th century, but is still considered a matter of honour and pride by many Mongolians. In 1920s the communist regime banned the use of clan names. When the ban was lifted again in 1997, and people were told they had to have surnames, most families had lost knowledge about their clan association. Because of that, a disproportionate number of families registered the most prestigious clan name Borjigin, many of them without historic justification.[14][15] The label Borjigin is used as a measure of cultural supremacy.[16]

In Inner Mongolia, the Borjigid or Kiyad name became the basis for many Chinese surnames adopted by ethnic Inner Mongols.[5] The Inner Mongolian Borjigin Taijis took the surname Bao (, from Borjigid) and in Ordos Qi (, Qiyat). A genetic research has proposed that as many as 16 million men from populations as far apart as Hazaras in the West and Hezhe people to the east may have Borjigid-Kiyad ancestry,[17] but the professionalism of that study is being criticised.[citation needed] The Qiyat clan name is still found among the Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Karakalpaks.

List of Kiyad-Borjigin dynasties

Prominent Kiyads or Borjigins

The division of the Mongol Empire, c. 1300, with the Golden Horde in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate in the middle, the Ilkhanate in the southwest, and the Yuan dynasty in the east

Rulers of the Khamag Mongol (11th century – 1206)

Emperors and rulers of the Mongol Empire (1206–1368)

Genghis Khan's brothers

Rulers of the Khanates

Yuan dynasty
Golden Horde
Batu Khan on his throne.
Chagatai Khanate

Post-Mongol Empire Golden Horde (1360–1502)

Crimean Khanate (1441–1783)

Kazan Khanate (1438–1552)

Uzbek Khanates (15th – mid 20th century)

Mohammed Alim Khan, last Emir of the Manghit lineage, 1911. Early color photograph by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky.

Kazakh Khanate (1456–1847)

Northern Yuan dynasty (1368–1635)

Ruler of the Tumed


Empress of the Qing dynasty (1636–1717)

The royals of the Khorchin Mongols were descended from Khasar, the brother of Genghis Khan.

During the initial building of the Qing dynasty, the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan had the tradition of diplomatic marriages with Mongols to earn their support. Qing rulers would make Mongol ladies empresses and major concubines. As the Khorchin were the strongest banner, the Manchus were anxious to make alliances from the Borjigit. These marriages produced two empresses and three dowager empresses of the Qing dynasty, from which Xiaozhuang subsequently became a notable grand empress dowager. Hence, it is not surprising to note that from Nurhaci to the Shunzhi Emperor, all the empresses and major concubines were Mongols.

Empress Xiaoduanwen (Jere) was made empress in 1636, Empress of Emperor Hung Taiji. Daughter of Prince Manjusri. Known as a benevolent empress and the most virtuous of all. Made "Motherly Empress Dowager Empress" (Mu Hou Huang Tai Hou) in 1643 after the death Of Emperor Hung Taiji. She died in 1649 (Shunzhi's 6th year of rule).

Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang (Bumbutai) was historically considered the mother of Qing dynasty. She was a concubine of Huang Taiji. Daughter of Prince Jaisang and niece of Empress Xiaoduan. Made the "Enlightened Mother Dowager Empress" (Sheng Mu Huang Tai Hou) in 1643 after the death of Emperor Hung Taiji. She died in 1688 having helped Shunzhi Emperor, her son, run the country till his death and Kangxi Emperor, her grandson, for 25 years of his reign. This makes all Qing dynasty emperors who ruled China proper descendants of Genghis Khan. Xiaozhuang was an excellent politician who did not like to interfere in politics, unlike the notorious Empress Dowager Cixi. However, when the conditions required, she rendered her efforts.


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Caroline Humphrey, David Sneath The end of Nomadism?, p.27
  2. The Secret History of the Mongols, Ch.1 $17
  3. Herbert Franke, Denis Twitchett, John King Fairbank The Cambridge History of China: Alien regimes and border states, 907-1368, p.330
  4. Kahn, Paul. The Secret History of the Mongols, p. 10.
  5. 5.0 5.1 C. P. Atwood-Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p.45
  6. Peter C. Perdue China marches west, p.487
  7. Pamela Kyle Crossley A Translucent Mirror, p.213
  8. Russia and the Golden Horde: The Mongol Impact on Medieval Russian History (Chapter VIII) by Charles J. Halperin, Indiana University Press, 1985 ISBN 0-253-20445-3, ISBN 978-0-253-20445-5
  9. Ann Heirman, Stephan Peter Bumbacher The spread of Buddhism, p.395
  10. David Sneath Changing Inner Mongolia: pastoral Mongolian society and the Chinese state, p.21
  11. Wada Sei did pioneer work on this field, and Honda Minobu and Okada Hidehiro modified it, using newly discovered Persian (Timurid) records and Mongol chronicles.
  12. Caroline Humphrey, David Sneath The end of Nomadism?, p.28
  13. Jack Weatherford Genghis Khan, p.XV
  14. "In Search of Sacred Names", Mongolia Today<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Magnier, Mark (October 23, 2004). "Identity Issues in Mongolia". Los Angeles Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Carole Pegg Mongolian music, dance, & oral narrative, p.22
  17. Genetic legacy of the Mongols, American journal of Human genetics 72. p. 717-721
  18. According to H.H.Howorth, Mamai used the clan name Kiyad which is near to Genghisid lineage. However, he was not direct descendant of Genghis Khan, The History of the Mongols, part.II, D.II, p.190
Further reading
  • Wada Sei 和田清. Tōashi Kenkyū (Mōko Hen) 東亜史研究 (蒙古編). Tokyo, 1959.
  • Honda Minobu 本田實信. On the genealogy of the early Northern Yüan, Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher, XXX-314, 1958.
  • Okada Hidehiro 岡田英弘. Dayan Hagan no nendai ダヤン・ハガンの年代. Tōyō Gakuhō, Vol. 48, No. 3 pp. 1–26 and No. 4 pp. 40–61, 1965.
  • Okada Hidehiro 岡田英弘. Dayan Hagan no sensei ダヤン・ハガンの先世. Shigaku Zasshi. Vol. 75, No. 5, pp. 1–38, 1966.
Royal house
House of Borjigin
Preceded by
Liao dynasty
Ruling House of Mongolia
11th century–1691
Succeeded by
Qing dynasty
New title Ruling House of the Mongol Empire
Succeeded by
Northern Yuan dynasty
Preceded by
Song dynasty
Ruling House of China
Succeeded by
Ming dynasty
New title Protector of Tibet
Succeeded by
Phagmodrupa Dynasty
Preceded by
Khwārazm-Shāh dynasty
Ruling House of Persian Empire
Succeeded by
Chupanid Suldus
Preceded by
The Khanate established
Ruling House of the Golden Horde
Succeeded by
Kiyat Girays