Identify and explain the significance of Chinggis Khan and Charlemagne.
Chinggis Khan (better known to most people as Genghis Khan) and Charlemagne are both famous in world history because of the empires that they created. Chinggis’s empire was one of the largest the world ever saw. Charlemagne’s empire was the first since the Roman Empire to have any real control over a large area of Europe.
Charlemagne was born in the 740s and died in 814 CE. He was from a Germanic people known as the Franks. He became king of the Franks in 768. Charlemagne gradually took control over more and more areas of Western Europe. In 800, he reached the peak of his power and was crowned the first Holy Roman Emperor. His empire did not last very long as a truly cohesive unit, but it was an important part of European political and cultural history. Charlemagne is sometimes called the “Father of Europe” because his creation of the Holy Roman Empire helped to create the idea that Europe was a discrete geographic region that could and should be seen as a single entity.
Chinggis Khan was born in the 1160s and died in 1227. He was a Mongol. He became the first to unite the Mongols and lead them out of their ancestral homeland. Under him, the Mongols conquered a huge empire. The empire that was conquered during his lifetime stretched from the border of Korea all the way to Eastern Europe. His conquests helped to create a link between Asia and Europe because he brought the areas under one rule and made it possible for merchants and travelers (Marco Polo being the most famous example) to move long distances in safety.
Both Charlemagne and Chinggis Khan, then, are important as the creators of large empires that had significant impacts on world history.