Who was Genghis Khan?


via Flickr

A statue of the famed Mongolian ruler, Genghis Khan, at an exhibition.

Genghis Khan, born in 1162 as Temujin, was a powerful Mongolian ruler and conqueror. After his father’s death, Temujin and his family were exiled from their tribe. He was even captured as a slave in his teen years. However, he conquered all of these childhood hardships and started his conquest in 1206 as the ruler of Mongolia. He then changed his name to Genghis Khan, which translates to “supreme/universal ruler,” and embarked on his journey to becoming one of the most infamous rulers in history.

 Many people wonder how Genghis Khan successfully conquered so many areas in Asia. A simple answer would be that he is very peculiar as a leader. A prime example of this would be his religious tolerance. Unlike most, if not all, other rulers at the time, Genghis Khan did not force the people he conquered to believe in a particular religion. Instead, he allowed all his subjects to believe what they wanted and only asked for loyalty. This probably reduced the number of rebellions since he was so lenient. However, his mercilessness was also one of his biggest assets. If there were rebellions anywhere or resistance when ruling an area, Khan would mercilessly slaughter everyone in the area. This scared most other towns or cities, so the occurrence of rebellions and resistance were few. Because of this merciless trait, Genghis Khan is speculated to have caused the death of 40 million people. His personality was also very strange for a ruler, as many of his most trusted officers, generals, and commanders all used to be his enemy. An example of this is when he promoted an enemy soldier that nearly took his life to become one of the Mongols’ most powerful field commanders.

Even though Genghis Khan was one of the most successful rulers in history with an unusual childhood and personality, there are still many things unknown about him- specifically, his appearance and death. No one knows what Genghis Khan looked like exactly because no sculptures or portraits of him have survived to this day. Any other written resources are also very contradicting and unreliable. Another mysterious feature of the great Khan’s life is his demise. Most sources relating to Genghis Khan’s cause of death differ greatly and do not support each other whatsoever. It is also impossible for people nowadays to figure out how he died with autopsy reports since no one knows where he is buried. It is said that everyone that was involved in Khan’s funeral procession was killed, causing his place of death to be a complete mystery. However, it is speculated that his tomb is somewhere near Burkhan Khaldun, a Mongolian mountain.

In conclusion, Genghis Khan, born as Temujin, was one of history’s most successful rulers. After conquering his horrible childhood, Khan moved on to conquer most of Asia, using terror, killing, and creative ruling as his primary sources of success. However, despite all of his achievements, it is still a mystery where he was buried and what he looked like. Genghis Khan’s natural talent for ruling and killing led him to become one of the most famous and mysterious figures in human history.