Warm, Wet Times Spurred Medieval Mongol Rise

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Warm, Wet Times Spurred Medieval Mongol Rise

Genghis Khan—and his army of men on horseback—benefitted from boom in grasslands

March 10, 2014

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/warm-wet-times-spurred-medieval-mongol-rise-180950030/#56dO8z0vhlqbAczx.99
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Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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Genghis Khan invades Beijing

Genghis Khan attacked and captured the Jin capital of Zhongdu (now Beijing, China) in 1215, in one of many campaigns that expanded the Mongol Empire. (Sayf al-Vâhidî, Wikimedia Commons)

Moongolia, with the lowest population density of any country in the world—about 2 people per square kilometer—would appear an unlikely birthplace for the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world. Today’s inhabitants (which number fewer than three million in a country the size of California, Texas, Montana and West Virginia combined) are largely dependent on livestock production for their livelihoods. Much of the population practices a form of nomadic pastoralism in which herders follow their animals.

But in the early 1200s, Genghis Khan united the Mongol tribes and began invading neighbors in all directions. The Mongol Empire continued to grow after his death, led by the mighty leader’s sons and grandsons, who pushed their armies into regions as far as eastern Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Korea.

This great empire was made possible not by brilliant leadership alone, but by a 15-year period of abnormal moisture and warmth in central Mongolia in the early 1200s, according to Neil Pederson of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and colleagues, who report their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A brief change in the local climate, they say, was key in the rise of the Mongols.

The research team was able to reconstruct the climate of central Mongolia from tree rings—relying on how the width of the concentric circles changes annually and reflects the yearly trend in temperature and moisture. Two of the researchers had discovered a stand of ancient Siberian pines growing out of the cracks in an old lava field in the Khangai Mountains of Central Mongolia. They took cross-sections of dead trees and cores of living ones. They calibrated the width of the rings with instrumental climate data collected from 1959 to 2009 and created a key that let them determine weather going back 1,112 years.

The tree rings reflected several global-scale climate events, such as the Little Ice Age and the beginning of the Anthropocene. But the researchers could also see important local climatic changes.

From 1180 to 1190, Central Mongolia experienced an intense drought that probably contributed to the political instability of that time. Established patterns of leadership were disrupted, and the region saw continuous warfare. “The worsening dry conditions…would have been an important contributing factor in the collapse of the established order and emergence of a centralized leadership under [Genghis] Khan,” the researchers write.

In 1211, Central Mongolia then entered its most unusual period in the millennium-long record: a 15-year stretch that was warm and, more importantly, incredibly wet. Those conditions would have provided a surplus of grass for both the horses for the Mongol army—each trooper would bring three to five horses so that he always had a fresh ride—and the livestock that followed the army to keep the warriors fed.

Without an increase in productivity, the pastoralism practiced in this region of the world would not have provided enough surplus resources for such efforts. All the resources available would have had to be devoted to keeping people alive, as they largely are now. Genghis Khan may have been a great leader, but without the warm, wet years to give the region a boost, he wouldn’t have had the resources for building a strong government and large army. The world may have been a very different place.

The Mongol Empire split into four smaller empires in 1260, and each of these continued to expand into the 14th century, eventually failing due to internal disputes. The legacy of the great empire, however, lives on, perhaps most notably in human DNA: Sixteen million men across the former Mongol Empire share an identical Y chromosome, the likely legacy of a former pillager, perhaps the Great Khan himself.

The current occupants of Mongolia, though, are now dealing with a period of much harsher climate than what was experienced in the early 1200s. The region suffered a drought from 2002 to 2009, which, the tree rings reveal, was as bad in length and lack of precipitation as what was seen in the 1180s and hotter than anything in the 1,112-year record.

A new invasion has taken place, but one far different than what Genghis Khan led: People from rural areas are flooding into Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. Unusually cold and long winter of 2009 to 2010 killed at least 8 million animals, about 17 percent of the nation’s herd. Many herders lost their livelihoods and nearly half a million migrated to Ulaanbaatar in search of jobs. Weather, it seems, can make invaders of us in one way or another.

Khubilai Khan of Mongol

Kublai Khan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the Mongolian emperor. For other uses, see Kublai Khan (disambiguation).

Khagan of the Mongol Empire
Founder of the
Yuan Dynasty
Emperor of China

Portrait of Kublai Khan during the era of theGreat Yuan.

Reign May 5, 1260 – February 18, 1294
Coronation May 5, 1260
Titles Zhongtong (中統) 1260–1264
Zhiyuan (至元) 1264–1294
Setsen Khan (Цэцэн хаан)
Temple name: Shizu (世祖)
Posthumous name: Emperor Shengde
Shengong Wenwu
Born 23 September 1215
Died 18 February 1294(aged 78–79)
Place of death Dadu (Khanbalic)
Buried Burkhan KhaldunKhentii province
Predecessor Mongke Khan
Successor Temur Khan
Consort Chabi
Consort Tegulen
Wife Nambui
Royal House Borjigin
Mongolian: Боржигин
Royal anthem There is only god in heaven and only one lord Chingis khaan on earth.
Father Tolui
Mother Sorghaghtani Beki

Kublai (or KhubilaiKhan (Mongolian: Хубилай хаан; Chinese: 忽必烈; pinyinHūbìliè) (September 23, 1215[1] – February 18, 1294[2]) was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in East Asia. As the second son of Tolui and Sorghaghtani Beki and a grandson of Genghis Khan, he claimed the title of Khagan of the Ikh Mongol Uls (Mongol Empire) in 1260 after the death of his older brother Möngke in the previous year, though his younger brother Ariq Böke was also given this title in the Mongolian capital at Karakorum. He eventually won the battle against Ariq Böke in 1264, and the succession war essentially marked the beginning of disunity in the empire.[3] Kublai’s real power was limited to China and Mongolia after the victory over Ariq Böke, though his influence still remained in the Ilkhanate, and to a lesser degree, in the Golden Horde, in the western parts of the Mongol Empire.[4][5][6] His realm reached from the Pacific to the Urals, from Siberia to Afghanistan – one fifth of the world’s inhabited land area.[7]

In 1271, Kublai established the Yuan Dynasty, which at that time ruled over present-dayMongoliaTibetEastern TurkestanNorth China, much of Western China, and some adjacent areas, and assumed the role of Emperor of China. By 1279, the Yuan forces had successfully annihilated the last resistance of the Southern Song Dynasty, and Kublai thus became the first non-Chinese Emperor who conquered all China. He was the only Mongol khan after 1260 to win new great conquests.[8]

As the Mongol Emperor who welcomed Marco Polo to China, Kublai Khan became a legend in Europe.[8]

Early years

Kublai (b. 23 Sep. 1215) was the second son of Tolui and Sorghaghtani Beki. As his grandfather Genghis Khan advised, Sorghaghtani chose as her son’s nurse a BuddhistTangut woman whom Kublai later honored highly.

On his way back home after the conquest of Khwarizmian Empire, Genghis Khan performed the ceremony on his grandsons Mongke and Kublai after their first hunting in 1224 near the Ili River.[9] Kublai was nine years old and with his eldest brother killed a rabbit and an antelope. His grandfather smeared fat from killed animals onto Kublai’s middle finger following the Mongol tradition.

After the Mongol-Jin War, in 1236, Ogedei gave Hebei Province (attached with 80,000 households) to the family of Tolui who died in 1232. Kublai received an estate of his own and 10,000 households there. Because he was inexperienced, Kublai allowed local officials free rein. Corruption amongst his officials and aggressive taxation caused the flight of large numbers of Chinese peasants, which in turn led to a decline in tax revenues. Kublai quickly came to his appanage in Hebei and ordered reforms. Sorghaghtani sent new officials to help him and tax laws were revised. Thanks to those efforts, people returned to their old homes.

The most prominent, and arguably influential component of Kublai Khan’s early life was his study and strong attraction to contemporaryChinese culture. Kublai invited Haiyun, the leading Buddhist monk in North China, to his ordo in Mongolia. When he met Haiyun in Karakorum in 1242, Kublai asked him about the philosophy of Buddhism. Haiyun named Kublai’s son, Zhenjin (True Gold in Chinese language), who was born in 1243.[10] Haiyun also introduced Kublai the former Taoist and now Buddhist monk, Liu Bingzhong. Liu was apaintercalligrapher, poet and mathematician, and became Kublai’s advisor when Haiyun returned to run his temple in modernBeijing.[11] Kublai soon added the Shanxi scholar Zhao Bi to his entourage. Kublai employed other nationalities as well, for he was keen to balance local and imperial interests, Mongol and Turk.

Khagan’s viceroy in North China

File:Qubilai Setsen Khaan.JPG

Portrait of young Kublai

In 1251, his eldest brother Möngke became Khan of the Mongol Empire, and KhwarizmianMahmud Yalavach and Kublai were sent to China. Kublai received the viceroyalty over North China and moved his ordo to central Inner Mongolia. During his years as viceroy, Kublai managed his territory well, boosting the agricultural output of Henan and increasing social welfare spendings after receiving Xi’an. These acts received great acclaim from the Chinese warlords and were essential to the building of the Yuan Dynasty. In 1252 Kublai criticized Mahmud Yalavach, who never stood high in the valuation of his Chinese associates, over his cavalier execution of suspects during a judicial view and Zhao Bi attacked him for his presumptuous attitude toward the throne. With Chinese Confucian-trained officials’ resistance, Mongke dismissed Mahmud Yalavach.[12]

In 1253, Kublai was ordered to attack Yunnan, and he asked the Kingdom of Dali to submit. The ruling faimly, Gao, resisted and murdered Mongol envoys. The Mongols divided their forces into three. One wing rode eastward into the Sichuan basin. The second column under Subotai’s son Uryankhadai took a difficult way into the mountains of western Sichuan.[13]Kublai himself headed south over the grasslands, meeting up with the first column. While Uryankhadai galloping in along the lakeside from the north, Kublai took the capital city of Daliand spared the residents despite the slaying of his ambassadors. The Mongols appointed King Duan Xingzhi as local ruler and stationed a pacification commissioner there.[14] After Kublai’s departure, unrest broke out among the Black jang. By 1256, Uryankhadai had completely pacified Yunnan.

Kublai was attracted by the abilities of Tibetan monks as healers. In 1253 he made Phagspa lama of the Sakya order member of his entourage. Phagspa bestowed on Kublai and his wife, Chabi (Chabui), a Tantric Buddhist initiation. Kublai appointed Uyghur Lian Xixian (1231–1280) to head his Pacification Commission in 1254. Some officials who were jealous of Kublai’s success muttered that he was getting above himself, dreaming of his own empire by rivalling Mongke’s capital Karakorum (Хархорум). The Great Khan Mongke sent 2 tax inspectors, Alamdar (Ariq Böke’s close friend and governor in North China) and Liu Taiping, to audit Kublai’s officials in 1257. They found fault, listed 142 breaches of regulations, accused Chinese officials, even had some executed and Kublai’s new Pacification Commission was abolished.[15] Kublai sent a two-man embassy with his wives and then in person appealed to Mongke as brother to brother. Mongke publicly forgave his younger brother and reconciled with him.

The Taoists had exploited their wealth and status by seizing Buddhist temples. Mongke demanded that the Taoists cease their denigration of Buddhism repeatedly and ordered Kublai to end the clerical strife between the Taoists and Buddhists in his territory.[16]Kublai called a conference of Taoist and Buddhist leaders in early 1258. At the conference, the Taoist claim was officially declared refuted and Kublai forcibly converted their 237 temples to Buddhism and destroyed all copies of the fraudulent texts.[17][18][19][20]

In 1258, Möngke put Kublai in command of the Eastern Army and summoned him to assist with attack on Sichuan. Already suffering from gout, Kublai was allowed to stay, however, he moved to assist his brother, Mongke. Before Kublai could arrive in 1259, word reached him that Möngke had died. Kublai decided to keep the death of his brother a secret and continued to attack Wuhan, nearYangtze. While his force was besieging WuchangSubotai‘s son Uryankhadai joined him.

Enthronement and civil war

File:Mongol Empire in 1259.JPG

The Mongol Empire in 1259-60

The Song minister Jia Sidao made a secret approach to Kublai to propose terms and asked whether the Song paid an annual tribute of 200,000 taels of silver and 200,000 bolts of silk, in exchange for the Mongols agreeing that the Yangtze should be the frontier between the states.[21] Kublai first declined but reached a peace agreement with Jia Sidao and returned north to the Mongolian plains because he learned in a message from his wife that Ariq Böke had been raising troops.[22]

He soon received news that his younger brother Ariq Böke had held a kurultai at the Mongolian imperial capital of Karakorum and was pronounced Great Khan by Mongke’s old officials. Most of Genghis Khan’s descendants favored Ariq Böke as Great Khan; however, his two brothers Kublai and Hulegu were in opposition. Kublai’s Chinese staff encouraged him to ascend the throne, and virtually all the senior princes in North China and Manchuriasupported his candidacy.[23] Upon returning to his own territories, Kublai summoned a kurultai of his own. Only a small number of the royal family supported Kublai’s claims to the title, though the small number of attendees, included representatives of all the Borjigin lines except that of Jochi, still proclaimed him Great Khan, on April 15, 1260, despite his younger brother Ariq Böke’s apparently legal claim.

File:Kublai's enthronement.JPG

Kublai was chosen by his supporters except the Golden Horde at the kurultai in 1260

This subsequently led to warfare between Kublai and his younger brother Ariq Böke, which resulted in the eventual destruction of the Mongolian capital at Karakorum. In Shaanxi and Sichuan, Mongke’s army supported Ariq Böke. Kublai dispatched Lian Xixian to Shaanxi and Sichuan where they executed Ariq Böke’s civil administrator Liu Taiping and won over several wavering generals.[24] To secure his southern front, Kublai did try for a diplomatic solution by sending envoys to Hangzhou, but Jia broke his promise and arrested them.[25] Kublai sent Abishqa as new khan to the Chagatai Khanate. Ariq Böke captured Abishqa, two other princes and 100 men and had his own man, Alghu, crowned khan of Chagatai‘s territory. Then came the first armed clash between Ariq Böke and Kublai. Ariq Böke was lost and his commander Alamdar was killed at the battle. In revenge, Ariq Böke had Abishqa executed. Kublai closed the food supply to Karakorum with the support of his cousin Khadan, son of Ogedei Khan. Karakorum fell quickly to Kublai’s large army, but in 1261 Ariq Böke temporarily took it again after Kublai’s departure. During the war with Ariq Böke, Yizhou governor Li Tan revolted against Mongol rule in February 1262. Hearing this, Kublai ordered his Chancellor Shi Tianze and Shi Shu to take the offense against Li Tan. These two armies crushed Li Tan’s revolt in a few months and Li Tan was executed. Execution was also the fate of Wang Wentong, who was the father-in-law of Li Tan and had been appointed the Chief Administrator of the Zhongshusheng, “Department of Central Governing”) early in Kublai’s reign and became one of the most trusted Han Chinese officials of Kublai. This incident instilled in him a strong distrust of ethnic Hans. After he became emperor, Kublai began to ban the titles of and tithes to Han Chinese warlords.

The Chagatayid Khan Alghu declared his allegiance to Kublai Khan and defeated a punitive expedition sent by Ariq Böke against him in 1262. Ilkhan Hulegu also sided with Kublai and criticized Ariq Böke. Ariq Böke surrendered to Kublai at Xanadu on August 21, 1264. The rulers of western khanates acknowledged the reality of Kublai’s victory and rule in Mongolia.[26] When Kublai summoned them to organize another kurultai, Alghu Khan demanded security for his illegal position from Kublai in return. Despite tensions between them, both Hulegu and Berke, khan of the Ulus of Jochi (Golden Horde), accepted Kublai’s invitation at first.[27][28] However, they soon declined to attend the new kurultai. Although, Kublai pardoned his younger brother, he executed Ariq Böke’s chief supporters.


Great Khan of the Mongol Empire

The Mongol Empire in 1294. Mongol vassals are indicated in grey, except for Central Europe.


Archibishop John of Cilician Armenia, in a painting from 1287. His dress displays aChinese dragon, an indication of the thriving exchanges with the Mongols during the period.

Suspicious deaths of 3 Jochid princes in Hulegu’s service, the sack of Baghdad, and unequal distribution of war booties strained the Ilkhanate’s relations with the Golden Horde. In 1262, Hulegu’s complete purge of the Jochid troops, and support for Kublai in his conflict with Ariq Böke brought open war with the Golden Horde. Khagan Kublai reinforced Hulegu with 30,000 young Mongols in order to stabilize the political crises in western regions of the Mongol Empire.[29] As soon as Hulegu died on 8 February 1264,Berke marched to cross near Tiflis to conquer the Ilkhanate, but he died on the way. Within a few months of these deaths, Alghu Khan of the Chagatai Khanate died too.In the new official version of the family history, Kublai Khan refused to write Berke’s name as the khan of the Golden Horde for his support to Ariq Böke and wars with Hulegu, however, Jochi’s family was fully recognized as legitimate family members.[30]

Kublai named Abagha as the new Ilkhan and nominated Batu’s grandson Mongke Temurfor the throne of Sarai, the capital of the Golden Horde.[31][32] The Kublaids in the east retained suzerainty over the Ilkhans (obedient khans) until the end of its regime.[33][34] Kublai also sent his protege Baraq to overthrow the court of Oirat Orghana, the empress of the Chagatai Khanate, who put her young son Mubarak Shah on the throne in 1265, without Kublai’s permission after her husband’s death. Ogedeid prince Kaidu declined to personally come to the court of Kublai. Kublai instigated Baraq to attack him. Baraq began to expand his realm northward, fighting Kaidu and the Jochids after he seized power in 1266. He also pushed out Great Khan’s overseer from Tarim basin. When Kaidu and Mongke Timur defeated him together, Baraq joined an alliance with the House of Ogedei and the Golden Horde against Kublai in the east and Abagha in the west. But smart Mongke Temur stayed out of any direct military expedition against theEmpire of the Great Khan. The armies of Mongol Persia defeated Baraq’s invading forces in 1269. When Baraq died the next year, Kaidu took the control over the Chagatai Khanate.

Meanwhile, Kublai stabilized the Mongol rule in Korea by mobilizing for another Mongol invasion after he appointed Wonjong (r. 1260-1274) as the new Goryeo king in 1259 in Kanghwa. He forced two rulers of the Golden Horde and the Ilkhanate to call a truce with each other in 1270 despite the Golden Horde’s interests in the Middle East and Caucasia.[35] He called 2 Iraqi siege engineers from the Ilkhanate in order to destroy the fortresses of the Song China. After the fall of Xiangyang in 1273, Kublai’s commanders, Aju and Liu Zheng, proposed to him a final campaign of annihilation against the Song Dynasty, and Kublai made Bayan the supreme commander.[36] Therefore, Kublai ordered Mongke Temur to revise the second census of the Golden Horde to provide sources and men for his conquest of China.[37] The census took place in all parts of the Golden Horde, including Smolensk and Vitebsk in 1274-75. The Khans also sent Nogai to Balkan to strengthen Mongol influence there.[38]

As the Great Khan Kublai renamed the Mongol regime in China Dai Yuan in 1271, he sought to sinicize his image as Emperor of China in order to win the control of millions Chinese people. When he moved his headquarters to Khanbalic or Dadu at modern Beijing, there was an uprising in the old capital Karakorum that he barely staunched. His actions were condemned by traditionalists and his critics still accused him of being too closely tied to Chinese culture. They sent a message to him: “The old customs of our Empire are not those of the Chinese laws… What will happen to the old customs?”.[39][40] Even Kaidu attracted the other elites of Mongol Khanates, declaring himself to be a legitimate heir to the throne instead of Kublai who had turned away from the ways of Genghis Khan.[41][42]Defections from Kublai’s Dynasty swelled the Ogedeids’ forces.


