Genghis Khan dies – HISTORY
Genghis Khan, the Mongolian leader who forged an empire that stretched from China’s east coast west to the Aral Sea, dies in a camp during a campaign against the Chinese kingdom of Xi Xia. The great khan, who was in his 60s and in failing health, may have succumbed to injuries sustained during a fall from a horse the previous year.
Genghis Khan was born Temujin around 1162. His father, a minor Mongol chieftain, died when Temujin was a teenager. Temujin succeeded him, but the tribe did not want to obey such a young chief. Temporarily abandoned, Temujin’s family was left to fend for themselves in the desert steppes.
By his late teens, Temujin had become a feared warrior and charismatic figure who began to gather followers and forge alliances with other Mongol leaders. After his wife was kidnapped by a rival tribe, Temujin organized a military force to defeat the tribe. he succeeded, then turned against other clans and tribes and set out to unite the Mongols by force. many warriors came willingly to his side, but those who did not were defeated and then offered the choice of obedience or death. the nobility of the conquered tribes were generally executed. In 1206, Temujin was the leader of a large Mongol confederation and was given the title of Genghis Khan, which translates to “Oceanic Ruler” or “Universal Ruler.”
khan promulgated a code of conduct and organized his armies into a system of 10: 10 men per squad, 10 squads per company, 10 companies per regiment, and 10 regiments per “tumen”, a fearsome military unit made up of 10,000 soldiers from chivalry. Due to their nomadic nature, the Mongols were able to raise many more horses than sedentary civilizations, who could not afford to sacrifice farmland for large breeding pastures. all of the khan’s warriors were mounted, and half of any army consisted of armored soldiers wielding swords and spears. light cavalry archers took up most of the remaining ranks. The khan’s family and other trusted clan members led these highly mobile armies, and by 1209 the Mongols were on the move against China.
Using an extensive network of spies and scouts, the Khan detected a weakness in his enemies’ defenses and then attacked the point with up to 250,000 cavalrymen at a time. When attacking large cities, the Mongols used sophisticated siege equipment such as catapults and mangonels, and even diverted rivers to flood the enemy. most armies and cities collapsed under the overwhelming show of force, and the massacres that followed the Mongol victory wiped out thoughts of further resistance. Those who survived, and millions did not, gained religious freedom and protection within the rapidly growing Mongol empire. By 1227, the Khan had conquered much of Central Asia and had made inroads into Eastern Europe, Persia, and India. His vast empire stretched from central Russia to the Aral Sea in the west, and from northern China to Beijing in the east.
On August 18, 1227, while putting down a revolt in the Xi Xia kingdom, Genghis Khan died. on his deathbed, he ordered xi xia to be wiped off the face of the earth. obedient as ever, the khan’s successors laid waste to entire cities and towns, killing or enslaving all their inhabitants. Obeying his order to keep his death a secret, Genghis’s heirs massacred anyone who laid eyes on his funeral procession returning to Karakorum, the capital of the Mongol empire. still bringing death as he had in life, many were slain before his corpse was buried in a nameless grave. The final resting place of him remains a mystery.
The Mongol Empire continued to grow after Genghis Khan’s death, eventually encompassing most of habitable Eurasia. The empire disintegrated in the 14th century, but the rulers of many Asian states claimed descent from Genghis Khan and their captains.
read more: 10 things you may not know about genghis khan