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Qi Empress (奇皇后; Mongolian: Öljei Khutugh Өлзий хутаг (完者忽都), Korean: 기황후) (?-1369/70) was one of empresses of Toghun Temür Khan of the Yuan Dynasty and the mother of Ayushiridar.

Öljei Khutugh was born to Gi Ja-o (奇子敖) in Haeng Prefecture (幸州), Goryeo Korea. She had an elder brother named Gi Cheol (奇轍). She became a concubine of Toghun Temür and mothered Ayurshiridar. After the primary empress Danashri was overthrown in 1340 because of the rebellion by her brother Tanggisi, 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 Ayurshiridar 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 Ayurshiridar. However her intententions became known to the emperor and he grew apart from her.

The Mongols made Goryeo their tributary state, and 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. 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 a internal strife was fought between supporters and opponents of the Crown Prince. An opposition leader Bolud Temür finally occupied the capital in 1364. Ayurshiridar fled to Köke Temür who suported 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 Khan died and Ayurshiridar ascended to the throne there. She became Empress Dowager, but soon after that went missing. It is possible that she was captured by the Ming Chinese when Mongol royal family was fleeing. According to the myth, she was pregnant when captured by the Ming army. She possibly married Hongwu and gave birth to the Ming Emperor Yongle.[1]

References

Ч.Далай - Монголын түүх 1260-1388

  1. ^ The Cambridge History of China, Vol 7, pg 193, 1988

See also


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