18. Genghis Khan - How He Built Largest Land Empire in History

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

Circa 1162 AD, Delüün Boldog, near the mountain Burkhan Khaldun , Mongolia.

Once Upon a time...

A local assistant came running to local tribal leader, Yesugei and Said " Master , Your Madam's labour pains have started ...."

Yesugei rushed to his house on his horses along with his followers, as he was facing a lot of threats from his local enemies...

By that time he reached home, Midwife came forward that evening and said to Yesugei " Baby's position has changed and it may take more hours for delivery ..."

Then, Yesugei said in tension to Midwife " Try your best and save both Baby and Mother ,,,,and I will help you later ...." and moved away from labor room wiping the sweat on the face....!!

After several hours and by next day morning, Mid wife came forward and said,

" Your wife had delivered a Baby Boy...,But, one thing...

he born with Blood Clout like a....a Blood Ball in the hand ...... I am unable to interpret this signs of God....good or bad.....call Soothsayers immediately....!! "

Yesugei got tensed up and sent his assistants call his Tribal Elders and Soothsayers,,, and they came immediately and seen just born infant and remembering and started their old calculations with fingers and animation of hands.....

Among all, One Senior and very Old Soothsayer said in loud voice to all who gathered there

" This boy is destined for Too Big in Life and bring Laurels to our Lands and Tribes "

That boy born with blood ball in the hand , went on conquests and conquering , province after province, region after region, country after country....went on to build largest contagious land empire in the world....!!

Who was Genghis Khan ?

Genghis Khan (born Temüjin Borjigin,c. 1162 – August 18, 1227), also officially Genghis Emperor was the founder and first Great Khan and Emperor of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. After founding the Empire and being proclaimed Genghis Khan, he launched the Mongol invasions that conquered most of Eurasia. Campaigns initiated in his lifetime include those against the Qara Khitai, Khwarezmia, and the Western Xia and Jin dynasties, and raids into Medieval Georgia, the Kieven Rus', and Volga Bulgaria.

These campaigns were often accompanied by large-scale massacres of the civilian populations, especially in the Khwarazmian- and Western Xia–controlled lands. Because of this brutality, which left millions dead, he is considered by many to have been a genocidal ruler.

By the end of his life, the Mongol Empire occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China.Before Genghis Khandied he assigned Ögedei Khan as his successor. Later his grandsons split his empire into khanates.Genghis Khan died in 1227 after defeating the Western Xia. By his request, his body was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Mongolia.

His descendants extended the Mongol Empire across most of Eurasia by conquering or creating vassal states in all of modern-day China, Korea, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and substantial portions of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. Many of these invasions repeated the earlier large-scale slaughters of local populations. As a result, Genghis Khan and his empire have a fearsome reputation in local histories.

Beyond his military accomplishments, Genghis Khan also advanced the Mongol Empire in other ways. He decreed the adoption of the Uyghur script as the Mongol Empire's writing system. He also practised meritocracy and encouraged religious tolerance in the Mongol Empire, unifying the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. Present-day ongolians regard him as the founding father of Mongolia. Known for the brutality of his campaigns, Genghis Khan is considered by many to have been a genocidal ruler.However, he is also credited with bringing the Silk Road under one cohesive political environment.

This brought relatively easy communication and trade between Northeast Asia, Muslim Southwest Asia, and Christian Europe, expanding the cultural horizons of all three areas.

Source : Wikipedia

How he Built this Vast Empire

I. Biography

The young Temujin was born the son of a local tribal leader, Yesugei – sometime between 1163 and 1167. This was a period of turbulence, intermittent warfare and internecine conflict. At a young age, Temujin’s father was murdered by rival tribesman; this left Temujin powerless and at the mercy of rival tribes. For a few years, he and his family lived in great poverty. Then in 1177, he was captured by former allies of his father and imprisoned with a wooden head brace. However, on one occasion, sensing a weakness in the guards, Temujin used the wooden head brace to knock out a guard and then through great good fortune and tenacity, he escaped.

Pic : Harhorin – the landscape of where Genghis Khan grew up

One anecdote about his escape is that coming across a farm, Khan implored a stranger for a horse. So impressed was the stranger with Khan’s presence he helped him escape and pledged life-long loyalty. It is typical of how Khan could inspire awe and reverence from those who met him. Free of his former captives he gained a reputation as a fearsome warrior and leader of men.

