Genghis Khan – The Man Who Shaped The World
Genghis Khan is one of the most influential people to have ever walked the earth. Renown for his exploits throughout Asia and China, Genghis Khan has definitely earned a specific type of reputation for himself. With so much history behind his name, learning more about Genghis Khan isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s also a fascinating trip into one of the most brutal men in world history.
The Early Life of Genghis Khan
Born on the border of Mongolia and Siberia, historians have Genghis Khan’s birth date somewhere around 1162. According to legend, Genghis Khan was born clutching a blood clot in his tiny right hand. This legend, while almost certainly untrue, immediately sets the tone for the type of life that the man would go on to lead. Originally named Temujin, Genghis Khan’s mother had been kidnapped and forced into marriage. During the early period of Genghis Khan’s life, he was introduced to a world of violence and chaos. Temujin’s father was poisoned and killed by an enemy clan. Temujin, his mother, and his six siblings were then abandoned by their people. Despite being a child, Temujin was bloodthirsty and quick-witted. He killed his older brother and took over the household. A few years later, Temujin would be enslaved by his former clan before breaking free.
Rise of a Leader
After Genghis Khan escaped enslavement, he would go on to marry his wife, Borte, in 1178. Borte would instantly become a target for enemy clans and she was kidnapped, though Genghis was able to save her. Knowing that times were only growing more violent, Temujin knew that he had to begin making alliances. Genghis Khan would begin to attract followers as he built a reputation for being a fierce warrior and leader.
Temujin focused on uniting allies among the Mongols. As he pulled in more followers, he reinforced his strength by culling off leaders of enemy tribes. Temujin would make dramatic steps toward uniting a new kind of army as he created 10-man units, restricted brazen looting, and focused on integrating former enemies. Before long, Temujin was known as Chinggis Khan which translates to, ‘Universal Ruler’. This name would become Westernized into Genghis Khan.
Building an Empire
Before long, Genghis Khan was ruling over nearly one million people. In order to ensure his control over this sprawling empire, Genghis Khan discarded inherited titles, forbade kidnapping and selling women, and made Mongol enslavement and livestock theft punishable by death. Genghis Khan also pushed for a unified writing system, a census, and freedom of religion. For all of his flaws, Genghis Khan was surprisingly progressive.
The first time Genghis Khan left Mongolia was during his crusade of the Xi Xia Kingdom in China. The Mongols would launch a full-scale invasion in 1209 whereupon they would reach the capital of Xi Xia, Yinchuan. The Mongol army was lithe, effective, and fierce. They did not rely on supply trains and every soldier was both adept on a horse and with a bow and arrow. The Mongols would end up winning the city of Yinchuan. This would be the beginning of their reach throughout Asia.
Becoming a Legend
By 1291, Genghis Khan was at war in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan. The Sultan of those regions betrayed Genghis Khan by killing his ambassadors. The Mongol horde was quick to sweep through the region while killing countless people. Genghis Khan would save skilled workers while using unskilled workers as slaves and human shields.
Genghis Khan would end up conquering more land than anyone else in human history. He would be credited with uniting the West and the East during his exploits. His children, Ogodei and Khubilai, would go on to become incredible conquerors in their own right. Genghis Khan had ruling descendants up until 1920. Genghis Khan died in 1227 from internal injuries caused by being thrown from his horse.