Painting of Kublai Khan on a hunting expedition, by Chinese court artist Liu Guandao, c. 1280.

The Song imperial family surrendered to the Yuan in 1276, making the Mongols the first non-Chinese people to conquer all of China. Three years later, Yuan marines crushed the last of the Song loyalists. The Song Empress Dowager and her grandson, Zhao Xian, were then settled in Khanbalic where they were given tax-free property. Kublai’s wife Chabi took a personal interest in their well-being. However, Kublai had Zhao sent away to become a monk to Zhangye later. Kublai succeeded in building powerful Empire, creating an academy,offices, trade ports and canals and sponsoring arts and science. The record of the Mongols lists 20,166 public schools created during his reign.[43] Achieving actual or nominal dominion over much of Eurasia, and having seen his successful conquest of China, Kublai was in a position to look beyond China.[44] However, Kublai’s costly invasions of BurmaAnnam,Sakhalin and Champa secured only the vassal status of those countries. Mongol invasions of Japan (1274 and 1280) and Java (1293) failed. At the same time his nephew Ilkhan Abagha tried to form a grand alliance of the Mongols and the Western Europeans to defeat the Mamluks in Syria and North Africa that constantly invaded the Mongol dominions. Abagha and his uncle Kublai focused mostly on foreign alliances, and opened trade routes. Khagan Kublai dined with a large court every day, and met with many ambassadors, foreign merchants, and even offered to convert to Christianity if this religion was proved to be correct by 100 priests.

Kublai’s son Nomukhan and generals occupied Almaliq from 1266-76. In 1277, a group of Genghisid princes under Mongke’s son Shiregi rebelled, kidnapping Kublai’s two sons and his general Antong. The rebels handed them over to Kaidu and Mongke Temur. The latter was still allied with Kaidu who fashioned an alliance with him in 1269, although, he promised Kublai Khan his military support to protect him from the Ogedeids.[45] Great Khan’s armies suppressed the rebellion and strengthened the Yuan garrisons in Mongolia andUighurstan. However, Kaidu took control over Almaliq.

Extract of the letter of Arghun to Philip IV of France, in the Mongolian script, dated 1289. French National Archives.

In 1279-80, Kublai decreed death for those who performed Islamic-Jewish slaughtering of cattles, which offended Mongolian custom.[46] When the Muslim Ahmad Teguder seized the throne of the Ilkhanate in 1282, attempting to make peace with the Mamluks, Abagha’s old Mongols under prince Arghun appealed to the Great Khan. After the execution of Ahmad, Kublai confirmed Arghun’s coronation and awarded his commander in chief Buqa who helped his master the title of chingsang. However, a large Muslim community was created in China under Kublai’s rule and the Muslims still shared power with the Mongols within his administration. In spite of his lack of direct control over the western khanates and the Mongol princes’ rebellions, it seems Kublai could intervene in their affairs because Abagha’s son Arghun wrote that Great Khan Kublai ordered him to conquer Egypt in his letter to the Pope Nicolas IV.[47]

Kublai’s niece Kelmish, who was married a Khunggirat general of the Golden Horde, was powerful enough to have Kublai’s sons Nomuqan and Kokhchu returned. The court of the Golden Horde sent them back as a peace overture to the Yuan Dynasty in 1282 and induced Kaidu to release the general of Kublai. Konchi, khan of White Horde, established friendly relations with the Yuan and the Ilkhanate, receiving luxury gifts and grain from Kublai as reward.[48] Despite political disagreement between contending branches of the family over the office of Khagan, the economic and commercial system which trumped their squabbles continued.[49][50][51][52]

Warfare and foreign relations

See also: Mongol military tactics and organization and Mongol conquest of the Song Dynasty

File:Yuan chinese gun.jpg

Hand cannon from the MongolYuan Dynasty (1271–1368)

File:Yuan dynasty banknote with its printing plate 1287.jpg

Yuan dynasty banknote with its printing plate, 1287.

File:Belt plaque with dragon design.jpg

A Yuan Dynasty jade belt plaque featuring carved designs of a dragon.


The Bailin Temple Pagoda of Zhaoxian County, Hebei Province, built in 1330 during the Yuan Dynasty.

A Yuan Dynasty blue-and-whiteporcelain dish with fish and flowing water design, mid fourteenth century, Freer Gallery of Art.

File:Yuan porcelain buddha.JPG

A white porcelain Buddhist statue from the Yuan Dynasty

Despite Kublai restricted the functions of kheshig (khan’s bodyguard), he created a new imperial bodyguard, at first entirely Chinese in composition but later strengthened with KipchakAlan (Asud), and Russian units.[53][54][55] Once his own kheshig was organized in 1263, Kublai put three of the four shifts of the kheshig under descendants of Genghis Khan’s four steeds, Borokhula, Boorchu andMuqali. Kublai Khan began the practice of having the four great aristocrats in his kheshig sign alljarliqs (decree), a practice that spread to all other Mongol khanates.[56] Both Mongol and Chinese units were organized according to the same decimal organization that Genghis Khan used. The Mongols eagerly adopted new artillery and technologies. While Kublai’s younger brother Hulegu used 1,000 Chinese mangonel operators under Barga Mongol Ambaghai, he brought siege engineers,Ismail and Al al-Din, from Iraq and Iran. The world’s earliest known cannon, dated 1282, was found inMongol-held Manchuria.[57] Kublai and his generals avoided total destruction of South China for economic benefits. Effective assimilation of Chinese naval techniques allowed the Yuan army to quickly conquer the Song and advance beyond the seas.

Diplomatically and militarily, Kublai’s foreign policy, as the previous Mongolian Khagans, was imperialistic. Kublai Khan made Goryeo(Korea) a tributary vassal in 1260. The Yuan helped Wonjong stabilize his control over Korea in 1271. After the Mongol invasion in 1273, the Goryeo was fully integrated in the Yuan realm.[58][59][60][61][62] The Goryeo in Korea became a Mongol military base and several myriarchy commands were established there. The court of the Goryeo supplied Korean troops and ocean naval force for the Mongol campaigns. Despite the opposition of his Confucian-trained Chinese advisers, Kublai decided to invade Japan, BurmaVietnam andJava, following his Mongol officials. These costly conquests along with the introduction of paper currency, caused inflation. From 1273 to 1276 war against the Song Dynasty and Japan made emissions of paper currency explode from 110,000 ding to 1,420,000 ding.[63]


v • d • e

Mongol invasions

Invasions of Japan

Main article: Mongol invasions of Japan

File:Mōko Shūrai Ekotoba 2.jpg

The samurai Suenaga facing Mongol arrows and bombs. Mōko Shūrai Ekotoba (蒙古襲来絵詞), circa 1293.

Letter from Kublai Khan to the Emperor of Japan, written in Classical Chinese (the lingua franca in East Asia at the time), dated 8th Month, 1266. Now stored in Todai-jiNara,Japan.


A stone defense wall in Hakata, now Fukuoka


The Mongol fleet destroyed in a typhoon, ink and water on paper, by Kikuchi Yōsai, 1847

File:Takezaki suenaga ekotoba bourui.jpg

Defensive wall at Hakata

File:Takezaki suenaga ekotoba3.jpg

Japanese samurai boarding Yuan ships in 1281


Samurai who discipline Mongolian intruder

Kublai Khan twice attempted to invade Japan; however, both times, it is believed that bad weather, or a flaw in the design of ships that were based on river boats without keels nevertheless destroyed his fleets. The first attempt took place in 1274, with a fleet of 900 ships. The second invasion occurred in 1281.The Mongols sent two separate forces this time; an impressive force of 900 ships containing 40,000 Korean, Chinese, and Mongol troops set out from Masan, while an even larger force of 100,000 sailed from southern China in 3,500 ships, each close to 240 feet (73 m) long. The fleet was hastily assembled and ill-equipped to handle the sea.


The Mongolian Yuan troops. Mōko Shūrai Ekotoba (蒙古襲来絵詞).

In November, they sailed out into the treacherous waters that separated Korea and Japan by 110 miles. The Mongols easily took over Tsushima Island about halfway across the strait and then Ika Island closer to Kyushu. The Korean fleet reached Hakata Bay on June 23, 1281 landing its forces and animals, but the ships from China were nowhere to be seen.

The samurai warriors rode out against the Mongol forces for individual combat, but the Mongols held their formation. As usual, the Mongols fought as a united force, not as individuals. Instead of coming out for duels, the Mongols bombarded the samurai with exploding missiles and showered them in arrows. Eventually, the remaining Japanese withdrew from the coastal zone inland to a fortress. The Mongol forces did not chase the fleeting Japanese into an area about which they lacked reliable intelligence at that time.

Dr. Kenzo Hayashida, a marine archaeologist, headed the investigation that discovered the wreckage of the second invasion fleet off the western coast of Takashima. His team’s findings strongly indicate that Kublai Khan rushed to invade Japan and attempted to construct his enormous fleet in only one year (a task that should have taken up to 5 years). This forced the Chinese to use any available ships, including river boats, in order to achieve readiness. Most importantly, the Chinese, then under Kublai’s control, were forced to build many ships quickly in order to contribute to the fleet in both of the invasions. Hayashida theorizes that, had Kublai used standard, well-constructed ocean-going ships, which have a curved keel to prevent capsizing, his navy might have survived the journey to and from Japan and might have conquered it as intended.

David Nicolle writes in The Mongol Warlords that “Huge losses had also been suffered in terms of casualties and sheer expense, while the myth of Mongol invincibility had been shattered throughout eastern Asia.” He also wrote that Kublai Khan was determined to mount a third invasion, despite the horrendous cost to the economy and to his and Mongol prestige of the first two defeats, and only his death and the unanimous agreement of his advisers not to invade prevented such a third attempt.

After his first invasion of Japan, in response, the Japanese pirates, known as Wokou, raided Korea. But the Mongol-Korean forces pushed them back, and the Wokou pirates experienced a low point of their activity due to the higher degree of military preparedness in the Goryeo and the Kamakura. In 1293, the Yuan navy captured 100 Japanese from Okinawa.[64]

Invasions of Vietnam

Main article: Mongol invasions of Vietnam

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Map depicting Mongol campaign inĐại Việt(the name for Vietnam at the time, which consisted of the present-day northern Vietnam) in the north andChampa in the south in 1285

Kublai Khan also twice invaded Đại Việt. When Kublai became the Great Khan in 1260, the Trần Dynasty sent tribute every 3 years and received a darugachi.[65][66] But their king soon declined to attend the court in person. The first incursion (the second Mongol invasion of Đại Việt) began in December 1284 when Mongols under the command of Toghan, the prince of Kublai Khan, crossed the border and quickly occupied Thăng Long (now Hanoi) in January 1285 after the victorious battle of Omar in Vạn Kiếp (north east of Hanoi). At the same time Sogetu fromChampa moved northward and rapidly marched to Nghe An (in the north central region of Vietnam now) where the army of the Tran under general Tran Kien surrendered to him. However, the Trần kings and the commander-in-chief Trần Hưng Đạo changed tactics from defence to attack and struck against the Mongols. In April, General Trần Quang Khải defeated Sogetu in Chuong Duong (now part of Hanoi) and then the Trần kings won a big battle in Tây Kết where Sogetu died. Soon after, general Trần Nhật Duật also won a battle in Hàm Tử (now part of Hưng Yên) while Toghan was defeated by General Trần Hưng Đạo and Kublai Khan failed in his first attempt to invade Đại Việt. Toghan had to hide himself inside a bronze pipe to avoid being killed by the Đại Việt archers; this shameful act became a disastrous humiliation for the Mongol Empire and for Toghan himself.

After his first failure, Kublai wanted to install Nhan Tong’s brother Tran Ich Tac, who had defected to the Mongols, as king of Annam, but hardship in the Yuan’s supply base in Hunan, and Kaidu’s invasion aborted his planned invasion. In 1285 the Brigung sect rebelled, attacking monasteries of Paghspa’s sect in Tibet. The Chagatayid Khan, Duwa, came in to aid the rebels, and laid siege to Kara-Kocho while defeating Kublai’s garrisons in the Tarim basin.[67] Kaidu destroyed an army at Beshbalik and occupied the city the next year. Many Uyghurs abandoned Kashgar for safer bases back east in the Yuan. Only after Kublai’s grandson Buqa-Temur crushed the resistance of the Brigung sect, killing 10,000 Tibetans in 1291, Tibet was fully pacified.

The second invasion of Đại Việt by Kublai Khan began in 1287 and was better organized than the previous effort, utilizing a large fleet and plentiful stocks of food. The Mongols, under the command of Toghan, moved to Vạn Kiếp (from the north west) and met the infantry and cavalry of Omar (coming by another way along the Red River) and there they quickly won the battle. The naval fleet rapidly attained victory in Vân Đồn (near Ha Long Bay) but they left the heavy cargo ships stocked with food behind which General Trần Khánh Dưquickly captured. As foreseen, the Mongolians in Thăng Long (now Hanoi) suffered an acute shortage of sustenance. Without any news about the supply fleet Toghan found himself in a tight corner and had to order his army to retreat to Vạn Kiếp. This was when Đại Việt’s Army began the general offensive by recapturing a number of locations occupied by the Mongol invaders. Groups of infantry were given orders to attack the Mongols in Vạn Kiếp. Toghan had to split his army into two and retreat.

In early April the naval fleet led by Kublai’s Kipchak commander Omar and escorted by infantry fled home along the Bạch Đằng river. As bridges and roads were destroyed and attacks were launched by Đại Việt’s troops, the Mongols reached Bạch Đằng without an infantry escort. Đại Việt’s small flotilla engaged in battle and pretended to retreat. The Mongols eagerly pursued Đại Việt troops and fell into their prearranged battlefield. “Thousands” of Đại Việt’s small boats from both banks quickly appeared, fiercely launched the attack and broke the combat formation of the enemy. Meeting a sudden and strong attack, the Mongols tried to withdraw to the sea in panic. Hitting the stakes, their boats were halted, many of which were broken and sank. At that time, a number of fire rafts quickly rushed toward them. Frightened, the Mongolian troops jumped down to get to the banks where they were dealt a heavy blow by an army led by the Trần king and Trần Hưng Đạo. The Mongolian naval fleet was totally destroyed and Omar was captured. At the same time, Đại Việt’s Army made continuous attacks and smashed to pieces Toghan’s army on its route of withdrawal through Lạng Sơn. Toghan risked his life making a shortcut through thick forest to flee home. Nevertheless, the Đại Việt and the Kingdom of Champa had recognized Kublai’s supremacy in order to avoid more conflicts.[66][68]

Southeast Asia and South seas

Main articles: Mongol invasion of Burma and Mongol invasion of Java

Three expeditions against Burma (1277, 1283, 1287) brought the Mongol forces to the Irrawaddy delta, and the Mongols capturedBagan, the capital of Pagan Kingdom in Burma, and established their puppet government.[69] Kublai had to be content with the acknowledgment of a formal suzerainty again but the Burmese finally became tributary state and sent tributes until the expulsion of the Mongols from China.[70] The Khmer kingdom of Cambodia and small states in Malay and South India submitted to Kublai’s rule between 1278-1294. Mongol interests in these parts had always been purely commercial and tributary relationship.

During the last years of his reign Kublai launched a naval punitive expedition of 20-30,000 men against the Javanese kingdom ofSinghasari (1293) – INDONESIA, but the Mongol forces were compelled to withdraw, by the Majapahit Dynasty – INDONDESIA, after considerable losses of more than 3,000 troops. In 1294, two Thai kingdoms of Sukhotai and Chiangmai became vassal states of Kublai’s empire.[69]

Fall of Singhasari

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Singhasari temple built as a mortuary temple to honor Kertanegara, the last king of Singhasari.

During Kertanegara‘s reign, Meng-ki, an emissary sent by the Mongol Khan, Kublai Khan, came to Singhasari and demanded submission. Kertanegara took the demand as an insult and slashed Meng-ki’s face and cut his left ear before allowing the delegation to return to Khanbaliq. In preparation for the invasion threat from the powerful emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, Kertanegara sent a huge portion of his army to conquer the Malay Peninsula to block a Chinese invasion by land. This expedition was called the Pamalayu expedition. In the meantime, one of his vassals, Jayakatwang, king of Kediri, a fiefdom of Singhasari, rebelled and killed Kertanegara with a surprise attack during a Tantrayana holy festival. Raden Wijaya, one of Kertanegara’s sons-in-law and also a descendant of Ken Arok, fled soon after Jayakatwang’s victory. He escaped to Madura and with the Madura regency’s favor, Wijaya was granted land in the village of Tarik, which then became the core of the future kingdom of Majapahit.

When the Mongol fleet arrived, Raden Wijaya manipulated them into fighting the usurper Jayakatwang. The Mongols didn’t realize that they destroyed a different ruler. Before they realized what had happened, Wijaya attacked his exhausted former allies when they were feasting in victory, thus driving them from Java. The exhausted Mongols were not outnumbered, but they were severely outwitted. The Mongol’s retreat was also attributed to the monsoonal wind which came only at certain times of the year, and it was important for the fleet to return home when the wind arrived. Wijaya then founded the new kingdom of Majapahit.

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The statue of Harihara, the god combination of Shiva and Vishnu. It was the mortuary deified portrayal of Kertarajasa. Originally located at Candi Simping, Blitar. (National Museum of Indonesia,Jakarta)

Mongolia invasion of Java, the end of Singhasari kingdom and the beginning of Majapahit empire :

Indonesia is one of the few areas that thwarted invasion by the Mongol horde by repelling a Mongol force in 1293.

As the center of the Malayan peninsula trade winds, the rising power, influence, and wealth of the Javanese Singhasari empire came to the attention of Kublai Khan of the Mongol Yuan dynasty based in China. Moreover, Singhasari had formed an alliance with Champa of Vietnam. Both Java (Singhasari) and Champa were worried about Mongol expansion and raids against neighboring states, such as their raid of Bagan (Pagan) in Burma. Kublai Khan then sent emissaries demanding submission and tribute from Java. In 1280, Kublai Khan sent the first emissary to King Kertanegara, demanding Singhasari’s submission and tribute to the great Khan. The demand was refused. The next year in 1281, the Khan sent another envoy, demanding the same, which was refused again. Eight years later, in 1289, the last envoy was sent to demand the same, and King Kertanegara, the last ruler of the Singhasari kingdom, refused to pay tribute. In the audition throne room of the Singhasari court, King Kertanegara humiliated the Khan by cutting and scarring Meng Ki’s face, one of the Mongols’ envoys (some sources even state that the king cut the envoy’s ear himself). The envoy returned to China with the answer—the scar—of the Javan king written on his face.

Enraged by this humiliation and the disgrace committed against his envoy and his patience, in late 1292 the great Kublai Khan sent a massive 1,000 war jung ships for a punitive expedition which arrived off the coast of Tuban, Java in early 1293.

King Kertanegara, whose troops were now spread then and located elsewhere, did not realize that a coup was being prepared by the former Kediri royal lineage. In 1292, Duke Jayakatwang, a vassal king from the Kingdom of Daha (also known as Kediri or Gelang-gelang), prepared his Kediri army to conquer Singhasari and kill its king if possible, assisted by Arya Wiraraja, a regent from Sumenep on the island of Madura.

