When we look back at the history we see many empires built in different times. And there were many emperors but Genghis Khan is a remarkable character among them. Here is why?
Who is Genghis Khan?
Temujin was born in 1162 in Delüün Boldog, Mongolia as the son of Yesugei, the chief of the Khamag Mongol confederation and his mother was Hoelun, the second wife of the chief. The legends say that he was born with a blood clot in his hands which was a prophecy that he was destined to become a great leader. Temujin had three brothers and a sister along with two half brothers.
The Mongolia was divided among the nomad tribes that most of the time fought and stole from each other. So the little Temujin’s childhood was filled with violence. At the age of 9 his father arranged his marriage to a girl named Börte. And he had to live with the family of his future wife until he become 12 years old, which was the marriageable age at the time.
On the way home after handing over his son to the in-laws, the chief was poisoned by a rival tribe. Temujin returned home soon after the death of his father in order to claim his fathers position as chief. But their own clan refused them and abandoned his whole family. For several years they had to survive on wild fruits, ox carcasses and the animals killed in small hunting activities.
Soon Temujin’s older half brother began to rule the family as he was the eldest male in the family. He would eventually be able to claim Temujin’s mother Hoelun as his wife which made Temujin hate his brother. But during a hunting trip Temujin killed his older half brother and took over his place as the head of the family.
In 1177 Temujin was captured by one of the tribe and was imprisoned. But he managed to escape the prison where he held, which earned him some sort of reputation. And the next year Temujin married Börte whom he would have four sons and several daughters.
How Did Temujin Started His Empire?
First Temujin did was to unite the Mongolia which was divided among tribes. Then he looked beyond the Mongolia into the China and Khwarezm (Present day Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Iran).
Temujin killed the chiefs of the enemy tribes while incorporating the remaining members into his clan. After uniting the Mongol Temujin had proclaimed as “Chinggis Khan” which translate as the “Universal Ruler”. Genghis Khan’s first war outside the Mongol took place against Xi Xia kingdom of northwestern China. After series of raids the Xi Xia ruler submitted to the Mongol army.
Unlike other armies the Mongols did not carry a supply train but a large reserve of horses. The army consisted almost entirely of cavalrymen who were expert at horse riding and deadly with bow and arrows.
The next attack of the Mongol army was on the Jin dynasty in northern China. But the ruler in Jin dynasty demanded the submission of Genghis Khan. Since the Mongol army was outnumbered they ravaged the country sides of the kingdom from 1211 to 1214. This action made the villagers flee to the city. Shortly there was a food shortage and many of the refugee peasants were killed by the Jin army. In 1214 the Mongol army made a siege on the capital (present day Beijing) and the Jin ruler agreed to pay a huge amount of silk, horses along with gold and silver. But later the Jin ruler tried to move his court and Genghis Khan took this action as a breach of their agreement and with the help of deserters he destroyed the capital.
In 1219 Genghis khan went to war against the Khwarezm Empire. The sultan of the Khwarezm empire had agreed to a trade treaty. But when the first cargo was arrived it was robbed and later the sultan had killed few of Mongol ambassadors. Even though the Mongol army was outnumbered in this invasion too, they managed to attack the empire little by little. Their war strategy was special because skilled citizens such as carpenters or jewelers were saved while the aristocrats and resisting soldiers were killed and the unskilled citizens were used as a human shield in their next attack. So no one knows exactly how many people were killed during these attacks because the Mongols were always using their victories with a vicious image to spread terror.
By the time he returned to the Mongolia Genghis Khan ruled a huge territory. Soon again he attacked Xi Xia kingdom because they refused to supply troops for the attack on Khwarezm.
In 1227 Genghis Khan fell off a horse during the attack against Xi Xia kingdom and he was injured internally. But he refused to rest or to return to Mongolia which made his condition worse. He was never recovered from the injuries and died August 8, 1227 just before the troops destroyed Xi Xia.
Genghis Khan never allowed anyone to paint or sculpt his picture while he was living. So the first image of the emperor was appeared after his death.
Why is the Importance of the Mongol Empire?
Mongol empire was the largest contiguous land empire in history. The complete Empire spread from the sea of Japan to the parts of central Europe. But the size of the empire does not matter as the ruler was considered one of the greatest in the history. The Mongol empire is important because of the rules the emperor had created for his empire.
- According to the custom at the time only the family members of the chief were put as the officials but Temujin went against this law and put the suitable allies in those positions.
- Temujin was an Animist but people in his kingdom belonged to different religions. He never forced his citizens to change their religion after claiming their tribe into his.
- He abolished the inherited aristocratic titles in order to suppress the traditional causes of tribal warfare.
- He forbade kidnapping and selling women, which was a common custom when he was little.
- He banned the enslavement of any Mongol.
- The theft of livestock was punishable by death. As the tribes were robbed by each other constantly before uniting them.
- Most importantly he ordered to adopt a writing system and he conducted a regular census.
- He granted diplomatic immunity to foreign ambassadors.
Thank you for reading. I hope that you have liked the post and let me know if you enjoyed it. ❤ 🙂