What was Genghis Khan’s Daughter Diplomacy?

In 1227, Genghis Khan, the famous Mongol warlord and conqueror, is believed to have fallen from his horse while campaigning in China. The fierce Mongol emperor suffered severe internal injuries and subsequently passed away, leaving a vast empire – an empire that historians ascertain as the largest contiguous empire in world history.

However, what is not often mentioned is the fact that the great Mongol leader supported his military campaigns with a term called the Daughter Diplomacy. What was it?

Below, World History Edu explores everything that you need to know about the daughter diplomacy of Genghis Khan.


Regarded as one of the greatest conquerors of all time, Genghis Khan is best known for founding the Mongol Empire. As first khagan, the warlord led his army to conquer large parts of Central Asia and China. Image: Bust of Genghis Khan in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Genghis Khan’s daughter diplomacy refers to the strategic marriages and diplomatic alliances that Genghis Khan and his successors employed by marrying off their daughters to powerful leaders and clans. This diplomatic approach aimed to forge political alliances, establish goodwill, and maintain stability within the Mongol Empire.

Genghis Khan’s objective for using daughter diplomacy

By marrying his daughters to influential leaders of different regions, Genghis Khan sought to secure alliances, gain access to valuable resources, and create a network of loyal allies. These marriages were often accompanied by gifts, tribute exchanges, and mutual agreements, strengthening political ties between the Mongols and various local powers.

Also, those women that held power often times received better education than their male counterparts. The reason for doing so was to make them good administrators of those nations that they were married into. And realizing how important the Silk Road was to the economy of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan thrived to boost the alliance with nations along the road. He did this by marrying his daughters into those nations.

Once his daughters were married off, he would demand that his sons-in-laws make his daughters chief royal wives, or in some cases, he would ask the men to divorce their previous wives. His goal was to make his daughters as powerful as possible in those nations.

The founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, known for his military strategies and the largest contiguous empire in world history. Genghis Khan passed away in 1227 while besieging the rebellious Western Xia, and his third son and heir, Ögedei, ascended the throne two years later. Image: Genghis Khan

It’s also been stated that Genghis Khan often asked his sons-in-laws to accompany him in his military conquests. This is probably the reason why he needed capable and educated women to remain in firm control of the empire while the men went about their military pursuits.

The practice of daughter diplomacy continued in one form or the other under the subsequent Mongol rulers. It played a significant role in maintaining peace, mitigating conflicts, and expanding the Mongol Empire through diplomatic means rather than relying solely on military conquest.

The daughters of Genghis Khan and his successors were seen as important assets, acting as political envoys and fostering goodwill between the Mongols and their allied regions. Their marriages not only served political purposes but also played a part in cultural exchanges and the spread of Mongol influence.

Overall, Genghis Khan’s daughter diplomacy was a calculated strategy that utilized marriage alliances as a tool for diplomacy, reinforcing the Mongols’ influence and ensuring stability within their vast empire.

Questions and Answers

It is said that the Great Khan prohibited the selling of women to ensure the protection and dignity of his people. Image: A 16th century depiction of Genghis Khan and his first wife, Börte in later life

Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, implemented several laws and decrees to govern his vast realm. He sought to create a cohesive and disciplined society, and as part of this effort, he forbade certain practices.

Firstly, he prohibited the selling of women to ensure the protection and dignity of his people.

Additionally, he banned theft to maintain order and fairness within the society. He also discouraged internal conflicts among the Mongols, aiming to unite them for a common purpose.

Lastly, Genghis Khan emphasized the importance of preserving wildlife by prohibiting hunting during breeding seasons, demonstrating his concern for nature and the environment. These measures helped establish a more organized and ethical society under his rule.

Here is what you need to know about Genghis Khan’s Daughter Diplomacy – a political strategy that saw the Great Khan deploy his daughters in a strategic manner to shape alliances and trade across the empire:

Who were the daughters of Genghis Khan?

Genghis Khan had several daughters, but the most notable ones were Alakhai Beki (or Alagai Baki), Alaltun, and Checheikhen (or Checheyigen). Alakhai Beki and Alaltun were known for their intelligence and military skills, while Toregene Khatun became a powerful empress and regent after her husband’s death, guiding the empire during a critical period.

Alakhai Beki was one of the most influential daughters of Genghis Khan and his first wife Börte. Born around 1190, she was highly respected and held a significant position in the empire, influencing important decisions and playing a crucial role in diplomatic matters.

As regent of some territories in China proper, Alakhai Beki came to be known for her wisdom, leadership, and political acumen, and she was deeply loved and admired by Genghis Khan. After her father’s death in 1227, she continued to be influential in the empire, supporting her sons and contributing to the stability and success of the Mongol realm.

What impact did Genghis Khan’s daughters have on the empire?

Genghis Khan’s daughters had a significant impact on the empire, contributing to its governance, trade, and cultural exchange. They held positions of authority and influence, shaping policies and diplomatic relations.

Their skills in trade and finances revitalized economic activities, fostering growth and prosperity across the empire’s vast territories. Additionally, through marriages and alliances, they established connections with neighboring kingdoms, fostering cultural exchange and contributing to the empire’s stability and expansion. The daughters of Genghis Khan played a crucial role in maintaining and strengthening the empire’s legacy.

They were proficient in trade and finance, using their skills to bolster their kingdoms across Eastern Iran to Western Mongolia. Their efforts revitalized trade routes between these regions, contributing to the prosperity and growth of their respective territories.

What was the role of Mongol women in the empire?

It is a known fact that throughout Genghis Khan’s rule, he elevated the status of women, including his daughters and consorts, to positions of immense influence.

Despite the Mongol leader not having views as progressive as that of the modern era’s, he held a strong belief that women could hold their own when it came to administering and ruling the empire, according to “The Secret History of the Mongols”, the oldest surviving literary work written in Mongolian language.

Women in the Mongol Empire initially began as handling the household affairs as well as the finances. The men’s duties were often raiding and hunting. Kind courtesy of Genghis Khan’s somewhat progressive views on women’s rule, women in the empire began to wield more and more real power.

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