The Kediri (Gelang-gelang) army attacked Singhasari simultaneously from both north and south. The king only realized the invasion from the north and sent his son-in-law, Nararya Sanggramawijaya, famously known as Raden Wijaya (died 1309), northward to vanquish the rebellion. The northern attack was put at bay, but the southern attackers successfully remained undetected until they reached and sacked the unprepared capital city of Kutaraja. Jayakatwang usurped and killed Kertanagara during the Tantra sacred ceremony, thus bring a tragic end to the Singhasari kingdom.

Having learned the of the fall of the Singhasari capital of Kutaraja due to Kediri’s treachery, Raden Wijaya tried to defend Singhasari but failed. He and his three colleagues, Ranggalawe, Sora and Nambi, went to exile under the favor of the same regent (Bupati) Arya Wiraraja of Madura, Nambi’s father, who then turned his back to King Jayakatwang. With Arya Wiraraja’s patronage, Raden Wijaya, pretending to submit to King Jayakatwang, won favor from the new monarch of Kediri, who granted him permission to open a new settlement north of mount Arjuna, the Tarik forest. In this wilderness, Wijaya found many bitter Maja fruits, so it was called Majapahit (literally meaning “bitter Maja”), the future capital of the empire. It is said that the bitterness of the fruit will satisfy a soldier’s thirst for water.

Early 1293, the Mongol naval forces arrived on the north coast of Java (near Tuban) and on the Brantas river mouth in order to flank what they thought was Singhasari. Raden Wijaya found the opportunity to use the unsuspecting Mongols to overthrow Jayakatwang. Raden Wijaya’s army allied with the Tartars (Mongols) in March of 1293 and battle ensued between Mongol forces against Daha forces in the creek bed of Kali Mas river, which was followed by the battle of Mongol forces against Daha forces that attacked the Majapahit regional army led by Raden Wijaya. The Mongols then stormed Daha and Jayakatwang finally surrendered.

Once Jayakatwang had been destroyed, Raden Wijaya then turned his troops to launch a surprise attack inside and outside the Mongol army column, creating chaos and forcing his former Mongol allies to withdraw from the island of Java.

Panicked, the Mongol army was confused and found themselves surrounded by enemies. It was the last time for the monsoon sea-wind to depart north for home. They would otherwise have had to wait for another six months on a hostile island for the next sea-wind. The panicked Mongols thus hurriedly fled the battle, withdrew to their ships and headed back to China in their war jungs. Prince Wijaya successfully drove the Mongols forces to the sea to return home on May 31, 1293.

The victor, Prince Wijaya, son-in-law of the last Singhasari King, then ascended the throne as Kertajasa Jayawardhana, the first king of the great Majapahit Empire, on November 12, 1293.

Conquest of Sakhalin

The Mongol forces made several attacks on Sakhalin, beginning in 1264 and continuing until 1308.[71] Economically, the conquest of new peoples provided further wealth for the tribute-based Mongol Dynasty. The Nivkhs and the Orokhs were subjugated by the Mongols. However, the Ainu people raided Mongol posts and fought with the indigenous people of Sakhalin, who submitted to the Great Khan.[72]Finally, the Ainu tribes accepted Mongol supremacy in 1308.


Main articles: Marco Polo and Rabban Sauma

File:Kublai giving support to the Venetians.JPG

Kublai gives financial support to the Polo family.

Under Kublai, the opening of direct contact between East Asia and the West, made possible by the Mongol control of the central Asian trade routes and facilitated by the presence of efficient postal services, was another spectacular phenomenon in the Mongol Empire. In the beginning of the 13th century, large numbers of Europeans and Central Asians – merchants, travelers, and missionaries of different orders – made their way to China. The presence of the Mongol power also enabled throngs of Chinese, bent on warfare or trade, to make their appearance everywhere in the Mongol Empire, all the way to Russia, Persia, and Mesopotamia.

There were several direct exchanges of missions between the Pope and the Great Khan, though each with a different motive. In 1266 Kublai entrusted the Venetianmerchants, the Polo brothers, to carry a request to the Pope for a hundred Christian scholars and engineers. The Polos arrived in Rome in 1269, receiving an audience from the future Pope Gregory X, and they set out with his blessing but no scholars.


Rabban Bar Sauma, the ambassador of Great KhanKublai and Ilkhan Arghun, travelled from Dadu in the East, to Rome, Paris and Bordeaux in the West, meeting with the major rulers of the period in 1287-1288

Marco Polo, Niccolo’s son, who accompanied his father on this trip, was probably the best-known foreign visitor ever to set foot in China and Mongolia. It is said that he spent the next 17 years (1275–1292) under Kublai Khan, including official service in the salt administration and trips through the provinces of Yunnan and Fukien. Although the flaws in his description of China have tempted modern historians to dispute his sojourn in the Middle Kingdom, the popularity of his journal, Description of the World, was such that it subsequently generated unprecedented enthusiasm in Europe for going east.

Marco Polo had his East Asian counterpart in Rabban Sauma, a Nestorian monk born around Khanbalik/Dadu (modern Beijing). He crossed central Asia to the Il-Khan‘s court in Iran in 1278 and was one of those whom the Mongols sent to Europe to seek Christian help against Islam. There must have been countless numbers of unknown others who crossed the Continent, spreading information about their land and bringing with them artifacts of their culture. Under Kublai, the first direct contact and cultural interchange between China and the West, however limited in scope, had become a reality never before achieved.

Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty

The Yuan Dynasty, c. 1294 and its client state Goryeo in modern Korea

Kublai used traditional decimal organization of the Mongol Empire and set up special gerfalcon posts exclusively for the highest officials in 1261. He adopted Chinese political and cultural models, and also worked to minimize the influences of regional lords who had held immense power before and during the Song Dynasty. Kublai heavily relied on his Chinese advisers until 1276. Nevertheless, his mistrust of ethnic Han Chinese caused him to appointMongols, Central Asians, Muslims and few Europeans to high positions more often than Han Chinese. Kublai began to suspect Han Chinese when his Chinese minister’s son-in-law revolted against him while he was fighting against Ariq Böke in Mongolia,[73] though he continued to invite and use many Han Chinese advisers such as Liu Bingzhong and Xu Heng. He employed 66 Uyghur Turks, 21of whom were resident commissioner running Chinese districts.[74] In 1262 he appointed his wife’s Muslim provisioner, Ahmad Fanakati, fiscal commissioner in chief and prefect of his Inner Mongolian capital, Xanadu (Shangdu).[75]

Kublai also appointed Phagspa Lama his state preceptor, giving him power over all the empire’s Buddhist monks. In 1270, after Phagspa created the Square script, he was promoted to imperial preceptor. Kublai established the Supreme Control Commission under Phagspa to administer affairs of both Tibetan and Chinese monks. During Phagspa’s absence in Tibet, the Tibetan monk Sangha rose to high office and had the office renamed the Commission for Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs. Assyrian Christians served Kublai and the Yuan court created Commission for the Promotion of Religion under the Assyrian physician, Isa, to supervise Christian churches and other religious affairs.[76][77] The Khagan set up a Muslim medical office for the court in 1270, a Directorate of Islamic astronomy in 1271, and a Muslim school for the sons of the dynasty in 1289. With deaths of his entrusted Chinese officials such as Liu Bingzhong (1274), Shi Tiaze (1275), Zhao Bi (1276) and Don Weibing (1278), Kublai turned to non-Chinese officials. Kublai appointed Ahmad Fanakati head of a department of state affairs. In 1286, Tibetan Sangha became the dynasty’s chief fiscal officer. However, their corruption later embittered Kublai. Thenceforwards, Kublai came to rely wholly on younger Mongol aristocrats. While Antong of the Jalayir, and Bayan of the Baarin served as grand councillors from 1265, Oz-temur of the Arulad headed the censorate. Borokhula’s descendant, Ochicher, headed a kheshig and the palace provision commission.

In the 8th Year of Zhiyuan (1271), Kublai Khan officially declared the creation of the Yuan Dynasty, and proclaimed the capital to be atDadu (Chinese: 大都; Wade–Giles: Ta-tu, lit. “Great Capital”, known as Daidu to the Mongols, at today’s Beijing) in the following year. His summer capital was in Shangdu (Chinese: 上都, “Upper Capital”, a.k.a. Xanadu, near what today is Dolonnur). To unify China[78], Kublai Khan began a massive offensive against the remnants of the Southern Song Dynasty in the 11th year of Zhiyuan (1274), and finally destroyed the Song Dynasty in the 16th year of Zhiyuan (1279), unifying the country at last.

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The Chinese opera flourished during the Mongol rule in China.

China proper, Korea[79] and Mongolia itself were administered in 11 provinces during his reign with a governor and vice-governor each.[80][81] Aside from the 11 provinces was the Central Region (Chinese: 腹裏), consisting of much of present-day North China, was considered the most important region of the dynasty and directly governed by the Zhongshusheng (Chinese: 中書省, “Department of Central Governing”) at Dadu. In addition, Tibet was governed by another top-level administrative department called the Xuanzheng Institute (Chinese: 宣政院).

He ruled well, promoting economic growth with the rebuilding of the Grand Canal, repairing public buildings, and extending highways. However, Kublai Khan’s domestic policy also included some aspects of the old Mongol living traditions, and as Kublai Khan continued his reign, these traditions would clash more and more frequently with traditional Chinese economic and social culture. Kublai decreed that partner merchants of the Mongols should be subject to taxes in 1263 and set up the Office of Market Taxes to supervise them in 1268. With the Mongol conquest of the Song, the merchants expanded their sphere of operations to the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. In 1286 maritime trade was put under the Office of Market Taxes. The main source of revenue of the government was the salt monopoly.[82]

The Mongol administration issued paper currencies from 1227 on.[83][84] In August 1260, Kublai created the first unified paper currency with bills that circulated throughout the Yuan with no expiration date. To guard against devaluation, the currency was convertible with silver and gold, and the government accepted tax payments in paper currency. In 1273, He issued a new series of state sponsored bills to finance his conquest of the Song, although eventually a lack of fiscal discipline and inflation turned this move into an economic disaster in the later course of the dynasty. It was required to pay only in the form of paper money called Chao. To ensure its use in circles, Kublai’s government confiscated gold and silver from private citizens as well as foreign merchants. But traders received government-issued notes in exchange. That is why Kublai Khan is considered to be the first of fiat money makers. The paper bills made collecting taxes and administering the huge empire much easier while reducing cost of transporting coins.[85] In 1287 Kublai’s minister Sangha created a new currency, Zhiyuan, to deal with the budget shortfall.[86] It was non-convertible and denominated in copper cash. Later Gaykhatu of the Ilkhanate attempted to adopt the system in Persia and Middle east, which was however a complete failure, and he was assassinated shortly after that.

He encouraged Asian arts and demonstrated religious tolerance. Despite his anti-Taoist edicts, Kublai respected the Taoist master and appointed Zhang Liushan the patriarch of Taoist Xuanjiao order.[87] Under Zhang’s advice, Taoist temples were put under the Academy of Scholarly Worthies. The empire was visited by several Europeans, notably Marco Polo in the 1270s who may have seen the summer capital Shangdu.

The capital city of the Emperor

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The White Stupa in Tadu (or Khanbalic)

After Kublai was proclaimed Khagan at his residence in Shangdu on 5 May 1260, he began to organize the country. Zhang Wenqian, who was a friend of Guo and like him was a central government official, was sent by Kublai Khan in 1260 to Daming where unrest had been reported in the local population. Guo accompanied Zhang on his mission. Guo was not only interested in engineering, but he was also an expert astronomer. In particular he was a skilled instrument maker and understood that good astronomical observations depended on expertly made instruments. He now began to construct astronomical instruments, including water clocks for accurate timing and armillary spheres which represent the celestial globe.Turkestani architect Ikhtiyar al-Din (also known as Igder) designed the buildings of the city of Khagan or Khanbalic.[88] The Great Khan also employed many foreign artists to build his new capital. One of them named Arniko from Nepal built the White Stupa which was the largest structure in Khanbalic/Dadu.[89]

Zhang advised Kublai Khan that his friend Guo was a leading expert in hydraulic engineering. Kublai knew the importance of water management, for irrigation, transport of grain, and flood control, and he asked Guo to look at these aspects in the area between Dadu (now Beijing or Peking) and the Yellow River. To provide Dadu with a new supply of water, Guo found the Baifu spring in the Shenshan Mountain and had a 30 km channel built to bring the water to Dadu. He proposed connecting the water supply across different river basins, built new canals with many sluices to control the water level, and achieved great success with the improvements which he was able to make. This pleased Kublai Khan and led to Guo being asked to undertake similar projects in other parts of the country. In 1264 he was asked to go to Gansu province to repair the damage that had been caused to the irrigation systems by the years of war during the Mongol advance through the region. Guo travelled extensively along with his friend Zhang taking notes of the work which needed to be done to unblock damaged parts of the system and to make improvements to its efficiency. He sent his report directly to Kublai Khan.

Nayan’s rebellion

During the conquest of the Jin, Genghis Khan’s younger brothers received large appanages in Manchuria.[90] Descendants of them strongly supported Kublai’s coronation in 1260, but the younger generation desired more independence. Kublai enforced Ogedei Khan’s regulations that the Mongol noblemen could appoint overseers, along with the Great Khan’s special officials, in their appanages, but otherwise respected appanage rights. His son Manggala established direct control over Singan and Shansi in 1272. In 1274 Kublai Khan appointed Lian Xixian to investigate abuses of power by Mongol appanage holders in Manchuria.[91] Lia-tung region was brought immediately under the Khagan’s control, in 1284, eliminating autonomy of the Mongol nobles there.[92]

File:Kublai at four elephants.png

The 19th century romantic view of Kublai’s four elephants.

Threatened by the advance of the Great Khan’s bureaucratizationBelgutei‘s fourth generation descendant, Nayan (not confused with Temuge‘s descendant Nayan), instigated revolt in 1287. Nayan attempted to link up with Kublai’s competitor Kaidu in Central Asia.[93]Manchuria’s native Jurchens and Water Tatars, who had suffered famine, supported Nayan. Virtually all the fraternal lines under Qadaan, a descendant of Khachiun, and Shikqtur, a grandson of Qasar, joined his rebellion.[94] Because Nayan was popular prince, Ebugen, a grandson of Genghis Khan’s son Khulgen, and the family of Khuden, a younger brother ofGuyuk Khan, contributed troops for his rebellion.[95]

The rebellion was crippled by early detection and timid leadership. Kublai sent Bayan to keep Nayan and Kaidu apart by occupying Karakorum, while he himself led another army against the rebels in Manchuria. Kublai’s commander Oz Temur’s Mongol force attacked Nayan’s 60,000 green soldiers on June 14, while Chinese and Alan guards under Li Ting protected Kublai. The army of Chungnyeol of Goryeo assisted Kublai in battle. After the hard fight, Nayan’s troops withdrew behind their carts, and Li Ting began bombardment and attacked Nayan’s camp that night. Kublai’s force pursued Nayan, who was eventually captured and executed in the traditional way for princes, without shedding of blood.[95] Meanwhile, the rebel prince Shikqtur invaded the Chinese districts in Liaoning but was defeated within a month. Kaidu pulled back westward to avoid a battle. However, Kaidu defeated a major Yuan army in Khangai and briefly occupied Karakorum in 1289. Kaidu had ridden away before Kublai himself mobilized a larger army.[96]

Widespread but uncoordinated risings of Nayan’s supporters continued until 1289 but were ruthlessly repressed. The rebel princes’ troops were taken from them and redistributed among the imperial family.[97] Kublai harshly punished the darugachis appointed by the rebels in Mongolia and Manchuria.[98] This rebellion forced Kublai to approve the creation of the Liaoyang Branch Secretariat on December 4, 1287, while rewarding loyal fraternal princes.

Later years

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Statue of Khubilai Khagan in Mongolia

Kublai dispatched his grandson Gammala to Burkhan Khaldun in 1291. Because Kublai wanted to make sure that he laid claims to the sacred place (Ikh Khorig), Burkhan Khaldun, where Genghis was buried, Mongolia was strongly protected by the Kublaids. With Bayan in control of Karakorum and reestablishing control over surrounding areas in 1293, Kublai’s rival relative Kaidu did not attempt anything large-scale for the next three years. From 1293 on Kublai’s army cleared Kaidu’s forces out of Central Siberian Plateau.

Kublai Khan originally designated his son Chingen-Temur (Zhenjin) as his successor. Chingen-Temur became the head of Zhongshusheng (“Department of Central Governing”), and actively administrated the dynasty in the Confucian fashion. After Nomukhan returned from the captivity in the Golden Horde, he expressed his resentment that Chingen-Temur had been made heir apparent. However, he was banished north. An official proposed that Kublai’s abdicate in favor Chingen Temur in 1285. This action angered the Khagan, and Kublai refused to see his son. Unfortunately, Chingen-Temur died in 1285, 9 years before his father. Kublai regretted and remained very close to his wife, Bairam (also known as Kokejin). With the death of Chabi, he began to withdraw from direct contact with his advisers, issuing instructions through one of his other queens Nambui. Kublai Khan, on the other hand, developed severe gout in the later part of his life. He also gained weight due to a fondness for eating animal organs and other delicacies. This also more than likely increased the amount of purines in his blood, leading to his problems with gout.

His illness may have been related to the deaths of not only his favorite wife, but also his chosen heir Zhenjin. Before his death, Kublai made Chingen-Temur’s son Temür the new Crown Prince, who in turn became the sixth Khagan of the Mongol Empire and the second ruler of the Yuan Dynasty after the death of Kublai Khan. Seeking an old companion to comfort him in his final illness, the palace staff could choose only Bayan, more than 30 years his junior. Kublai weakened steadily, and on 18 February 1294 he died. Two days later, the funeral cortege was ready and set out for the burial place of the khans in Mongolia.


See also: Family tree of Genghis Khan


Chabi, Khatun of Kublai and Empress of the Mongol Empire

Kublai married Tegulen at first but she died very early. Then he married Chabi Khatun of theKhunggirat. Chabi was his most beloved empress. After her death in 1286, Kublai married her young cousin, Nambui, in accordance with Chabi’s wish.

Kublai and his wives’ children included:

  • Dorji. He was the director of the Secretariat and head of the Bureau of Military Affairs from 1263. But he was sickly and died young.
  • Chingen-Temur (Zhenjin). He was the father of the Great Khan Temur.
  • Manggala. He was a viceroy in Shaanxi.
  • Nomukhan.
  • Khungjil
  • Aychi
  • Saqulghachi
  • Qughchu
  • Toghan, led Mongol armies into Burma and Vietnam.
  • Khulan-temur
  • Tsever
  • Khutugh beki. She married the king Chungnyeol and became the Empress of the Goryeo.[99]
  • and 1 son and 2 daughters


Kublai’s seizure of power in 1260 pushed the Mongolian Empire into a new direction. Despite his controversial election, which accelerated the disunity of the Mongols, his willingness to formalize the Mongol realm’s symbiotic relation with China gave the Mongolian Empire a cultural and administrative brilliance that impressed the world.

Kublai and his predecessors’ conquests were largely responsible for re-creating a unified, militarily powerful China. The Mongol rule of Tibet, Xinjiang, and Mongolia proper from a capital at modern Beijing also supplied the precedent for the Qing Dynasty‘s Inner Asian Empire.[100]

See also

References in Art

  • Kublai and Shangdu or Xanadu are the subject of various later artworks, including the English Romantic Samuel Taylor Coleridge‘s poem “Kubla Khan“, in which Coleridge makes Xanadu a symbol of mystery and splendour.
  • Kublai Khan and Xanadu are both mentioned in the song “Xanadu” by Canadian band Rush.

