Genghis Khan, the first Great Khan of the Mongol dynasty and often hailed as the King of Kings, was the founding emperor of one of the largest contiguous empire, The Mongol Empire. This legendary Mongolian vanquisher went on to conquer vast territories of Eurasia, by annexing modern day states of China, Korea, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia.
Khan was held responsible for the downfall of some of the major dynasties such as Western Xia, Jin, Qara Khitai, Caucasus and Khwarazmian dynasty. However, he held a reputation of being a tyrant due to the slaughter of common citizens during his vanquishing escapades which made him one of the most feared rulers in the history.
Despite his genocidal reputation, Khan’s political exploits brought Silk Route under one political environment which boosted the trade from Northeast Asia into Southwest Asia and Europe. Apart from his military accomplishments, he was responsible for inculcating religious tolerance and meritocracy into Mongol Empire.
Khan is also accredited for the unification of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. Let us browse through some of the most unknown facts and famous quotes from the Great Khan of the Mongol Dynasty, attributing his thoughts and life.
Unknown Facts About Genghis Khan
1 | Genghis Khan Was Born In Blood
Legend has it that Genghis Khan was born with a blood clot clenched in his fist, foretelling his emergence as a great and powerful leader. Looks like he had blood on his hands from the very beginning.
2 | Khan Became A Man Early
When Genghis Khan was just a child, his father Yesugei was poisoned by a rival tribe, the Tatars, when they sneakily offered him poisoned food. Genghis, who had been away, went back home to claim his position as chief of the tribe, but the tribe refused and abandoned Genghis’ family instead.
3 | Khan Actually Didn’t Want Any More War
After uniting Mongol tribes under one banner, Genghis Khan actually did not want any more war. To open up trade, Genghis Khan sent emissaries to Muhammad ll of Khwarezm, but Khwarezm Empire attacked the Mongolian caravan and then killed Khan’s interpreter. So Khan wiped khwarezmia off the Map. Genghis Khan’s army destroyed an army five times its size, and by the time they were finished, “not even dogs or cats” were spared. Within just two years, the entire empire was literally erased, its four million inhabitants reduced to mounds of skeletons.
4 | Khan’s Troops Beheaded A Whole City
Genghis Khan’s troops beheaded a city called Nishapur, which had over 1.75 million inhabitants, because one of the Nishapurians killed his favourite son-in-law, Toquchar, by an arrow shot.
5 | The First Biological Warfare
Genghis Khan’s armies would often catapult the bodies of bubonic plague victims into enemy cities. This is often cited as the first example of biological warfare.
6 | Khan Won Because Of His Disciplined Army
The Mongolian empire Genghis Khan controlled large parts of Central Asia and China. The successful invasions on other Kingdoms were due to his disciplined army. Genghis Khan once ordered his starving army to kill and eat every tenth man, during a long campaign.
7 | Punishment For Bringing Bad News
When Genghis Khan’s oldest son Juchi died while hunting, his subordinates, fearing punishment for bringing bad news, forced a musician to do it. The musician performed a melody, Genghis Khan understood the message and “punished” the instrument by pouring molten lead on it.
8 | Khan Slept With So Many Women
Genghis Khan slept with so many women, that about every 1 in 200 people today are directly related to him. An international group of geneticists studying Y-chromosome data have found that nearly 8 percent of the men living in the region of the former Mongol empire carry y-chromosomes that are nearly identical. That translates to 0.5 percent of the male population in the world, or roughly 16 million descendants living today.
9 | The Sacred Place Of Mongolia
There’s a place in Mongolia that was declared sacred by Genghis Khan. The only people allowed to enter were the Mongol Royal Family and a tribe of elite warriors, the darkhat, whose job was to guard it and give the death punishment for entering the site. They carried out their task for 697 years, until 1924.
10 | Khan Was Kind-Hearted Too
Genghis Khan exempted the poor and clergy from taxes, encouraged literacy, and established free religion, leading many peoples to join his empire before they were even conquered.
