Genghis Khan (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: A military genius, Genghis Khan united the clans and tribes of peoples later collectively known as the Mongols, leading them on conquests to the east, south, and west and organizing the Mongol Empire—which under his grandson, Kublai, came to dominate eighty percent of Eurasia.
Temüjin, as Genghis Khan was first named, was born in the village of Delyun Boldog on the Odon River in the northeastern borderlands between Mongolia and China on the fringes of the Gobi Desert between 1155 and 1162. Historians cannot agree on the exact year. It is said that there were great “signs” at the time of Temüjin’s birth. Stars fell from the sky (possibly a meteor shower), and he was born clutching a blood clot in the shape of a human knuckle. The great-grandson of Khabul Khan, Temüjin was born into the elite Borjigin clan, the son of a Mongol lord, Yesügei, and his captive Merkit wife, Oyelun. According to Mongol custom, at the age of nine Temüjin was betrothed to his first wife, Börte. After the treacherous poisoning death of Yesügei at a banquet hosted by a rival, Temüjin and his family fell on hard times and were periodically held captive by the Merkits. Temüjin often had to survive by hunting, fishing, and even scrounging for rodents in the desert.
Gradually, he rallied around him a group of followers from various clans and tribes, and, using his natural military ability,...
(The entire section is 1996 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Genghis Khan (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Genghis Khan was the strategically brilliant leader of one of the world’s greatest military empires.
Temüjin (later known as Genghis Khan) was born in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, allegedly clutching blood in his hand, a sign of his future eminence and genius. His father was Yesügei the Valiant, of the Great Mongols. The Great Mongols had many enemies, including the Tatars, the Taidjuts, the Merkits, the Kereits, the Naimans, the Uighurs, and the Jin Empire. In 1175, after hearing that the Tatars had poisoned his father, Temüjin was forced to flee into the desert with his mother and siblings. In his years of fighting and surviving in the Gobi Desert, he developed a strong ambition to create and lead a unified Mongol nation.
Temüjin earned a strong reputation among Mongol tribes for his bravery, resourcefulness, cunning, and leadership. He began building a gifted general staff and training a highly disciplined group that would become the Mongol army. In 1206, Temüjin took the name Genghis Khan (Perfect War Emperor or Supreme Emperor). He had met all challenges to his ascendancy, binding the Mongol tribes through rule of national law (the Yassa), strategic diplomacy, and ruthless application of military force.
In 1207, Genghis Khan was able to finely tune strategic military policy and operational field tactics that the Mongol army would employ in its conquests....
(The entire section is 687 words.)