Genghis Khan

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About Genghis Khan

Lifespan: 1155/1162-1227 A.D

Reign Years: 1206 – 1227 A.D

Given Name: Borjigin Temujin

Reign Name: Taizu

Genghis Khan – Yuan Dynasty

Temujin or better known as Genghis Khan, was the ruler and first Great Khan or emperor of the Mongols. His empire became one of the biggest and most powerful empires of all time. The Mongol Empire emperor ascended to power by uniting a large number of Northeast Asian nomadic tribes.

After founding the Mongol Empire and proclaimed as Genghis Khan, the great Mongol emperor began the Mongol invasion. This attack captured most of Eurasia and reached Levant in the Middle East and even Poland.

A lot of casualties were slaughtered during Genghis Khan’s rule and invasions. However, he allowed religious freedom to the people, encouraged trade, abolished torture, and established the very first international postal system.

The Early Moments of the Mongol Empire Emperor

Temujin, who later became the great Mongol emperor, was born in the year 1162. He lived close to the border in the middle of Siberia and Mongolia. Legends say that Temujin came to this world while gripping a blood clot in his hand.

At the time of his birth, Temujin lived in Mongolia that was led by different tribal groups and clans. His father, Yesukai, was the leader and head of about 40,000 families or tents.

Early Struggles

During that time, many nomadic groups on the Central Asia steppe constantly fought and stole from each other. Because of the situation and environment, Temujin’s life was unpredictable, chaotic, and violent.

Before turning 10-years old, his father was poisoned by an enemy clan, which led to his death. It was an unfortunate event since Temujin’s clan deserted him, his siblings, and his mother. They did this to avoid having to feed and care for them.

Luckily, the outcast family was able to live off the land.

However, things got worse for Temujin when he was captured by the leader of a rival clan. It was likely due to an incident where he killed one of the rival leader’s older brothers. There’s a possibility that this individual represented a rival branch of the clan that took on Yisugei’s legacy.

Luckily, the future Mongol Empire emperor escaped. He was then met by the few yet still loyal followers of his father.

There, he joined the chief of Kerait, Toghril. Kerait was a tribe that his father helped in the past. Then, the future Great Khan eventually married Borte, his betrothed from a couple of years earlier.

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The Great Khan Rising to Power

As time passed, the martial and leadership talents of Temujin gained him a lot of victories over his rivals. Together with this progress, his army grew and increased too. Yet while his prowess and achievements grew, so did his conflicts with bitter rival tribal leaders.

Temujin became an unstoppable warrior and leader, even managing to bring together the most diverse nomadic tribes roaming central Asia. Each of these groups was made up of distinct but related clans where they established alliances between them.

The future Mongol Empire emperor made himself the dominant ruler via a combination of generosity and diplomacy. Of course, he also mixed in his use of ruthless force, as well as punishments.

The enemy tribes that were defeated either had to join his army or die.

Temujin was a courageous warrior on the battlefield, and bravery would often be seen in the number of defeated enemies. One man named Jebe was an enemy of Genghis Khan who became famous after battling with him. That’s because Jebe was able to withstand a cavalry attack and fired an arrow that hit Temujin’s horse.

As his army grew even bigger, he defeated enemies like the Kereyids, Tartars, Merkids, and Naimans. This happened around ten years until a Mongol confederation at a Kurultai in the Kerulen River was met. There, Temujin was formally declared as their leader.

That was also the time when he was given the title of Genghis Khan, the great Mongol emperor.

Not only was the Great Khan an amazing warrior, but he was also considered an able administrator. He introduced writing to his people and created the very first law code. Furthermore, he promoted trade while allowing everyone to freely practice all religions in the Mongol world.

Because of his skills, the Great Khan was able to establish the foundation of a great empire. It was something that ultimately conquered and controlled a large part of the world.

How Did the Great Khan Rise to Power?