Historical Fiction

  • Kublai Khan is depicted in Italo Calvino‘s novel Invisible Cities, where he converses with Marco Polo about imaginary cities in his empire.



Ögedei Khan- (c. 1186 – December 11, 1241) was the third son of Genghis Khan and second Great Khan(Khagan)

Ögedei Khan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ögedei Khan
Khagan of the Mongol Empire
Khan of the Mongols)
King of Kings

A portrait of Ögedei during the Great Yuan.

Reign September 13, 1229 – December 11, 1241
Coronation September 13, 1229
Born c. 1186
Died 11 December 1241 (aged 55)
Place of death Mongolia
Predecessor Tolui (Regent)
Successor Güyük Khan
Consort Töregene
Royal House Borjigin
Father Temüjin (Genghis Khan)
Mother Borte Ujin

Ögedei Khan (Mongolian: Өгэдэй, Ögedei; also Ogotai or OktayOgodei) (c. 1186 – December 11, 1241) was the third son of Genghis Khan and second Great Khan(Khagan) of the Mongol Empire by succeeding his father. He continued the expansion of the empire that his father had begun, and was a world figure when the Mongol Empire reached its farthest extent west and south during the invasions of Europe and Asia.[1]Like all of Genghis’ primary sons, he participated extensively in conquests in China,Iran and Central Asia.


Ögedei was the third son of Genghis Khan and Börte Ujin. He participated in the turbulent events of his father’s rise. When he was 17 years old, Genghis Khan experienced the disastrous defeat of Khalakhaljid Sands. Ögedei was heavily wounded and lost on the battlefield.[2] His father’s adopted brother and companion Borokhula rescued him. Although already married, in 1204 his father gave him Toregene, the wife of a defeated Merkit chief.

File:Genghis Khan and three of his four sons.jpg

Genghis Khan and three of his four sons.

After Genghis was proclaimed Emperor or Khagan in 1206, myangans (1000’s) of theJalayir, Besud, SuldusKhongqatan clans were given to him as his appanage. Ögedei’s territory occupied the Emil and Hobok rivers. According to his father’s wish, Ilugei, the commander of the Jalayir, became Ögedei’s tutor.

Ögedei, along with his brothers, campaigned independently for the first time in November, 1211 against the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234). He was sent to ravage the land south through Hebei and then north through Shanxi in 1213. Ögedei’s force drove the Jin garrison out of the Ordos and he rode to the juncture of the Xi Xia, Jin and Song domains.[3]

During the Mongol conquest of Eastern Persia, Ögedei and Chagatai massacred the residents of Otrar after a five-month siege in 1219-20 and joined Jochi who was outside the walls of Urganch.[4] Because Jochi and Chagatai were quarreling over the military strategy, Ögedei was appointed by Genghis Khan to oversee the siege of Urganch.[5] They captured the city in 1221. When the rebellion broke out in south east Persia and Afghanistan, Ögedei also pacified Ghazni.[6]

Ascendancy to Supreme Khan


Coronation of Ögedei in 1229. Rashid al-Din, early 14th century.

The Empress Yisui and Borte,(Genghis’ first wife) insisted that Genghis Khan designate an heir before the invasion of Khwarezmid Empire in 1219. After the terrible brawl between Jochi and Chagatai, they agreed that Ögedei was to be chosen as heir. Genghis confirmed their decision.

Genghis Khan died in 1227, and Jochi had died a year or two year earlier. Ögedei’s younger brother held the regency until 1229.

He was elected supreme khan in 1229, according to the kurultai held at Kodoe Aral on theKherlen River after Genghis’ death, although this was never really in doubt as it was Genghis’ clear wish that he be succeeded by Ögedei. After ritually declining three times, Ögedei was proclaimed Khagan of the Mongols on September 13, 1229.[7] Chagatai continued to support his younger brother’s claim.

Genghis Khan saw Ögedei’s characteristic as courtesy and generosity.[8] His charisma is partially credited for his success in keeping the Empire on his father’s path. Thanks mostly to the organization left behind by Genghis Khan, and the personal charisma of Ögedei, the affairs of the Mongol Empire remained for the most part stable during his reign. To this it must again be added that Ögedei was an extremely pragmatic man, however, he made some mistakes during his reign. He had no delusions that he was his father’s equal as a military commander or organizer, and used the abilities of those he found most capable.

World conquests

Expansion in the Middle East

Main article: Mongol conquest of Persia

After destroying the Khwarazmian empire, Genghis Khan was free to move against Hsi Hsia in 1226. In 1226, however, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, the last of the Khwarizm monarchs, returned to Persia to revive the empire lost by his father, Muhammad ‘Ala al-Din II. The Mongol forces sent against him in 1227 were defeated at Dameghan. Another army that marched against Jalal al-Din scored a pyrrhic victory in the vicinity of Isfahan, but was unable to follow up that success.

With Ögedei’s consent to launch a campaign at last, Chormaqan left Bukhara at the head of 30 to 50,000 Mongol soldiers. He occupied Persia and Khorasan, two long-standing bases of Khwarazmian support. Crossing the Amu Darya River in 1230 and entering Khorasan without encountering any opposition, Chormaqan passed through it quickly. He left a sizable contingent behind under the command of Dayir Noyan, who had further instructions to invade western Afghanistan. Chormaqan and the majority of his army then entered the northern section of Persia known as Mazandaran in the autumn of 1230. In doing so, he avoided the mountainous area south of theCaspian Sea. That region was controlled by the Ismailis.

Upon reaching the city of Rai, Chormaqan made his winter camp there and dispatched his armies to pacify the rest of northern Persia. In 1231, he led his army southward and quickly captured the cities of Qum and Hamadan. From there, he sent armies into the regions ofFars and Kirman, whose rulers quickly submitted, preferring to pay tribute to their Mongol overlords rather than to see their states ravaged. Meanwhile further east, Dayir steadily achieved his goals in capturing Kabul, Ghazni, and Zawulistan. With the Mongols already in control of Persia, Jalal al-Din was isolated in Transcaucasia where he was banished. Thus all of Persia was added to the Mongol Empire.

The fall of the Jin Dynasty

Jin Dynasty (1115–1234)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Jin Dynasty (1115-1234))

This article is about the Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115–1234). For other Chinese dynasties whose names are also rendered “Jin” inpinyin, see Jin Dynasty (disambiguation).



Location of Jin

Capital Huining
Religion BuddhismDaoism,ConfucianismChinese folk religion
Government Monarchy
– 1115-1123 Emperor Taizu
– 1234 Emperor Modi
– Established 1115 1115
– Ended Liao‘s rule 1125
– CapturedBianliang January 9, 1127
– Fall of Caizhou February 9, 1234 1234
Currency Chinese coinChinese cash

File:Departure Herald-Detail.jpg


History of China

3 Sovereigns and 5 Emperors
Xia Dynasty 2100–1600 BCE
Shang Dynasty 1600–1046 BCE
Zhou Dynasty 1045–256 BCE
Western Zhou
Eastern Zhou
Spring and Autumn Period
Warring States Period
Qin Dynasty 221 BCE–206 BCE
Han Dynasty 206 BCE–220 CE
Western Han
Xin Dynasty
Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
Wei, Shu & Wu
Jin Dynasty 265–420
Western Jin 16 Kingdoms
Eastern Jin
Southern & Northern Dynasties
Sui Dynasty 581–618
Tang Dynasty 618–907
Second Zhou 690–705 )
5 Dynasties &
10 Kingdoms

Liao Dynasty
Song Dynasty
Northern Song W. Xia
Southern Song Jin
Yuan Dynasty 1271–1368
Ming Dynasty 1368–1644
Qing Dynasty 1644–1911
Republic of China 1912–1949
People’s Republic
of China

of China

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The Jīn Dynasty (Jurchen: Anchu, Aisin Gurun; Chinese: 金朝; pinyinJīn CháoWade–Giles: Chin Dynasty, IPA: [tɕîn tʂʰɑ̌ʊ̯]); Khitan language: Nik, Niku;[1][2] Mongolian: Altan Ulus; 1115–1234), also known as the Jurchen Dynasty, was founded by the Wanyan (完顏 Wányán) clan of the Jurchens, the ancestors of the Manchus who established the Qing Dynasty some 500 years later. The name is sometimes written as Jinn to differentiate it from an earlier Jìn Dynasty of China whose name is spelled identically in the Roman alphabet.



Map of Asia and parts of Europe andAfrica circa 1200

The Jin Dynasty was founded in what would become northern Manchuria by theJurchen tribal chieftain Wanyan Aguda (完顏阿骨打) in 1115. The Jurchens’ early rival was the Liao Dynasty, which had held sway over northern China, including Manchuria and part of the Mongol region for several centuries. In 1121, the Jurchens entered into the Alliance on the Sea with the Song Dynasty and agreed to jointly invade the Liao. While the Song armies faltered, the Jurchens succeeded in driving the Liao to Central Asia. Also at this time, the Jin made overtures to the Korean kingdom of Goryeo, which Emperor Yejong refused.[3]

In 1125, after the death of Aguda, the Jin broke the alliance with the Song and invaded North China. On January 9, 1127, Jin forces ransacked Kaifeng, capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, capturing both Emperor Qinzong, and his father,Emperor Huizong, who had abdicated in panic in the face of Jin forces. Following the fall of Kaifeng, Song forces under the leadership of the succeedingSouthern Song Dynasty continued to fight for over a decade with Jin forces, eventually signing the Treaty of Shaoxing in 1141, calling for the cessation of all Song land north of the Huai River to the Jin and the execution of Song GeneralYue Fei in return for peace.

The migration south

File:Jade ornament grapes jin dynasty shanghai museum 2004 07 22.jpg

Jade ornament with flower design, Jin Dynasty, Shanghai Museum.

After taking over Northern China, the Jin Dynasty became increasingly Sinicized. About three million people, half of them Jurchens, migrated south into northern China over two decades, and this minority governed about thirty million people. The Jurchens were given land grants and organized society into 1,000 households (猛安 – meng’an) and 100 households (謀克 – mouke). Many married Hans, although the ban on Jurchen nobles marrying Hans was not lifted until 1191. After Jin Emperor Tàizōng (太宗) died in 1135, the next three Jin emperors were grandsons of Wányán Āgǔdǎby three different princes. Young Jin Emperor Xīzōng (熙宗) (r. 1135-1149) studied the classics and wrote Chinese poetry. He adopted Han cultural traditions, but the Jurchen nobles had the top positions.

Later in life, Emperor Xīzōng became an alcoholic and executed many officials for criticizing him. He also had Jurchen leaders who opposed him murdered, even those in his own Wanyan family clan. In 1149 he was murdered by a cabal of relatives and nobles, who made his cousin Wányán Liàng (完顏亮) the next Jin emperor. Because of the brutality of both his domestic and foreign policy, Wanyan Liang was posthumously demoted from the position of emperor. Consequently, historians have commonly referred to him by the posthumous name of Prince Hǎilíng (海陵王).[4]

Rebellions in the north


marble statue of a Buddhist monk, 1180 AD, Jin Dynasty.

Having usurped the throne, Wanyan Liang embarked on the program of legitimizing his rule as an emperor of China. In 1153, he moved the empire’s main capital fromHuining Fu in northern Manchuria (south of present-dayHarbin) to the former Liao capital, Yanjing (nowBeijing).[4][5] Four years later, in 1157, to emphasize the permanence of the move, he razed the nobles’ residences in Huining.[4][5] Hǎilíng also reconstructed the former Song capital, Bianjing (now Kaifeng), which had been sacked in 1127, making it the Jin’s southern capital.[4]

Prince Hǎilíng also tried to suppress dissent by killing Jurchen nobles, executing 155 princes.[4]

To fulfill his dream of becoming the ruler of all China, Prince Hǎilíng attacked the Southern Song in 1161. Meanwhile, two simultaneous rebellions erupted inManchuria: one of Jurchen nobles, led by Hǎilíng’s cousin, soon-to-be crowned Wányán Yōng (完顏雍), and the other of Khitan tribesmen. Hǎilíng had to withdraw Jin troops from southern China to quell the uprisings. The Jin were defeated in the Battle of Caishi and Battle of Tangdao. With a depleted military force, Prince Hǎilíng failed to make headway in his attempted invasion of the Southern Song. Finally he was assassinated by his own generals in December of 1161, due to his defeats. His son and heir was also assassinated in the capital.[4]

Although crowned in October, Wányán Yōng was not officially recognized as Jin Emperor Shìzōng (世宗) until the murder of Prince Hǎilíng’s heir.[4] The Khitan uprising was not suppressed until 1164; their horses were confiscated so that the rebels had to take up farming. Other Khitan and Xi cavalry units had been incorporated into the Jin army. Because these internal uprisings had severely weakened the Jin’s capacity to confront the Southern Song militarily, the Jin court under Emperor Shizong began negotiating for peace. The Treaty of Lóngxīng (隆興和議) was signed in 1164 and ushered over 40 years of peace between the two empires.

File:Wood Bodhisattva 2.jpg

A wooden Bodhisattva statue, Jin Dynasty, Shanghai Museum.

In the early 1180s Emperor Shìzōng instituted a restructuring of 200 meng’an units to remove tax abuses and help Jurchens. Communal farming was encouraged. The Jin empire prospered and had a large surplus of grain in reserve. Although learned in Chinese classics, Shizong was also known as a promoter of Jurchen language and culture; during his reign, a number of Chinese classics were translated into Jurchen, the Imperial Jurchen Academy was founded, and theImperial examinations started to be offered in the Jurchen language.[6] Shizong’s reign (1163–1188) was remembered by the posterity as the time of comparative peace and prosperity, and the emperor himself was compared to the legendary Yao and Shun[6]

Shìzōng’s grandson, Emperor Zhāngzōng (章宗) (r. 1189-1208) venerated Jurchen values, but he also immersed himself in Chinese culture and married an ethnic Han woman. The Taihe Code of law was promulgated in 1201 and was based mostly on the Tang Code. In 1207 the Song tried to invade, but the Jin forces effectively repulsed them. In the peace agreement the Song had to pay higher annual indemnities and behead Hán Tūozhòu (韩侂胄), the leader of their war party.[7]

Fall of Jin

Main article: Mongol-Jin War

History of Manchuria 

v • d • e

Not based on timeline
Yan (state)
Han DynastyXiongnu
DonghuWiman Joseon
Cao Wei
Jin Dynasty (265-420)
Former Yan
Former Qin
Later Yan
Northern Yan
KhitanKumo Xi
Northern Wei
Tang Dynasty
Liao Dynasty
Jin Dynasty (1115-1234)
Yuan Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
Far Eastern Republic
Republic of China
Soviet Union
People’s Republic of China (Northeast China)
Russia (Russian Far East)

Starting from the early 13th century the Jin Dynasty began to feel the pressure of Mongols from the north. Genghis Khan first led the Mongols into Western Xia territory in 1205 and ravaged them four years later. In 1211 about 50,000 Mongols on horses invaded the Jin Empire and began absorbing Khitan and Jurchen rebels. The Jin army had a half million men with 150,000 cavalry but abandoned the “western capital” Datong (see also Badger’s Mount Campaign). The next year the Mongols went north and looted the Jin “eastern capital”, and in 1213 they besieged the “central capital”. In 1214 the Jin made a humiliating treaty but retained the capital. That summer, Jin Emperor Xuānzōng (宣宗) abandoned the central capital and moved the government to the “southern capital” of Kaifeng, making it the official seat of Jin Dynasty power. In 1216 a war faction persuaded Xuānzōng to attack the Song, but in 1219 they were defeated at the same place by the Yangtze River, where Prince Hǎilíng had been defeated in 1161. The Jin now faced a two front war which they could not afford. Furthermore, the Jin Emperor Āizōng (哀宗) won a succession struggle against his brother and then quickly ended the war and went back to the capital. He made peace with the Tanguts, who had been allied with the Mongols. Genghis Khan died in 1227 while his armies were conquering the Western Xia Dynasty. His son Ögedei Khaninvaded the Jin Empire in 1232 with assistance from the Southern Song. The Jurchens tried to resist; but when Kaifeng was attacked, Āizōng fled south. An allied army of Song and Mongols looted the capital in 1233, and the next year Āizōng committed suicide to avoid being captured, ending the Jin dynasty in 1234.[4] The territory of the Jin was to be divided between the Mongols and the Song. However, due to descrepancies, the Song and the Mongols eventually went to war with one another over these territories.


The Chengling Pagoda of Zhengding,Hebei province, built between 1161 and 1189 AD.

In his book Empire of The Steppes, Grousset reports that the Mongols were always amazed at the valor of the Jin warriors, who held out until seven years after the death of Genghis Khan.[clarification needed]

The Jin military

Contemporary Chinese writers ascribed Jurchen success in overwhelming the Liao and Northern Song mainly to their cavalry. Already duringAguda‘s rebellion against the Liao, all Jurchen fighters were mounted. It was said that the Jurchen cavalry tactics were a carryover from their hunting skills.[8] Jurchen horsemen were provided with heavy armor; on occasions, they would use a team of horses attached to each other with chains (拐子马, guaizi ma)[8]

As the Liao Empire fell apart and the Song retreated beyond the Yangtze, the army of the new Jin Dynasty absorbed many soldiers who formerly fought for the Liao or Song.[8] The new Jin empire adopted many of the Song’s weapons, including various machines for siege warfare and artillery. In fact, the Jin use of cannons, grenades, and even rockets to defend besieged Kaifeng against the Mongols in 1233 is considered the first ever battle in human history in which gunpowder was used effectively, even though it failed to prevent the eventual Jin defeat.[8]

On the other hand, Jin Empire was not particularly good at naval warfare. Both in 1129-30 and in 1161 Jin forces were defeated by theSouthern Song navies when trying to cross the Yangtze River into the core Southern Song territory (see Battle of Tangdao and Battle of Caishi), even though for the latter campaign the Jin had equipped a large navy of their own, using Chinese shipbuildiers and even Chinese captains who had defected from the Southern Song.[8]

Rise of the Manchus

This section requires expansion.

After thirty years of struggle, the Jurchen chief Nurhaci (努爾哈赤) combined the three Jurchen tribes and founded the Later Jin Dynasty(1616–1636). Nurhaci’s eighth son and heir, Huáng Tàijí (皇太極), later changed the name of his people from Jurchen to Manchu in 1635. The next year, he changed the name of the Later Jin to Qing in 1636.

[edit]List of Jin Dynasty Emperors

Sovereigns of Jin Dynasty 1115-1234
Temple Name
Miao Hao
Posthumous Name
Shi Hao
Birth Name 


Years of
Era Name
Nian Hao
and Years
Convention: “Jin” + temple name or posthumous name
(1) Wányán Āgǔdǎ
Wányán Min
1115–1123 Shōuguó (收國, 1115–1116)
Tiānfǔ (天輔, 1117–1123)
(1) Wányán Wúqǐmǎi
Wányán Shèng
1123–1134 Tiānhuì (天會, 1123–1134)
(1) Wányán Hélá
Wányán Dǎn
1135–1149 Tiānhuì (天會, 1135–1138)
Tiānjuàn (天眷, 1138–1141)
Huángtǒng (皇統, 1141–1149)
(2) Hǎilíngwáng
Wányán Dígǔnǎi
Wányán Liàng
1149–1161 Tiāndé (天德, 1149–1153)
Zhènyuán (貞元, 1153–1156)
Zhènglóng (正隆, 1156–1161)
(1) Wányán Wūlù
Wányán Yōng
1161–1189 Dàdìng (大定, 1161–1189)
(1) Wányán Jǐng
1189–1208 Míngchāng (明昌, 1190–1196) 

Chéng’ān (承安, 1196–1200)
Tàihé (泰和, 1200–1208)

(2) Wèishàowáng
Wányán Yǒngjì
1208–1213 Dà’ān



(1) Wányán Xún
1213–1224 Zhēnyòu



(1) Wányán Shǒuxù
1224–1234 Zhèngdà



(2) Mòdì
Wányán Chénglín
1234 (2)

See also: Mongol-Jin War

At the end of 1230, responding to the Jin’s unexpected defeat of the Mongol general Doqulkhu, the Khagan went south to Shanxiprovince with Tolui, clearing the area of the Jin forces and taking the city of Fengxiang. After passing the summer in the north, they again campaigned against the Jin in Henan, cutting through territory of South China to assault the Jin’s rear. By 1232 the Jin Emperor was besieged in his capital of Kaifeng. Ögedei soon departed, leaving the final conquest to his generals. After taking several cities, the Mongols, with the belated assistance of the Song Dynasty, destroyed the Jin in February 1234. However, a viceroy of the Song murdered a Mongol ambassador and the Song armies recaptured the former imperial capitals of Kaifeng, Luoyang, and Chang’an which were now ruled by the Mongols.

