How Genghis Khan, a Homeless Person, Created the Largest Land Empire in History

The great Genghis Khan as the warrior he was

Image: Walter Lim / CC-BY

Genghis Khan's real name was Temujin, but in the early 13th century, a council of Moghul tribesmen declared him as the Oceanic Ruler of the Universe, which translated to 'Genghis Khan.' The rest, as they say, was history. 

But let's start from the beginning. Temujin, born between 1163 and 1167, was born during the most turbulent times, interspersed with conflict and warfare. A rival tribesman had killed his father when Temujin was still very young, leaving him a powerless prisoner of the enemy. He had nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Temujin's Early Years and his rebirth as Genghis Khan

But Temujin refused to give up. He was a very cunning lad, and because of his great skill, was able to escape the clutches of the rival tribe and set about to make a name for himself as a strong and formidable warrior, a frightening foe, and a worthy leader. All these combination had let him gather a great number of men who were to become his loyal followers.

It was around this time that Temujin was given another name, reborn as Genghis Khan, and he already had the strong and steady support of three tribes. The Oceanic ruler of the universe was able to unite a great number of Mongol tribes that pledged fierce loyalty and allegiance to him. 

Spreading Terror and Wreaking Havoc

Genghis Khan didn't just like the thought of being the leader of an empire, he had an ambition to spread his empire all throughout the land. He focused his attention on China and how it can be brought down. He only had 100,000 warriors against the Jurched Dynasty's 50 million citizens. But he was able to defeat them in 1214. 

When he was able to successfully capture the city of China and gain the respect of the locals, he then started formulating a plan to conquer the west and led his army to the destruction of Europe. Day by day Khan's army seemed to keep growing and growing. Tribes from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan overthrew their rulers to follow him and be one with his great Mongol empire. He conquered and ruled the Afghan border, Siberia, all the way to the border of Tibet.

A Keen Eye on Trade 

But in spite of his thirst for power and wealth, Genghis Khan was also keen on making alliances with empires he knew was as powerful as his empire, if not more powerful. He knew when to shake hands with the enemy, and was known to be very loyal to those who showed him loyalty. 

A good example was when he chose to establish trade alliances with the Khwarizm Empire, but didn't take him long to find out that the Sultan had betrayed him by murdering and stealing from 450 Mongol merchants.  He retaliated by capturing all cities of the Khwarizm empire, thus adding more lands to his realm from Russia and Turkey.

Genghis Khan was a staunch supporter of trade and commerce and knew of its great benefits. He forbade the attack of merchants and under his watch was able to control the many trading routes across Asia and Europe. He also respected the land's many religions and did not impose taxes on priests.

Genghis Khan's Legacy

Genghis had 4 sons from his wife and childhood sweetheart Borje (they were only 16 when they married). Because they weren't sure if his firstborn came from him (Borje was kidnapped after they were married), the second son challenged the legitimacy of the 1st son's birth. In the end, the 3rd son was decided to become the successor, as a compromise. Even after his death in 1226, his empire flourished through the great examples he has taught his sons. 

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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