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Galdan Boshugtu Khan

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Эрдэнийн Галдан
Erdeniin Galdan
Titles Boshugtu Khan
Born 1644
Died 1697
Place of death Acha Amtai, Kobdo region
Predecessor Sengge
Successor Tsewang Rabtan
Consort Queen Anu
Consort Anudara
Royal House Choros
Dynasty Jungaria
Father Erdeni Batur Hongtaiji
Mother Amin-Dara

Choros Erdeniin Galdan (1644–1697) was a Dzungar-Oirat Khan of the Dzungar Khanate. He was the fourth son of Erdeni Baatur Hongtaiji, founder of the Zunghar Khanate, thus Galdan is a descendant of Esen taishi. Galdan's mother Amin-Dara was a daughter of Güshi Khan, the first Khoshut-Oirat King of Tibet and 4th Wênsa Zhügu.

As a youth, Galdan was sent to Lhasa to be educated as a lama under the 5th Dalai Lama. When Galdan heard that his eldest brother, Sengge, was murdered by a half brother, Tseten, he renounced his status as a lama and quickly returned to the Irtysh Valley to avenge his brother's death.[1] Galdan was granted the title Hongtaiji in 1671 by the Dalai Lama. After victory over Ochirtu Khan, the Dalai Lama gave Galdan the highest title of Boshughtu Khan.

During Galdan's rule, Dzungaria embraced Eastern Turkistan and parts of Central Asia, which he conquered by 1679. He is the founder of Kobdo city, which was his military garrison. To oppose the expansion of the Manchu Empire, Galdan attempted to unify Mongolia. Acting in defiance of contrary orders from Kangxi and the 5th Dalai Lama, he entered Khalkha territory and defeated the Khalkha in 1688.[2] While he was fighting in Eastern Mongolia, his nephew Tsewang Rabtan seized the Dzungarian throne in 1689. After a series of successful battles in the Khangai mountains, at Lake Olgoi and Ulahui river, he approached near the Great Wall. The Khalkha leaders retreated to Inner Mongolia with their troops and the Khalkha territory fell under Galdan's rule. The Qing deceived him to arrive near Beijing saying that they needed a treaty, but ambushed him at Ulaan Budan, where Galdan's troops were seriously defeated by the Khalkha troops supported by the Qing army and Galdan retreated back to Khalkha. This time, the Qing Emperor Kangxi dared to cross the Gobi to invade Khalkha and Galdan's troops were surrounded by the overwhelming Qing army at a site Zuunmod at the river Terelj in 1696. Galdan was saved freed from the encirclement by his spouse queen Anu who herself lost her life during the battle. With his remaining troops, Galdan retreated to Kobdo. He died in 1697. The Dzungars said it was a sudden illness. Contemporary Chinese and Chinese historians said it was suicide. Murder is also a possibility.


Popular fiction

Galdan appears in Jin Yong's final Wuxia novel, The Deer and The Cauldron, where he became sworn brothers with the novel's main protagonist Wei Xiaobao and the Tibetan Lama Sangjie.


  1. ^ Smith 1997, p. 116
  2. ^ Smith 1997, p. 118. The 5th Dalai Lama was actually dead at the time, but the regent issued orders in his name, which were from the Dalai Lama, so far as Galdan knew.


  • Smith, Warren W., Jr. Tibetan Nation: A History Of Tibetan Nationalism And Sino-tibetan Relations (1997) Westview press. ISBN 978-0813332802

Further reading

  • Zlatkin, Ilia Iakovlevich (1964). История Джунгарского ханства, 1635-1758. (History of the Jungarian Khanate, 1635-1758 ).
Galdan Boshugtu Khan
House of Choros (Чорос) the 14th century-1755
Died: 1697
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Khan of the Zunghar Empire
1670 - 1697
Succeeded by
Tsewang Rabtan

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