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Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan (about 1165 - 1227) was a Mongolian Emperor, and military leader who unified the Mongolian tribes and then founded a Mongolian empire by conquering much of China, Asia and Eastern Europe. He is regarded as the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty in China.

He was originally born by the name of Temüjin (鐵木真 TieMuZhen in Chinese) sometime between 1162 & 1167, the first son of Yesügei, a tribal chief of the Kiyad[?] (singular: Kiyan). Yesügei's clan is called Borjigin (pl. Borjigid).

Whilst still a boy, his father was murdered by the neighboring Tartars in 1175, and he was inducted as the clan's chief. His clan abandoned him and his mother, refusing to be lead by a boy.

Table of contents

Uniting the Tribes

Temüjin marrys Börte. (after she's kidnapped and he rescues her (all the callings of a fairy tale)

...Story of Temujin uniting the tribes goes here... I'll get around to this later. Unless someone wants to beat me to it. :)

The Foundations of an Empire

In 1206 Temüjin had successfully united the formerly fragmented tribes of what is now Mongolia, and at a kuriltai (a council of Mongol chiefs) he was titled "Genghis Khan" (also Chinggis and Jenghiz) or "Universal Ruler".

As the great Khan, he developed a new military system that was based on the decimal system, with armies being split into groups of 10, 100, 1000 and finally a tumen (10,000). The army took their families and horses with them, with each rider having about 3-4 horses apiece, so they always had fresh means of transport.

At the time of the kuriltai, Genghis was involved in a dispute with Western Xia, the first of his wars of conquest, and despite problems in taking well defended Western Xia cities, and by 1209 when peace with Western Xia was made, he had with substantially reduced the Western Xia dominion, and was acknowledged by their emperor as overlord.

A major goal of Genghis was the conquest of Jin, both to avenge earlier defeats and to gain the riches of northern China. He declared war in 1211, and at first the pattern of operations against Jin was the same as it had been against Western Xia. The Mongols were victorious in the field, but they were frustrated in their efforts to take major cities. In his typically logical and determined fashion, Genghis and his highly developed staff studied the problems of the assault of fortifications. With the help of Chinese engineers, they gradually developed the techniques that eventually would make them the most accomplished and most successful besiegers in the history of warfare.

As a result of a number of overwhelming victories in the field and a few successes in the capture of fortifications deep within China, Genghis had conquered and had consolidated Jin territory as far south as the Great Wall by 1213. He then advanced with three armies into the heart of Jin territory, between the Great Wall and the Huang He. He defeated the Jin forces, devastated northern China, captured numerous cities, and in 1215 besieged, captured, and sacked the Jin capital of Yanjing (later known as Beijing). The Jin emperor did not surrender, however, but removed his capital to Kaifeng. There his successors finally were defeated, but not until 1234. Meanwhile, Kuchlug, the deposed khan of the Naiman Mongols, had fled west and had conquered the state of Karakitai, the western allies that had decided to side with Genghis.

By this time, the Mongol army was exhausted by ten years of continuous campaigning against Western Xia and Jin. Therefore, Genghis sent only two tumen under a brilliant young general, Jebe, against Kuchlug. An internal revolt was incited by Mongol agents; then Jebe overran the country. Kuchlug's forces were defeated west of Kashgar; he was captured and executed, and Karakitai was annexed. By 1218 the Mongol state extended as far west as Lake Balkash and adjoined Khwarizm, a Muslim state that reached to the Caspian Sea in the west and to the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea in the south.

In 1218 Genghis sent some emissaries to an Eastern Province of Khwarizm to hold some talks with the governour. The governour of the province had them killed, and Genghis retaliated with a force of 200,000 troops. By 1220 Khwarizm was eradicated.

Need information about conquests in Europe

The Final Campaign

The vassal emperor of Western Xia had refused to take part in the war against the Khwarizm, and Genghis had vowed punishment. While he was in Iran, Western Xia and Jin had formed an alliance against the Mongols. After rest and a reorganization of his armies, Genghis prepared for war against his foes.

By this time, advancing years had led Genghis to prepare for the future and to assure an orderly succession among his descendants. He selected his third son Ogedei[?] as his successor and established the method of selection of subsequent khans, specifying that they should come from his direct descendants. Meanwhile, he studied intelligence reports from Western Xia and Jin and readied a force of 180,000 troops for a new campaign.

Late in 1226, when the rivers were frozen, the Mongols struck southward with their customary speed and vigor. The Tangut, well acquainted with Mongol methods, were ready, and the two armies met by the banks of the frozen Huang He. Despite a Western Xia army of more than 300,000 troops, the Mongols virtually annihilated the Tangut host.

Pursuing energetically, the Mongols killed the Western Xia emperor in a mountain fortress. His son took refuge in the great walled city of Ningxia, which the Mongols had failed to conquer in earlier wars. Leaving one-third of his army to take Ningxia, Genghis sent Ogedei eastward, across the great bend of the Huang He, to drive the Jin forces from their last footholds north of the river. With the remainder of his troops, he marched southeast, evidently to eastern Sichuan Province, where the Western Xia, the Jin, and the Song empires met, to prevent Song reinforcements from reaching Ningxia. Here he accepted the surrender of the new Western Xia emperor but rejected peace overtures from Jin.

A premonition of death caused Genghis to head back to Mongolia, but he died en route having laid the keystone for what was to become the world's largest land based empire. On his deathbed in 1227, he outlined to his youngest son, Tului, the plans that later would be used by his successors to complete the destruction of the Jin empire.

His body was returned to Mongolia, the escort killing anyone that strayed accross their path on the return trip, so as not to reveal where he was finally laid to rest. The Genghis Khan Mausoleum is his memorial, not his burial.

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