Khutulun, (c.1260—c.1306 CE) was the daughter of the Mongolian leader Kaidu, and the niece of Kublai Khan. By 1280 her father became the most powerful rule of Central Asia, his territories stretching from Central Siberian Plateau all the way to India.
Khutulun was described by many, including Marco Polo, as a superb warrior, horsewoman, and wrestler. Being a Mongolian princess, she had many suitors. She told them that she would marry them if they could defeat her in wrestling. If they didn’t, they would have to surrender a few of their horses. Khutulun received nearly 10,000 horses by this means.
From 1260—1294, Khutulun assisted her father against Mongolian invaders, who wished to take her father’s country. Because of her advice, willingness to help, and intelligence, Khutulun was the favorite child of Kaidu. It is reported that he tried to name her as his heir before he died in 1301, but this was rejected by male relatives who felt that they had the stronger claim. When he died, Khutulun guarded his tomb against robbers and looters ferociously with her brother. Other male relatives challenged her because of her resistance to their succession as leaders of Kaidu’s territories. She died in 1306.
Women in Mongolian society were important for the economy in handling the assets and livestock, as it allowed for the men to hunt and fight. Women were not looked down upon if they did not marry, and they could divorce a husband if they wanted to. During violent times for Mongolian society, every man and woman was trained to fight, so that they would be prepared for battle. Women were archers, expert horsewomen, and took part in wrestling competitions.