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Genghis Khan

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Temujin was born in 1162, near Lake Baikal and Khaldun Mountain in present day Mongolia. He was born into the Mongol society. He was the son of Yesukai, his father who was a Mongol chief of a region between the Amur River and the Great Wall of China, and Ho’elun, his mother. Temüjin began his gradual ascension to power by offering himself as a holder of land by feudal tenure on conditions of homage and allegiance*, or a vassal, to his father’s anda, sworn brother, Toghrul, who was khan, or lord, of the Kerait. Their relationship was reinforced when Temujin’s wife, Borte, was captured by the Merkits. Temüjin turned to Toghrul for support. Without hesitation, Toghrul offered Temujin twenty thousand Kerait warriors to his disposal. The campaign against the Merkits was completely successful and Temujin was reunited with his unscathed lover, Borte. Toghrul’s son, Senggum was jealous of Temujin’s early power and planned to assassinate him. Even though he had been saved countless times by Temujin, Toghrul gave in to his son’s churlish antics. Immediately after the news of Senggum’s intentions reached Temujin, Temujin sent out and defeated Senggum and his loyalists.

Toghrul refused to give Temujin his daughter to Temujin’s oldest son, Jochi. In Mongol culture, this showed great disrespect, thus, was a spark to the conflict that occurred soon after. The two factions split and war was underway. Toghrul allied himself with Jamuka, Temujin’s blood brother. Internal complication between Toghrul and Jamuka, and desertion of Toghrul’s forces led to his own defeat. Temujin made sure that this meant total defeat and extinction of the Kerait tribe. Temujin’s next direct threat was Jamuka who had retreated to the Naimans. However, soon a group of sheperds captured Jamuka and turned him into Temujin. Under request, Jamuka had a bloodless death, his back was broken. Temujin was given the name “Genghis Khan” by the after he united the Merkits, Naimans, Mongols, Keraits, and other desperate smaller tribes under his rule through his charisma and dedication. Unification of all of the diverse tribes established mutual peace throughout all tribes.

This act also drastically increased the Mongol population to 200,000 people including civilians and 70,000 soldiers. This event marked one of the most successful events in Mongol history. The Mongols had several different war campaigns including: First war with Western Xia, Conquest of the Kara-Khitan Khanate, Invasion of Khwarezmid Empire, Attacks on Georgia and Volga Bulgaria, Second war with Western Xia and Jin Dynasty. The First war with Western Xia was against the Xia Dynasty because they were not powerful nor allies with the Jin dynasty. The Jurchen also were not fond of the Mongols. For instance, the Jurchen executed Mongol Khans. Moments after the Jurchen defeat, the Mongols pushed the Jin dynasty back passed the Great Wall of China and conquered the capital, Beijing. This forced the Jin dynasty to make their capital to Kaifeng. The Conquest of the Kara-Khitan Khanate was “fought” against Kuchlug, the khan of the Naiman confederation.

He fled west to the Khanate of Kara-Khitan, western allies of Genghis. Tired from a decade of campaigning in China, Genghis sent ONLY 20,000 soldiers to search for and destroy Kuchlug and his loyalists. Kuchlug’s forces were defeated west of Kashgar. Kuchlug fled, but was soon hunted down by Jebe, Mongol general, and executed. Soon after, Kara-Khitan was annexed by Genghis Khan. “By 1218, the Mongol Empire extended as far west as Lake Balkhash and it adjoined Khwarezmia, a Muslim state that reached to the Caspian Sea in the west and to the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea in the south.”** War against Tangut and Jin Dynasty.

The Mongol Empire campaigned against the Tanguts six times. While Genghis was in the middle of a campaign in Persia against the Khwarezmids, Tangut and Jin met and formed an alliance against the Mongols. In preparation, Genghis readied his troops for the last war against the Tanguts and the Jin Dynasty. Genghis attacked in 1226, taking the cities of Heisui, Ganzhou, and Suzhou in February. Then in fall of the same year, he took Xiliand-fu. In a brave attempt for a small success, a Tangut general challenged the Mongols near Helanshan, but was defeated without causing a delay in the Mongol conquest. It is said that Genghis saw a line of 5 stars arranged in the sky in what he saw as his “omen” of victory. In 1227, Genghis conquered the Tangut capital and continued to prosper in battle. After conquering Deshun, Genghis trekked to Liupanshan to escape the severe summer. The Tanguts officially surrendered in 1227, after having ruled for 189 years. However, Genghis was tired of the Tangut constant betrayal, so he executed the emperor and his famiy.


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