After becoming clan leader, Genghis Khan made sure to form alliances with other tribes, then eliminating their current clan’s nobility. After doing so, he overpowered rival tribes like the Tartars. In 1206, a meeting of leaders declared Temujin as the universal ruler of the Mongol steppe.

Their target was to merge this power base with the classic Mongol skills of archery and horsemanship. They didn’t only want to overcome the classic rival states. They planned to establish an empire that could conquer China, the richest state in Asia.

The Great Khan may have taken some time to start this plan. However, it’s exactly what happened.

Despite his position as a leader, Genghis Khan remained close to his roots. With that, he continued living in a huge portable wool-felt yurt or tent.

It’s true that until the Mongol Empire was established, the nomadic people didn’t bother forming villages or towns. However, they regularly moved between areas as the seasons changed.

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The Different Achievements under the Rule of Genghis Khan

It was widely known that Genghis Khan was a ruthless warrior who was able to wipe out armies and civilizations. Yet when it came to ruling and leading his people, he was anything but brutal and heartless.

The political and cultural policies of the Great Khan helped in unifying a previously disconnected set of fiefdoms and tribes. Plus, it established an empire capable of ruling portions of Europe and Asia for over a century.

Here are a couple of Genghis Khan’s practices that were ahead of their time.

Formed Armies Based on Individual Merit

The feudal system present throughout Asia before the time of Genghis Khan mainly rewarded birth aristocratic birth and privilege. Despite being the chief’s son, Genghis hated the system.

When he moved across the continent, he ensured to implement new ones that rewarded individual achievements and loyalty in battles.

The Great Khan made his troops more secure by shifting from the Mongol traditions of creating divisions according to tribes. Often, doing so would make the tribes split because of age-old rivalries and issues.

To further secure his position, the Great Khan established and expanded his elite troops. It was called the Kesikten, which was composed of 800 to 10,000 warriors.

Traditionally, loyalty was guaranteed by the diverse composition of the corps. And, its members came from the brothers and sons of senior commanders.

Eventually, its members swore their loyalty to the Khan. This was in return for special favors when it came to warfare. In addition, a lot of the members acquired vital administrative functions in the conquered areas.

Abolished Torture

Compared to other civilized armies of that time, the Mongols didn’t torture nor harm their prisoners. Instead, the Great Khan believed that the best way to bring terror was efficiency and to speed through in battles.

Myths about Genghis Khan making pyramids out of their enemy skulls and boiling enemies alive were likely fear-induced myths.

The Yassa – Law Code of the Mongols

Adopted from the common law of the Mongols, the great Mongol emperor’s system of law was known as the Yassa. It prohibited adultery, theft, bearing false witness, and blood feuds.

There were some versions stating that the Mongols had a lot of respect for the environment. They displayed this by having warriors or soldiers pick up anything unnecessarily thrown on the ground. Plus, they outlawed bathing in streams or rivers.

Establishment of the Postal System

Another innovation from the Mongols was the establishment of a postal system. Here, horse-riding couriers could immediately send messages across long distances. They were provided with regular stations where they could eat, drink, rest, or have a change of horse when necessary.

The network proved to be extremely useful, especially during campaigns. Here, they could easily and quickly pass on military intelligence whenever necessary.

The riders for the postal system carried messages across networks of huts. They could cover and handle as much as 200m a day by changing mounts when needed.

Aside from delivering messages, they also functioned as scouts who monitored the enemy forces. Plus, they even kept tabs on connected cities and towns.

Establishment of Free Trade

The Great Khan believed in the power of foreign trade and utilizing it to acquire valuable knowledge. That’s the reason why a lot of his spies acted as merchants when needed.

As the Mongol Empire emperor swept across Asia, he turned the cities and towns he captured into trade waypoints. As time progressed, the Great Khan’s conquests into Europe entrenched key trade routes. These were extremely vital between the East and the West.

Sole Ruler of the Mongol Plains

Genghis Khan was proclaimed as the Great Khan of all Mongols. With that, he was basically the sole ruler and head of the Mongol plains.

