It was to this time that the distinction between Halh and Oirat Mongols can be traced. Mongols were now split into two parts, the Halh, and the Oirat. Western Mongolia received the name of Dorvon Tumen Oirat or, Dorvon Oirat. The origin of the word oirat is still unclear. While some claim that is derived from oin irged, oin ard (forest dwellers, forest people), others argue it is rooted in oir torol (close relatives).
The ovog and otog are loose groupings of Mongols, people who were perpetually on the move, free of any lasting bondage with the land. Although a certain group would stay within a certain area for a period of time, Mongols frequently had to flee wars and natural calamities. SO, they moved for hundreds and sometimes thousands of kilometers and settled down in those faraway places. Thus the Oirat tribes, then, may have come from the forests of Siberia, whereas others arrived from the regions of Hoh Nuur and Baidrag. Many otog of today’s Buriad tribes are said to have come from Hoh Nuur and Dolon Nuur.
The Oirats Come to Power
In 1418 the leadership of the Oirat was taken by a valiant and intelligent prince named Togoon Taij. In pursuit of his supreme goal of uniting the whole of Mongolia, he began bringing the disunited princes of Eastern Mongolia to heel one by one until he installed Taisun as Grand Khan, making himself the Khan’s chief minister or Taishi. After Togoon’s death, Esen taij expanded his father’s cause by undertaking a campaign to conquer China, something that generations of Mongol khans had dreamed of. However, quarreling with Taisun overpower, he quickly made peace with China and became preoccupied chiefly with internal affairs. When Taisun was killed in 1451, Esen proclaimed himself the Grand Khan of all Mongolia. He succeeded in uniting Mongolia into a realm that now stretched from Manchuria to Xinjiang, and from Lake Baikal to the Great Wall. Not satisfied with this, he began plundering Mongolian, which extended from the Irtysh to the Shan, and from Berkus to Lake Balkhash. Between 1418 and 1429 alone, Moghulistan fought sixty-one times with the Oirat, only once emerging as the victor. While quite successful in his expeditions against Moghulistan, Esen ran into domestic difficulties, which in 1455 resulted in his death at the hands of rebels. Once more Mongolia was torn apart by its willful and haughty princes.
Ata Malik Juvaini
While the rest of the Mongols lived in gers and herded livestock, the oirat’s way of living was completely different. They lived and hunted deep in the forests and habited animal hide-covered huts. During winter, they roam through the deep snow holding a stick to move forward and hunt.
- 1406: Timur the Lame dies.
- 1407: Oirat’s Batula, Batbold, and Taivan commanded their armies to fight the new khan and taish.
- 1409: Oirat rulers attacked China. Ming Emperor Zhu Di gives the Oirat leader Muhamud the title “honest level van”.
- 1417: Batula chinsan’s eldest son Togoon inherited his father’s chinsan title and becomes the ruler of Four Oirats.
- 1418: Togoon taish rules Oirat. He inherited his father’s title given by the Ming Dynasty and began to implement a friendship policy with the Ming Dynasty.
- 1453: Esen declared himself to the Ih Mongol throne and was proclaimed the Heavenly Bogd Khan of the Yuan Dynasty.
- 1463: Manduul became emperor. Bayanmunkh was given the title of jonon.
- 1464: Batmunkh was born.
- 1465: Togtohbukh’s son Molon became ruler and ascended the throne of Mongol Khan.
- 1467: Manduul died.
- 1470: Bayanmunkh Jonon dies. Manduhai, the wise queen, took an oath in front of Genghis Khan’s eight white gers in the Ordos.
- 1471: Manduhai carrying Batmunkh in an ox-drawn carriage, fought the Four Oirats in a place called Tas Burd.