Genghis Khan
The Emperors of Emperors


 

Khan - The Great Leader
    Almost everyone has heard of Genghis Khan.  He is perhaps the greatest leader and ruler the world has ever witnessed.  Like  Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Hannibal, they all met with struggles at one point or another on their rise to power.  Also known as Chingis and Jengis, Genghis Khan was truly a remarkable ruler as well as a leader. His dominion covered Central Asiaís Yellow Sea to the Yellow Sea of China.  By the time Genghis Khan died, his empire stretched from Eastern China to Eastern Europe.  Yet, his motives for such a vast empire was not of material needs, but for power and respect.
Legend at Birth
    Genghis Khan was brought into this world as Temujin or Temuchin.   It is believed that he was born in the 1160ís, maybe in 1167.  Genghis was born near or at the edge of the Onon River, rear the landmark Deliun-Boldak.  His birthplace  memorial is at Dadal Somon, Khentei Province.  Genghisís mother is Oyelun or Hoíelun and his father is Yesugei or Yisugei.  It is said that when Genghis was born, he clutched a clot of blood in his right hand.  The clot of blood is claimed to represent the state seal, the kashbu.  The name Temujin was given to Genghis because at the time of his birth, his father had two captives from the recent campaign against the Tarter tribe.
His Youth
    Genghis father was the chief of the his tribe, which is believed to be the Kiyat or Taichiut.  His father acquired his mother through a method known as ďabduction.Ē  Traditional marriages were arranged between tribes, but because of the dangers inherent in long trips, the nomads would sometimes take the chance and snatch the bride for themselves.  His mother, Oyelun from the Olkunut tribe, was to marry a man from the Merkit tribe.  It is recorded that Genghisís father, Yesugei, overcame the Merkit man with the help of two of his brothers.  It was this fateful act that caused Yesugei his death.
    When  Ghenghis was eight, his father decided to find him a fiance.  Yesugei was visiting a sub-tribe of the Onggirat, and thatís where he found Genghisís fiance.  The Chief of the Onggirat, Dai-sechen, had a daughter, Borte, who was one year older than Genghis.  Borte had a lively face and flashy eyes.  Yesugei was said to have taken an instant liking to the girl and became very fond of her.  After many difficulties and negotiations, Dai-sechen finally gave his agreement only because of the intercession of his young son, who liked Genghis.  But, in return for Dai-sechenís agreement, the son-in-law must live in his house.  This custom of leaving a son with the future parent-in-laws was widespread.
    After leaving his son with the future father-in-law, his Yesugei headed for home.  On his journey back, he met a group of Tartars who had gathered for a meal.  Since he was thirsty he decided to join them.  It is a time-honoured custom that nomads offer hospitality to strangers on the steppe.  The steppe is the land between the tribes.  The Tartars remembered that Yesugei was the man who had stolen a girl from one of their fellow tribesman.  They mixed poison with his meal.  On the journey home, Yesugei realized that he was poisoned, but he still made it home.  Before he died, he asked one of his good friend go and fetch his son from the in-laws place.  Some historians says that Yesugei died before Genghis came back and otherís argue that he was made it in time to hear his fatherís dying words.
    After the death of Yesugei,  Ghenghis and his family were abandoned by their tribe.  The tribe broke camp and moved away from the river.  His family survived by fishing, hunting and trapping rodents, and by foraging for wild onions and berries.   Genghisís mother told him, ďApart from our own shadow we have no friends; apart from a horseís tail we have no whip.Ē   She continued to raise Genghis and his siblings alone, she taught him the old ways of pastoral aristocracy.  She impressed on them the idea that they belonged by right to that class, and that it was their duty to emerge from their current situation.
    At one point, Genghis and his younger brother, Kasar, began to realize that their two older half-brothers were not treating them right.  The half-brothers, Bekhter and Belgutei, were not sharing hunting spoils with Genghis and Kasar.  They greeted their mother with their conflicts.  Still the half-brothers stole a fish and a lark that Genghis and Kasar had caught.  One day Genghis and his brother stalked and killed Bekhter.  It is said that Bekhter did not try to escape or defend himself, all he asked was that his younger brother be saved.  Genghis and his brother shot Bekhter at close range with the Mongolís preferred weapon of choice, the bow and arrow.  Belgutei did not try to revenge his brothers death, instead he remained faithful to his half-brothers.
