Khutulun is the warrior daughter of Kaidu and niece by marriage of Kublai Khan and the great-great granddaughter of Genghis Khan. She is promised to any man who can best her in a wrestling match, a task no man has succeeded at.
Khutulun was born about 1260. By 1280, her father Kaidu became the most powerful ruler of Central Asia, reigning in the realms from western Mongolia to Oxus, and from the Central Siberian Plateau to India.
Marco Polo described Khutulun as a superb warrior, one who could ride into enemy ranks and snatch a captive as easily as a hawk snatches a chicken. She assisted her father in many battles, particularly against the Yuan Dynasty of her cousin the Great Khan – Kublai (r. 1260-94).
Khutulun insisted that any man who wished to marry her must defeat her in wrestling and forfeit horses to her if they lost. She gained 10,000 horses defeating prospective suitors.
Khutulun’s enemies alleged that she and her father had an incestuous relationship and that this explained her resolve not to marry. In order to protect him from these rumors, Khutulun decided to marry one of her father’s followers, without wrestling him. Sources vary about her husband’s identity. Some chronicles say her husband was a handsome man who failed to assassinate her father and was taken prisoner; others refer to him as Kaidu’s companion from the Choros clan. Rashid al-Din wrote that Khutulun fell in love with Ghazan, Mongol ruler in Persia.
Of all Kaidu’s children, Khutulun was the favorite, and the one from whom he most sought advice and political support. According to some accounts, he tried to name her as his successor to the khanate before he died in 1301. However, his choice was declined due to her male relatives. When Kaidu died, Khutulun guarded his tomb with the assistance of her brother Orus. She was challenged by her other brothers including Chapar Khan|Chapar and relative Duwa because she resisted their succession. She died in 1306