Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

Born: c. 1162 in Khentii Mountains, Mongolia
Died: August 1227 (at about age 65)
Nationality: Mongolian
Famous For: United the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia

Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire. This became the largest contiguous empire in the history just after his death. In just a period of 25 years, his horsemen conquered a larger area with greater population than the Romans did in four centuries. According to the millions he conquered, he was evil incarnate. Today, some people from central Asian still name their sons after him with the hope that they will one day conquer the world just like him.

Genghis Kahn’s Early Life

Genghis Khan was born in 1162. His real name was Temujin. His father was a chief of the minor Borijin clan of nomadic Mongols. The Mongols lived by hunting instead of herding. It is said that Khan was born with a blood-clot in his own fist, which was a sign that he would be a great leader.

He was the eldest son of his mother. However, when he was just nine years, his father took him to a neighborhood tribe to work for a few years so that he can earn a bride. He intended to marry a girl named Borje. On his way home, Khan’s father was poisoned by rivals and died. Temujin returned to his mother but the clan expelled his father’s two widows and seven children, leaving them to die.

The family survived by eating roots, fish and rodents. Young Temujin and his brother greatly resented their half-siblings and especially the eldest brother, Begter. They killed Begter and as punishment for this crime, Khan was made a slave.

Life after Slavery

After five years of slavery, Temujin turned 16 and went to look for Borje. Luckily, she was still waiting for him and they got married immediately. Temujin used the dowry to form an alliance with Ong Khan. This alliance helped Temujin in raiding the Merkids. They looted their camp and reclaimed Borje who had been captured. Nine months later, Jochi, Borje’s first child, was born.

Consolidating Power

At the age of 27, Genghis Khan held a Kuriltai among the Mongols who had chosen him as Khan. He was awarded the high office by his relatives and his followers who were very loyal to him. In 1190, Jamuka, Khan’s blood brother, raided his camp, cruelly boiling alive and horse-dragging his captives.

This turned many of his followers against him. The united Mongols defeated the Tatars and Jurchens. Khan assimilated their people. In 1202, Jamuka again attacked Ong Khan and Genghis Khan. However, Jamuka lost and Temujin assimilated his warriors.

Genghis Khan Conquests and Leadership

In 1204, unification of Mongolia ended when Temujin defeated Naiman clan. Two years later, one more Kuriltai confirmed him as Chingis Khan. Within a period of five years, he had conquered much of Siberia and China.

Tribes from far places such as Kazakhastan heard about the great Khan; they overthrew their Buddhist rulers to join the growing empire. By 1219, Genghis Khan ruled from north China to Afghan border to Siberia and Tibet border. Basically, his empire included all of Central Asian.

Death and Legacy

In 1222, at the age of 61, Khan called his family to discuss succession. His third son, Ogodei, became the successor. In 1227, Khan died and six months later his eldest son, Jochi, also died. Genghis Khan’s sons and grandsons continued to expand the great Mongol Empire.