The portion of the Merkit tribe that allied with the Naimans were defeated and beaten by Subutai. They were then part of Genghis Khan’s personal guards, yet later on, they became one of his most successful commanders.

When the Naimans were defeated, the great Mongol emperor became the sole ruler of the Mongol steppe. Because of his victory, all the powerful and important confederations united or fell under his confederation.

Betrayals and Conspiracies

Accounts of the Mongol Empire emperor’s life were said to be marked by a collection of conspiracies and betrayals. These include various rifts with his previous allies, like Jamukha, who also wanted to rule the Mongol tribes. There was also Wang Khan, both his and his father’s ally, and his son Jochi.

As for issues, there were problems concerning one of the most vital shamans. This individual tried driving a wedge between Genghis Khan and Khasar, his loyal brother.

Smart Strategies and Great Intelligence

The great Mongol emperor’s military strategies displayed great interest in acquiring intelligence. Of course, he needed to understand the motivations and goals of his rivals. These were exhibited by his Yam route systems and extensive spy networks.

It even appeared that the Mongol Empire emperor was a smart and quick learner. He adopted fresh ideas and technologies that he encountered, like the Chinese siege warfare.

As a result of his experience, intelligence, and smart ways, Genghis Khan was able to subdue or unite various disparate and smaller tribes under his rule in 1206. Some of these tribes included the Merkits, Mongols, Naimans, Uyghurs, Tatars, and more.

It was considered a monumental achievement thus, resulting in peace between the earlier warring clans. There, they were able to establish a single military and political force.

This union was known to the world as the Mongols. During a Kurultai, a council between the Mongol chiefs, Temujin was acknowledged as the Khan of their combined tribes. That’s when he officially took the title of Genghis Khan.

The Khagan title was then discussed posthumously by Ogedei, the Great Khan’s son and successor. He took the title for himself since he was posthumously declared as the Yuan Dynasty’s founder.

Union of the Mongol Nation

The year 1206 was the Mongols’ turning point in theirs and the world’s history. This was especially true when they were ready to step out and go beyond the steppes.

There, Mongolia took on its new shape, especially when foolish tribal raids and quarrels became a thing of the past. The familiar clan and tribe names fell out of use. Or, those who bore them were found scattered throughout the Mongol world.

These somehow testified and showed the wreck of their classic tribal and clan systems.

The New, Unified Mongol Nation

With the personal creation of the Mongol Empire emperor, a more unified Mongol nation came about. And despite going through numerous changes like feudal disintegration, colonial occupation, and incipient retribalization, the nation survived until today.

The ambitions of the Mongol people looked beyond their steppes. With that, the Great Khan was ready to begin his great journey of world conquest.

An Organized Nation for War

The new Mongol nation was primarily organized for war. The troops and men of Genghis Khan were divided and segregated up on the decimal system. Here, they were rigidly and thoroughly disciplined, as well as finely-equipped and supplied.

For the generals, they were composed of the great Mongol emperor’s own sons or men he personally selected. Yet all of them had similarities, and that was having absolute loyalty towards Genghis Khan.

The Great Khan went against customs and put competent and skilled allies in key positions. This was instead of putting his relatives in positions that they weren’t capable of handling just because they were related.

For enemy tribes, he executed their leaders yet instilled the remaining members into his clan. He told his men that looting should wait and could only commence after achieving complete victory during battles. Then, he organized his men into different units without regards to their kin.

Although Genghis Khan was an Animist, his followers included Muslims, Christians, and even Buddhists. By 1205, the Great Khan was able to subdue and dominate all rivals, including his former close friend, Jamukha.

The following year, he called for a meeting between the representatives of all territories under him. From there, Genghis Khan built a nation that was similarly-sized to modern Mongolia.

The Army of Genghis Khan

” The military genius of the great Mongol emperor could easily adapt to rapidly-changing situations. Initially, his men and troops were exclusively cavalry.

