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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Genghis Khan

The founder of the Mongolian empire was born into minor royalty around the year 1162. His father was the leader of his clan and as tradition decreed Timiju (as he was known). He learned the skill of hunting and archery that all young Mongolian boys learned. At the age of six he was promised in marriage to a girl from a neighboring tribe. Usually these marriages were strategic alliances as was the custom at that time.

It was on his return trip after his first visit there that his father was poisoned. His people refused to recognize him as leader and abandoned him after his return. It took over 20 years for his tribe to recognize him as the tribe leader. In that time he gathered followers and arranged alliances that enabled him to reclaim his birth right as leader of the Mongolian tribe. He showed the first sign of his ruthless nature at the age of thirteen, when he murdered his own brother. His wife was kidnapped by a rival tribe, and when she was released she gave birth to his first son after nine months. There was much whispering about the paternity of the child, but Genghis claimed him as his own son. Through military might and being a great tactician, it’s clear how he was able to subdue as much land and people as he did.

He became the leader of the greatest land based empire. His conquered territories stretched from the borders of Manchuria to the Caspian Sea, from the forests of Siberia to what is now known as Afghanistan. He was known to be a ruthless leader, sometimes killing, and wiping out entire villages who resisted him. But for those who submitted to his rule, he was fair, not treating anyone differently based on their religious or ethnic backgrounds. Depending on where in the world you are from, Timiju, who is now known as Genghis Khan (The Great Warrior), is either reviled (such as in Iran) or adored (Such as in Turkey). He restored order and brought the Mongolians from a tribal feudal system to a greater military one. The expansion of the empire opened trading routes between countries and created a new demographic for trade.

Interestingly, one of the legacies that have been left by the prolific spread of the Mongolian army is that not only did they conquer most of the world, they also helped to populate it! It has been discovered that 8% of the men that live in the area of Mongolia carry the gene that is directly attributed to the Mongolian family tree. That means Genghis has over 16 million descendants! Quite a feat to be able to say that and that’s a testimony to the conquering mentality of Mongolians. They would wipe out those that opposed them and take the women as concubines into their harems!

To this day no, warlord or empire has surpassed the might of the Mongolian one. Genghis Khan died and was buried according to the tradition of his tribe in a location unknown. It is said that a river was diverted over his burial grave; thus, ensuring that no one would be able to find his remains again.



1 comment:

Tuesdai Noelle said...

Interesting how he became a leader after 20 years and channeled his pain as a leader sometime after his father's death...but becoming a "ruthless" warrior has my mind in deep though...I would've thought it'll been the opposite way. Wow, thanks for the insight and education...that's good for the morning...I'm always hoping to learn and find out about history during the day, anytime of the day at that :)