In 1206 CE, a Mongol leader named Temüjin, better known as Genghis Khan, united the Mongol tribes and began conquering parts of China and Central Asia. He quickly gained momentum, pushing further to the south and west, and eventually built the largest contiguous empire in history: the Mongol Empire.
However, when Genghis died in 1227, it raised questions about who would succeed him. His third son, Ögedei Khan, was first to inherit the empire, taking the position of Great Khan. However, loyalties began to fracture in the different territories of the empire, and it officially split in 1259 after the fourth Great Khan, Möngke, died with no successor.
Four individual states emerged, each known as "khanates:" the Golden Horde in Eastern Europe and northern Asia, the Yuan dynasty in China, the Ilkhanate in the Middle East, and the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia. This collection of four coins includes one coin from each of the khanates.
The four Mongol khanates (source)
The Golden Horde was the name given to the part of the Mongol Empire that controlled Eastern Europe and northern Central Asia. The smaller silver dirhams used in this collection were minted under various Golden Horde rulers.
The khanate was founded by the grandson of Genghis Khan, Batu Khan. The inspiration for the name "Golden Horde" is unclear, though it's theorized that it may have been due to the color of the tents they used, or because the word "gold" could also mean "central" in the Mongol language.
The Yuan dynasty was a Mongol-led imperial Chinese dynasty established by Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan. This collection contains a Yuan dynasty Zhi Da Tong Bao cash coin minted under Külüg Khan, who was the third Yuan emperor.
Though Genghis Khan was initially declared as the ruler of China in 1206, it was not considered an official dynasty until Kublai proclaimed it in the traditional Han style in 1271. The Yuan dynasty would eventually weaken in the mid-1300s, with the Mongols retreating north to Mongolia and giving way to the rise of the Ming dynasty.
The Ilkhanate was the southwestern region of the Mongol Empire, covering much of the Middle East. This collection includes a silver six dirham coin struck under Togha Temür, who ruled at the very end of the Ilkhanate's existence and was the last major claimant to the throne who was a descendent of Genghis Khan.
Ilkhanate derives from “Ilkhan,” meaning the “ruler of a pacified area,” a title which was given to Mongol General Hulego by his older brother and ruler of then-ruler of the Mongol Empire, Mongke Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan. The Ilkhanate endured rivalries with the neighboring Chagatai Khanate and Golden Horde, and met its end in the mid-14th century after breaking up into factions that left it vulnerable to the Golden Horde.
The Chagatai Khanate was composed of the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan. The Chagatayid coin in this collection is a silver dinar from the reign of Bayan Qulï Khan.
The Chagatayids originally acknowledged the power of the Great Khan, who the leader of the entire Mongol Empire that was established by Genghis Khan. However, this ceased by the reign of his grandson, Kublai, and the region started functioning separately in 1259. The khanate began to slowly fragment in the 14th century, and the last Chagatayid ruler was removed from power in 1705.
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