Kuchlug - Naiman Origins and Westward Flight

Naiman Origins and Westward Flight

Kuchlug was the son of Taibuqa, the Tayang Khan (leader) of the Naimans, a Mongol-speaking tribe. In 1204, Jamuqa, the chief Mongol rival of Temüjin (later Genghis Khan), fled to the Naimans. Temüjin followed and launched an assault upon the tribe. Taibuqa at first hesitated, considering it better to fall back to the Altai Mountains and attack the Mongols from there. Kuchlug, however, favored a direct assault on the Mongols on open ground. He went so far as to dismiss his father's plan as cowardly. Taibuqa relented and allowed Kuchlug to carry out his attack.

The battle was a disaster for the Naiman. Jamuqa abandoned them and fled. Taibuqa was mortally injured, and his main commander was killed. The rest of the tribe surrendered to Temüjin and were absorbed into his ranks. Kuchlug managed to escape and with a few Naiman soldiers fled westward towards the Kara Irtish.

Afterwards Genghis Khan was wary of the threat Kuchlug still posed. In 1208, they again met in battle, and Kuchlug was pushed further west into Semirechye. Reeling from a second defeat at the hands of the Mongols, Kuchlug turned to the Kara Khitai in Balasaghun for protection.

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