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Genghis Khan Biography

Posted On July 1st, 2010 By Celebrity Biographies

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

In about less than a century, Genghis Khan and his followers built the largest kingdom in the world. This empire was later exceeded by the British in the late 19th century. Through brute force, spiritual mission and cunning diplomacy, Genghis Khan united the irreconcilable Mongols and then began his journey to the east and west of Asia, conquering major regions of Asia. By 1280 AD, the Mongol empire stretched from the Yellow Sea in China to the Mediterranean Sea, covering a total of 12 million miles.

Early Life

Genghis Khan was originally called ‘Temüjin’ and was born in 1162. Due to the lack of modern-day records, there is very little information on the early life of Genghis Khan. He was born in a Mongol Tribe near Kherlen and Onon River, besides the Burkhan Khaldun Mountain, located in the contemporary Mongolia. According to the history of Mongols, it is believed that young Temüjin had a blood clot grasped in his hand, which is considered as a traditional sign that he was born to become a leader. The name suggests that he may perhaps have descended from a blacksmith family. His father’s name was ‘Yesükhei’ and his mother’s name was ‘Hoelun’. His father was a chieftain of the ‘Borjigin’ clan and therefore Genghis belonged to a noble background. Since he belonged to a higher social status, it made it easier for him to solicit help from the other Mongol tribes and consolidate them.

There are no accurate portraits of this Mongol leader; however the legendary ancestors suggest that he was tall, red-haired, green-eyed and long-bearded. At the age of nine, Temüjin was taken to another tribe by his father, so as to find him a wife. While returning, Yesugei (Temüjin’s father) was killed by the Tatars. Young Temüjin and his family were abandoned by his father’s followers. They were forced to live in difficult conditions where they survived by fishing and hunting. For the next few years, the family lived in poverty. During one of the hunting excursions, at the age of 13, Temüjin eliminated his half-brother called Bekhter over a fight. After this incident, Temüjin was considered as the head of the family. His mother gave him several important lessons about the existing political conditions in Mongolia and the need for alliance.

Personal Life & Children

As arranged by his deceased father, at the age of 16, Temüjin married a young woman called ‘Borte’ of the ‘Olkut’ hun tribe. This led to an alliance between the two tribes and Borte had four sons out of this marriage. Ghenghis Khan is known to have many more children from his other wives, but none of them were included in his succession. There are no existing records of any daughters. His religion is widely considered to be Tengriism or Shamanism that is usually followed by the nomad tribes of Asia. He was known to be religiously tolerant and took moral or philosophical lessons from other religions as well. During his conquer; he often consulted Muslim merchants, Christian monasteries as well as a Taoist monk called Qui Chuji.

Rise to Power

Temüjin started attracting followers who appreciated him during battles. He became a follower of a Christian tribe chieftain called Toghril in Central Mongolia. Along with Toghril and a young chief called Jamuka, Temüjin was able to rescue his wife. Soon after his wedding, his wife Borte was kidnapped by the Merkits, a prominent tribe in Russia (this tribe is existent until today). Quite a few Mongol princes considered Temüjin as their ruler and then presented him with the title ‘Cheengiz Khan’ (Genghis Khan) which meant ‘the sole ruler of the ocean’. Toghril and Genghis Khan helped North China in their batter against Tatars and emerged successful.

Soon relations between Toghril and Genghis Khan became worse, which led to the open war between them. After being defeated in their first battle, Genghis Khan took abode in some remote areas of northeast Mongolia. 1n, 1203, he fought another battle with Toghril and defeated him. Thereafter, Toghril was killed by the Naimans and his tribe was united with the Mongols. Genghis Khan started his journey in West Mongolia, along with his associates, defeated his enemies including Jamuka, the Naimans and the Merkits in 1204. All the tribes were merged together and Genghis Khan was proclaimed as the supreme ruler.

Invasion of China & Afghanistan

Along with invading and conquering, Genghis Khan did more than that. He established some rules for his empire as well as introduced a written language for his people. He set up a basic postal service, so as to communicate with the different parts of his empire. Above all, he was a great military leader. In the year 1211, the Mongols assaulted China and invaded the north region of the ‘Great Wall’.

Thereafter, he started his hunt for Sultan Muhammad of Khiva. The Sultan possessed major parts of Central Asia, along with Afghanistan and major portions of Persia. It was a matter of time before the two empires clashed against each other. The Sultan fled across Persia and was killed near the Caspian Sea. By 1220, he expanded his empire across the west by defeating the Sultan of Afghanistan. After concluding his campaign in the west, he returned back to Mongolia. Around 1226, Genghis Khan resumed war against the Tibetan tribe called Tanguts. He died on 25th August 1227, in the Liupan Mountains of Kansu, while the war was still in progress.


Genghis Khan wanted to be buried without any markings, following the traditions of his tribe. After his death, his body was returned to his birthplace in Mongolia. Many suspect that he is buried close to the Onon River. The Genghis Khan Mausoleum was created years after his death and is not his burial site. If we were to believe the folklore, it is said that the river was diverted on his grave so that it becomes impossible to locate his burial site. Some stories also suggest that his grave was stamped by several horses and numerous trees were planted over it. According to the Mongol tradition, the youngest son would inherit the father’s property and hence his army was divided accordingly.

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