Who was Genghis Khan? (January 21, 1155) was born at the beginning of the year of the pig according to the Turkish calendar in Deli-ün Boldok, located on the right bank of the Onon River, which today runs through the territory of Eastern Siberia. His father was Yesugay Bahadir, the chief of the Mongols, and his mother was Houlen Ece. Yesugay named his son after Timuchin (blacksmith), the chief of a Tatar tribe he had defeated and captured before his birth.
Genghis Khan, whose birth name was Temüjin, was a legendary figure in history and the founder and leader of the Mongol Empire. Here is an overview of who he was and what he accomplished for the Mongols:
Early Life and Rise to Power:
- Temüjin was born in the 12th century, around 1162, into a Mongol tribe in what is now modern-day Mongolia.
- His early life was marked by hardship and conflict, as his family faced poverty and persecution after the murder of his father.
- Despite these challenges, Temüjin displayed exceptional leadership skills and charisma, which helped him unite various Mongol tribes and clans under his leadership.
Formation of the Mongol Empire:
- Genghis Khan’s most significant achievement was the unification of the Mongol tribes into a powerful and disciplined military force. He accomplished this through diplomacy, alliances, and military conquests.
- In 1206, a council of Mongol leaders proclaimed him “Genghis Khan,” which means “Universal Ruler” or “Oceanic Leader,” signifying his leadership over all Mongols.
- Genghis Khan embarked on a campaign of territorial expansion, which would eventually lead to the creation of one of the largest land empires in history, the Mongol Empire.
- Genghis Khan was a brilliant military strategist and tactician. He reorganized the Mongol military, emphasizing mobility, communication, and discipline.
- His conquests extended across Asia and Europe, including parts of China, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
- Genghis Khan’s armies were known for their speed and adaptability, utilizing cavalry, archery, and psychological warfare to achieve victory.
Innovations and Legacy:
- Genghis Khan implemented administrative and legal reforms within his empire. He established a code of laws known as the Yassa, which helped govern the Mongol society and promote stability.
- He encouraged trade and communication along the Silk Road, which facilitated cultural exchange and economic growth.
- Genghis Khan’s legacy had a profound impact on world history. His empire’s conquests connected the East and West, contributing to the exchange of ideas, technologies, and cultures.
Death and Succession:
- Genghis Khan died in 1227, possibly in battle or from injuries sustained in battle.
- Before his death, he divided his empire among his sons and grandsons, with his eldest son, Ögedei, succeeding him as the Great Khan.
- Genghis Khan’s descendants, often referred to as the “Great Khans,” continued to expand the Mongol Empire, with each generation ruling over vast territories.
Overall, Genghis Khan’s leadership and military prowess played a pivotal role in the rise of the Mongol Empire, which had a lasting impact on the course of world history, shaping Eurasian politics, trade, and culture for centuries to come. While his methods of conquest were often brutal, his achievements in uniting the Mongol tribes and expanding their influence are undeniable.
How do Mongolians view Genghis Khan?
Genghis Khan holds a complex and revered place in the hearts and minds of Mongolians. Here are some key aspects of how Mongolians generally view Genghis Khan:
- National Hero and Founding Father: Genghis Khan is considered the father of the Mongolian nation. He is celebrated as a unifying figure who brought together disparate Mongol tribes and clans into a single, powerful entity—the Mongol Empire. Mongolians take great pride in his achievements as a leader and warrior.
- Symbol of Strength and Resilience: Genghis Khan’s life story, which includes overcoming adversity and rising from a humble background, resonates with many Mongolians. He is seen as a symbol of strength, resilience, and the ability to overcome challenges.
- Cultural and Historical Legacy: Genghis Khan’s legacy extends beyond his military conquests. He is credited with laying the foundation for Mongolian culture, including its language, legal system (the Yassa), and administrative structure. His impact on Mongolian society and identity is profound.
- Mongol Identity: Genghis Khan played a crucial role in shaping the Mongol identity. His leadership and the expansion of the Mongol Empire contributed to a sense of shared heritage and pride among Mongolians.
- Positive and Negative Aspects: While many Mongolians view Genghis Khan in a positive light, it’s important to note that his legacy is complex. His military campaigns and conquests were often brutal, resulting in the loss of many lives and the destruction of civilizations. Some view this aspect of his legacy with mixed feelings.
- Cultural Celebrations: In Mongolia, there are annual celebrations and holidays dedicated to Genghis Khan’s memory. Naadam, a traditional festival featuring sports such as wrestling, horse racing, and archery, often includes ceremonies and events that pay homage to Genghis Khan.
