5 facts about Genghis Khan, history's most fearsome conqueror
An excellent warrior and military leader, this man used the strength of his personality to create a powerful army and forge the largest contiguous empire in history. Read on to find 5 of the most brutal Genghis Khan facts.
How did everything begin?
- in the 12th century, Mongols were nomadic people who lived on the open plains of East Asia;
- they regularly moved from one place to another and were led by Khans;
- they were excellent horsemen and archers, lived in separate groups and constantly fought each other.
Genghis Khan, born in 1162, became a powerful leader who managed to form strategic alliances and make all Mongols unite. Even his enemies had to join his side, and by 1206 he had been declared the Universal Ruler. Genghis Khan established the Mongol Empire and started to conquer foreign lands.
In his lifetime, Genghis Khan led his army to conquer eastern Islamic countries and Northern China. After his death in 1227, his sons and daughters continued the conquest, as well as his grandchildren. Within half a century of Genghis Khan's death, the Mongol Empire had stretched from the Korean peninsula to the Black Sea.
Here are 5 Genghis Khan facts you may find interesting:
#1 His real name was Temüjin Borjigin
His birth name Temüjin meant "blacksmith". Temüjin was proclaimed Genghis Khan, which means "universal ruler", only after he had united all the Mongol tribes under his rule.
#2 He fathered hundreds of children
His marriage with his primary wife, Börte, was arranged when she was 10 and Temüjin was 9 years old. As any powerful Mongol man, Genghis Khan had many minor wives – according to some sources, there were more than 500 of them. Almost all their children remained undocumented, as the Mongol line of succession was reserved for Börte's children only.
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#3 He had a very rough childhood
Temüjin's father was an influential man, but he was killed when the boy was 9 years old. Temüjin and his siblings grew up in poverty. As an adolescent, he possibly even killed his half-brother who didn't share food with the rest of the starving family.
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#4 He declared religious freedom across the empire
The Mongols were shamanists, but Genghis Khan didn't seek to spread his faith over the world. He would often meet with religious leaders of different confessions to discuss the matters of spirituality and learn something new for himself. He even exempted places of worship from taxation.
#5 Almost nothing is known about the way he looked, the cause of his death or the location of his grave
His contemporary portraits didn't survive, and a lot of information regarding his personal life is unreliable or contradictory. According to many sources, he died of injuries sustained from falling off his horse, but there are many other versions, including parasitic diseases and arrow wounds.
Which of these facts about Genghis Khan surprised you the most? What do you think of his influence on the history of humanity? Do you know any other interesting facts about him?
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