In addition to the Mongol-Jin War, Ögedei crushed the Eastern Xia Dynasty in 1233, pacifying southern Manchuria. Ögedei subdued theWater Tatars in northern part of the region and suppressed their rebellion in 1237.

Conquest of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia

Main article: Mongol invasion of Georgia and Armenia

File:Geor tamro aandersen.GIF

Ögedei conquered the Kingdom of Georgia(including its subordinate Armenia) and Azerbaijan

The Mongols under Chormaqan returned to Caucasus in 1232. Ganjak’s walls were breached by catapult and battering ram in 1235. The Mongols eventually withdrew after the citizens of Irbil agreed to send a yearly tribute to the court of the khagan. Chormaqan waited until 1238, when the force of Mongke was also active to the north Caucasus.[9] After subduing Azerbaijan and Greater Armenia, Chormaqan took Tiflis. In 1238, the Mongols captured Lorhe whose ruler, Shahanshah, fled with his family before the Mongols arrived, leaving the rich city to its fate. After a putting up a spirited defense at Hohanaberd, the city’s ruler, Hasan Jalal, submitted to the Mongols. Another column then advanced against Gaian, ruled by Prince Avak. The Mongol commander Tokhta ruled out a direct assault and had his men construct a wall around it and its prince Avak surrendered soon. By 1240, Chormaqan had completed the conquest of Transcaucasia, forcing the Georgian nobles to surrender.

Invasion of Korea

Main article: Mongol invasions of Korea


A drawing of Battle of Choein at theWar Memorial of Korea.

In 1224 a Mongol envoy was killed in obscure circumstances and Korea stopped paying tribute.[10] Ögedei dispatched Saritai (Sartaq) to subdue Korea and avenge the dead envoy in 1231. Thus, Mongol armies began to invade Korea in order to subdue the kingdom. TheGoryeo King temporarily submitted and agreed to accept Mongol overseers. When they withdrew for the summer, however, Choe Umoved the capital from Kaesong to Ganghwa Island. Saritai was hit with a stray arrow and died as he campaigned against them.

Korea-Gyeongju-Bulguksa (Below)


Ögedei announced plans for the conquest of the Koreans, the Southern Song, the Kipchaks and their European allies, all of whom killed Mongol envoys at the kurultai in Mongolia in 1234. Ögedei appointed Danqu commander of the Mongol army and made Bog Wong, the defected Korean general, governor of 40 cities with their subjects. When the court of Goryeo asked the peace treaty in 1238, Ögedei demanded the king to summon before him in person. The Goryeo king finally sent his relative Yeong Nong-gun Sung with 10 noble boys to Mongolia as hostages, temporarily ending the war in 1241.[11] It is said that Ögedei recruited his kheshig with Koreans.


Main article: Mongol invasion of Europe

File:Сapture of the Mongol-Tatars Russian city.jpg

The Mongol army captures a Rus’ city

The Mongol Empire expanded westward under the command of Batu Khan to subdue the Russian steppe and the rest of Europe. Their western conquests included almost all ofRussia (save Novgorod, which became a vassal), Hungary, and Poland. During the siege ofKolomna, the Khagan’s half brother Khulgen[12] was killed by an arrow.

After the conquest of Volga-BulgariaAlania, and Rus principalties, Ögedei’s son Güyükand Chagatai’s grandson Buri ridiculed Batu and the Mongol camp suffered dissention. The Khagan harshly criticized Guyuk that “You broke the spirit of every man in your army…Do you think that the Russians surrendered because of how mean you were to your own men”.Then he sent Guyuk back to continue the conquest of Europe. Ögedei’s sons Kadanand Güyük attacked Poland and Transylvania, respectively.

Ögedei Khan had granted permission to invade the remainder of Europe, all the way to the “Great Sea,” the Atlantic Ocean, and only his death prevented the possible invasions ofAustriaGermanyItalyFrance, and Spain, and the remaining small European principalities. Indeed, Mongol forces were moving on Vienna, launching a fierce winter campaign against Austria and Germany in the first wave into Western Europe, when Ögedei died. Some historians believe only his death prevented the complete conquest of Europe.[13]

Conflict with the Song China

Main article: Mongol conquest of the Song Dynasty

In a series of razzias from 1235 to 1245, the Mongols commanded by Ögedei’s sons penetrated deep into the Song Dynasty and reached ChengduXiangyang and Yangtze River. But they could not succeed in completing their conquest due to climate and number of the Song troops. However, Ögedei’s son Khochu died in the process. In 1240, Ögedei’s another son Khuden dispatched a subsidiary expedition to Tibet. The situation between the two nations worsened when the Song officers murdered Ögedei’s envoys headed by Selmus.[14]

The Mongol expansion throughout the Asian continent under the leadership of Ögedei helped bring political stability and re-establish theSilk Road, the primary trading route between East and West.


Main article: Mongol invasion of India

Ögedei appointed Dayir commander of Ghazni and Menggetu commander in Qonduz. In winter 1241 the Mongol force invaded the Indus valley and besieged Lahore. Dayir died storming the town, however, on December 30, 1241, and the Mongols butchered the town before withdrawing from the Delhi Sultanate.[15]

Some time after 1235 another Mongol force invaded Kashmir, stationing a darughachi there for several years. Soon Kashmir became a Mongolian dependency.[16] Around the same time, a Kashmiri Buddhist master, Otochi, and his brother Namo arrived at the court of Ögedei.


File:Ogadai Khan.jpg

Portrait of Ögedei Khagan (the 14th century). Recreation of a Yuan portrait in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

Ögedei began bureaucratization of Mongol administration. Three culture constituted his administration:

Mahamud Yalavach promoted a system in which the government would delegate tax collection to tax farmers who collect payments in silver. Yelu Chucai encouraged Ögedei to institute a traditional Chinese system of government, with taxation in the hands of government agents, and payment in a government issued currency. The Muslim merchants, working with capital supplied by the Mongol aristocrats, loaned at higher interest the silver needed for tax payments. At the same time the Mongols began circulating paper currencybacked by silver reserves.

Ögedei abolished the branch departments of state affairs and divided the areas of the Mongol ruled China into 10 routes according to the suggestion of Yelü Chucai. He also divided the empire into Beshbalik administration, Yanjing administration while the Headquarter in Karakorum directly dealt with Manchuria, Mongolia and Siberia. Late in his reign, Amu Daryaadministration was established. Turkestan was administered by Mahamud Yalavach while Yelu Chucai administered North China from 1229 to 1240. Ögedei appointed Shigi Khutugh chief judge in China. In Iran, Ögedei appointed first Chin-temur, a Kara-kitai, and thenKorguz, an Uyghur who proved to be honest administrator. Later, some of Yelu Chucai’s duties were transferred to Mahamud Yalavach and taxes were handed over to Abd-ur-Rahman, who promised to double the annual payments of silver.[17] The Ortoq or partner merchants lent Ögedei’s money at exorbitant rates of interest to the peasants, however, Ögedei considerably banned higher rates. Despite it proved profitable, many people fled their homes to avoid the tax collectors and their strong-arm gangs.

Ögedei had imperial princes tutored by the Christian scribe Qadaq and the Taoist priest Li Zhichang and built schools and academy. Ögedei Khan also decreed to issue paper currency backed by silk reserves and founded a Department which was responsible for destroying old notes. Yelu Chucai protested to Ögedei that his large-scale distribution of appanages in Iran, Western and North China, and Khorazm, could lead to a disintegration of the Empire.[18] Ögedei thus decreed that the Mongol nobles could appoint overseers in the appanages, but the court would appoint other officials and collect taxes.

The Khagan proclaimed the Great Yassa as integral body of precedents, confirming the continuing validity of his father’s commands and ordinances, while adding his own. Ögedei codified rules of dress, conduct during the kurultais. Throughout the Empire, in 1234, he created postroad stations (Yam) with a permanent staff who would supply post riders’ needs.[19] Relay stations were set up every 25 miles and the yam staff supplied remounts to the envoys and served specified rations on them. The attached households were exempt from other taxes but they had to pay a qubchuri tax to supply the goods. Ögedei ordered Chagatai and Batu to control their yams separately. The Khagan prohibited the nobility from issuing paizas (tablet that gave the bearer authority to demand goods and services from civilian populations) and jarliqs. Ögedei decreed that within decimal units one out of every 100 sheep of the well-off should be levied for the poor of the unit, and that one sheep and one mare from every herd should be forwarded to form a herd for the imperial table.[20]


File:Karakorum - Tortue Sud.jpg

Stone tortoise of Karakorum

Main article: Karakorum

From 1235-38 Ögedei constructed a series of palaces and pavilions at stopping places in his annual nomadic route through central Mongolia. The first palace Wanangong was constructed by North Chinese artisans. The Emperor urged his relatives build residences nearby and settled the deported craftsmen from China near the site. The construction of the city,Karakorum (Хархорум), was finished in 1235, assigning different quarters to Islamic and North Chinese craftsmen, who competed to win Ögedei’s favor. Earthen walls with 4 gates surrounded a city. Attached were private apartments, while in front of stood a giant stone tortoise bearing an engraved pillar, like those that were commonly used in East Asia. There was a castle with doors like the gates of the garden and a series of lakes where many water fowl gathered. Ögedei erected several houses of worship for his Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, and Christian followers. In the Chinese ward, there was a Confucian temple where Yelu Chucai used to create or regulate a calendar on the Chinese model.


File:Ögedei Khan Statue.JPG

Statue of Ögedei Khagan inMongolia

He was considered to be his father’s favorite son, ever since his childhood. As an adult Ögedei was known for his ability to sway doubters in any debate in which he was involved, simply by the force of his personality. He was a physically big, jovial and very charismatic man, who seemed mostly to be interested in enjoying good times. He was intelligent and steady in character. His charisma was partially credited for his success in keeping the Mongol Empire on the path that his father had set.

To encourage trade caravans he paid extremely high prices for all manner of goods whether he needed them or not. Ögedei squandered much of his wealth, passing out pearls, golds, coins and other precious stones to the people. The constant outflow from the Imperial treasury had to be made up by taxes, principally on North China.

Ögedei kept peace among his family, criticizing his son and Chagatai’s grandson. The sudden death of Tolui seems to have affected him deeply. According to some sources, Tolui sacrificed his own life, having a drink in shamanist ritual in order to save Ögedei who was suffering from illness.[21] Ögedei fell victim to alcoholism. Chagatai entrusted an official to watch his habit, but Ögedei managed to drink anyway. When he died at dawn on December 11, 1241, after a late-night drinking bout with Abd-ur-Rahman, the people blamed the sister of Tolui’s widow and Abd-ur-Rahman. The Mongol aristocrats recognized, however, that the Khagan’s own lack of self control had killed him.

Ögedei was also known to be a humble man, who did not believe himself to be a genius, and was willing to listen and use the great generals that his father left him, as well as those he himself found to be most capable. He was the Emperor (Khagan) but not adictator.[22] Like all Mongols at his time, he was raised and educated as a warrior from childhood, and as the son of Genghis Khan he was a part of his father’s plan to establish a world empire. His military experience was notable for his willingness to listen to his generals, and adapt to the circumstances. He was an extremely pragmatic person, much like his father, and looked at the end, rather than the means. His steadiness of character and dependability were the traits that his father most valued, and that gained him the role of successor to his father, despite his two older brothers.

However, he used violence to strengthen his authority. In 1237 Ögedei dispatched his imperial army to punish the Oirat and seize their lands after the forest people refused to give tributes. Around 4,000 young girls became subject to war violence.[23]

Aftermath of Ögedei’s death

Ögedei had nominated his grandson Shiremun as his heir, but Güyük eventually succeeded him after the five-year regency of his widow Töregene Khatun. However, Batu, the Khan of the Kipchak Khanate (the Ulus of Jochi) in Russia, nominally accepted Guyuk, who died on the way to confront Batu. It was not until 1255, well into the reign of Mongke Khan, that Batu felt secure enough to again prepare to invade Europe. Fortunately for the Europeans, he died before his plans could be implemented.

When Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty in 1271, he had Ögedei Khan placed on the official record as Taizong (Chinese: 太宗).


Ögedei had many khatuns and concubines. Ögedei married first Borakchin and then Toregene. Other wives included Mukha and Jachin.

He had 7 sons:

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the person. For other uses, see Genghis Khan (disambiguation).

“Temüjin” redirects here.

Genghis Khan


Khagan of the Mongol Empire
Reign 1206–1227
Coronation spring[1] 1206 in khurultai at theOnon RiverMongolia
Full name

Genghis KhanCinggis qayan.png
(birth name: Borjigin Temüjin)
Mongolian scriptᠪᠣᠷᠵᠢᠭᠢᠨ ᠲᠡᠮᠦᠵᠢᠨ.

Titles KhanKhagan
Temple name: Taizu (太祖)
Posthumous name: Emperor Fatian Qiyun Shengwu
Born c. 1162
Birthplace Khentii MountainsMongolia
Died 1227 (aged 65)
Successor Ögedei Khan
Consort Börte Ujin
Offspring Jochi
Royal House Borjigin
Father Yesükhei
Mother Ho’elun

Genghis Khan (pronounced /ˈdʒɛŋɡɪs ˈkɑːn/ or /ˈɡɛŋɡɪs ˈkɑːn/[2]Mongolian: Чингис Хаан orᠴᠢᠩᠭᠢᠰ ᠬᠠᠭᠠᠨChinggis Khaan, or Činggis Qaγan), IPA: [tʃiŋɡɪs xaːŋ]listen); probably[3]1162–1227), born B. Temüjin ( pronunciation (help·info), was the founder, Khan (ruler) andKhagan (emperor) of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death.

He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia. After founding theMongol Empire and being proclaimed “Genghis Khan”, he started the Mongol invasions that would ultimately result in the conquest of most of Eurasia. These included raids or invasions of the Kara-Khitan KhanateCaucasusKhwarezmid EmpireWestern Xia and Jin dynasties. These campaigns were often accompanied by wholesale massacres of the civilian populations – especially in Khwarezmia. By the end of his life, the Mongol Empire occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China.

Genghis Khan Sword

Before Genghis Khan died, he assigned Ögedei Khan as his successor and split his empire intokhanates among his sons and grandsons.[4] He died in 1227 after defeating the Tanguts. He was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Mongolia at an unknown location. His descendants went on to stretch the Mongol Empire across most of Eurasia by conquering and/or creatingvassal states out of all of modern-day China, Korea, the Caucasus, Central Asian countries, and substantial portions of modern Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Many of these invasions also resulted in large-scale slaughter of the local populations and are not viewed positively in these parts of the world today.

Genghis Khan in the battle of the Indo valley

Beyond his great military accomplishments, Genghis Khan also advanced the Mongol Empire in other ways. He decreed the adoption of the Uyghur script as the Mongol Empire’s writing system. He also promoted religious tolerance in the Mongol Empire, and created a unified empire from the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia. Present-day Mongolians regard him highly as the founding father of Mongolia.[5]

Early life


Temüjin was related on his father’s side to Khabul KhanAmbaghai and Qutula Khan who had headed the Mongol confederation. When the Chinese Jin Dynasty switched support from the Mongols to the Tatars in 1161, they destroyed Khabul Khan.[6] Genghis’s father, Yesügei(leader of the Borjigin and nephew to Ambaghai and Qutula Khan), emerged as the head of the ruling clan of the Mongols, but this position was contested by the rival Tayichi’ud clan, who descended directly from Ambaghai. When the Tatars grew too powerful after 1161, the Jin switched their support from the Tatars to the Keraits.



The Onon RiverMongolia in autumn, a region where Borjigin Temüjin was born and grew up.

Because of the lack of contemporary written records, there is very little factual information about the early life of Temüjin. The few sources that provide insight into this period often conflict.

Temüjin was born in 1162[3] in a Mongol tribe near Burkhan Khaldun mountain and the Onon andKherlen Rivers in modern-day Mongolia, not far from the current capital UlaanbaatarThe Secret History of the Mongols reports that Temüjin was born with a blood clot grasped in his fist, a traditional sign that he was destined to become a great leader. He was the third-oldest son of his father Yesükhei, a minor tribal chief of the Kiyad and an ally of Ong Khan of the Kerait tribe,[7] and the oldest son of his mother Hoelun. According to the Secret History, Temüjin was named after aTatar chieftain whom his father had just captured. The name also suggests that they may have been descended from a family of blacksmiths (see section Name and title below).

Yesükhei’s clan was called Borjigin (Боржигин), and Hoelun was from the Olkhunut, the sub-lineage of the Onggirat tribe.[8][9] Like other tribes, they were nomads. Because his father was a chieftain, as were his predecessors. Temüjin was of a noble background. This higher social standing made it easier to solicit help from and eventually consolidate the other Mongol tribes.[citation needed]

No accurate portraits of Genghis exist today, and any surviving depictions are considered to be artistic interpretations. Persian historianRashid-al-Din recorded in his “Chronicles” that the legendary “glittering” ancestor of Genghis was tall, long-bearded, red-haired, and green-eyed. Rashid al-Din also described the first meeting of Genghis and Kublai Khan, when Genghis was shocked to find that Kublai had not inherited his red hair.[10] Also according to al-Din Genghis’s Borjigid clan, had a legend involving their origins: it began as the result of an affair between Alan-ko and a stranger to her land, a glittering man who happened to have red hair and bluish-green eyes. Modern historian Paul Ratchnevsky has suggested in his Genghis biography that the “glittering man” may have been from the Kyrgyz people, who historically displayed these same characteristics. Controversies aside, the closest depiction generally accepted by most historians is the portrait currently in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan (see picture above).[citation needed]


Early life and family

Temüjin had three brothers named Khasar (or Qasar), Khajiun, and Temüge, and one sister named Temülen (or Temülin), as well as two half-brothers named Bekhter and Belgutei. Like many of the nomads of Mongolia, Temüjin’s early life was difficult. His father arranged a marriagefor him, and at nine years old, he was delivered by his father to the family of his future wife Börte, who was a member of the same tribe as his mother. Temujin was to live there in service to Sansar, the head of the new household, until he reached the marriageable age of 12. While heading home, his father ran into the neighbouring Tatars, who had long been enemies of the Mongols, and he was subsequently poisoned by the food they offered. Upon learning this, Temüjin returned home to claim his father’s position as “khan” of the tribe; however, his father’s tribe refused to be led by a boy so young. They abandoned Hoelun and her children, leaving them without protection.

