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Mongol Empire

Late 1100s saw unification of wandering tribal men as a powerful army by a skilful chieftain, Genghis Khan. The tribes were that of the Mongols. Everyone there was already toughened by the harsh past life herding on the plains of northeastern Asia. He was deterred to build the nest army of that time; hence he opted for frightening cavalry. Use of modern war weapons of those times was not possible. In 1211, China had Mongol invasion sweeping through Asia. Moving at an unbelievable speed, they concentrated on the critical moments. The minutest of the detail was planned, thus implanting fear in the hearts of the enemies. With the death of Genghis Khan in 1227, his four sons took over the charge. They extended the region of Asia Minor into Europe. The empire broke down due to battle for power between the Mongolian kings.

Composite Bow

The bows used by them were made of wood, horn and sinew which endowed bow with an immense power. They had great skill in archery. They had also developed armor-piercing arrows, whistling arrows for signalling and also arrows with grenades.

The Mongol Empire (1206-1368) was the largest contiguous land empire in the world history.

1206-Temujin unites all tribes of Mongolia.

1219-Mongiols invades Persia.

1223-Mongols invades Russia.

1237-Batu, grandson of Genghis Khan invades north Russia.

1240-Batu invades Poland and Hungary.

1260-Mamelukes, Egyptian warriors, defeat Mongols.

1279-Kublai Khan defeats China.

1370-Tamerlane the great conquers the western Khanates.

Genghis Khan

Temujin (1162-1227) was the son of the chief of the tribal group. Genghis lost his father when he was a child. He grew up and defeated all the other tribes and won control and renamed himself as “Genghis Khan” which means “Price of all that lies between the oceans”. He had the aim to rule the world. Before his death, Genghis Khan divided his empire among his sons and immediate family, making the Mongol Empire the joint property of the entire imperial family who, along with the Mongol aristocracy, constituted the ruling class.

Mongol Khanates

When Genghis dies, the empire was divided into four Khanates (means state) with different rulers as according to his four sons. Grandson of Genghis, kublai rules the eastern province. The western provinces which were smaller in area were united in 1300s by Tamerlane the great, but it was eventually divided.

Area Occupied by Mongolian

1206 (unification of Mongolia) – 4,000,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq mi)

1227 (Genghis Khan’s death) – 12,000,000 km2 (4,600,000 sq mi)

1294 (Kublai’s death) – 23,500,000 km2 (9,100,000 sq mi)

1309 (last formal reunification) – 24,000,000 km2 (9,300,000 sq mi)

Mongol Society

Mongol Empire was governed by a code of law devised by Genghis, called Yassa, meaning “order” or “decree”. A particular canon(generally accepted rule) of this code was that those of rank shared much the same hardship as the common man. It also imposed severe penalties, like death penalty if one mounted soldier following another did not pick up something dropped from the mount in front. Penalties were also decreed for rape and to some extent for murder. Any resistance to Mongol rule was met with massive collective punishment. Cities were destroyed and their inhabitants slaughtered if they defied Mongol orders. Under Yassa, chiefs and generals were selected based on merit. The empire was governed by a non-democratic, parliamentary-style central assembly, called kurultai, in which the Mongol chiefs met with the great khan to discuss domestic and foreign policies. Kurultais were also convened for the selection of each new great khan.


Born near the present day border between Mongolia and Russia, Genghis was originally named Temujin. When his father, a local chieftain, was killed, a struggle for leadership of the tribe ensued and Temujin was forced to fleer for his life.

Once he had the undisputed rule of the Mongol tribes, Genghis Khan turned his attention to China. He seized Beijing by 1215.

Khan’s military tactics included moving at an unprecedented speed. Each of his men kept three to four horses so that they could travel as much as 100 miles a day. They were experts in horsemanship and in archery. They usually attacked by surprise and overran a territory with amazing speed. His tactics were not to be duplicated until the twentieth century with tanks and Hitler’s “blitzkrieg” warfare.

By the time of his death, Genghis Khan had created an empire that covered most of Asia. He had several sons who carried on his rule. His grandson Kublai Khan became the ruler of China and started the Yuan dynasty.

Genghis Khan lived his life as a nomad.

Genghis Khan introduced many innovative ways of organizing his army: for example dividing it into decimal subsections of arbans (10 soldiers), zuuns (100), Mingghans (1000), and tumens (10,000). The Kheshig, the imperial guard, was founded and divided into day and night guards. Genghis rewarded those who had been loyal to him and placed them in high positions, as heads of army units and households, even though many of them came from very low-ranking clans.


Tribes moved from one place to another followed by their herds of sheep, goats, cattles and horses. They used to live in circular tents called yurts. Women drive the wagons which hold yurts. Whereas the men hunted, looked after the herds and bartered for grain and metals for weapons. Mongols still live in yurts today.Beautiful Thought

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character”. – by Albert Einstein


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