ancient indian history

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan, was born as Temujin in the 12th century Mongolia. (around 1162) He was the founder and first Khan (khagan) of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. Genghis Khan’s military campaigns had a profound impact on the world politics.

  • He experienced a challenging childhood, as his father was poisoned, and his tribe abandoned his family, leaving them in a vulnerable position.  Genghis Khan united several mongol tribes under his rule and adopted the title “Genghis Khan,” which means “universal ruler.” Genghis Khan’s military campaigns were characterized by their cruelty and brutality. He used unethical tactics and war strategies. He conquered vast territories in Asia, including parts of China, Central Asia, Persia, and Eastern Europe. His military campaigns had significant consequences. Cities and populations were devastated, and millions of people were murdered by his troops. The negative impact of his military campaigns, on world history, is undeniable. Genghis Khan and his Mongol Army invariably associated with terrible tales of conquest, rape destruction, and bloodshed.  Born between 1155 and 1167 and given the name Temujin, he was the oldest child of Yesugei, a Mongol chieftain of the Borjigin clan, and his wife Hoelun of the Olkhonud clan. Yesugei died when Temujin was eight, and his family was abandoned by their tribe in the Mongol steppe. Temujin gradually built up a small following and allied with Jamukha and Toghrul, two other Mongol chieftains, in campaigns against other Mongol tribes.
    During this period, he served Jin dynasty. The alliances with Jamukha and Toghrul failed completely in the early 13th century, but Temujin was able to defeat both individuals and claim sole rulership over the Mongol tribes. He formally adopted the title “Genghis Khan” at a kurultai in 1206.
    With the tribes fully united, Genghis set out on a campaign of conquest. Having vassalised the Western Xia state by 1211, he then invaded the Jin dynasty in northern China, forcing the Jin emperor Xuanzong to abandon the northern half of his kingdom in 1214.
    In 1218, Qara Khitai, a Central Asian khanate, was annexed by Mongol forces, allowing Genghis to lead an invasion of the neighbouring  Khwarazmian Empire, in the following year. The invading Mongols toppled the Khwarazmian state and devastated the regions of Transoxiana and Khorasan, while another expedition penetrated as far as Georgia and Kievan Rus’. In 1227, Genghis died, while besieging the rebellious Western Xia.
    His third son and heir  Ogedei  succeeded him to the throne two years later. The Mongol military campaigns undertaken by Genghis, saw widespread destruction and millions of deaths across Asia and Eastern Europe.
    Genghis was able to reconstruct the Mongol social hierarchy in his favour. The highest tier was occupied solely by the families of the Khan and his brothers, who became known as the altan uruq (lit. “Golden Family”)
    Genghis continued to reign unchallenged, in some cases until as late as the 1700s, and even powerful non-imperial dynasties such as Timur and Edigu were compelled to rule from behind a Genghisid puppet ruler. The Mongols had started raiding the border settlements of the Tangut-led Western Xia kingdom in 1205,  Most Xia troops were stationed along the southern and western borders of the kingdom to guard against attacks from the Song and Jin dynasties, while its northern border relied only on the Gobi desert for protection, unlike the Jin’s which was strongly fortified. After a raid in 1207, sacked the fortress of Wulahai, Genghis decided to personally lead a full-scale invasion in 1209. Wulahai was captured again in May and the Mongols advanced on the capital Zhongxing (modern-day Yinchuan) but suffered a reverse against a Xia army. After a two-month stalemate, Genghis broke the deadlock with successfully-executed retreat. Although Zhongxing was now mostly undefended, lacking any siege equipment better than crude battering rams, the Mongols were unable to progress the siege. Genghis’ innovative attempt to redirect the Yellow River into the city with a dam initially worked, but the poorly-constructed earthworks broke—possibly breached by the Xia—in January 2010 and the Mongol camp was flooded, forcing them to retreat. A peace treaty was soon formalized. the Xia emperor Xiangzong submitted and handed over tribute, including his daughter Chaka, in exchange for the Mongol withdrawal.
    It was only at this juncture that Genghis decided to fully conquer northern China. Muqali captured numerous towns in Liaodong during winter 1214–15, and although the inhabitants of Zhongdu surrendered to Genghis on 31 May 1215, the city was sacked and looted. His army carried out cold blooded massacres of innocent natives & women were kidnapped & carried to Mongolia as slaves.