Genghis Khan and Ong Khan. Illustration from a 15th century Jami’ al-tawarikh manuscript

For the next several years, Hoelun and her children lived in poverty, surviving primarily on wild fruits and ox carcasses, marmots, and other small game hunted by Temüjin and his brothers. It was during one hunting excursion that 10-year-old Temüjin killed his half-brother, Bekhter, during a fight which resulted from a dispute over hunting spoils.[11] This incident cemented his position as head of the household.

In another incident in 1182 he was captured in a raid and held prisoner by his father’s former allies, the Bjartskular (“wolves”). The Bjartskular enslaved Temüjin (reportedly with a cangue), but with the help of a sympathetic watcher, the father of Chilaun(who would later become a general of Genghis Khan), he was able to escape from the ger in the middle of the night by hiding in a river crevice.[citation needed] It was around this time that Jelme and Arslan, two of Genghis Khan’s future generals, joined forces with him. Along with his 18 siblings, they provided the manpower needed for early expansion. Temüjin’s reputation also became widespread after his escape from the Bjarttskular.

At this time, none of the tribal confederations of Mongolia were united politically, and arranged marriages were often used to solidify temporary alliances. Temujin grew up observing the tough political climate of Mongolia, which includes tribal warfare, thievery, raids, corruption and continuing acts of revenge carried out between the various confederations, all compounded by interference from foreign forces such as the Chinese dynasties to the south. Temüjin’s mother Ho’elun taught him many lessons about the unstable political climate of Mongolia, especially the need for alliances.

As previously arranged by his father, Temüjin married Börte of the Olkut’hun tribe when he was around 16 in order to cement alliances between their respective tribes. Börte had four sons, Jochi (1185–1226), Chagatai (1187—1241), Ögedei (1189—1241), and Tolui (1190–1232). Genghis Khan also had many other children with his other wives, but they were excluded from the succession, and records of daughters are nonexistent. Soon after Börte’s marriage to Temüjin, she was kidnapped by the Merkits, and reportedly given away as a wife. Temüjin rescued her with the help of his friend and future rival, Jamuka, and his protector, Ong Khan of the Kerait tribe. She gave birth to a son, Jochi, nine months later, clouding the issue of his parentage. Despite speculation over Jochi, Börte would be his only empress, though Temüjin did follow tradition by taking several morganatic wives.[12]


Genghis Khan’s religion is widely speculated to be Shamanism or Tengriism, which was very likely among nomadic MongolTurkic tribes of Central Asia. But he was very tolerant religiously, and interested to learn philosophical and moral lessons from other religions. To do so, he consulted Christian missionaries, Muslim merchants, and the Taoist monk Qiu Chuji.

Uniting the confederations

File:Asia 1200ad.jpg

Asia in 1200 AD

The Central Asian plateau (north of China) around the time of Temüjin (the early 13th century) was divided into several tribes or confederations, among them Naimans,MerkitsUyghursTatarsMongols, and Keraits, that were all prominent in their own right and often unfriendly toward each other as evidenced by random raids, revenges, and plundering.

Temüjin began his slow ascent to power by offering himself as an ally (or, according to others sources, a vassal) to his father’s anda (sworn brother or blood brother)Toghrul, who was Khan of the Kerait, and is better known by the Chinese title Ong Khan (or “Wang Khan“), which the Jin Empire granted him in 1197. This relationship was first reinforced when Börte was captured by the Merkits; it was Toghrul to whom Temüjin turned for support. In response, Toghrul offered his vassal 20,000 of his Kerait warriors and suggested that he also involve his childhood friend Jamuka, who had himself become Khan (ruler) of his own tribe, the Jadaran.[13] Although the campaign was successful and led to the recapture of Börte and utter defeat of the Merkits, it also paved the way for the split between the childhood friends, Temüjin and Jamuka. Temüjin had becomeblood brother (anda) with Jamuka earlier, and they had vowed to remain eternally faithful.

The main opponents of the Mongol confederation (traditionally the “Mongols”) around 1200 were the Naimans to the west, the Merkits to the north, Tanguts to the south, and the Jin and Tatars to the east. By 1190, Temüjin, his followers, and their advisors, had united the smaller Mongol confederation only. In his rule and his conquest of rival tribes, Temüjin broke with Mongol tradition in a few crucial ways. He delegated authority based on merit and loyalty, rather than family ties. As an incentive for absolute obedience and following his rule of law, the Yassacode, Temüjin promised civilians and soldiers wealth from future possible war spoils. As he defeated rival tribes, he did not drive away enemy soldiers and abandon the rest. Instead, he took the conquered tribe under his protection and integrated its members into his own tribe. He would even have his mother adopt orphans from the conquered tribe, bringing them into his family. These political innovations inspired great loyalty among the conquered people, making Temüjin stronger with each victory.[14]

File:Genghis Khan's enthronement in 1206.jpg

Genghis Khan proclaimed Khagan of all Mongols. Illustration from a 15th century Jami’ al-tawarikh manuscript

Toghrul’s (Wang Khan) son Senggum was jealous of Temüjin’s growing power, and his affinity with his father. He allegedly planned to assassinate Temüjin. Toghrul, though allegedly saved on multiple occasions by Temüjin, gave in to his son[15] and became uncooperative with Temüjin. Temüjin learned of Senggum’s intentions and eventually defeated him and his loyalists. One of the later ruptures between Toghrul and Temüjin was Toghrul’s refusal to give his daughter in marriage to Jochi, the eldest son of Temüjin, a sign of disrespect in the Mongolian culture. This act led to the split between both factions, and was a prelude to war. Toghrul allied himself with Jamuka, who already opposed Temüjin’s forces; however the internal dispute between Toghrul and Jamuka, plus the desertion of a number of their allies to Temüjin, led to Toghrul’s defeat. Jamuka escaped during the conflict. This defeat was a catalyst for the fall and eventual dissolution of the Kerait tribe.

Genghis Khan in traditional Mongolian writing

The next direct threat to Temüjin was the Naimans (Naiman Mongols), with whom Jamuka and his followers took refuge. The Naimans did not surrender, although enough sectors again voluntarily sided with Temüjin. In 1201, a kurultaielected Jamuka as Gur Khan, “universal ruler”, a title used by the rulers of theKara-Khitan Khanate. Jamuka’s assumption of this title was the final breach with Temüjin, and Jamuka formed a coalition of tribes to oppose him. Before the conflict, however, several generals abandoned Jamuka, including Subutai, Jelme’s well-known younger brother. After several battles, Jamuka was finally turned over to Temüjin by his own men in 1206.

According to the Secret History, Temüjin again offered his friendship to Jamuka, asking him to return to his side. Temüjin had killed the men who betrayed Jamuka, stating that he did not want disloyal men in his army. Jamuka refused the offer of friendship and reunion, saying that there can only be one Sun in the sky, and he asked for a noble death. The custom is to die without spilling blood, which is granted by breaking the back. Jamuka requested this form of death, despite the fact that in the past Jamuka had been known to have boiled his opponent’s generals alive. The rest of the Merkit clan that sided with the Naimans were defeated by Subutai, who is now a member of Temüjin’s personal guard and would later become one of the successful commanders of Genghis Khan. The Naimans’ defeat left Genghis Khan as the sole ruler of the Mongol plains, which means all the prominent confederations fell and/or united under Temüjin’s Mongol confederation.

Accounts of Genghis Khan’s life are marked by claims of a series of betrayals and conspiracies. These include rifts with his early allies such as Jamuka (who also wanted to be a ruler of Mongol tribes) and Wang Khan (his and his father’s ally), his son Jochi, and problems with the most important Shaman who was allegedly trying to break him up with brother Qasar who was serving Genghis Khan loyally. His military strategies showed a deep interest in gathering goodintelligence and understanding the motivations of his rivals as exemplified by his extensive spy network and Yam route systems. He seemed to be a quick student, adopting new technologies and ideas that he encountered, such as siege warfare from the Chinese.

As a result by 1206 Temüjin had managed to unite or subdue the MerkitsNaimansMongolsKeraitsTatarsUyghurs and disparate other smaller tribes under his rule. It was a monumental feat for the “Mongols” (as they became known collectively). At a Kurultai, a council of Mongol chiefs, he was acknowledged as “Khan” of the consolidated tribes and took the new title “Genghis Khan”. The title Khagan was not conferred on Genghis until after his death, when his son and successor, Ögedei took the title for himself and extended it posthumously to his father (as he was also to be posthumously declared the founder of the Yuan Dynasty). This unification of all confederations by Genghis Khan established peace between previously warring tribes and a single political and military force under Genghis Khan.

See also: Mongols before Genghis Khan and Mongols

Military campaigns

File:Gengis Khan empire-en.svg

Mongol conquests

Mongol conquests
File:Mongol Empire map.gif
Expansion of the Mongol Empire
Date 1206- 1324
Location Eastern and Central Europe, Middle East, Asia
Result Mongol victory and the fall of Mongol Empire
Jin Dynasty
Dali Kingdom
Western Xia
Song Dynasty
Khwarizmian Empire
Kievian Rus
Volga Bulgaria
Mamluk Sultanate
Sultanate of Rûm
Mongol Empire
Commanders and leaders
Caliph Al-Musta’sim
Hōjō Tokimune
Bela IV of Hungary
Brativoj and Butko Julijanov
Danilo of Halych
Shah Mohammed of Khworezm
Tran Hung Dao
Henry of Silesia
Jayakatwang of Java
and other
Genghis Khan
Batu Khan
Kublai Khan
Nogai Khan
Orda Khan
Jebe Noyon
and other

The Mongol invasions progressed throughout the 13th century, resulting in the vast Mongol Empire covering much of Asia and Eastern Europe by 1300.

The Mongol Empire emerged in the course of the 13th century by a series of conquests and invasions throughout Central and Western Asia, reachingEastern Europe by the 1240s. The speed and extent of territorial expansion parallels the Hunnic/Turkic conquests of the Migration period (the 6th centuryTurkic Khaganate).

The territorial gains of the Mongols persisted into the 15th century in Persia (Timurid dynasty) and in Russia (Tatar and Mongol raids against Russian states), and into the 19th century in India (the Mughal Empire).

All significant conquests and movements of Genghis Khan and his generals during his lifetime (Map above)

Western Xia Dynasty

During the 1206 political rise of Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire created by Genghis Khan and his allies shared its western borders with the Tanguts‘ Western Xia Dynasty. To its east and south was the Jin Dynasty, founded by the ManchurianJurchens, who ruled northern China as well as being the traditional overlord of the Mongolian tribes for centuries.

Genghis Khan organized his people, army, and his state to first prepare for war with Western Xia, or Xi Xia, which was closer to the Mongolian lands. He correctly believed that the more powerful Jin Dynasty’s young ruler would not come to the aid of Xi Xia. When the Tanguts requested help from the Jin Dynasty, they were flatly refused.[15] Despite initial difficulties in capturing its well-defended cities, Genghis Khan forced the surrender of Western Xia by 1209.

Jin Dynasty

Main article: Mongol-Jin War

In 1211, after the conquest of Western Xia, Genghis Khan planned again to conquer the Jin Dynasty. The commander of the Jin Dynasty army made a tactical mistake in not attacking the Mongols at the first opportunity. Instead, the Jin commander sent a messenger, Ming-Tan, to the Mongol side, who promptly defected and told the Mongols that the Jin army was waiting on the other side of the pass. At this engagement fought at Badger Pass the Mongols massacred thousands of Jin troops. In 1215 Genghis besieged, captured, and sacked the Jin capital of Yanjing (later known as Beijing). This forced the Emperor Xuanzong to move his capital south to Kaifeng, abandoning the northern half of his kingdom to the Mongols.

Kara-Khitan Khanate

Main article: Kara-Khitan Khanate


Location of Kara-Khitan Khanate

The Liao Dynasty (simplified Chinese: 辽朝; traditional Chinese: 遼朝; pinyin:Liáo CháoKhitan language: Mos Jælut)[1][2], 907-1125, also known as theKhitan Empire (契丹國 pinyinQìdān Guó, Khitan: Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur)[3], was an empire in East Asia that ruled over the regions of Manchuria,Mongolia, and parts of northern China proper. It was founded by the Yelü clan(耶律 Yēlǜ, Khitan: Jalut, Jælut) of the Khitan people in the same year as Tang Dynasty collapsed (907), even though its first ruler, Yelü Abaoji, did not declare an era name until 916.

Although it was originally known as the Empire of the Khitan, the Emperor Yelü Ruan officially adopted the name “Liao” (formally “Great Liao”) in 947 (938?). The name “Liao” was dropped in 983, but readopted in 1066. Another name for China in English, Cathay, is derived from the name Khitan. This is also the origin of the Russian word for China, Китай or Kitay, and that of several other East European languages.

The Liao Empire was destroyed by the Jurchen of the Jin Dynasty in 1125. However, remnants of its people led by Yelü Dashi established Xi (Western) Liao Dynasty 1125-1220, also known as Kara-Khitan Khanate, which extended its influence over Central Asia into Persia and survived until the arrival ofGenghis Khan‘s unified Mongolian army.

Kuchlug, the deposed Khan of the Naiman confederation that Temüjin defeated and folded into the Mongol nation, fled west and usurped the khanate of Kara-Khitan(also known as Kara Kitay). Genghis Khan decided to conquer the Kara-Khitan khanate and defeat Kuchlug, possibly to take him out of power. By this time the Mongol army was exhausted from ten years of continuous campaigning in China against the Western Xia and Jin Dynasty. Therefore Genghis sent only two tumen(20,000 soldiers) against Kuchlug, under his younger general, Jebe, known as “The Arrow”.

With such a small force, the invading Mongols were forced to change strategies and resort to inciting internal revolt among Kuchlug’s supporters, leaving the Khara-Khitan khanate more vulnerable to Mongol conquest. As a result, Kuchlug’s army was defeated west of Kashgar. Kuchlug fled again, but was soon hunted down by Jebe’s army and executed. By 1218, as a result of defeat of Kara-Khitan khanate, the Mongol Empire and its control extended as far west as Lake Balkhash, which bordered the Khwarezmia (Khwarezmid Empire), a Muslim state that reached theCaspian Sea to the west and Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea to the south.


Liao funerary mask, an ancestor of the Kara-Khitans, 10-12th century AD.


Liao funerary mask, 10th century.


Sancai plate, Liao Dynasty, 10-12th century.

Kara Khitan (Hala Qidan) was the name used by the Khitans to refer to themselves. The phrase is often translated as the Black Khitans in Turkish, but its original meaning is unclear today.[3] On the same line, “Kara-Khitan” literally means in Mongolian “Khar (Хар) Kidan(Хятан), Since no direct records from the empire survive today, the only surviving historical records about the empire come from outside sources. Since the empire took on trappings of a Chinese state, Chinese historians generally refer to the empire as theWestern Liao Dynasty, emphasizing its continuation from the Liao Dynasty in North and Northeast China. The Jurchens referred to the empire as Dashi or Dashi Linya (after its founder), to reduce any claims the empire may have had to the old territories of the Liao Dynasty. Muslim historians initially referred to the state simply as Khitay or Khitai. It was only after the Mongol conquest that the state began to be referred to in the Muslim world as the Kara-Khitai or Qara-Khitai.[4]

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Liao Dynasty polychrome wood carving of Guan YinShanxi Province, China, (A.D. 907-1125)


Liao Dynasty furniture excavated from an underground palace inFangshan District of Beijing


Liao dynasty sancai luohan, circa 1000.

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The Pagoda of Tianning Temple (Beijing), built by 1119 or 1120.

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The Pagoda of Fogong Temple, built in 1056 during the reign of Emperor Daozong of Liao.

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Glazed stoneware sculpture of a Buddhist luohan, Liao Dynasty.

A Liao Dynasty marble Amitabha Buddha from Hebei, in the Northern Qistyle

Khwarezmian Empire

Main article: Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia

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Khwarezmid Empire (1190–1220)

File:Khwarezmian Empire 1190 - 1220 (AD).PNG

File:During the battle of Indus.jpg

Date 1218 – 1221
Location Central AsiaIranAfghanistan and modern Pakistan
Result Complete Mongol victory
Khwarezmia added to the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire Khwarezmia
Commanders and leaders
Genghis Khan,
Ala ad-Din Muhammad,
Jalal al-Din,
Inalchuq† (executed)
Temur Meliq
80 000-100,000 mounted archers, with powerful siege engines
400,000-450,000 men, however not organized into armies, only city garrisons and very low draft rate left the majority unmobilized.

Genghis Khan watches in amazement as the KhwarezmiJalal ad-Din prepares to ford the Indus.

In the early 13th century, the Khwarezmian Dynasty was governed by Shah Ala ad-Din Muhammad. Genghis Khan saw the potential advantage in Khwarezmia as a commercial trading partner using the Silk Road, and he initially sent a 500-man caravan to establish official trade ties with the empire. However, Inalchuq, the governor of the Khwarezmian city of Otrar, attacked the caravan that came from Mongolia, claiming that the caravan contained spies and therefore was a conspiracy against Khwarezmia. The situation became further complicated because the governor later refused to make repayments for the looting of the caravan and handing over the perpetrators. Genghis Khan then sent again a second group of three ambassadors (two Mongols and a Muslim) to meet the Shah himself instead of the governor Inalchuq. The Shah had all the men shaved and the Muslim beheaded and sent his head back with the two remaining ambassadors. This was seen as an affront and insult to Genghis Khan. Outraged Genghis Khan planned one of his largest invasion campaigns by organizing together around 200,000 soldiers (20 tumens), his most capable generals and some of his sons. He left a commander and number of troops in China, designated his successors to be his family members and likely appointed Ogedei to be his immediate successor and then went out to Khwarezmia.

The Mongol army under Genghis Khan, generals and his sons crossed the Tien Shan mountains by entering the area controlled by the Khwarezmian Empire. After compiling intelligence from many sources Genghis Khan carefully prepared his army, which was divided into three groups. His son Jochi led the first division into the northeast of Khwarezmia. The second division under Jebemarched secretly to the southeast part of Khwarzemia to form, with the first division, a pincer attack on Samarkand. The third division under Genghis Khan and Tolui marched to the northwest and attacked Khwarzemia from that direction.

The Shah’s army was split by diverse internal disquisitions and by the Shah’s decision to divide his army into small groups concentrated in various cities. This fragmentation was decisive in Khwarezmia’s defeats, as it allowed the Mongols, although exhausted from the long journey, to immediately set about defeating small fractions of the Khwarzemi forces instead of facing a unified defense. The Mongol army quickly seized the town of Otrar, relying on superior strategy and tactics. Genghis Khan ordered the wholesale massacre of many of the civilians, enslaved the rest of the population and executed Inalchuq by pouring molten silver into his ears and eyes, as retribution for his actions. Near the end of the battle the Shah fled rather than surrender. Genghis Khan charged Subutai and Jebe with hunting him down, giving them two years and 20,000 men. The Shah died under mysterious circumstances on a small island within his empire.

The Mongols’ conquest, even by their own standards, was brutal. After the capital Samarkand fell, the capital was moved to Bukhara by the remaining men, and Genghis Khan dedicated two of his generals and their forces to completely destroying the remnants of the Khwarezmid Empire, including not only royal buildings, but entire towns, populations and even vast swaths of farmland. According to stories, Genghis Khan even went so far as to divert a river through the Khwarezmid emperor’s birthplace, erasing it from the map.