With this type of army, other nomad groups could be easily defeated and conquered. However, this wasn’t the case when they tried taking down cities.

Eventually, the Mongol army was able to attack and seize large cities. They achieved this by integrating catapults, mangonels, burning oil, ladders, and more, into their strategies. To note, they even diverted rivers during their sieges.

But as time passed, and with more contact with people living in highly settled states, Genghis Khan realized something. He learned that there were more worldly and wise ways to enjoy power. This was compared to just destroying, raiding, and plundering their targets.

Literacy and Towns

It was one of the Naiman ministers who taught and informed Genghis Khan of the uses of literacy. To note, the Naiman was the last vital Mongol clan to resist the Great Khan.

According to reports from The Secret History, Genghis Khan learned about the importance of towns only after battling against Khwarezm. They were a Muslim Empire in the Amu Darya and Syr Darya regions. The essence of these towns was further explained to him by his Muslim advisers.

Another adviser of his, who was previously serving the Jin emperor, explained the functions and essence of craftsmen and peasants. The adviser noted that these individuals could work as creators of taxable produce.

After learning such, Genghis Khan aimed to turn his cultivated fields in North China into ranging lands for his horses.

Mongol Conquests

Despite the numerous successful social and political changes, the Mongol Empire emperor was still a powerful, ruthless, and intimidating leader.

Initially, he forged the empire in Central Asia with the consolidation of both the Turkic and Mongol confederations. These were located on the Mongolian Plateau in 1206. From there, his forces headed west and invaded Central Asia.

The Mongol conquests and invasions occurred during the 13th and 14th centuries. These battles created the biggest contiguous empire in history – The Mongol Empire. By the year 1300, they were able to capture and cover huge parts of Eurasia.

According to historians, they regard the Mongol Devastation as one of the deadliest parts of history.

The Great Khan conquered over two times as much land as any other individual could in history. This brought the Western and Eastern civilizations into contact during the process.

His descendants, namely Kublai and Ogodei, were both creative and prolific conquerors. They took over the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and other parts of China.

Conquest of Western Xia

During the political rise of the Great Khan in 1206, the Mongol Empire shared its west borders with the Tanguts’ Western Xia Dynasty. To the southern and eastern sections was the Jin Empire established by the Manchurian Jurchens. They ruled the northern parts of China and were the classic overlords of the Mongolian clans for centuries.

The conquest of Western Xia was composed of a collection of conflicts between the West Xia Dynasty and the Mongols. In hopes of acquiring both vassal and plunder state, Genghis Khan commanded initial raids and attacks against West Xia. This was before they launched a full-scale attack in 1209.

The incident was marked as the first major invasion organized by the great Mongol emperor. And, it was also the first major Mongol attack on China.

Here, the Mongol Empire emperor organized his troops, army, as well as his state. It was to prepare for the war against West Xia. Genghis Khan correctly assumed that the younger and stronger ruler of the Jin wouldn’t come and help West Xia.

There were some challenges in capturing and acquiring the thoroughly-protected cities of West Xia. However, the Great Khan managed to force the ruler of his enemy to submit and accept the vassal status.

Conquest of the Jin Dynasty

The Mongol conquest of the Jin was also known as the Mongol-Jin Wars. The Jurchen leaders of the Jin collected tributes from a couple of nomadic clans under the Mongol steppes. This somehow encouraged the rivalries between them.

During the 12th century, the Mongols were eventually unified under Khabul Khan, Genghis Khan’s great-grandfather. It was also when the Jurchens urged the Tatars to destroy them. However, the Mongols successfully drove the Jin forces out of their claimed territory.

Eventually, the Tatars captured Ambaghai, Khabul’s successor, then sent him to the Jin Imperial Court. Here, Emperor Xizong ordered the execution of Ambaghai via crucifixion.

The Jin also conducted routinary punitive expeditions against the nomad Mongols where they either killed or enslaved them.

