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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan's  (c. 1162 – August 18, 1227)  real name was Temujin which means ironworker. He was named after a Tatar chieftain, Temüjin-üge, whom his father had just captured. Because of his military success people referred to him as Genghis, meaning "Universe ruler".

EARLY LIFE

Temüjin was born in 1162 into a Mongol tribe near Burkhan Khaldun mountain and the Onon and Kherlen Rivers in modern-day Mongolia, not far from the current capital Ulaanbaatar.

Temüjin was born with a blood clot grasped in his fist, a sign that he was destined to become a great leader.

Temujin was the second-oldest son of his father Yesükhei, a minor tribal chief of the Kiyad and an ally of Ong Khan of the Kerait tribe, and the oldest son of his mother Hoelun. Because his father was a chieftain, Temüjin was of a noble background.

When the Chinese Jin Dynasty switched support from the Mongols to the Tatars in 1161, Genghis's father, Yesügei, emerged as the head of the ruling clan of the Mongols. When Yesügei was poisoned, Temüjin who was only 13, became leader.

After his father died,  Genghis Khan and his small family led a life of extreme poverty, eating roots and fish instead of the normal nomad diet of mutton and mare's milk.

Temüjin married Börte of the Onggirat tribe when he was around 16 in order to cement alliances between their respective tribes.  As a dowry, from Borte's family he was given a black sable coat, which he decided to present to Toghril, the powerful ruler of the Kereit, a tribe in central Mongolia. Toghril, who had been an ally of Genghis' father, had taken the young man under his protection and promised his support.

MILITARY CAMPAIGNS

During the 1206 political rise of Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire created by him and his allies shared its western borders with the Western Xia Dynasty of the Tanguts. Genghis organized his people, army, and his state to prepare for war with Western Xia.

Genghis Khan

When they invaded the Chinese Tangut kingdom, the fortifications of Volohai appeared to be too much for the Mongol horsemen. Genghis offered to withdraw from Volohai if he was given 1000 swallows and 1000 cats. The Chinese agreed but the cunning conqueror had other ideas. Instead of withdrawing, Genghis sets them alight and released them. The cats and birds set the city on fire and while the garrison fought the flames, the Mongols breached the walls of Volohai and destroyed it.

In retaliation for the murder of some Mongol traders, Genghis Khan and his followers turned westward, invading the empire of the shah of Kiva, a vast Turkish empire that included Iraq, Iran, and part of Western Turkistan.

Genghis Khan proposed "friendship and peace" with the fellow nomadic Khwarezmian Empire in Persia. The Khwarezmia shah ordered a Mongol trade delegation killed, prompting Khan to invade the empire in 1219. In the ensuing war, lasting less than two years 1.25 million were killed and the Khwarezmid Empire was destroyed.

After the husband of Genghis Khan's daughter was killed at Nishapur in 1221, she or Genghis ordered the death of the entire population of the city. 1,748,000 people were reportedly slaughtered in one hour by Genghis Khan's army.

Genghis Khan was very successful in battle, conquering many other peoples such as the Jin Dynasty and by the early 1220s the pope in Rome was trembling before the relentless advance of Genghis' "devil horsemen."

As he swooped through Asia towards Europe it was said that Genghis Khan was the Antichrist. The Mongol warrior genuinely believed he had a divine mission to conquer the world and had previously proclaimed himself to be an earthly representative of the "Supreme God.” He was religious in a pagan way and was tolerant of other religions.

Battle between Mongol warriors and the Chinese.

As Genghis and his fellow hordes swept westwards one of their dishes was kyrgyz, which tastes like the smell of a cow and carries quite a kick. They didn’t eat fruit or vegetables as they were unwilling to be tied to the land.

Everything Genghis and his fellow Mongols ate came from animals. As a sweet treat he and his horsemen would enjoy mikong, a honey bread.

His cavalry rode female horses. The reason for this became apparent when Genghis and his hardened troops crossed the vast barren Gobi desert, as they were forced to survive by drinking milk and blood from their mares.

Genghis and his men preferred plain living and were content with to live in their Yarts (a circular tent.) After pillaging and sacking an unfortunate city, the Mongols would not settle there but move on to the next one. They were restless nomads at heart.

His system of law respected the environment by outlawing bathing in rivers and requiring soldiers to pick up their trash.

Genghis Khan started the sport of Vlak Tartysh, a kind of wild polo, in order to keep his troops fit. The rules were that around 50 men fought over the possession of a stuffed sheep or goat carcass. The person in possession must carry it around a post and back to a marked circle in the ground before a wild horde of fierce Mongols could prevent them.

He conquered in total approximately 4.8 million square miles, more territory than Alexander The Great, Napoleon, or any other leader achieved. By his death Genghis Khan's empire ranged from the Yellow Sea to the Black Sea to North India.

Genghis Khan entering Beijing.

Genghis Khan killed enough people to cool the earth, 40 million people were killed and vast areas of farmland were reclaimed by forests..

DEATH AND LEGACY

Genghis Khan died in the Liupan Mountains in northwestern China, on August 18, 1227 during the fall of Yinchuan, the capital of Western Xia.

After Genghis 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. Genghis had ordered his burial site to be kept a secret. To this end, his heirs slaughtered anyone who set eyes on his funeral procession. They buried him in an unmarked grave and to this day exact burial site is unknown.

Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, was the first ever emperor of the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) in China.

Around 8% of the men in central Asia are descendants of Genghis Khan. That’s nearly 350 million men with one common ancestor.

Source Food For Thought

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