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A minaret in Samarkand. (Above)

The Mongols attacked Samarkand using prisoners as body shields. After several days only a few remaining soldiers, die-hard supporters of the Shah, held out in the citadel. After the fortress fell, Genghis supposedly reneged on his surrender terms and executed every soldier that had taken arms against him at Samarkand. The people of Samarkand were ordered to evacuate and assemble in a plain outside the city, where they were killed and pyramids of severed heads raised as a symbol of victory.[16]


Ruins of Muhammad’s palace in Urgench.

The city of Bukhara was not heavily fortified, with a moat and a single wall, and the citadel typical of Khwarezmi cities. The city leaders opened the gates to the Mongols, though a unit of Turkish defenders held the city’s citadel for another twelve days. Survivors from the citadel were executed, artisans and craftsmen were sent back to Mongolia, young men who had not fought were drafted into the Mongolian army and the rest of the population was sent into slavery. As the Mongol soldiers looted the city, a fire broke out, razing most of the city to the ground.[17] Genghis Khan had the city’s surviving population assemble in the main mosque of the town, where he declared that he was the flail of God, sent to punish them for their sins.

Meanwhile, the wealthy trading city of Urgench was still in the hands of Khwarezmian forces. The assault on Urgench proved to be the most difficult battle of the Mongol invasion and the city fell only after the defenders put up a stout defense, fighting block for block. Mongolian casualties were higher than normal, due to the unaccustomed difficulty of adapting Mongolian tactics to city fighting.

As usual, the artisans were sent back to Mongolia, young women and children were given to the Mongol soldiers as slaves, and the rest of the population was massacred. The Persian scholar Juvayni states that 50,000 Mongol soldiers were given the task of executing twenty-four Urgench citizens each, which would mean that 1.2 million people were killed. While this is almost certainly an exaggeration, the sacking of Urgench is considered one of the bloodiest massacres in human history.

In the meantime, Genghis Khan selected his third son Ögedei as his successor before his army set out, and specified that subsequent Khans should be his direct descendants. Genghis Khan also left Muqali, one of his most trusted generals, as the supreme commander of all Mongol forces in Jin China while he was out battling the Khwarezmid Empire to the west.

Georgia and Volga Bulgaria

Main articles: Mongol invasions of Georgia and Mongol invasion of Volga Bulgaria

After the defeat of the Khwarezmian Empire in 1220, Genghis Khan gathered his forces in Persia and Armenia to return to the Mongolian steppes. Under the suggestion of Subutai, the Mongol army was split into two component forces. Genghis Khan led the main army on a raid through Afghanistan and northern India towards Mongolia, while another 20,000 (two tumen) contingent marched through the Caucasus and into Russia under generals Jebe and Subutai. They pushed deep into Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Mongols destroyed the kingdom ofGeorgia, sacked the Genoese trade-fortress of Caffa in Crimea and overwintered near the Black Sea. Heading home, Subutai’s forces attacked the Kipchaks and were intercepted by the allied but poorly coordinated 80,000 Kievan Rus’ troops led by Mstislav the Bold of Halychand Mstislav III of Kiev who went out to stop the Mongols’ actions in the area. Subutai sent emissaries to the Slavic princes calling for a separate peace, but the emissaries were executed. At the Battle of Kalka River in 1223, Subutai’s forces defeated the larger Kievan force, while losing the battle of Samara Bend against the neighboring Volga Bulgars.[18] The Russian princes then sued for peace. Subutai agreed but was in no mood to pardon the princes. As was customary in Mongol society for nobility, the Russian princes were given a bloodless death. Subutai had a large wooden platform constructed on which he ate his meals along with his other generals. Six Russian princes, including Mstislav III of Kiev, were put under this platform and crushed to death.

The Mongols learned from captives of the abundant green pastures beyond the Bulgar territory, allowing for the planning for conquest ofHungary and Europe. Genghis Khan recalled Subutai back to Mongolia soon afterwards, and Jebe died on the road back to Samarkand. Subutai and Jebe’s famous cavalry expedition, in which they encircled the entire Caspian Sea defeating all armies in their path, except for that of the Volga Bulgars, remains unparalleled to this day, and word of the Mongol triumphs began to trickle to other nations, particularly Europe. These two campaigns are generally regarded as reconnaissance campaigns that tried to get the feel of the political and cultural elements of the regions. In 1225 both divisions returned to Mongolia. These invasions ultimately added Transoxiana and Persia to an already formidable empire while destroying any resistance along the way. Later under Genghis Khan’s grandson Batu and the Golden Horde, the Mongols returned to conquer Volga Bulgaria and the Kievan Rus in 1237, concluding the campaign in 1240.

Western Xia and Jin Dynasty

Main article: Mongol invasion of China

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Western Xia DynastyJin DynastySong Dynasty and Kingdom of Dali in 1142.

The vassal emperor of the Tanguts (Western Xia) had earlier refused to take part in the war against the Khwarezmid Empire after Genghis Khan and the main army marched towards Kharezmian Empire. Plus Western Xia and the defeated Jin Dynasty formed a coalition to resist the Mongols, counting on the campaign against the Khwarezmians to drain the Mongols’ ability to respond effectively.

In 1226, immediately after returning from the west, Genghis Khan began a retaliatory attack on theTanguts. His armies quickly took HeisuiGanzhou and Suzhou (not the Suzhou in Jiangsu province), and in the autumn he took Xiliang-fu. One of the Tangut generals challenged the Mongols to a battle near Helanshan, but was soundly defeated. In November, Genghis laid siegeto the Tangut city Lingzhou, and crossed the Yellow River, defeating the Tangut relief army. According to legend, it was here that Genghis Khan reportedly saw a line of five stars arranged in the sky, and interpreted it as an omen of his victory.

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, effectively ending the Tangut lineage.


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Genghis Khan and three of his four sons[citation needed]. Illustration from a 15th centuryJami’ al-tawarikh manuscript

The succession topic of Genghis Khan was already significant during the later years of Genghis Khan’s reign since he was already reaching his older years. Also the long running paternity discussion about Genghis’ oldest son Jochi was already a relatively hot topic behind the scenes, which particularly was contentious because of the seniority of Jochi among the brothers. According to traditional historical accounts, the issue over Jochi’s paternity was voiced most strongly by Chagatai. In The Secret History of the Mongols, just before the invasion of the Khwarezmid Empire by Genghis Khan, Chagatai declares before his father and brothers that he would never accept Jochi as Genghis Khan’s successor. In response to this tension[19] and possibly for other reasons, it was Ögedei who was appointed as successor.

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Mongol “Great Khans” coin, minted atBalk, Afghanistan, AH 618, 1221 CE.


Jochi died in 1226, during his father’s lifetime. Some scholars, notably Ratchnevsky, have commented on the possibility that Jochi was secretly poisoned by an order from Genghis Khan. Rashid al-Din reports that the great Khan sent for his sons in the spring of 1223, and while his brothers heeded the order, Jochi remained in Khorasan. Juzjani suggests that the disagreement arose from a quarrel between Jochi and his brothers in the siege of Urgench. Jochi had attempted to protect Urgench from destruction, as it belonged to territory allocated to him as a fief. He concludes his story with the clearly apocryphal statement by Jochi: “Genghis Khan is mad to have massacred so many people and laid waste so many lands. I would be doing a service if I killed my father when he is hunting, made an alliance with Sultan Muhammad, brought this land to life and gave assistance and support to the Muslims.” Juzjani claims that it was in response to hearing of these plans that Genghis Khan ordered his son secretly poisoned; however, as Sultan Muhammad was already dead in 1223, the accuracy of this story is questionable.[20]

Genghis Khan was aware of this friction between his sons (particularly between Chagatai and Jochi) and worried of possible conflict between them if he died and therefore he decided to explicitly divide his empire among his sons and make all of them Khan in their own right and by appointing one of his sons as his successor. Chagatai was considered unstable due to his temper and rash behavior because of his statements he made that he would not follow Jochi if he were to become his father’s successor.Tolui, Genghis Khan’s youngest son was definitely not to be his successor because he was the youngest and in the Mongol culture, youngest sons were not given a huge responsibility due to their age. If Jochi was to become successor, it was likely that Chagatai would engage in warfare with him and collapse the empire. Therefore Genghis Khan decided to give the throne to Ogedei. Ogedei was seen by Genghis Khan as dependable in character and relatively stable and down to earth and would be a neutral candidate and might defuse the situation between his brothers.

Death and burial

Main article: Tomb of Genghis Khan

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Mongol Empire in 1227 at Genghis Khan’s death

In 1227, after defeating the Tangut people, Genghis Khan died (according to The Secret History of the Mongols). The reason for his death is uncertain and speculations abound. Some historians maintain that he fell off his horse during a horseback pursuit from the land of present day Egypt due to battle wounds and physical fatigue, ultimately dying of his injuries.[21] Others contend that he was felled by a protracted illness such as pneumonia. The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle alleges he was killed by the Tanguts in battle. Later Mongol chronicles connect Genghis’ death with a Tangut princess taken as war booty. One chronicle from the early 17th century even relates that the princess hid a small pair of pliers inside her vagina, and hurt the Great Khan so badly that he died. Some Mongol authors have doubted this version and suspected it to be an invention by the rival Oirads.[22]

Genghis Khan asked to be buried without markings, according to the customs of his tribe. 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 Khaldunmountain (part of the Kentii mountain range). According to legend, the funeral escort killed anyone and anything across their path to conceal where he was finally buried. The Genghis Khan Mausoleum, constructed many years after his death, is his memorial, but not his burial site.

On October 6, 2004, a joint Japanese-Mongolian archaeological dig uncovered what is believed to be Genghis Khan’s palace in rural Mongolia, which raises the possibility of actually locating the ruler’s long-lost burial site.[23] Folklore says that a river was diverted over his grave to make it impossible to find (the same manner of burial as the Sumerian King Gilgamesh of Uruk and Atilla the Hun). Other tales state that his grave was stampeded over by many horses, and that trees were then planted over the site, and the permafrost also did its part in hiding the burial site.

Genghis Khan left behind an army of more than 129,000 men; 28,000 were given to his various brothers and his sons. Tolui, his youngest son, inherited more than 100,000 men. This force contained the bulk of the elite Mongolian cavalry. By tradition, the youngest son inherits his father’s property. JochiChagataiÖgedei Khan, and Kulan’s son Gelejian received armies of 4,000 men each. His mother and the descendants of his three brothers received 3,000 men each.

Mongol Empire

Main article: Mongol Empire

Politics and economics

File:Mongol Empire map.gif

Mongol Empire

Main article: Organization of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan

The Mongol Empire was governed by a civilian and military code, called the Yassa, created by Genghis Khan. The Mongol Empire did not emphasize the importance ofethnicity and race in the administrative realm, instead adopting an approach grounded in meritocracy. The exception was the role of Genghis Khan and his family. The Mongol Empire was one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse empires in history, as befitted its size. Many of the empire’s nomadic inhabitants considered themselves Mongols in military and civilian life, including TurksMongols, and others and included many diverse Khans of various ethnicities as part of the Mongol Empire such as Muhammad Khan.

There were tax exemptions for religious figures and, to some extent, teachers anddoctors. The Mongol Empire practiced religious tolerance to a large degree because Mongol tradition had long held that religion was a very personal concept, and not subject to law or interference.[citation needed] Sometime before the rise of Genghis Khan, Ong Khan, his mentor and eventual rival, had converted to Nestorian Christianity. Various Mongol tribes were Buddhist, Muslim, shamanist or Christian. Religious tolerance was thus a well established concept on the Asian steppe.

Modern Mongolian historians say that towards the end of his life, Genghis Khan attempted to create a civil state under the Great Yassa that would have established the legal equality of all individuals, including women.[24] However, there is no contemporary evidence of this, or of the lifting of discriminatory policies towards sedentary peoples such as the Chinese. Women played a relatively important role in Mongol Empire and in family, for example Töregene Khatun was briefly in charge of the Mongol Empire when next male Khagan was being chosen. Modern scholars refer to the alleged policy of encouraging trade and communication as the Pax Mongolica (Mongol Peace).

Genghis Khan realised that he needed people who could govern cities and states conquered by him. He also realised that such administrators could not be found among his Mongol people because they were nomads and thus had no experience governing cities. For this purpose Genghis Khan invited a Khitan prince, Chu’Tsai, who worked for the Jin and had been captured by the Mongol army after the Jin Dynasty were defeated. Jin had captured power by displacing Khitan. Genghis told Chu’Tsai, who was a lineal descendant of Khitan rulers, that he had avenged Chu’Tsai’s forefathers. Chu’Tsai responded that his father served the Jin Dynasty honestly and so did he; he did not consider his own father his enemy, so the question of revenge did not apply. Genghis Khan was very impressed by this reply. Chu’Tsai administered parts of the Mongol Empire and became a confidant of the successive Mongol Khans.


Main article: Mongol military tactics and organization

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Reenactment of Mongol military movement.

Genghis Khan put absolute trust in his generals, such as Muqali, Jebe and Subutai, and regarded them as close advisors, often extending them the same privileges and trust normally reserved for close family members. He allowed them to make decisions on their own when they embarked on campaigns far from the Mongol Empire capital Karakorum. Genghis Khan expected unwavering loyalty from his generals, and granted them a great deal of autonomy in making command decisions. Muqali, a trusted general, was given command of the Mongol forces against the Jin Dynasty while Genghis Khan was fighting in Central Asia, and Subutai and Jebe were allowed to pursue the Great Raid into the Caucausus and Kievan Rus, an idea they had presented to the Khagan on their own initiative. The Mongol military was also successful in siege warfare, cutting off resources for cities and towns by diverting certain rivers, taking enemy prisoners and driving them in front of the army, and adopting new ideas, techniques and tools from the people they conquered, particularly in employing Muslim and Chinese siege engines and engineers to aid the Mongol cavalry in capturing cities. Another standard tactic of the Mongol military was the commonly practiced feigned retreat to break enemy formations and to lure small enemy groups away from the larger group and defended position for ambush and counterattack.

Another important aspect of the military organization of Genghis Khan was the communications and supply route or Yam, adapted from previous Chinese models. Genghis Khan dedicated special attention to this in order to speed up the gathering of military intelligence and official communications. To this end, Yam waystations were established all over the empire.


Before his death, Genghis Khan divided his empire among his sons ÖgedeiChagataiTolui, and Jochi (Jochi’s death several months before Genghis Khan meant that his lands were instead split between his sons, Batu and Orda) into several Khanates designed as sub-territories: their Khans were expected to follow the Great Khan, who was, initially, Ögedei.


Modern day location of capital Kharakhorum

Following are the Khanates the way Genghis Khan assigned them:

See also: List of Mongol Khans

After Genghis Khan

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Genghis Khan’s son and successor,Ögedei Khaghan

Contrary to popular belief, Genghis Khan did not conquer all of the areas of the Mongol Empire. At the time of his death, the Mongol Empire stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Sea of Japan. The empire’s expansion continued for a generation or more after Genghis’s death in 1227. Under Genghis’s successor Ögedei Khan the speed of expansion reached its peak. Mongol armies pushed into Persia, finished off the Xi Xia and the remnants of the Khwarezmids, and came into conflict with the imperial Song Dynasty of China, starting a war that would last until 1279 and that would conclude with the Mongols gaining control of all of China. They also pushed further into Russia and eastern Europe.


Like other notable conquerors, Genghis Khan is portrayed differently by those he conquered and those who conquered with him. Negative views of Genghis Khan are very persistent within histories written by many different cultures, from various different geographical regions. They often cite the cruelties and destruction brought upon by Mongol armies, not to mention the systematic slaughter of civilians in the conquered regions; other authors cite positive aspects of Genghis Khan’s conquests as well.



Genghis Khan on the reverse of a Kazakhstan 100 Tenge coin

Genghis Khan is credited with bringing the Silk Road under one cohesive political environment. This allowed increased communication and trade between the WestMiddle East and Asia, thus expanding the horizons of all three cultural areas. Some historians have noted that Genghis Khan instituted certain levels of meritocracy in his rule, was tolerant of different religions and explained his policies clearly to all his soldiers.[25] In Turkey, Genghis Khan is looked on as a great military leader, and it is popular for male children to carry his title as name.[26]

In Mongolia

Traditionally Genghis Khan had been revered for centuries among the Mongols, and also among certain other ethnic groups such as the Turks, largely because of his association with Mongol statehood, political and military organization, and his historic victories in war. He eventually evolved into a larger-than-life figure chiefly among the Mongols and is still considered the symbol of Mongolian culture.

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Equestrian statue of Genghis Khan, the largest (40 metres tall) in the world, near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

During the communist period, Genghis Khan was often described as reactionary, and positive statements about him were generally avoided.[27] In 1962, the erection of a monument at his birthplace and a conference held in commemoration of his 800th birthday led to criticism from the Soviet Union, and resulted in the dismissal of Tömör-Ochir, a secretary of the ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee.

In the early 1990s, when democracy was established in Mongolia, the memory of Genghis Khan with the Mongolian traditional national identity has had a powerful revival partly because of his perception during theMongolian People’s Republic period. Genghis Khan became one of the central figures of the national identity. He is looked upon positively by Mongolians for his role in uniting various warring tribes. For example, it is not uncommon for Mongolians to refer to Mongolia as “Genghis Khan’s Mongolia”, to themselves as “Genghis Khan’s children”, and to Genghis Khan as the “father of the Mongols” especially among the younger generation. However, there is a chasm in the perception of his brutality, Mongolians maintain that the historical records written by non-Mongolians are unfairly biased against Genghis Khan, and that his butchery is exaggerated, while his positive role is underrated.[28]


Genghis Khan on the Mongolian 1,000tögrög banknote

Genghis Khan’s name and likeness are endorsed on products, streets, buildings, and other places. His face can be found on everyday commodities, from liquors to the largest denominations of 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Mongolian tögrög (₮). Mongolia’s main international airport has been renamed Chinggis Khaan International Airport, and major Genghis Khan statues have been erected before the parliament[29] and near Ulaanbaatar. There have been repeated discussions about regulating the use of his name and image to avoid trivialization.[30]

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Statue of Genghis Khan in front of the Mongolian government building in Sükhbaatar SquareUlaanbaatar

File:Chinggis Khan hillside portrait.JPG

Portrait on a hillside in Ulaanbaatar, 2006

Genghis Khan is now regarded as one of Mongolia’s prominent leaders.[31] He is responsible for the emergence of the Mongols as a political and ethnic identity because there was no unified identity between the various tribes that had cultural similarity. He reinforced many Mongol traditions and provided stability and unity during a time of almost endemic warfarebetween various tribes. He is also given credit for the introduction of the traditional Mongolian script and the creation of the Ikh Zasag, the first written Mongolian law.[32] In summary, Mongolians see him as the fundamental figure in the founding of the Mongol Empire, and therefore the basis for Mongolia as a country.


In China


Genghis Khan Monument in Hohhot

There are conflicting views of Genghis Khan in the People’s Republic of China with some viewing him positively in the Inner Mongolia section where there is a monument and buildings about him and where there are considerable Mongols in the area with a population of around 5 million, almost twice the population of Mongolia. While Genghis Khan never conquered all of China, his grandsonKublai Khan completed that conquest,[33] and established the Yuan Dynasty that is often credited with re-uniting China. There has also been much artwork and literature praising Genghis as a great military leader and political genius. The years of the Mongol-established Yuan Dynasty left an indelible imprint on Chinese political and social structures for subsequent generations with literature during the Jin Dynasty relatively fewer. In general the legacy of Genghis Khan and his successors, who completed the conquest of China after 65 years of struggle, remains a mixed topic, even to this day.


Main article: Destruction under the Mongol Empire


Invasions like the Battle of Baghdad by his grandson are treated as brutal and are seen negatively in Iraq. This illustration is from a 15th century Jami’ al-tawarikhmanuscript.