After the conquest of West Xia in 1211, the great Mongol emperor aimed to once again conquer the Jin. The field commander of the Jin, Wanyan Jiujin, made a huge mistake by not attacking the Mongols when he could.

Instead, he sent a messenger named Ming’an to the Mongols, who eventually defected and stated the Jin’s plans. Ming’an stated that the Jin troops were waiting on the other side of the pass.

A Battle in Yehuling

At this point in Yehuling, the Mongols killed hundreds of thousands of Jin troops. In 1215, the great Mongol emperor surrounded, assaulted, then sacked Zhongdu, the Jin’s capital.

Because of this defeat, the Jin’s head, Emperor Xuanzong, had to flee from his capital and moved to the south of Kaifeng. He was forced to abandon the northern-half of his dynasty to the Mongols.

Between the years 1232 and 1233, Kaifeng eventually fell into the hands of the Mongols under Ogodei Khan. So in 1234, the Jin Empire collapsed after the battle of Caizhou.

Mongol Conquest of the Qara Khitai

The Mongol Empire crushed the Kara-Khitan Khanate. It was an empire composed of the former Central Asian nomads from 1216 to 1218. The Khanate was under Prince Kuchlug’s rule who converted to Buddhism. Since then, he began persecuting the Muslims within the Khitan.

Doing so alienated him among his people, creating an ideal situation for a takeover.

There, the great Mongol emperor dispatched a force commanded by Barchuk and Jebe to pursue and capture Kuchlug. After his forces of 30,000 men were defeated by Jebe, Kuchlug ended up facing rebellions due to his unpopularity.

He ended up having to escape to modern Afghanistan, where he was eventually captured and taken by hunters in 1218.

A Change of Strategies

With a small force, the Mongol invaders had to change their plans and strategies. They had to go for provoking internal revolt among the supporters of Kuchlug. It eventually left the Qara Khitai more vulnerable to future Mongol invasions.

As a result, the army of Kuchlug was defeated in the west of Kashgar. So, he had to flee once again but was later hunted down then executed by the army of Jebe.

After the defeat of Qara Khitai, the Mongols and their control stretched as far as Lake Balkhash in the west. It’s an area that bordered Khwarazmia – a Muslim state reaching the Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea.

Conquest of Khwarezmian Empire and Central Asia

The Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia, or Mongol Invasions of Persia, marked the start of the Mongol Conquest in Central Asia. It was a war provoked by the sultan of Otrar when he had Muslim ambassadors and merchants under Genghis Khan massacred.

They were simply riding a caravan off to someplace when they were assaulted. And what made things worse was that the goods in the caravan were stolen too.

Upon learning of what happened, the Mongol Empire emperor was outraged. So, he organized one of his biggest and most brutal battles.

He left a commander and troops in China, designated his successors as family members, then headed for Khwarazmia.

The invasion of Khwarazmia lasted from 1219-1221. His son, Jochi, led the first division to the northeast while the second unit under Jebe snuck into the southeast. They positioned themselves to launch a pincer attack on Samarkand.

As for the third division under Genghis Khan and Tolui, they moved from the northwest area.

This battle was where the Mongols acquired their reputation for being savage and brute. Each city they stormed through was ravaged, and its inhabitants were either massacred or forced as the Mongols’ advanced troops.

Tactics of the Mongol Army

The tactics of the Mongols were precise and highly efficient. They included siege tactics, heavy cavalry, as well as gunpowder weapons in their arsenal.

The attack on Samarkand, Khwarazmia’s capital, was a decisive battle. It left the local population literally ravaged and in tatters. According to legends, the Mongol Empire emperor killed the Khwarazm leader by pouring melted silver in his eyes and ears.

Battle in Urgench

After emerging victorious, the Great Khan ordered a few of his generals to completely destroy the empire’s remnants. These included the royal establishments, populations, entire towns, as well as vast farmlands.

The attack on the wealthy city of Urgench was the most challenging battle that the Mongols engaged in. Although challenging, they were successful in their attacks.

