Birthday: November 7, 1186
Died At Age: 55
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Ogodei
Born Country: Mongolia
Born in: Khamag Mongol
Famous as: King
Emperors & Kings
Mongolian Emperors & Kings
Spouse/Ex-: Töregene Khatun (m. 1204)
father: Genghis Khan
mother: Börte Ujin
children: Godan Khan, Güyük Khan, Kadan Khan, Khashi, Khashi Khan, Khochu, Khorachar Khan, Melig Khan, Mieli, Sürkhakhan
Died on: December 11, 1241
place of death: Mongol Empire
Who was Ogedei Khan?
Ogedei Khan was the third son of Genghis Khan and the second Khagan (‘Great Khan’) of the Mongol Empire. During Ogedei's reign, the Mongols defeated their long-time rivals from the Jin dynasty and waged war against the Southern Song. The Mongols had also launched their first campaigns against Korea around that time. He played a crucial role in the Mongol Empire's expansion that included creating a new capital at Karakorum and also establishing regional governance and taxation. Ogedei was successful in conquering eastern Europe after invading Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, and Hungary. It is believed that he was his father's favorite son since his childhood. Growing up, Ogedei had a persuasive personality and was known for his strong-willed attitude. Even though he was not as educated as his father, he was an intelligent and able ruler. He was infamously known for his drinking habit that is believed to have actually killed him. As the Mongols were conquering parts of Europe, they received the news of his death back home. It is believed that if Ogedei had not died, the Mongols would have succeeded in conquering all of Europe.
Childhood & Early Life
Ogedei Khan was born in 1186 as the third son of the great Mongol leader Genghis Khan. His mother was Genghis Khan’s first wife, Borte Khatun. He was his father's favorite son.
From 1219 to 1225, Ogedei accompanied his father on various military campaigns. This also included the one against the Khwarazm Empire.
Before Genghis Khan passed away from natural causes in 1227, he divided his empire into four khanates with each son ruling one of them.
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Accession & Reign
After Genghis Khan’s death in 1227, Ogedei’s younger brother Tolui held the regency until 1229. Eventually, Ogedei was selected to be the supreme khan and was named the Khagan of the Mongols on 13 September 1229.
His biggest contribution to expanding the Mongol Empire was his conquest of eastern Europe. From 1237–41, the Mongols took control of many major eastern European cities, except Novgorod and Pskov. These successful invasions paved the way for the expansion of the empire. The invasions were also commanded by Batu Khan and Kadan, grandsons of Genghis Khan.
During this time, the Mongols had introduced gunpowder and associated weapons into Europe. In 1235, Ogedei ordered his nephew Batu Khan to conquer Russia. They arrived in Ryazan in December 1237. Although Ryazan refused to surrender, the Mongols stormed through other Russian cities. They managed to capture several major Russian cities between 1238 and 1240.
A Mongol force also invaded Kashmir and it soon became a Mongolian dependency in 1235. A few years later in 1241, another Mongol force entered the Indus valley and took control of Lahore. The city, which was ruled by the Delhi Sultanate, was finally besieged. However, later that same year, the Mongols withdrew from the Delhi Sultanate.
Family & Personal Life
Ogedei was married to numerous women. He first married Boraqchin and then took Töregene as his second wife. He also had other wives, including Möge Khatun and Jachin.
Ogedei had seven sons - Güyük, the 3rd Great Khan of the Mongols, Koden, Khochu, Qarachar, Qashi, Melig, and Kadan.
After his death, it was his widow Töregene who ruled as the regent until 1246. She later handed over the throne to her eldest son Güyük.
Ogedei was known for his alcoholism, and he had even entrusted some officials to keep him from consuming alcohol. However, he still managed to drink anyway.
Death & Legacy
In December 1241, while the Mongol forces were on their way to invade western Europe, Ogedei died because of an illness caused by his alcoholism. It is speculated that he died of a stroke or organ failure during one of his heavy drinking bouts.
His commanders learned about his death while marching towards Vienna. After getting this news, they abandoned their invasion and returned to Mongolia. This was the furthest west they were able to reach in Europe. Following Ogedei's death, his son Gyuk became the next Great Khan.
Thanks to Ogedei’s legacy, the Mongols went on more military campaigns in the ensuing decades, including to the Middle East, Korea, and Japan. They managed to build one of the largest empires ever in history.