- Tourist Attraction: Genghis Khan’s historical sites, including his birthplace in Delüün Boldog, have become popular tourist attractions in Mongolia. These sites draw both Mongolian and international visitors interested in learning more about his life and legacy.
- Inspiration for Art and Literature: Genghis Khan’s life and achievements continue to inspire art, literature, music, and other forms of creative expression in Mongolia. His story is a frequent subject in Mongolian folklore and literature.
In summary, Genghis Khan is highly regarded by many Mongolians as a national hero and the founder of their nation. His legacy is celebrated in various ways, and he is seen as a symbol of Mongolian unity, strength, and cultural identity. However, the view of Genghis Khan can vary among individuals and communities, and his historical impact, including the consequences of his conquests, is a topic of ongoing discussion and reflection in Mongolia.
Why is Genghis Khan a hero in Mongolia?
Timuçin lost his father at the age of thirteen. Thereupon, his family was abandoned by the tribes that followed his father, left alone and subjected to constant oppression. Even Börte-Fuçin, to whom he was betrothed before his father’s death, was captured by the Merkits and presented as a gift to the Kerayit ruler Ong Khan (Tugrul). Ong Khan sent Börte-Fuçin back to Timuçin because he was an ally of Yesügay Bahadır. This troubled period, during which Timuchin and his family made a living by fishing and hunting, lasted for twenty-seven years. During this time, Timuchin fought against the Tayjiyuts, Merkits and some other tribes, gaining political, administrative and military experience and qualifications. In 1195, many tribes joined Timuçin. In 1197, he marched against the Merkits and defeated them and had the Merkit leader Tokta-Beki killed. In 1199, together with Ong Khan, he defeated Buyruk Khan, the Nayman Khan, at Kishil-Bash. In 1200, Timuçin marched with Ong Khan against the tribes who had made an agreement with the Tayciyuts. He defeated them and subjugated them. In the same year, when the Tayjiyuts, Katagins and Dörmen tried to regroup, Ong Khan and Timuçin marched against them again and defeated them.
In 1201, Enkiras, Kurilas, Dörmen, Tatar, Katagin and Salciyut tribes, who were Timuçin’s enemies, united and proclaimed Camoha (Camuka) Seçen from Cacirat province as the great khan. Timuçin then marched against them. Camoha and his allied forces were defeated in the battle. After this war, Kongirat tribe came to Timuchin and declared their loyalty. In 1202, Timuchin made a great campaign against the Tatar province and dealt a heavy blow to his enemies. In the same year, seeing that the Naymans were recovering again, he marched against them together with Ong Khan. Camoha-Sechen, who was proclaimed as the great khan, Ong Khan and his son Senggun plotted to assassinate Timuchin in 1203. However, Timuchin, who had heard about it in advance, sacked Ong Khan’s homeland and the Kerayit country with a sudden raid. Ong Khan and his son fled. Later Ong Khan and Senggun were joined by some others, especially Salciyuts, but Timuçin marched on them and dispersed them. In 1204, Ongut ruler Alakush Tigin sent news to Timuchin that Nayman ruler Tayang Khan had made a treaty with Merkit ruler Kutuku and that tribes such as Katagin and Salciyut had joined them. Timuçin quickly completed his preparations, raided the allied forces in their homeland and dispersed them. After this victory, in 1205, he made his first expedition to Tangut province and plundered the cities of this country.
In 1206, Timuchin gathered all the steppe rulers under his rule, including Nayman Tayang Khan, Ong Khan and Kutuku-Beki. At the Kurultai held on the banks of the Onon River in the same year, he had a nine-piece white tunic erected; at the end of the Kurultai, he was proclaimed kagan with the title “Genghis” (ruler of the world, son of the heavens, powerful, excellent warrior) and became the greatest ruler of all steppe tribes. In 1207, he made a second expedition against the Tanguts and returned with many spoils. In the same year, he sent an envoy delegation to the Kyrgyz ruler and asked him to follow him. The Kyrgyz ruler also sent a white-colored falcon and declared his allegiance. In the winter of 1208, when Nayman ruler Tayang Khan’s son Güçlüg allied with the Merkits, Genghis Khan took action and defeated them; the Merkit ruler died, his brothers and children fled to the Uighur country. Nayman Güçlüg, on the other hand, sought refuge further west with the Qarakhitay ruler Gur Khan. But Güçlüg did not rest easy here either; he killed Gur Khan and took control of his country. The following year, Uighur Idikutu declared his allegiance to Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan marched on the Tanguts at the end of 1210. Tangut ruler Shidurhu gave his daughter to Genghis Khan and pledged his allegiance. The following year Karluk Arslan Khan declared his allegiance to Genghis Khan.