11 | A Memorable Religious Debate
In 1254, Genghis Khan’s grandson Mongke Khan hosted a religious debate between Christian, Muslim and Buddhist theologians. The debate ended with the Buddhists sitting silently as the Christian and Muslim debaters sang loudly at each other. Then they all got drunk.
12 | He Was As Good As Bad
Genghis Khan forbade the selling of women, theft of other’s properties, decreed religious freedom, outlawed hunting during breeding seasons, and exempted the poor from taxation.
13 | The Mongol Pony Express
Genghis Khan, the infamous founder and emperor of the Mongol Empire in the early 1200s, used many strategies to ensure military success. One of these strategies was a vast communication network similar to that of the Pony Express. Called the Yam Communication Route, it consisted of skilled riders travelling up to 124 miles between relay stations stocked with fresh horses and provisions. The network served to pass military communications and intelligence quickly and efficiently.
14 | His Only Empress
Though Genghis Khan took many wives throughout his life, his only Empress was his first wife Borte. Genghis had actually been betrothed to Borte since the tender age of nine.
15 | Khan Always Valued Courage And Skills
Genghis Khan was once shot in the neck during a battle. When the enemy army was defeated, he asked which of the enemy soldiers had shot “his horse.” The archer responsible stepped forward, and even corrected the Khan by saying, excuse me, he shot him in the neck. The man did not beg for mercy, and acknowledged that it was the Khan’s choice to kill him. But he also swore that if the Khan spared his life, he would become his loyal soldier. Valuing the archer’s courage and skill, Genghis recruited him, and the man went on to be a great general under Khan.
16 | It’s Not Known How Genghis Khan Had Died
We still don’t know how Genghis Khan died. We do know it was in August 1227, but the rest remains a mystery. Theories range from an illness, a fall from his horse, or a gruesome battle wound. He was about 65 years old when died. According to Marco Polo’s writings, Genghis Khan died from an injury caused by an arrow to the knee.
17 | They Concealed Where Genghis Khan Was Finally Buried
According to one legend, the funeral escort of Genghis Khan killed anyone and anything that crossed their path in order to conceal where he was finally buried. After the tomb was completed, the slaves who built it were massacred, and then the soldiers who killed them were also killed. In reality, archeologists still don’t know where is located the tomb of Genghis Khan. To this day, it remains an unsolved historical mystery.
18 | Genghis Khan Actually Changed The Climate
Genghis Khan killed enough people to cool the earth. About 40 million people were killed by him and his forces, which caused the vast areas of farmlands to be reclaimed by forests, effectively scrubbing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. It resulted in a man-made climate change, however, this is definitely not the solution to climate change. But he also did a pretty good job at repopulating the earth. It has been estimated that he has roughly 16 million descendants living today.
Quotes Of Genghis Khan
“If you’re afraid – don’t do it, – if you’re doing it – don’t be afraid!” ― Genghis Khan
“I am the punishment of God…If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.” ― Genghis Khan
“One arrow alone can be easily broken but many arrows are indestructible.” ― Genghis Khan
“An action comitted in anger is an action doomed to failure.” ― Genghis Khan
“If unable to abstain from drinking, a man may get drunk three times a month; if he does it more than three times he is culpable; if he gets drunk twice a month it is better; if once a month, this is still more laudable; and if one does not drink at all what can be better? But where can I find such a man? If such a man were found he would be worthy of the highest esteem.” ― Genghis Khan
“Even when a friend does something you do not like, he continues to be your friend.” ― Genghis Khan
“A man’s greatest joy is crushing his enemies.” ― Genghis Khan
“All who surrender will be spared; whoever does not surrender but opposes with struggle and dissension, shall be annihilated.” ― Genghis Khan
“Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard.” ― Genghis Khan
“A leader can never be happy until his people are happy.” ― Genghis Khan
“Remember, you have no companions but your shadow.” ― Genghis Khan
“People conquered on different sides of the lake should be ruled on different sides of the lake.” ― Genghis Khan
“The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.” ― Genghis Khan
“It is not sufficient that I succeed – all others must fail.” ― Genghis Khan