    When Genghis returned to Mongolia in early 1216, Muqali was left in command in China. He waged a brutal but effective campaign against the unstable Jin until his death in 1223. In 1207, Genghis had appointed a man named Qorchi as governor of the subdued Hoi-yin Irgen tribes. Appointed not for his talents but for prior services rendered, Qorchi was a poor choice, and his habit of taking too many concubines for his harem led the tribes to rebel and take him prisoner in early 1216. 
    Kuchlug, the Naiman prince who had been defeated in 1204, had usurped the throne of the Central Asian Qara Khitai dynasty between 1211 and 1213. Kuchlug was a member of the naiman buddhist tribe and he wanted to  convert people to Buddhism. Genghis sensed that Kuchlug might be a potential threat to his empire, and Jebe was sent with an army of 20,000 cavalry to Kashgar. Kuchlug was forced to flee southwards to the Pamir Mountains, but was captured by local hunters. Decapitated by the Mongols, his corpse was unethically paraded through Qara Khitai.Genghis had now attained complete control of the eastern portion of the Silk Road, and his territory bordered that of the Khwarazmian Empire, which ruled over much of Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan.
    In 1227, Genghis Khan’s army attacked and destroyed the Tangut capital of Ning Hia and continued to advance, seizing Lintiao-fu, Xining province, Xindu-fu, and Deshun province in quick succession in the spring. At Deshun, the Tangut general Ma Jianlong put up a fierce resistance for several days and personally led charges against the invaders outside the city gate. Ma Jianlong later died from wounds received from arrows in battle. Genghis Khan, after conquering Deshun, went to Liupanshan (Qingshui County, Gansu Province) to escape the severe summer. The new Tangut emperor quickly surrendered to the Mongols, and the rest of the Tanguts officially surrendered soon after. Not happy with their betrayal and resistance, Genghis Khan ordered the entire imperial family to be executed.
    According to the official History of Yuan commissioned during China’s Ming dynasty, Genghis Khan died during his final campaign against the Western Xia, falling ill on 18 August 1227.
    He passed away on 25 August 1227. The exact cause of his death remains a mystery, and is variously attributed to illness, being killed in action or from wounds sustained in hunting or battle.
    Later Mongol chronicles connect Genghis’s death with a Western Xia princess, who was taken as war booty. One chronicle from the early 17th century even relates the legend that the princess hid a small dagger and stabbed or castrated him. All of these legends were invented well after Genghis Khan’s death.
     After he died, his body was returned to Mongolia and presumably to his birthplace in Khentii Aimag, where many assume he is buried somewhere close to the Onon River and the Burkhan Khaldun mountain (part of the Khentii mountain range). According to legend, the funeral escort killed anyone and anything across their path to conceal where he was finally buried.
    Some time after 1235, Mongol army invaded Kashmir, once again and thereafter Kashmir became a Mongolian dependency.
    Around the same time, a Kashmiri Buddhist master, Otochi, and his brother Namo arrived at the court of Ogedei. Another Mongol general named Pakchak attacked Peshawar and defeated the army of tribes who had deserted Jalal ad-Din but were still a threat to the Mongols. These men, mostly Khaljis, escaped to Multan and were recruited into the army of the Delhi Sultanate. In winter 1241 the Mongol force invaded the Indus valley and besieged Lahore. However, on December 30th, 1241, the Mongols under Munggetu butchered the town before withdrawing from the Delhi Sultanate. At the same time the  Khan Ogedei died .
    The Kashmiris revolted in 1254–1255, and Mongke Khan, who became ruler in  1251, appointed Buddhist master, Otochi, as administrator of Kashmir. The Mongol Empire had also launched many  attacks into the Indian subcontinent from 1221 to 1327. The Mongols occupied parts of the subcontinent for decades. As the Mongols progressed into the Indian hinterland and reached the outskirts of Delhi, the Delhi Sultanate led a campaign against them in which the Mongol army suffered serious defeats.
    The Genghis Khan Mausoleum, constructed many years after his death, is his memorial, but not at his burial site, as for the Mongolians, the cruel king was a role model.
    The conquests and leadership of Genghis Khan included widespread devastation and mass murders, loot kidnapping and rapes of young women.
     The targets of campaigns that refused to surrender would often be subject to reprisals in the form of enslavement and wholesale slaughters.
    Genghis Khan, at present has become a symbol of national identity for many younger Mongolians, who maintain that the historical records written by non-Mongolians are unfairly biased against Genghis Khan.

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