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The Woman Who Put Her Sons On the Throne: Princess Sorghagtani

She was Genghis Khan's favorite daughter-in-law. She grew up in the tents of the khans of the steppes and was no stranger to political intrigue. She was the most admired woman among the Mongol nobility. Her sons were the first of the Mongol princes to read and write.

She was a Christian and a woman of good works. She had watched her father-in-law build the empire and she was watching the heir that he put on the throne destroy it. Her nephew by marriage Guyug hated Muslims and saw himself as the ruler of Christendom.

He had written to the Pope in Rome demanding his submission. He was about to plunge the empire into civil war. And he was spending the empire into ruin, paying off his sycophants. So the Lady Sorghagtani, widow of Chinggis Khan's youngest son and his father's chief of staff, made an alliance that put her sons on the throne. Her sons were able men, far more capable than the line of Ogodei.

It was a bloodless coup d'etat and she was the mastermind. It was bloodless, unless you count the death of the Emperor Guyug, whom some say was poisoned at her command. How did she do it? While the royal women of China were not allowed to own property and did not ride horses, Sorghagtani did both. This is why the envoy of the Pope of Rome called her the most remarkable woman of her age.

This is the story of how she saved the empire from the designated heir to Chinggis Khan.