Some claims are stating that the children and women were handed over to the Mongols as slaves. A Persian scholar stated that thousands of Mongol soldiers were told to execute 23 citizens of Urgench. If his assumptions were true, 1.2 million people were murdered, making this one of the deadliest invasions in history.

Invasion of Transoxania

In 1219, the Mongol forces invaded Transoxania. Together with the primary Mongol forces, Genghis Khan utilized a specialized Chinese catapult unit for the battle. Doing so added to their already powerful tactics and strategies already utilized by the Mongols.

Some historians suggested that the Mongol attacks brought gunpowder weapons from China to areas in Central Asia. One of these was the Huochong, which was a Chinese mortar.

Conquest of Georgia, Kievan Rus, Crimea, and Volga Bulgaria

Following the Mongol attack of Central Asia and the Khwarazmian Empire, Genghis Khan gathered his forces. There, they were to return to the Mongolian steppes. Their forces were split into two, under Subutai’s suggestion.

The great Mongol emperor led the primary army on an assault through North India and Afghanistan while heading towards Mongolia. The other unit headed through the Caucasus then to Russia under the lead of General Subutai and Jebe. There, they pushed further into Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The Mongols then were able to defeat the Georgia kingdom before sacking the trade fortress of Caffa in Crimea. Then, they overwintered close to the Black Sea before heading further.

As they continued to reach the Mongolian steppe, the forces of Subutai attacked the combined troops of the Cuman-Kipchaks and Kievan Rus. These groups were led by Mstislav III of Kiev and Mstislav the Bold of Halych. They headed out to stop the Mongols in the area.

There, Subutai sent their envoys to the Slavic princes and called for a separate peace. However, the envoys were executed instead.

Battle of Kalka River

Both Generals Subutai and Jebe advanced towards Iraq-i Ajam. Jebe then asked permission from the great Mongol emperor to continue his conquests for a couple more years. It was before returning to their base via the Caucasus.

The great Mongol emperor then granted the two generals permission to continue with their expedition. After going through the Caucasus, they were able to bring down a coalition of Caucasian tribes. Then, they battled and won against the Cumans.

Here came the Battle of Kalka River, which was a battle between the Mongol troops led by Subutai and Jebe.

Battle of Samara Bend

The Battle of Samara Bend is also known as the Battle of Kernek. It was the initial campaign between the Mongols and Volga Bulgaria and one of the conflicts where the Mongols lost. This attack took place in autumn 1223 at Volga Bulgaria’s southern border.

The Bulgars fled, and the Mongols pursued them, which prompted the primary Bulgar forces to ambush the Mongols. No historical records regarding this battle exist, aside from a short account by Ibn al-Athir, an Arab historian. However, there are secondary sources stating that the Mongols defeated the Bulgars.

Invading the Farther West

The Mongols invaded the areas that are known today as Iraq, Iran, Caucasus, Syria, and some areas in Turkey. In 1260 and 1300, the Mongols went southwards, reaching Gaza in the Palestinian regions.

One of the major campaigns that took place here was the Siege of Baghdad in 1258. In this conflict, the Mongols attacked the city that has been the core of Islamic power for 500 years.

Another major battle was the Battle of Ain Jalut, which occurred in 1260. This time, the Muslim Egyptians successfully stopped the Mongols’ advance. Because of that, the Mongols were no longer able to expand beyond the Middle East.

There were more environmental and political reasons for the Mongols being unable to expand their conquest. One of these was not having enough grazing room for their horses.

Conquest of China

The vassal emperor of the Tanguts in Western Xia declined to participate in the Mongol war versus the Khwarezmian empire. Later, the Western Xia and the overthrown Jin Dynasty formed an alliance to resist the Mongols. The coalition depended on the campaign against the Khwarezmian army to prevent the Mongols from responding effectively.

In 1226, the Mongols had returned from the West. Genghis Khan immediately retaliated by attacking the Tanguts. His armies hastily took Ganzhou, Heisui, and Suzhou. By autumn of the same year, he conquered Xiliang-fu.