He gathered together a band of men who were very loyal and he astutely created alliances to increase his power base.  Reports suggest many instances, where people saw something in his eyes that encouraged great loyalty and devotion. It was a loyalty Temujin was keen to exploit as he held great determination and ambition.

At the age of 16, he married his childhood bride Borte, whom he had great admiration for. Shortly after the marriage, Borte was kidnapped, but Temujin was able to call on some friends to lead a rescue operation. This was successful, and although Borte was found to be with child, Temujin would bring up the child as if it was his.

One of his most important early victories was leading a small unit and allies in defeating the Merkit tribe who bore a grudge against Temujin. Temujin routed his opponents and proceeded to kill all people taller than a cart axle. It was typical of Temujin’s ruthlessness and determination to quell any possible rebellion by having potential rebels killed.

Temujin becomes Genghis Khan

With the backing of the three strongest tribes, in 1206 Genghis Khan was now able to unify the various Mongol tribes into a united nation and one of the most impressive war machines ever assembled. It was at this council meeting that Moghul tribesmen declared Temujin as ‘Genghis Khan – meaning ‘Oceanic Ruler of the Universe.’ This loyalty and unity were very rare in that era. For the first time, it created a concept of a unified Mongol nation, and despite the frequent civil conflict, the modern state of Mongolia can be traced to Genghis Khan’s unification of the different tribes.

II. Conquest abroad

Mongul Empire

Pic : Siege warfare in the time of Genghis Khan

However, unifying local tribes was only a starting point for Khan. Genghis Khan had a tremendous ambition to conquer and plunder loot. He first turned his attention to the powerful Chinese empire, who was at the time divided by internal conflict. He was successful in capturing the Tangut Kingdom and then conquering the Jin Empire in 1211. In 1215, he captured the ancient city of Beijing and effectively gained the obeisance and surrender of the Chinese. This allowed him to turn his attention to the West and Genghis Khan led his Mongol armies west – deep into the heart of Europe – spreading fear and destruction.

“The Greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who live him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.”

– Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan did not just look to kill people; he was mainly interested in conquering and gaining wealth. He would accept the surrender of a defeated enemy and often used a consummate skill to avoid conflict merely through emissaries who would spread tales of fear about the impending force of Genghis Khan’s war machine.

Genghis Khan could show great loyalty to those who were loyal to him, and equally, he could turn on those he considered to be disloyal or resisted. After the conquest of China, Khan turned his attention to Khwarazm a region in modern-day Uzbekistan/Kazakhstan. In this case, Khan was furious that the Khwarazm ruler had attacked Muslim merchants under the protection of Genghis Khan. He turned his fury on the Empire and was particularly brutal in destroying and killing huge numbers of subjects. The brutality and scale of killing were remembered for many centuries.

Despite a well-deserved reputation for brutality, Genghis Khan also encouraged trade and commerce within his realm. He forbade his troops to attack merchants, and through his control of the main trading routes, trade and culture flourished as people could travel within the Mongol Empire stretching from China in the East to the Black Sea in the East. Genghis Khan was also tolerant of religions and exempted priests from paying tax.

III. The personality of Genghis Khan

The personality of Genghis Khan is often hard to decipher. He was interested in religious matters and often felt a sense of a divine mission. He worshipped the supreme deity of the Mongols‘The Eternal Blue Heaven.’ He also received a Daoist sage, Qiu Chuji who talked about religious issues. In some respects, Khan was adaptable and willing to take advice – including his mother, wife, and close friends. But, he could be both brutal in taking revenge on those who he felt had wronged him and was willing to slaughter civilians who had surrendered if it suited his needs.

He was adept in using psychological warfare and was often successful in instilling sufficient fear to encourage whole cities to surrender. But he also had a more pragmatic side and fostered trade, commerce and respected local customs. He took numerous wives and had innumerable children. It is estimated that 8% of Asians can have their DNA traced back to Genghis Khan.

IV. Death

Ironically, he died after falling from a horse in 1226. By his own request, he was buried in an unmarked grave within Mongolia.

V. How did Genghis Khan change the world?