In Iraq and Iran, he is almost universally looked on as a destructive and genocidal warlord who caused enormous damage and destruction to the population of these areas.[34] Similarly, inAfghanistan (along with other non-Turkic Muslim countries) he is generally viewed unfavorably though some groups display ambivalence as it is believed that the Hazara of Afghanistan are descendants of a large Mongol garrison stationed therein.[35][36] The invasions of Baghdad,SamarkandUrgenchKievVladimir among others caused mass murders, such as when portions of southern Khuzestan were completely destroyed. His descendant, Hulagu Khan destroyed much of Iran’s northern part. Among the Iranian peoples, he is regarded along with Alexander andTamerlane as one of the most despised conquerors of Iran.[37][38] In much of RussiaMiddle East,Korea, China, UkrainePoland and Hungary, Genghis Khan and his regime are credited with considerable damage, destruction and loss of population.


Main article: Descent from Genghis Khan

Zerjal et al. [2003][39] identified a Y-chromosomal lineage present in about 8% of the men in a large region of Asia (about 0.5% of the men in the world). The paper suggests that the pattern of variation within the lineage is consistent with a hypothesis that it originated in Mongolia about 1,000 years ago. Because the rate of such a spread would be too rapid to have occurred by genetic drift, the authors propose that the lineage is carried by likely male-line descendants of Genghis Khan, and that it has spread through social selection. In addition to most of the Mongol nobility up to the 20th century, the Mughal emperor Babur‘s mother was a descendant. Timur (also known as Tamerlane), the 14th century military leader, claimed descent from Genghis Khan.

Depictions in modern culture


The Genghis Khan Mausoleum in Ordos

There have been several films, novels and other adaptation works on the Mongolian ruler.


Poster for the film Mongol

  • “By the Will of Genghis Khan”, a Russian film released in 2009.

TV series

Year Production Lead actor Additional information
1987 TVB (Hong Kong) Alex Man see Genghis Khan (TVB)
1987 ATV (Hong Kong) Tony Liu 20 episodes
2004 China and Mongolia Ba Sen see Genghis Khan (2004 TV series)


  • The Conqueror series of novels by Conn Iggulden
  • “You Can’t, But Genghis Khan” from the Time Warp Trio book series

Short stories

Name and title

There are many theories about the origins of Temüjin’s title. Since people of the Mongol nation later associated the name with ching(Mongolian for strength), such confusion is obvious, though it does not follow etymology.


The gate of Genghis Khan Mausoleum

One theory suggests the name stems from a palatalised version of the Mongolian and Turkic wordtenggis, meaning “ocean”, “oceanic” or “wide-spreading”. (Lake Baikal and ocean were calledtenggis by the Mongols. However, it seems that if they had meant to call Genghis tenggis they could have said (and written) “Tenggis Khan”, which they did not. Zhèng (Chinese: 正) meaning “right”, “just”, or “true”, would have received the Mongolian adjectival modifier -s, creating “Jenggis”, which in medieval romanization would be written “Genghis”. It is likely that the 13th century Mongolian pronunciation would have closely matched “Chinggis”.[40]

The English spelling “Genghis” is of unclear origin. Weatherford claims it to derive from a spelling used in original Persian reports.Even at this time some Iranians pronounce his name as “Ghengiss”. However, review of historical Persian sources does not confirm this.[41]

According to the Secret History of the Mongols, Temüjin was named after a powerful warrior of the Tatar tribe that his father Yesügei had taken prisoner. The name “Temüjin” is believed to derive from the word temür, meaning iron (modern Mongolian: төмөр, tömör). The name would imply skill as a blacksmith.

More likely, as no evidence has survived to indicate that Genghis Khan had any exceptional training or reputation as a blacksmith, the name indicated an implied lineage in a family once known as blacksmiths. The latter interpretation is supported by the names of Genghis Khan’s siblings, Temülin and Temüge, which are derived from the same root word.


Monument in Hulunbuir

Name and spelling variations

Genghis Khan’s name is spelled in variety of ways in different languages such as Chinese: 成吉思汗; pinyinChéngjísī HánTurkicCengiz HanChengez KhanChinggis KhanChinggis Xaan,Chingis KhanJenghis KhanChinggis QanDjingis KahnRussian: Чингисхан (Čingiskhan) or Чингиз-хан (Čingiz-khan), etc. Temüjin is written in Chinese as simplified Chinese: 铁木真;traditional Chinese: 鐵木眞; pinyinTiěmùzhēn.

When Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty in 1271, he had his grandfather Genghis Khan placed on the official record as the founder of the dynasty or Taizu (Chinese: 太祖). Thus, Genghis Khan is also referred to as Yuan Taizu (Chinese: 元太祖) in Chinese historiography.



The statue before his mausoleum

  • Probably 1155, 1162, or 1167: Temüjin was born in the Khentii mountains.
  • At the age of nine, Temüjin’s father Yesükhei was poisoned by Tatars, leaving him and his family destitute.
  • c. 1184: Temüjin’s wife Börte was kidnapped by Merkits; he called on blood brother Jamukaand Wang Khan for aid, and they rescued her.
  • c. 1185: First son Jochi was born; leading to doubt about his paternity later among Genghis’ children, because he was born shortly after Börte‘s rescue from the Merkits.
  • 1190: Temüjin united the Mongol tribes, became leader, and devised code of law Yassa.
  • 1201: Victory over Jamuka‘s Jadarans.
  • 1202: Adopted as Wang Khan’s heir after successful campaigns against Tatars.
  • 1203: Victory over Wang Khan’s Keraits. Wang Khan himself is killed by accident by allied Naimans.
  • 1204: Victory over Naimans (all these confederations are united and become the Mongols).
  • 1206: Jamuka was killed. Temüjin was given the title Genghis Khan by his followers in aKurultai (around 40 years of age).
  • 1207–1210: Genghis led operations against the Western Xia, which comprises much of northwestern China and parts of Tibet. Western Xia ruler submitted to Genghis Khan. During this period, the Uyghurs also submitted peacefully to the Mongols and became valued administrators throughout the empire.
  • 1211: After the kurultai, Genghis led his armies against the Jin Dynasty ruling northern China.
  • 1215: Beijing fell; Genghis Khan turned to west and the Khara-Kitan Khanate.
  • 1219–1222: Conquered Khwarezmid Empire.
  • 1226: Started the campaign against the Western Xia for forming coalition against the Mongols, the second battle with the Western Xia.
  • 1227: Genghis Khan died after conquering the Tangut people. Cause of death is uncertain, although legend states that he was thrown off his horse in the battle and contracted a deadly fever soon after.


  1. ^ “History of the World Conqueror”,the author is Ala-al-Dn‘Aa-Malik Juwain
  2. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition (2000).
  3. a b Rashid al-Din asserts that Genghis Khan lived to the age of 72, placing his year of birth at 1155. The Yuanshi (元史, History of the Yuan dynasty, not to be confused with the era name of the Han Dynasty), records his year of birth as 1165. According to Ratchnevsky, accepting a birth in 1155 would render Genghis Khan a father at the age of 30 and would imply that he personally commanded the expedition against the Tanguts at the age of 72. Also, according to the Altan Tobci, Genghis Khan’s sister, Temülin, was nine years younger than he; but the Secret History relates that Temülin was an infant during the attack by the Merkits, during which Genghis Khan would have been 18, had he been born in 1155. Zhao Hong reports in his travelogue that the Mongols he questioned did not know and had never known their ages.
  4. ^ John Joseph Saunders-The History of the Mongol Conquests
  5. ^ “Genghis Khan”North Georgia College and State University. Retrieved 2010-01-26.
  6. ^ Ratchnevsky, Paul (1991). Genghis Khan: His Life and Legacy.Blackwell Publishing. pp. 9–10. ISBN 0-631-16785-4.
  7. ^ Morgan, David (1990). The Mongols (Peoples of Europe). p. 58.
  8. ^ Guida Myrl Jackson-Laufer, Guida M. Jackson-Encyclopedia of traditional epics,p. 527
  9. ^ Paul Kahn, Francis Woodman Cleaves-The secret history of the Mongols, p.192

10. ^ “THE MONGOLS — PART I”. Republican China. Retrieved 2008-05-20.

11. ^ “The Emperors of Emperors”California State University. Retrieved 2008-05-20.

12. ^ “Genghis Khan Biography (1162/7)”The Biography Channel. Retrieved 2008-05-20.

13. ^ Grousset, Rene (1944). Conqueror of the World: The Life of Chingis-khanNew YorkViking Press.

14. ^ Weatherford, Jack (2004). “2: Tale of Three Rivers“. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Three Rivers Press. p. 44. ISBN 0-609-80964-4.

15. ^ a b Man, John (2004). Genghis Khan: Life, Death and ResurrectionLondonNew YorkBantam PressISBN 0-593-05044-4.

16. ^ Central Asian world cities

17. ^ Morgan, David (1986). The Mongols. The Peoples of Europe. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-17563-6.

18. ^ De Hartog, Leo (1988). Genghis Khan: Conqueror of the World.LondonUKI.B. Tauris. pp. 122–123.

19. ^ Ratchnevsky 1991, p. 126

20. ^ Ratchnevsky 1991, pp. 136–7

21. ^ Haenisch, Erich (1948). Die Geheime Geschichte der Mongolen.Leipzig. pp. 133, 136.

22. ^ Heissig, Walther (1964). Die Mongolen. Ein Volk sucht seine GeschichteDüsseldorf. p. 124.

23. ^ “Palace of Genghis Khan unearthed”BBC. 2004-10-07. Retrieved 2008-05-20.

24. ^ Pocha, Jehangir S. (2005-05-10). “Mongolia sees Genghis Khan’s good side”International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-05-20.

25. ^ Clive Foss, The Tyrants, page 57, Quercus, London, 2007.

26. ^ “Ismi Didikle” (in Turkish). Ismi Didikle. Retrieved 2008-05-05.

27. ^ Christopher Kaplonski: The case of the disappearing Chinggis Khaan.

28. ^ Griffiths, Daniel (2007-01-11). “Asia-Pacific | Post-communist Mongolia’s struggle.”. BBC News. Retrieved 2009-08-03.

29. ^ Once Shunned, Genghis Khan Conquers Mongolia Again.

30. ^ “Business | Genghis Khan may get protection.”. BBC News. 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2009-08-03.

31. ^ “ASIA-PACIFIC | Mongolia glorifies Genghis Khan.”. BBC News. 2002-05-03. Retrieved 2009-08-03.

32. ^ “The Yasa of Chingis Khan”. Retrieved 2010-02-16.

33. ^ Inner Mongolia Travel Guide.

34. ^ “The Legacy of Genghis Khan” at Los Angeles County Museum of Art–again.

35. ^ Zerjal, et el.; Xue, Y; Bertorelle, G; Wells, RS; Bao, W; Zhu, S; Qamar, R; Ayub, Q et al. (2003). “The Genetic Legacy of the Mongols”The American Journal of Human Genetics 72 (3): 717–721. doi:10.1086/367774PMID 12592608.PMC 1180246. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-28.

36. ^ Genetics: Analysis Of Genes And Genomes By Daniel L. Hartl, Elizabeth W. Jones, p. 309.

37. ^ Phoenix From the Ashes: A Tale of the Book in Iran.

38. ^ Civilizations: How we see others, how others see us.

39. ^ Zerjal, et el.; Xue, Y; Bertorelle, G; Wells, RS; Bao, W; Zhu, S; Qamar, R; Ayub, Q et al. (2003). “The Genetic Legacy of the Mongols”The American Journal of Human Genetics 72 (3): 717–721. doi:10.1086/367774PMID 12592608.PMC 1180246. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-28.

40. ^ Lister, R. P. (2000 [c1969]). Genghis Khan. Lanham, Maryland: Cooper Square Press. ISBN 0-8154-1052-2.

41. ^ Timothy May. “Book Review”. North Georgia College and State University. Retrieved 2008-02-20.


  • Ratchnevsky, Paul (1992, c1991). Genghis Khan: His Life and Legacy [Čingis-Khan: sein Leben und Wirken]. tr. & ed. Thomas Nivison Haining. Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Mass., USA: B. Blackwell. ISBN ISBN 0-631-16785-4.

Further reading

  • Brent, Peter (1976). The Mongol Empire: Genghis Khan: His Triumph and His Legacy. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.ISBN029777137X.
  • Bretschneider, Emilii (1888, repr. 2001). Mediæval Researches from Eastern Asiatic Sources; Fragments Towards the Knowledge of the Geography & History of Central & Western Asia. Trübner’s Oriental Series. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co (repr. Munshirm Manoharlal Pub Pvt Ltd). ISBN 81-215-1003-1.
  • Cable, Mildred; Francesca French (1943). The Gobi Desert. London: Landsborough Publications.
  • Charney, Israel W. (ed.) (1994). Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review. New York: Facts on File Publications.
  • De Hartog, Leo (1988). Genghis Khan: Conqueror of the World. London: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd..
  • (French) Farale, Dominique (2002). De Gengis Khan à Qoubilaï Khan : la grande chevauchée mongole. Campagnes & stratégies. Paris: Economica. ISBN 2-7178-4537-2.
  • (French) Farale, Dominique (2007). La Russie et les Turco-Mongols : 15 siècles de guerre. Paris: Economica. ISBN 978-2-7178-5429-9.
  • “Genghis Khan”Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. World Almanac Education Group. 2005. Retrieved 2008-05-22. Via the Internet Archive‘s copy of the History Channel Web site.
  • Smitha, Frank E. “Genghis Khan and the Mongols”Macrohistory and World Report. Retrieved 2005-06-30.
  • Kahn, Paul (adaptor) (1998). Secret History of the Mongols: The Origin of Chingis Khan (expanded edition): An Adaptation of the Yüan chʾao pi shih, Based Primarily on the English Translation by Francis Woodman Cleaves. Asian Culture Series. Boston: Cheng & Tsui Co..ISBN 0-88727-299-1.
  • Kennedy, Hugh (2002). Mongols, Huns & Vikings. London: Cassell. ISBN ISBN 0-304-35292-6.
  • Kradin, Nikolay; Tatiana Skrynnikova (2006). Imperiia Chingis-khana (Chinggis Khan Empire). Moscow: Vostochnaia literatura. ISBN 5-02-018521-3(Russian) (summary in English)
  • Kradin, Nikolay; Tatiana Skrynnikova (2006). “Why do we call Chinggis Khan’s Polity ‘an Empire'”. Ab Imperio 7 (1): 89–118. 5-89423-110-8.
  • Lamb, Harold (1927). Genghis Khan: The Emperor of All Men. New York: R. M. McBride & company.
  • Lister, R. P. (2000 [c1969]). Genghis Khan. Lanham, Maryland: Cooper Square Press. ISBN 0-8154-1052-2.
  • Man, John (2004). Genghis Khan: Life, Death and Resurrection. London; New York: Bantam Press. ISBN ISBN 0-593-05044-4.
  • Man, John (1997, 1998, 1999). Gobi: Tracking the Desert. London; New Haven, Conn: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; Yale University Press.ISBN 0-7538-0161-2.
  • Martin, Henry Desmond (1950). The Rise of Chingis Khan and his Conquest of North China. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.
  • May, Timothy (2001). “Mongol Arms”Explorations in Empire: Pre-Modern Imperialism Tutorial: The Mongols. San Antonio College History Department. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  • Morgan, David (1986). The Mongols. The Peoples of Europe. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-17563-6.
  • Saunders, J.J. (1972, repr. 2001). History of the Mongol Conquests. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN0812217667.
  • Stevens, Keith. “Heirs to Discord: The Supratribal Aspirations of Jamuka, Toghrul, and Temüjin”PDF (72.1 KB) Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  • Stewart, Stanley (2001). In the Empire of Genghis Khan: A Journey among Nomads. London: Harper Collins. ISBN ISBN 0-00-653027-3.
  • Turnbull, Stephen (2003). Genghis Khan & the Mongol Conquests 1190-1400. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-523-6.
  • Valentino, Benjamin A. (2004). Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801439655.
  • Weatherford, Jack (2004). Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (review). New York: Crown. ISBN 0-609-61062-7.
  • Zerjal, Xue, Bertorelle, Wells, Bao, Zhu, Qamar, Ayub, Mohyuddin, Fu, Li, Yuldasheva, Ruzibakiev, Xu, Shu, Du, Yang, Hurles, Robinson, Gerelsaikhan, Dashnyam, Mehdi, Tyler-Smith (2003). “The Genetic Legacy of the Mongols” ([dead link] – Scholar search). The American Journal of Human Genetics 72 (72): 717–721;. doi:10.1086/367774PMID 12592608PMC 1180246.

Primary sources

External links

To Day :

Pictures of Mongolia’s Reindeer People

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

Dukha hunters pause to look for signs of game in the mountains. The reindeer are critical to the survival of the Dukha, as the people ride the reindeer into the forests to hunt.

Chinese animal-parts traders are increasingly hunting here. The traders kill brown bears for their gall bladders and paws and musk deer for their musk glands, contributing to the decline of local game populations. Dukha hunters now have to travel farther and longer to find food in the forests.

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

A boy walks in front of reindeer ready to carry a load in a typical Dukha camp scene.

The Dukha use their reindeer primarily for milk and to ride into the taiga to hunt for meat and furs. The reproductive rate of the reindeer is insufficient to counteract the decrease in the herds population caused by increased predation from both hungry Dukha and wolves.

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

Dukha hunters with guns slung over their shoulders leave on a hunting expedition. Mountains rise in the background near the the border between Mongolia and the Russian region of Tyva.

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

Dukha hunters find and kill a moose in the forest.

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

Dukha girls lead the herd to graze in the mountains during the day and bring them back in the evenings. At the camp they are tied to the ground or herded inside a fenced area, where they spend the night after being milked.

Anthropologist Hamid Sardar suggests that 50 years of keeping reindeer in state farms under communism has left the younger Dukha devoid of knowledge regarding reindeer breeding.

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

A Tsaatan [Dukha] woman ties down two reindeer in a fenced-off area. To protect them from wolves, the Tsaatan usually tie down their reindeer to notched stakes or round them up in [corrals] at night. During the day they are released into the mountains to browse for fresh leaves, lichen and mushrooms in the summer and lichen buried under the snow in winter.
Anthropologist Hamid Sadar

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

A Tsaatan [Dukha] shaman called Ganzorig sits before his ancestor shrine. During the communist repression, the Dukha’s ancestral idols were destroyed. Since then the Dukha resorted to abstraction, representing their ancestors by a medley of rags hanging on the North side of the wigwam. The north is the side of the wigwam which never receives direct sunlightit is the direction to the portal between the world of the living and the black heaven of the ancestors.

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

A Dukha boy holds on as his reindeer releases some energy. The Dukha, unlike other reindeer herders, have selectively bred their reindeer for strong backs so people can ride the animals over long distances through the mountains.

Mongolian Reindeer Pictures: Dukha Boy with Squirrel Skins from Hunt

Wildlife biologist Kirk Olson takes a blood sample from a reindeer with the help of some local people. Olson accompanied anthropologist Hamid Sadar on a journey to Mongolia, helping to identify the cause of the reindeer population decline.

Both Sadar and Olson believe the primary causes of the herds decline are societal pressures emerging from the remnants of communism in Mongolia and increasing commercial pressures on the northern forest.

Photo gallery by Chelsea Lane-Miller

Photograph copyright Hamid Sardar

Others Pictures of Mongolian People :

Thanks to http://www.legendtour.ru


Thanks to http://www.investmongolia.info/ for the pictures :