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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 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?

Genghis Khan conquered Mongolia, much of China and a large part of eastern Europe and Central Asia. His conquests also led to the growth of towns, cities and intra empire trade. His grandson Kublai Khan completed the conquest of China, but after his death, the Mongol Empire started to break up amongst different factions. Yet, although the Mongol Empire did disintegrate, Genghis Khan undoubtedly changed the course of world history. He created a new sense of Mongol identity and helped bring in modern inventions such as writing and the adoption of the Uyghur script.

He also encouraged a degree of religious tolerance and trade – helping to strengthen the infrastructure of the Silk Road – trade between east and west. Yet, despite these ‘progressive’ developments for many on the receiving end of Khan’s conquest, he remained a byword for genocidal killing and ruthlessness that stayed long in the popular imagination.

As a Leadership research perspective, he followed thes below princeples and guidelines to creat largest contegious land empire in the history :

1. Have An End in Mind..

2. Lead from the Front..

3. Adopt Meritocracy.

4. Have Religious Tolerence.

5. Work for well being of the your people.

6. Serve a Greater Good than Yourself.

7. Have a Vision and Be Self-Reliant..

8 Be Humble and Be Moderate..

9. Understand Your People..

10. Change the World, But change it gradually

A few Excerpts from Genghis Khan and the making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford :

1. “In conquering their empire, not only had the Mongols revolutionized warfare, they also created the nucleus of a universal culture and world system. This new global culture continued to grow long after the demise of the Mongol Empire, and through continued development over the coming centuries, it became the foundation for the modern world system with the original Mongol emphases on free commerce, open communication, shared knowledge, secular politics, religious coexistence, international law, and diplomatic immunity.”

2. " Genghis Khan recognized that warfare was not a sporting contest or a mere match between rivals; it was a total commitment of one people against another. Victory did not come to the one who played by the rules; it came to the one who made the rules and imposed them on his enemy."

3. The Mongols made culture portable. It was not enough to merely exchange goods, because whole systems of knowledge had to also be transported in order to use many of the new products. Drugs, for example, were not profitable items of trade unless there was adequate knowledge of how to use them.

Toward this objective, the Mongol court imported Persian and Arab doctors into China, and they exported Chinese doctors to the Middle East. Every form of knowledge carried new possibilities for merchandising.

It became apparent that the Chinese operated with a superior knowledge of pharmacology and of unusual forms of treatment such as acupuncture, the insertion of needles at key points in the body, and moxibustion, the application of fire or heat to similar areas.

4. Muslims doctors, however, possessed a much more sophisticated knowledge of surgery, but, based on their dissection of executed criminals, the Chinese had a detailed knowledge of internal organs and the circulatory system. To encourage a fuller exchange of medical knowledge, the Mongols created hospitals and training centers in China using doctors from India and the Middle East as well as Chinese healers.”

5. Nehru Concluded that " Chengiz is, without doubt,thegreatest military genius and the leader in the history". In direct Comparison with European Conquerors, he wrote " Alexander and Ceaser petty before him ".

Yet despite all military prowess, he wanted friendly relationship with the world.


Genghis Khan rose from humble beginnings to establish the largest land empire in history. After uniting the nomadic tribes of the Mongolian plateau, he conquered huge chunks of central Asia and China. His descendants expanded the empire even further, advancing to such far-off places as Poland, Vietnam, Syria and Korea.

At their peak, the Mongols controlled between 11 and 12 million contiguous square miles, an area about the size of Africa. Many people were slaughtered in the course of Genghis Khan’s invasions, but he also granted religious freedom to his subjects, abolished torture, encouraged trade.

Genghis Khan have followed basic human virtues like meritocracy and religious tolerance, besides his own trademark leadership styles and ingenuity in Building this vast Empire.

Its a Mesmerising story of a Tribal Boy, who unified nomadic tribes, moulded them as Deadly Fighting Machinery, creating largest land Empire in human history and he unified the majority of the world, and he encouraged commerce and trade to prosper through silk route and established a First International Postal System in the world.

MM Rao


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