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Updated on March 25, 2014

History of Genghis Khan

The Mongolian Empire became the biggest in history establishing a link between Asia, Europe and the Muslim world. Genghis Khan was born in Burhan Haldun, Mongolia in 1162. It is said that after he exited his mothers womb Genghis had a clot of blood in the palm of his hand. Because Genghis father was a chieftain, Genghis was considered to be of noble blood. At the age of nine Genghis father arranged for him to be married. At this point in time Genghis father took Genghis to the house of his future wife, where Genghis was to live in servitude among his future wife’s father until he reached the age of 12. At the age of 12 Genghis was to marry. Genghis father on his way home was greeted by Tatars, enemies of the Mongol people. The Tatars offered Genghis father something to each in which he accepted, not knowing that the food was poisoned. Genghis returned home to claim chieftain of his father’s tribe, but the tribe refused because Genghis was too young. Genghis, his mother and his siblings were left unprotected. At the age of 10, during a fight, Genghis killed his half-brother Behter becoming head of the family. At the age of 16 Genghis married Borte. It was Borte capture by the Merkits that would lead Genghis to ally himself with Wang Khan. Wang Khan offered Genghis 200,000 of his warriors. Thereafter, Genghis set out on his journey to wipe out traditional customs among various tries and unite the Mongol under one ruler.

Genghis Khan was respected and feared by many. Genghis would be referred to as a destroyer of civilizations, mad-man, blood thirsty warrior, etc....Genghis was able to develop new strategies for war based on observing his enemies. For example, The well-trained Mongol army of 80, 000 fighters coordinated their advance with a sophisticated signaling system of smoke and burning torches, large drums and flag signals. The success of Genghis army was all in due to Genghis war tactics and strategies. After Genghis Khan’s victories over the Mongol tribes, Genghis was crowned god of the Mongols. In 1207, after a two year battle against Genghis and his army, the kingdom of Xi Xia was forced to surrender. The Jin Dynasty in 1211 was struck by Genghis Khan’s army. The Khwarizm Dynasty, in 1219, was taken by Genghis. In the attack against the Khwarizm Dynasty, no one was left alive and those that were not killed on contact were used as shields for the Mongol warriors. In 1221, the Khwarizm Dynasty was brought to an end. In 1226, Genghis Khan again rode out against the Xi Xia kingdom because of a rebellious uprising. However, on the way to the Xi Xia kingdom, Genghis Khan fell from his horse and a few months later died.

Although the era of Genghis Khan may be looked at “as an unfortunate interregnum of suffering, destruction, and stagnation, the Mongol centuries are seen as a period of economic globalization and cross-continental cultural exchange. The major trade centers of China and Europe were connected during the conquests of Genghis Khan. The Genghis Khan developed a legal code called Yassa, which all of Mongol empire was governed by. The code was based on Mongol common law but contained edicts that prohibited blood feuds, adultery, theft, and bearing false witness. The punishment for breaking any of these laws were death. Towards religion, Genghis maintained an attitude of pragmatism and toleration, usually not disturbing their subjects practices and beliefs unless it violated the Yassa.
Genghis Khan during his reign and the reign of his heirs laid the foundation for the greatest empire in world history. It was during his generation and the generation of his bloodline that the first direct contact between east and west was established. As a result, peace and stability between the east and the west led to the greatest flow of ideas, trading and technology. Their legacy is seen no longer as a collective memory of death and destruction but as a long-lasting cultural effervescence, thriving artistic and scientific exchange, and booming international trade, as well as new and enduring forms of legitimacy and law....and the emergence of new Muslim peoples. Genghis Khan, his sons and grandsons linked Asia and Europe together through trading, ideas and technology to form an empire that would have a major impact in initiating the modern world.


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