Mongols: The Largest Empire in History
Raising the echo of war cries, there was a time the Mongols cast their shadow over many kingdoms, powered with military ingenuity. As they hoisted their flag, the Mongol queens ripped the tradition of women being caregivers. Unknown to many, the man who birthed the dynasty supported them.
Genghis Khan was undoubtedly a feared warrior who molded the Mongol kingdom into the largest empire in history. He was infamous for his not-so-appreciable attitude towards women. But hidden behind that is the progressive upbringing he gave his daughters.
Alaqai Beki: The Mongol Queen
Alaqai Beki was one such queen whose teenager-self had the skills to follow her father to the battles quickly. At 16, she married and left for the Onggut nation. But by 20, assassins widowed her, and she had to flee the kingdom. Little did the rebels know that they were in for a bigger surprise!
She returned with her father, who subdued the rebellion. She then persuaded him not to kill those Ongutt men. Genghis Khan himself might not have seen it coming, but this earned her the nation’s loyalty, reaping the rewards for the Mongol army in their battle against China.
Alaqai ensured the crown was safe with her by further marrying her stepson Jingue, and after his death, her other stepson Boyaohe. Even as many of us frown upon it, the crown meant a continuous supply of food and horses flowed to the Mongol troops.
The Queen's Play
The queen’s contributions played a hand in propagating Chinese medicine to the world as she recruited selected Chinese healers to Genghis Khan’s camps. Alaqai, with her self-learned ideologies, devised a government system that ended aristocratic privilege, which went on to become the model for the entire Mongol empire.
Alaqai and sisters Quojin, Tumelun, Al Altun, were wise in the art of trade and finances and sat on the thrones, not as a decoration to the kings, but were the keepers and ‘caretakers’ of the empire Genghis Khan coveted. Yet the history talks little about them.
The Curious of Mongols and Incest
The ‘barbaric’ nature is absent when it comes to Genghis Khan’s ways of treating his daughters. He had decreed that his daughters would rule the nation they are married into and declared their husbands would be prince consorts.
The princes are also required to divorce all previous wives along with joining Genghis Khan’s army. You might not be familiar with Alaqai Beki, but the traces she among other Mongol queens left in history tells tales of the dauntless and wise ruling.
The role she played in strategizing reaped more rewards for the Mongol army troops. At a time, women were severely underestimated in terms of their capabilities, Genghis Khan was comfortable with them ruling territories that he conquered.
Let’s not forget that the sons who were ‘meant’ to lead as patriarchy held them superior to other genders. While people like Anne F. Broadbridge, author of Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire, warn against assuming he has feminist ideals, it can be said that he believed in women handling essential roles too.