After the Zubu confederacy broke up, the Keraites retained their dominance on the steppe right up until they were absorbed into Genghis Khan's Mongolian state.
At the height of its power, the Keraites khanate was organized along the same lines as the Naimans and other powerful steppe tribes of the day. A section is dedicated to the Keraites by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani (1247–1318), the official historian of the Genghisid court in Persia, in his Jami' al-tawarikh (c. 1300).<ref> "At that time they had more power and strength than other tribes. The call of Jesus - peace be upon him - reached them and they entered his faith. They belong to the Mongol ethnicity. They reside along the Onon and Kerulen rivers, the land of the Mongols. That land is close to the country of the Khitai. [The Keraites] are much at odds with many tribes, especially tribes of the Naiman." Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, Jami' al-tawarikh cited after Şablon:Ru-icon translation by L.A. Khetagurov (1952)Şablon:Clarify </ref> The people was divided into a "central" faction and an "outer" faction. The central faction served as the khan's personal army and was composed of warriors from many different tribes with no loyalties to anyone but the Khan. This made the central faction more of a quasi-feudal state than a genuine tribe. The "outer" faction was composed of tribes that pledged obedience to the khan, but lived on their own tribal pastures and functioned semi-autonomously. The "capital" of the Keraite khanate was a place called Orta Balagasun, which was probably located in an old Uyghur or Khitan fortress.Şablon:Citation needed
Markus Buyruk Khan, was a Keraite leader who also led the Zubu confederacy. In 1100, he was killed by the Liao Dynasty. Kurchakus Buyruk Khan was a son and successor of Bayruk Markus, among whose wives was Toreqaimish Khatun, daughter of Korchi Buiruk Khan of the Naiman.
Kurchakus's younger brother was Gur Khan. Kurchakus Buyruk Khan had many sons. Notable sons included Toghrul, Yula-Mangus, Tai-Timur, Bukha-Timur.Şablon:Citation needed In union with the Khitan they became vassals in the Kara-Khitai state. Şablon:Citation needed
After Kurchakus Buyruk Khan died, Ilma's Tatar servant Eljidai became the de facto regent. This upset Toghrul who had his younger brothers killed and then claimed the throne as Toghrul khan (Mongolian:Тоорил хан/Tooril khan) who was the son of Kurchakus by Ilma Khatun, reigned from the 1160s to 1203.Şablon:Citation needed His palace was located at present-day Ulan Bator and he became blood-brother (anda) to Yesugei. Genghis Khan called him khan etseg ('khan father'). Yesugei, having disposed of all Tughrul's sons, was now the only one in line to inherit the title khan.
The Tatars rebelled against the Jin dynasty in 1195. The Jin commander sent an emissary to Timujin. A fight with the Tatars broke out and the Mongol alliance defeated them. In 1196, the Jin Dynasty awarded Toghrul the title of "Wang" (king). After this, Toghrul was recorded under the title "Wang Khan" (Ван хан/Van khan; Şablon:Zh; also Ong Khan). When Timujin attacked Jamukha for the title of Khan, Toghrul, fearing Timujin's growing power, plotted with Jamukha to have Timujin assassinated.
In 1203, Timujin defeated the Keraites, who were distracted by the collapse of their own coalition. Toghrul was killed by Naiman soldiers who failed to recognize him as the former was fleeing from a defeat against Genghis Khan.