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The Life and Career of Genghis Khan
Transcript of The Life and Career of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan was a Mongolian emperor in the 1100s BCE. He united many different tribes of Mongolia to form a fearsome army, and over time used brutal conquest to establish the largest land empire in history.
When Temujin was nine, his father took him to live with the family of Borte, his future wife. On his way back, his father encountered the rival tribe Tatar, who invited him to dinner, poisoned him, and killed him. Temujin then inherited the status as chief of his clan, but was not accepted and his family was nearly excluded from the tribe. His family was put under a lot of stress. In a fight over the food gained during a hunting trip, Temujin killed his half-brother, Bekhter. This officially made him head of the family. Temujin married Borte when he was 16, but went on to have many other wives and children.
Genghis Khan was born "Temujin" around 1162 CE. He was named after a leader of the rival Tatar tribe that his father, Yesukhei, had captured. Temujin was a member of the Borjigin tribe. One of his ancestors was Khabul Khan, a leader in the early 1100s who brought together the Mongols against the northern Chinese Chin Dynasty. Temujin learned about living in Mongolian society and forming alliances from his mother.
The Life and Career of Genghis Khan
Climb to Power
When he was around 20 years old, Temujin was captured and enslaved by his family's former allies, the Taichi'uts. One of his captors took pity on him and helped him escape. Once free, he joined up with his brothers and other clansmen to form a fighting contingent. Temujin began to gain power when he formed an army of over 20,000 men. Under his authority, he sought to unite Mongols and destroy the traditional divisions between tribes. Temujin's army avenged his father's murder by destroying the Tatar army. Temujin commanded that every Tatar male taller than three feet be killed. His army used brutal attacks, including boiling chiefs alive, to defeat the Taichi'ut.
Genghis Khan's army was very successful early on. This was largely due to Khan's knowledge of military tactics and the motivations of his rivals. The army was large and made use of sophisticated systems and technology. By 1206, his army had defeated the Naiman army and gained control of central and eastern Mongolia.
When other tribes saw the conquests Temujin's army made, they made an agreement of peace and gave him the title "Genghis Khan," which means "universal ruler." The leading shaman (person who communicates with spirits) granted Khan divine status, declaring him the representative of Mongke Koko Tengri (the "Eternal Blue Sky"), the supreme god of the Mongols. After his recieving this status, it was believed that Khan was destined to rule the world. He was considered and considered himself to be a God. Defying him was as significant a sin as defying God.
Khan's army made conquests in many different areas, including the kingdom of Xi Xia, the Jin Dynasty in northern China, and western border and Muslim empires. He organized a three-prong attack of 200,000 soldiers against the Khwarizm Dynasty. They completely decimated the dynasty, sparing no living creature, including pets and livestock. The Khwarizm Dynasty was brought to an end in 1221 when Khan's army captured and killed the Shah Muhammad and his son.
Genghis Khan died of unknown causes in 1227. He was buried without markings near his birthplace, close to the Onon River and the Khentii Mountains. According to legend, his funeral escort killed anyone who came near, and a river was rerouted over his grave to prevent anyone from finding it.
"Genghis Khan Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.
"Genghis Khan." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://www.history.com/topics/genghis-khan>.
By Delfina Booth