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Genghis Khan was the first ruler of the Mongol dynasty which was the largest undivided empire in history.
Born as Temujin in Mongolia to the leader of the Khamag Mongol tribe, he enjoyed a blissful childhood. However, it only lasted until his father was killed by another rival tribe, which led Temujin and his family to destitution.
Growing up, Temujin learned about politics and started fighting battles with other tribal groups in order to conquer and consolidate them. Soon, he became a very popular ruler of Mongolia and was given the title of 'Genghis Khan' to honor his work. He consolidated numerous tribes in Mongolia with the notable ones being the Khereid, Naiman, Tatar, and Mongol tribes. After conquering and unifying most of the Mongolian tribes, he shifted his attention to expanding his territory over the West Xia empire and Jin dynasty in China. Later, he also invaded most of Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The Great Khan and his army conquered around 5,210,000 sq. mi (13,500,000 sq. km) of land or around 1/3rd of Asia.
It is estimated that in the numerous wars that Genghis Khan fought in order to expand his territory and empire, he killed around 5-10 percent of the then world population, which accounts for 20-40 million people. Despite this, he was a very popular ruler, known for his soft and kind gestures towards the children and families of the defeated.
Genghis Khan was born sometime in 1162, but his exact birth date is not known.
He was born to parents Yesugei and Hoelun in Deluun Boldog. His father was the leader of the Khamag Mongol tribe. He grew up with his siblings, Hasar, Temuge, Temulen, Hachiun, and his half-brothers, Begter and Belgutei. All of them lived a very cheerful and happy life until their father, Yesugei, was attacked and killed by the members of the Tatar tribe.
There is very little data available about his education as there was no concept of formal education during his lifetime. Like other boys, Genghis Khan was also trained to be a warrior. Right after his father's death, he wanted and tried to become the leader of the Tatar tribe, but was rejected as he was underage. This caused him and his family to live a very miserable life ravaged by poverty and hunger.
As polygamy was widely practiced among the emperors of that time all across the world, Genghis Khan too had multiple marriages.
His first wife was Borte, who belonged to the Khongirad tribe. His marriage with Borte was fixed by his late father when he of nine years of age, however, the pair officially tied the knot after Borte turned 16 years old. In an unfortunate incident, right after their marriage, Borte was kidnapped by the Merkit tribe and stayed in exile until Genghis rescued her, taking help from his then friend and his father's friend who were named Jamukha and Toghrul. Later, the couple had four children together; Jochi, Ogedei, Chagatai, and Tolui. Although Genghis Khan married several other women, Borte always remained the empress of the Mongol empire.
Genghis Khan married other women including Abika Khatun, Gurbasu Khatun, Gunju Khatun, Heda'an, Khulan Khatun, Yesuken, Isukhan Khatun and Yesui. His other children from his wives were Alakhai Bekhi, Altani, Tumelun, Alaltun, Boraqchin, Gelejian, Jochi Khan, and Khochen Beki. Among all his wives, his first wife, Borte, always remained his favorite.
Genghis Khan was one of the most influential rulers of ancient times and is best known as the founder of the Mongol empire.
After living a life as a destitute after his father's death, he learned everything he could about politics. Temujin, as he was known back then, started learning more about the art and tactics of becoming a leader by being an associate of his late father's friend, Toghrul, who belonged to the Khereid tribe. Soon, he started conquering other small tribal groups. His biggest opposition came from his childhood friend, Jamukha, who was the leader of the Jadaran tribe. Jamukha waged a war against Temujin with over thirty thousand soldiers. The Battle of Dalan Balzhut, as it came to be known, became Temujin's turning point. His victory in the battle not only brought fame and followers to Temujin but he was also given the title of 'Khan' of the Mongol armies.
Later, Genghis Khan and his ally, Toghrul, offered support to the Jin Army to conquer their earlier ally, the Tatar tribe. In 1197, with the help of Genghis Khan, the Jin dynasty won and he was accoladed with the titles of 'Ong Khan' and 'j-aut quri'. As time passed by, Genghis Khan became a supremely popular leader in Mongolia, defeating and conquering many enemy tribes.
