Khong Tayiji derives from Chinese Huangtaizi (皇太子; crown prince). At first it also meant crown prince in Mongolian. It was originally given only to descendants of Genghis Khan. In the Mongol tradition, a khan was unable to appoint the successor, instead the successor was elected in the kurultai after the khan's death. However Kublai Khan (who founded the Yuan Dynasty) broke this tradition, and installed his second son Zhenjin (Chingem) as Crown Prince. After Chingem died in 1286, the seal of Crown prince was passed to Chingem's third son Temür in 1293. However, Temür was never formally appointed as the Crown Prince and still not the definite successor. He was only confirmed as successor in a kurultai held after Kublai's death.
In 1630s the head of the Dzungars was given the title of Baatur Khong Tayiji by the 5th Dalai Lama. Thereafter the style "Khong Tayiji" was adopted by Dzungar leader Tsewang Dorji Namjil, son of Galdan Tseren. As the Dzungars got stronger, the title rose in importance. By the mid-18th century it was ranked higher than that of khan among the Oirats, because of the Qing dynasty appointment of too many local chieftains as khans.
- Perdue 2009, p. 270.
- Perdue, Peter C (2009). China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-04202-5.