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Genghis Khan

World Ruler - Advanced




G enghis Khan was a Mongol warrior and ruler from the Borjigin tribe. He was born in 1162 to the clan’s chieftain under the name Temujin. When he first came into the world, he was holding a blood clot in his hand which, according to Mongol beliefs, meant that he would become a great leader. Temujin went on to confirm these superstitious by uniting the scattered tribes of the Mongol people in Northeast Asia and creating the Mongol Empire, the largest empire the world had ever seen stretching from the Pacific Ocean in the east, all the way to the Caspian Sea in the west.

Despite being the chieftain’s son, Temujin’s childhood wasn’t easy. When he was 9, his father was murdered, and he, along with his mother and brothers, was shunned, forced to live in poverty, away from the rest of the tribe. At 16 he married his first and most important wife, Borte, and eventually began to gather troops, aiming to unite the Mongol tribes under this rule.

Temujin used spies to steal technology from his enemies as well as smoke signals and drums to communicate with his soldiers who were all well-equipped for battle. With the use of these military tactics as well as his notorious brutality, it didn’t take long before Temujin was accepted as a leader of the Mongol tribes and given the title of “Genghis Khan,” meaning “universal ruler.” This title was not political, but spiritual and meant Genghis Khan was sent from God to rule the world.

After united the Mongol tribes, he turned his sights towards China. In 1211 Genghis Khan launched an attack against the Jin Dynasty, and by 1215 he reached and plundered its capital Zhongdu (known today as Beijing). After capturing the capital, he put one of his best generals in charge of further weakening China while he headed west, towards the Khwarizm Dynasty a Turkish empire near the Caspian Sea.

The decimation of the Khwarizm Dynasty in 1221 was followed by a time of relative peace. The vast empire connected Europe and China, which revitalized the Silk Road. Strict laws that governed the Mongol Empire ensured safety the travelers, and the Mongol tolerance of different religious groups meant that people from all corners of the world could move about the empire and trade freely.

Genghis Khan died in 1227, after which, the empire was divided among the four sons he had with Borte. His descendants continued to wage war and expand the empire, but, some 80 years later, their ruler started to crumble, and the Mongols slowly assimilated with the surrounding peoples.

Even though the Mongol Empire disappeared, in a way Genghis Khan’s legacy continues to exist to this day. Grand statues and busts bearing his face are scattered around modern day Mongolia in honor of its founder, but that’s not all. A study from 2003 showed that today there are around 16 million people in the world who are direct descendants of Genghis Khan!

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