51 Facts About Genghis Khan


Genghis Khan formally adopted the title Genghis Khan at a kurultai in 1206.


Genghis Khan died in 1227 while besieging the rebellious Western Xia; his third son and heir Ogedei succeeded to the throne two years later.


The Mongol campaigns started by Genghis Khan saw widespread destruction and millions of deaths in the areas they conquered.


Genghis Khan codified the Mongol legal system, promoted religious tolerance, and encouraged pan-Eurasian trade through the Pax Mongolica.


Genghis Khan is revered and honored in modern Mongolia as a symbol of national identity and a central figure of Mongolian culture.


Ultimately, the honorific most commonly spelt Genghis Khan derives from the autochthonous Mongolian, most closely represented in English by the spelling Chinggis.


In modern English, common spellings include Chinggis, Chingis, Jinghis, and Jengiz, in addition to the dominant Genghis Khan, which was introduced by 18th-century French scholars who misread the original texts.


When Genghis' grandson Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty in 1271, he bestowed the temple name Taizu and the posthumous name Shengwu huangdi upon his grandfather.


Kulug Genghis Khan later expanded this title into Fatian Qiyun Shengwu Huangdi.


Zhao Hong, a 1221 ambassador from the Song dynasty, recorded that the future Genghis Khan spent several years as a slave of the Jin.


Genghis Khan called in every possible ally and swore a famous oath of loyalty, later known as the Baljuna Covenant, to his faithful followers, which would later grant them exclusivity and prestige.


Aware that a different organisational structure was required to optimise his new nation, Genghis began a series of administrative reforms designed to suppress the power of tribal loyalties and to replace them with unconditional loyalty to the khan and the ruling family.


In 1207, Genghis Khan led another raid into Western Xia, invading the Ordos region and sacking Wuhai, the main garrison along the Yellow River, before withdrawing in 1208.


In 1209, Genghis Khan launched a campaign to conquer Western Xia.


Genghis Khan captured several cities along the Yellow River, including Wulahai, and reached the fortress Kiemen which guarded the only pass through the Helan Mountains to the capital, Yinchuan.


Genghis Khan attempted to flood the capital by diverting the river, but the plan failed.


In 1211, after the conquest of Western Xia, Genghis Khan planned to conquer the Jin dynasty.


In 1215, Genghis Khan besieged the Jin capital of Zhongdu and the inhabitants resorted to firing gold and silver cannon shot on the Mongols with their muzzle-loading cannons when their supply of metal for ammunition ran out.


Since the Mongol army was exhausted after ten years of continuous campaigning against the Western Xia and Jin dynasty, Genghis Khan sent just two tumen under his general Jebe, known as "the Arrow", to pursue Kuchlug.


Genghis Khan saw the potential advantage in Khwarazmia 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.


Later, when Genghis Khan sent a group of three ambassadors to complain to the Shah, Muhammad II had all the men shaved and the Muslim beheaded.


Outraged, Genghis Khan began planning one of his largest invasion campaigns and gathered around 100,000 soldiers, his most capable generals and some of his sons.


Genghis Khan left a commander and number of troops in China, designated his family members as his successors and headed for Khwarazmia.


Genghis Khan proceeded to kill many of the inhabitants, enslave the rest and execute the governor Inalchuq.


Genghis Khan subsequently ordered two of his generals, Subutai and Jebe, to destroy the remnants of the Khwarazmian Empire, giving them 20,000 men and two years to do this.


In 1226, immediately after returning from the west, Genghis Khan began a retaliatory attack on the Tanguts.


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.


Genghis Khan, after conquering Deshun, went to Liupanshan to escape the severe summer.


Not happy with their betrayal and resistance, Genghis Khan ordered the entire imperial family to be executed, effectively ending the Tangut royal lineage.


Years before his death, Genghis Khan asked to be buried without markings, according to the customs of his tribe.


The Genghis Khan Mausoleum, constructed many years after his death, is his memorial, but not his 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.


The title of Great Khan passed to Ogedei, the third son of Genghis Khan, making him the second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire.


Genghis Khan's descendants extended the Mongol Empire across most of Eurasia by conquering or creating vassal states in all of modern-day China, Korea, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and substantial portions of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia.


Genghis Khan was a Tengrist, but was religiously tolerant and interested in learning philosophical and moral lessons from other religions.


Genghis Khan consulted Buddhist monks, Muslims, Christian missionaries, and the Daoist monk Qiu Chuji.


Genghis Khan recognized the need for administrators to govern cities and states conquered by him, and so invited a Khitan prince, Chu'Tsai, who had experience governing cities and worked for the Jin dynasty before being captured by the Mongol army.


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.


Genghis Khan allowed them to make decisions on their own when they embarked on campaigns far from the Mongol Empire capital Karakorum.


Genghis Khan dedicated special attention to this in order to speed up the gathering of military intelligence and official communications.


Genghis Khan had a notably positive reputation among some western European authors in the Middle Ages, who knew little concrete information about his empire in Asia.


In Mongolia, Genghis Khan has meanwhile been revered for centuries by Mongols and many Turkic peoples because of his association with tribal statehood, political and military organization, and victories in war.


Genghis Khan is credited with introducing the Mongolian script and creating the first written Mongolian code of law, in the form of the Yassa.


Genghis Khan became a symbol of national identity for many younger Mongolians, who 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.


The conquests and leadership of Genghis Khan included widespread devastation and mass murder.


Unlike most emperors, Genghis Khan never allowed his image to be portrayed in paintings or sculptures.


The earliest known images of Genghis Khan were produced half a century after his death, including the famous National Palace Museum portrait in Taiwan.


The portrait portrays Genghis Khan wearing white robes, a leather warming cap and his hair tied in braids, much like a similar depiction of Kublai Khan.


The Persian historian Rashid-al-Din in Jami' al-tawarikh, written in the beginning of the 14th century, stated that most Borjigin ancestors of Genghis Khan were "tall, long-bearded, red-haired, and bluish green-eyed," features which Genghis Khan himself had.


However, according to John Andrew Boyle, Rashid al-Din's text of red hair referred to ruddy skin complexion, and that Genghis Khan was of ruddy complexion like most of his children except for Kublai Khan who was swarthy.


Genghis Khan's birthday, on the first day of winter, is a national holiday.