Attacks in Tangut

A Tangut general challenged the Mongols, resulting in a clash close to the Helan Mountains. However, the Mongols defeated the Tanguts.

In November, Genghis Khan laid a roadblock to Lingzhou, a Tangut city, to cross the Yellow River. The Tangut relief army was then defeated. Legends say that this was where Genghis saw five stars aligned in the sky, which he interpreted as his victory.

In 1227, Genghis Khan’s troops attacked and destroyed Ning Hia, the Tangut capital. He continued to advance and conquered Lintiao-fu, Xindu-fu, plus the provinces of Deshun and Xining in spring.

At Deshun, the Tangut general Ma Jianlong fiercely resisted the Mongols for several days. He also led the attacks against the invading troops outside the city gate. However, Ma Jianlong died from the wounds due to being shot by arrows in battle.

After invading Deshun, Genghis Khan and his army moved to Liupanshan in the province of Gansu to avoid severe summer. By then, the new Tangut emperor immediately surrendered to the Mongols, followed by the rest of the Tanguts.

However, the Tanguts betrayed and resisted the Mongols, which displeased the Great Khan. As a result, Genghis Khan ordered the imperial family’s execution, which ended the royal lineage of the Tanguts.

Establishment of the Yuan Dynasty in China

By 1279, the Song Dynasty had fallen. From there, the Mongol leader Kublai Khan had established the Yuan Dynasty. He destroyed the last resistance of the Song army, marking the onset of China under the Yuan regime.

This period was the first time in history that China was entirely conquered and controlled by foreign rulers.

End of Genghis Khan’s Rule

In 1227, Genghis Khan passed away during a military campaign versus the Chinese kingdom of Xi Xia. His cause of death is unknown, and there are various legends and stories about the location of his tomb.

According to The Secret History of the Mongols, Genghis Khan died from an injury caused by falling from his horse. It also stated that he was already aging and exhausted from his journeys.

The Galician – Volhynian Chronicle claims that the Western Xia murdered him in battle. According to Marco Polo, Genghis Khan died due to an infection. He wrote that Genghis Khan was wounded after being shot by an arrow during his final campaign.

In later Mongol chronicles, Genghis Khan’s death was linked to a Western Xia princess, who was taken as war booty. A chronicle from the early 17th century narrates that the princess kept a small dagger and stabbed Genghis Khan. However, some Mongol authors doubted this story and suspected that it was made up by the rival Oirats.

There are claims that everyone who attended his funeral was killed. Others say that the direction of a river’s current was diverted, and trees were planted to conceal his grave.

The Legacy of Genghis Khan

By the time of his death, Genghis Khan had controlled 13.5 million square kilometers of land. This area equates to almost 1/3 of the Asian continent.

His empire expanded from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea. The lands he had conquered were more than two times larger than that of Alexander the Great.

Genghis Khan’s successors extended their power throughout China, Persia, and most of Russia. They were able to achieve what he wasn’t able to and didn’t plan to do. His sons’ conquests formed into a well-organized empire.

The destruction that Genghis Khan has done continues to survive in people’s memories until today. And these conquests were only the first stage of the Mongol empire’s great conquests.

Because of the continued invasions, the Mongol Empire became the greatest continental empire during the medieval and modern times.

The Successor of the Vast Empire

Genghis Khan’s succession was a significant matter during the later years of his regime. His eldest son, Jochi, was specifically belligerent due to his seniority among Genghis Khan’s sons. Based on traditional historical accounts, Chagatai voiced Jochi’s paternity the most.

Before the invasion of the Khwarezmian Empire, Chagatai declared that he would never accept Jochi as the successor. Because of this tension and other possible reasons, Genghis had chosen Ogodei, his third son, as his successor. These happenings were stated in The Secret History of the Mongols.

When Genghis Khan had passed away, he didn’t leave the Khanate with an orderly succession system. He didn’t state any ideals, aside from loyalty to a particular figure as a basis for the alliance.

