Genghis Khan: Destined to be a Hero

Genghis

Khan: Destined to be a Hero

Arriving in this world with a blood clot
in the palm of his hand , Genghis Khan was destined to be a hero.

In 1167, Genghis Khan was born to Yisugei, Chieftain of the Kiyat-Borjigid,
and his wife Ho’elun. He was named Temujin (which means blacksmith)
after a Tatar Chieftain his father had just captured. As a young
boy, Temujin experienced many hardships after his father was poisoned by
a group of Tartars. This loss of their leader caused the Kiyat tribe to
scatter, leaving Temujin and his family alone. Yet, with much will power
and determination Temujin developed into an intelligent, brave warrior
at an early age.

In 1189, when Temujin was 22, he was elected
new leader of the Kiyat tribe. His rise to power came when a rival clan,
the Merkit, captured his wife, Borte. The Khan of the Kereit tribe, Toghril,
helped him by providing him with 20,000 soldiers. Also, Jamuka, a childhood
friend provided an army. With their help Temujin destroyed the Merkit tribe.

Soon after this victory his allies abandoned him and plundered his property,
but he ‘tactfully’ captured them, taking their men and turning them into
his soldiers and servants.

This victory laid the foundation for his
rise to power. He started taking over other clans one by one. Eventually
his alliance with Toghril dissipated and he also took over the powerful

Keriet tribe. This event caused him to be in direct competition
for ruling power with his former ally Jamuka. Many of Jamuka’s men deserted
him for Temujin who they believed to be the true winner and wiser more
powerful leader. This desertion resulted in Jamuka being outnumbered
and the result was an easy victory. So, in 1206 Temujin was proclaimed

Genghis Khan, "emperor of all emperors, universal ruler, oceanic king and
precious warrior" Holding this title with pride, he embarked
upon his quest to unite all of Mongolia. He began to build
a vision of a powerful and expansive Empire.

His initial unifying act was to banish
the old nomadic class system and develop the first Mongolian Code of Laws
- the Yassa or "Grand Law".

Genghis’ well structured and powerful army
was the key to his success. He kept his men under firm control with harsh
training and strict discipline. He kept his Kingdom on the cutting
edge by teaching the army to use new weapons and strategies. Keeping whole
armies completely loyal was a very difficult task, but Genghis used a system
of promotion based on hard work and skill rather than birthright. With
a strong army and government, his Kingdom was ready to expand.

In 1209, they started their attack on the

Xi Xia in Northwest China. By 1215, he had them conquered and was continued
moving northeast and attacked and captured Beijing , the capital of the

Jin Empire. Then after conquering the Kara-Khitai empire in 1218, he moved
his conquest westward leaving China and facing the world. This world
conquest was dependent on the role of the horse.

As his Empire grew Genghis developed a
pony express system, the Yam. This network of horse messengers carried
information over hundreds of routes, a thousand miles in every direction.

The Mongols valued horseback riding skills realizing that speedy, dependable
transportation would create a system to unite the great Empire that eventually
reached from China to the edge of the Danube. To cover the great distances,
the horses and their riders were required to be very hardy and self-reliant.

The soldiers had to travel hard and fast for many days without supply trains
to support them. The challenge of survival created a system of complete
dependence on their horses. Small packets of dried meat were laid
under the saddles to soften, and rations of mare’s milk butter were kept
in the men’s jackets. The men lived in filth, rarely bathing
or ever changing their clothes. It has been said that a Mongol army could
be smelled from 20 miles away.

Each man had about five horses and a herd
of remounts always followed the armies to ensure that there would be a
sufficient amount of horses. Fresh mounts allowed men to travel faster.

They usually covered over 80 miles a day. The horses also provided
available fresh meat and their blood was boiled over a fire making a thick,
black pudding. Also, when marching for days, the men responded to
the lack of water by cutting a vein in the horse’s neck and drinking the
blood.

In 1220, Genghis and his hordes crushed
the kingdom of Krorezm which