Genghis Khan’s Birth and Death Date; He was born in Mongolia in 1162. In 1183, he entered the service of Tugrul Khan, the ruler of Kerait. In 1204 he defeated the Naymans at the Battle of Chakirmaut. In 1206 he was proclaimed as a king with the title of Genghis. He captured Bukhara in 1220. He died in 1227 in Northwest China.
The Life of Genghis Khan
Empire of Genghis Khan (Turko-Mongol Empire) The real name of Genghis Khan, the founder of the empire, is Temujin. Born in 1155, Temujin lost his father Yesügey Bahadır at an early age. Gradually gathering his tribe, Temuçin entered the service of the Kirayit ruler Tugrul Khan and defeated his enemy Camoka (1201). However, Camoka, who took refuge in Tugrul Khan, drove a wedge between Tugrul Khan and Temuçin. In the resulting war, Temujin defeated the Kirayites and killed the ruler. He then marched on another Mongol tribe, the Naymans, and took them under his sovereignty. After these successes, the assembly convened in 1206 gave him the title of Genghis.
Taking the Karluk and Uighur Turks under his sovereignty, Genghis Khan started to prepare for the Chinese campaign. At this time, the Qin Dynasty was dominant in China. Genghis Khan, who accepted China’s tax demand as an insult, crossed the Great Wall and invaded China in four columns. Taking Beijing, the Mongol armies burned and destroyed all the way to the China Sea (1216). Genghis Khan, who took all the riches of China with him during his return to Karakorum, later put an end to the Karaktaylar State. Genghis Khan, who was afraid of the power of the Khwarezmshahs in the west, initially made a treaty and established friendship with this state. However, this friendship broke down in a short time because the Khwarezmshahs were not far-sighted. A rich Mongol caravan coming from Karakorum was seized by the Khwarezmshahs’ governor of Otrar, their goods were seized and the merchants were killed by order of Khwarezmshah Alaaddin. The Mongols sent an embassy delegation to protest this. This time, the Sultan of Khwarezmshah had the head of this embassy killed and had the beards of the other members of the embassy cut off. In the face of these insults, Genghis Khan marched to Khwarezm with a large army. The Khwarezmshah Sultan Alaaddin Muhammad suffered a heavy defeat against Genghis Khan and lost his country. His son, Jalaluddin Khwarezmshah, gathered an army near the Indus against the Mongols, but he too could not hold on and left the country and came to the interior of Iran and then to Eastern Anatolia. Genghis Khan, who conquered the Kipchak steppe and a large part of Iran, died in 1227.
After Genghis Khan, according to his will, the Kurultai elected Ögedey as the head of the Genghis Empire. After Ögedey, Küyük, Mengü and Kublai kagans came to power. During this period, the Genghis Empire conquered the entire Eurasian continent from the China Sea to the Baltic Sea. Kublai Khan did not leave his center in China. With Kublai Khan, the empire was divided into four parts and separate states emerged.
It was founded by Kublai Khan with Beijing as the capital. In Chinese history, this dynasty is called Yüen Lineage and they dominated China until 1369.
At the beginning of the XIV century, this state was established with the Khaganate of Duva, a descendant of Chagatai. Near the Timur period, the Khans lost their authority. The emirs under them administered the state on behalf of the Khans.
It was founded by Hülegü Khan. In 1258, Hülegü conquered Baghdad and destroyed the Abbasid Caliphate, and in the meantime, he completely eliminated the Batinite sect. The Ilkhanids, who accepted Islam during the reign of Ghazan Khan, weakened towards the middle of the XIVth century. States such as Çobanoğulları, Celâyiroğulları and Muzafferoğulları were established in the Ilkhanid lands respectively.
Golden Horde Khanate
Founded by Batu Khan (1236-1255), the son of Cuci, this state accepted Islam during the reign of Berke Khan. Islam completely settled in the whole Golden Horde during the reign of Uzbek Khan (1312-1340). Toktamish Khan (1391-1398), who initially came to power with the help of Timur, later fell out with Timur. After Toktamish Khan lost the war, the state disintegrated and was divided into various Khanates.