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Mongol Genealogy May Unveil Mysteries About Genghis Khan

Studies of a Mongol genealogy may help unveil some mysteries in Chinese history, such as the whereabouts of the remains of Genghis Khan (1167-1227), the great Mongol emperor whose grandson founded the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and the fate of his descendants.

The eight-meter-long genealogy, the largest ever found, lists 14 generations of over 1,900 Mongols of the family, most of whom served as high-ranking officials between 1635 and the early 1900s.

On top of the family tree was Tulin Gujen, a man who lived in the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and whose forefather Djelme contributed tremendously to Genghis Khan's unification of Mongolian tribes.

"Genghis Khan therefore decreed that his family ally with the Djelme's, and his own daughter was married to Djelme's son," said Hu Guozhi, a Mongolian scholar in the Harqin Left Wing Mongolian Autonomous County, west of Liaoning Province, northeast China, where the genealogy was found.

Since then, the two families have been closely linked by marriage between their offspring. Tulin Gujen, like his forefathers, married an offspring of Genghis Khan.

In history books, Tulin Gujen was referred to as the last "fuma ", or son-in-law of Genghis Khan.

Though most history books say that the reign of Yuan collapsed in 1368, the year Zhu Yuanzhang's troops captured Yuan's capital Beijing, many historians believe that 20 more Khans had ruled the vast areas in the northwest and northeast parts of China after Yuan Emperor Toghon Temur withdrew to Mongolia. This period is known among scholars as the Northern Yuan, said Hu.

A legend goes that the 16th Khan of the Northern Yuan moved his palace eastward to the foot of Yinshan Mountain, a place likely to be today's Harqin Left Wing Mongolian Autonomous County.

Archeologists have found relics of Mongolian military camps, whose layout resembles that of the Khan's palace described in history books, said Li Shoufeng, former director of the county's archives bureau.

"Harqin could have been the political center of Northern Yuan," Li said.

However, when the 20th Khan of Northern Yuan moved back to the west of the Da Hinggan Ling Mountains, Czeleng (1635-1657), a son of Tulin Gujen, who was asked to stay in northeast China, surrendered to Nurhachi, the first emperor of the Qing Dynasty ( 1644-1911), said Li. "That was the end of the Khan's reign and the Northern Yuan."

Czeleng was a guardian of some treasure in northeast China, he said, "Something that was thought either to be the gold reserve of the Mongols, or the gold coffin that contains the remains of Genghis Khan."

Scholars from China and abroad are doing further researches on that part of history, he added.

Genghis Khan, born into an aristocratic family near the Onon River in Mongolia, was orphaned at an early age and brought up in humble circumstances.

In 1206, he unified Mongol tribes and became the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Later he was conferred the title of "Genghis Khan", meaning the "universal ruler".

Genghis Khan conquered most of Eurasia and fathered many children. Kublai, one of Genghis Khan's grandsons, later became the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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