He created a confederacy that was based on loyalty from chieftains. This didn’t go beyond the Mongol nation, and each succeeding Khan had to rebuild their personal relationships.

After the death of Genghis Khan, the Mongol empire was passed on to his four sons. The overall rule was obtained by Ogodei.

For the other sons, Jochi inherited the west that extends to Russia, while Chagatai received southern Xinjiang and northern Iran. Tolui received eastern Mongolia, while Ogodei was awarded western Mongolia and northern Xinjiang.

Ogodei dominated his brothers and conquered more kingdoms during his reign.

Interesting Facts about Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan is a widely-known ruler from history. With that, there are a ton of interesting and brow-raising facts related to the Great Khan.

With his numerous conquests, Genghis Khan caused the demise of about 40 million people. These conquests also had a huge impact on China, as well as the area that is today’s Iran.

Unknown Appearance

Throughout his lifetime, there were no created artworks of Genghis Khan. This was because the Mongol Empire emperor forbade and prevented anyone from painting or sculpting his image.

But after his death, devoted followers of the great Mongol emperor captured his likeness in different ways. They preserved his image for future generations to come. But until today, no one really knows what the Great Khan looks like.

One of the writers of the 14th century claimed that Genghis Khan had green eyes and reddish hair.

The Yam

The Yam was an international postal and communication network that the Mongol Empire emperor established. It functioned with a chain of relay stations at specific distances to each other.

Here, messengers would head to a station to give his gathered information to another messenger. The new messenger would then continue and head out to deliver the message. As for the previous messenger, he could rest and do everything necessary to ready himself for the next task.

This process allowed all information or documents to be constantly on the move. This way, each messenger and their horses didn’t get tired and overly exhausted.

Also, each relay station had spare horses, shelter, as well as food and drinks.

The First Passports by the Mongol Empire Emperor

The Mongol Empire emperor created passports to protect merchants, diplomats, and messengers. These passports were metal tablets forged from silver, gold, or iron and were usually printed in different languages. It was done this way so the passports could be understood in different languages and cultures spoken in the empire.

Compared to the passports today, these demanded safe passage of the person holding them. Anyone who disobeyed or declined the order would be executed.

The Ancestor of the Land

Out of at least 0.5% of the population, it’s interesting to learn that the Great Khan is their ancestor. He had a huge harem that consisted of the most beautiful women around. It’s said to have reached about 2,000 to 3,000 women in total.

And like him, his sons and grandsons followed suit. The Yuan Emperor Kublai Khan, his grandson, had a harem filled with 7,000 women.

According to research, it’s estimated that the great Mongol emperor has 16 million male descendants in Central Asia today.

A Secret Burial

Upon his death, the Mongol Empire emperor requested to be buried secretly. So, a grieving Mongol army brought his body home. There, they killed anyone who they met on the way to hide where they’d bury him.

When he was finally laid to rest, the Great Khan’s soldiers rode 1,000 stallions over his grave. It was to destroy any remnants and traces of his burial. Since his death, no one has discovered his tomb.

Soviets against Genghis Khan

In Mongolia, the Soviets attempted to snuff out the Great Khan’s memory. He’s seen as a national hero, as well as Mongolia’s founding father. Yet during the Soviet Rule period in the 20th century, mentioning his name was banned.

To stamp out all possible traces of Mongolian nationalism, the Soviets attempted to erase the memory of Genghis Khan. They did this by removing his stories from school books then forbade people from going on pilgrimages to Khentii. This specific area was where the Mongol Empire emperor was born.

Eventually, the Great Khan was restored to the history of Mongolia. It happened after the country won its independence in the early times of 1990.

Their freedom had Genghis Khan become a recurring motif in different popular culture and art. Moreover, the great Mongol emperor lends his name to their nation’s primary airport that’s located in Ulan Bator city. Of course, a portrait of the Great Khan even appears on the Mongolian currency.