Soon after, Genghis Khan's growing popularity among the masses made Seggum, the son of Toghrul, jealous. Both he and his father collectively started conspiring against Genghis and as soon as he came to know about it, Genghis defeated Senggum. Relations between Toghrul and Genghis Khan became even more bitter when Toghrul rejected the marriage proposal of Jochi, the son of Genghis Khan, with his daughter. The bitterness between the two rose so much that Toghrul joined hands with Genghis Khan's biggest enemy, Jomukha. Together, the two declared war against Genghis Khan but were badly defeated. Jomukha fled away in fear of exile, leading to the dismantling of the Khereid tribe.
Later, Jomukha joined as a member of the Naiman tribe who were the rulers of the Kara Khitan Khanate dynasty. In 1201, the Kara-Khitan Khanate empire became the universal ruler of the Mongols with Jamukha titled 'Gur Khan'. But, in 1204, Genghis Khan conquered the Kara Khitan Khanate dynasty by defeating the leader of the Naiman tribe. Even after this defeat, the fight between Jemukha and Temujin continued for years until Jemukha was betrayed by his own people in 1206 and he finally had to surrender to Genghis Khan. Jemukha was executed. After this victory, Temujin was given the prestigious title of 'Genghis Khan' by Kurultai, who was the council of the Mongol chiefs.
Next, Genghis Khan moved to conquer the Western Xia empire in China between 1207 and 1210 until their ruler surrendered. The Uyghur tribe was also captured and brought under Mongol rule. To extend his Mongol conquests over Northern China, Genghis Khan attacked the Jin Dynasty at the Badger Pass. The emperor of the Jin Dynasty fled and took refuge at Zhongdu (present-day Beijing), until Zhongdou was captured by Genghis Khan in 1215. Thereafter, he took over the Kara-Khitan Khanate dynasty by defeating and killing its ruler with over 20,000 Mongol soldiers.
Genghis Khan then shifted his focus towards Central Asia from 1214-1217 to conquer the Khwarezmid empire, then led by Shah Ala ad-Din Muhammad. While the initial plan of Genghis was to build trade relations with them, he resorted to conquering the empire after his ambassadors were mistreated by Shah Ala ad-Din. The Khwarezmid ruler twice turned down the requests of building trade relations with Genghis and also shaved the heads of the Mongol ambassadors. This humiliation enraged Genghis who waged a war against the Khwarezmid empire and finally erased its existence in 1222.
After this, the Mongol leader turned his attention to Eastern Europe. He sent his trustworthy generals, Jebe and Subutai, to conquer the Bulgars dynasty that encircled the Caspian Sea. They conquered most of Europe and also invaded other countries of Middle East Asia like Afghanistan.
While the Mongols were busy invading and extending their territorial reign over the Middle East and European countries, back in Asia, in China, the defeated rulers of the Jin dynasty and Xia dynasty were conspiring against Genghis Khan. They not only condemned Genghis's expansion conquest but also wanted to prevent him from forming an ally. In 1226, Genghis Khan returned to Asia and moved into Ning Ha, the capital of the Xia empire, with his powerful Mongol army. After destroying them completely in a battle, Genghis Khan also killed all the family members of the Xia dynasty, washing every possible Xia enemy from the face of the Earth.
People believe that the Great Khan of Mongolia died after his final victory over the Xia dynasty in China in 1227. The real reason behind his death still remains a secret of history but his body was buried near the Burkhan Khaldun Mountain. Thereafter, a memorial was built for him in Xining but the tomb was moved to several locations to protect it from being destroyed during wars.
Genghis Khan was held as a great leader, who was not only famous for his Mongol invasions, but also for promoting brotherhood and peace among his defeated enemies.
He consolidated tribes from the entire country and is also notable for his charity work. Unlike other rulers, Genghis Khan provided all kinds of support to his wounded soldiers and their families. His mother whole-heartedly adopted and took care of the orphaned children of the enemy tribes whom Genghis Khan had defeated or killed in the war.
From his childhood, Genghis Khan was always passionate to know more about politics and leadership.
Apart from warfare, he was known to be a very gentle and loving soul. In his free time, he spent quality time with his beloved wife, Borte. He also loved spending time and teaching his sons the art of warfare. He also engaged in charity work with his mother, attending to the needs of the wounded and the needy.
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