The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas.
Genghis Khan, who lived probably between 1162–1227, born Temüjin, was the founder, Khan (ruler) and Khagan (emperor) of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death.
He was born in a Mongol tribe near Burkhan ...view middle of the document...
However, Yesükhei’s followers did not want to let Temüjin reign, for he was still a child. So, they exiled his family, believing that without a clan and the protection it offered, they would die. However, instead of giving up, the resourceful Mongol family lived off land and survived.
Temüjin became stronger and stronger, and took control of the family. It is said, that when one of his brothers stole a fish from him, Temüjin killed the thief with an arrow, a harsh discipline that was somewhat common for Mongols. As he continued to grow, other tribes feared that he was becoming too strong, and devised a plan to capture Temüjin. He was tied with a wooden yoke that restricted his movement. However, he was able to use this device as a weapon, and escaped one night by knocking his guard in the head. Even at the young age of sixteen, Temüjin’s resourcefulness and strength were gaining respect.
After escaping, Temüjin considered himself a grown man, and went to peruse the items that had been taken from him when he was exiled. He found the wife that had been promised to him and married her. He started to make alliances with other tribes, and was eventually assimilated into the tribe of his wife. Soon after this, the camp was raided and his wife was captured. Temüjin soon planned a counter attack and, with the help of Toghrul (his wife’s father) and Jamuka (his friend from childhood), he rescued his wife, as well as gained respect as a war leader.
Over next several years, Temüjin gained several more followers, and started training his men for battle. The scattered Mongol people were starting to unite and become a single nation. Temüjin organized his men into different categories: group of 10 called squads, groups of 100 called squadrons, and group of 1000 called quarans. These groups had precise functions and instructions, and each squad was a specialty unit that had a very specific skill set or task.
Temüjin and his followers had united the smaller Mongol confederation and in his rule and conquest of rival tribes, he broke Mongol tradition in a few crucial ways. He delegated authority based on merit and loyalty, rather than family ties. As an incentive for absolute obedience and following his rule of law, he promised civilians and soldiers wealth from future possible war spoils. As he defeated rival tribes, he did not drive away enemy soldiers instead; he took the conquered tribe under his protection and integrated members into his own tribe.
The Mongol Empire created by Genghis Khan and his allies shared its western borders with the Tanguts' Western Xia Dynasty. To its east and south was the Jin Dynasty, founded by the Manchurian Jurchens, who ruled northern China as well as being the traditional overlord of the Mongolian tribes for centuries.
Genghis Khan organized his army, and his state to first prepare for war with Western Xia, which was closer to the Mongolian lands. He correctly believed that the more powerful Jin Dynasty's young...