ABSTRACT

Qaidu (1236-1301), one of the great Mongol Khans, is better known as a rebel than as a state builder. Grandson of Chinggis Khan's designated heir, Ogodei (r. 1229-41), Qaidu became an active player in the Mongol arena only after the house of Ogodei lost its supremacy to the Toluids, descendants of Chinggis's younger son. The coup of the Toluids culminated in 1251 with the ascension of Tolui's son, Mongke, to the post of the Qa'an, the Great Khan of the Mongol empire. 1 It was accompanied by purges of many of the Ogodeids, who had to give up most of their army and territories. Against this background Qaidu strove to revive the Ogodeid cause. By virtue of his political and military skills, from the 1270s onward Qaidu succeeded in establishing a kingdom of the house of Ogodei in Central Asia and in becoming a formidable adversary to the Great Khan Qubilai, Mongke's brother and successor (1260-94) and his successor, Temiir Oljeitu (1294-1307). Qaidu's activities undermined the Qa'an's authority, shifted the balance of power in the Mongol empire and accelerated its dismemberment. Though the house of Ogodei departed from the stage of history after Qaidu's death, the Mongol state that he established in Central Asia, a state independent of the Qa'an's authority, survived him under the rule of the Chaghadaids, his erstwhile rivals, allies, and successors.