Genghis Becomes a Man
    At around age fourteen, the official age that a Mongolian boy turns into a man, he was captured and held as a prisoner by the very tribe that had abandoned him and his family.   This event occurred right after the murder of his half-brother, but there is no evidence that the two occurrences are tied.  Historians believes that the tribe captured and held him prisoner because they feared that since he has become a man, he would try to take over the tribe. They believed that Genghis would be an evil leader because the tribe had abandoned them before.  Genghis was held and treated as a prisoner.  He made two attempts to escape and was successful on the second try.  Some say that he escaped because the guard that was guarding him that night was drunk, and others say that the guard was a youngster that didnít know how to do his job correctly.  Either way, Genghis took advantage and escaped.  He supposively ran and stayed in the Onon River until night.  A tribesman from another tribe had seen him in the river, but did not give him up.  At night, Genghis ran to the tribe of the man the had seen him earlier to seek shelter.  He was put in a cart and then covered with wool to conceal him.  After the searcher from the Taichiut tribe had pass, Genghis made his way to his mother.
    At the age of about sixteen, he decided to go get his wife.  When the Tartars heard that he had retrieved his wife, they raided his tribe with some three-hundred men.  Genghis and his family escaped on horseback, but there wasnít a horse for Borte, his wife.  She hid in behind a cart, but was discovered.  Some say that leaving Borte was  intentional, so that Genghis and his family could escaped, it worked.  As soon as the Tartars found Borte they left.  Genghis went to his anda, blood-sworned, brother/friend and asked for help.  with his men and his friends help he successfully retreated Borte back.
His Rise to Power
    Genghis was emerging as a local strongman.  Several tribes of the Mongols had hailed him as their Khan, or leader.  His charisma drew followers from throughout the region.  As he grew and gained more and more power he mastered more and more rival tribes.  Some say that all, but the Tartars, the tribe that killed his father, were assimilated into his growing tribes.  The Tartars were believed to have been exterminated.
    In 1203, Genghis defeated the Keraits.  He seized their mud and stone cities and made the city of Karakorum his capital.  Genghis ( still known as Temujin) was named Genghis Khan, meaning greatest of rulers or oceanic ruler, in 1206.  By this time Genghis Khan had created a Mongolian Empire.  He gave his empire a body of laws that had been assembled from various tribal codes known as Yassa. From 1208 to 1215, Genghis Khan took control of China.  The Great Wall of China was an attempt to stop him from invading China.  He continued moving westward and eventually conquered Turkestan.  His armies took over many of the surrounding countries, even part of India.  In 1222, the Mongols struck into Eastern Europe.

 

Genghis Dies
    Genghis Khanís rein ended with his death in 1227, but even after death his work still moved on.  His death was kept a secret for some time. To keep grave-robbers away, the place of his burial is unknown even to this day.  All that is known is that itís a secret location in Mongolia.

After Death
    Genghis Khan was remembered as a great leader and ruler if not the best.  He was a military and strategic genius, compassionate and generous to his followers, and united all of the once bloody nomadic tribes of Mongolia.  He also invented the first Mongolian language.  Genghisís vast empire was the most powerful empire ever.  Upon his death, his oldest son, Kublai Khan, took over his empire.  Kublai found the Chinese-style Yuan dynasty.  Mongolian rule brought peace to Asia allowing foreigner such as Marco Polo to venture in.

Review & Timeline of Genghis Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                   
     Back                                                                                                                                           References