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The Genghis Khan’s Conquests


The state created in the 13th century by Genghis Khan is considered the largest empire of the world by area. Despite the fact that, according to the official sources, the population under the leadership of this commander was slightly more than two million, the heyday of the Mongol state was rapid (Linde, p. 57). At the same time, the numerical minority did not prevent the Mongols from conquering many empires that were tens or even hundreds of times bigger. Success was achieved due to outstanding tactics, mobility, logistics, technology absorption, and the achievements of the conquered peoples. The empire of Genghis Khan existed for about two hundred years but had a powerful impact on world history and in many ways changed the way of life in the affected regions.

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Rise of Genghis Khan’s Empire

The future great commander Temujin who received the title of Genghis Khan, that is, the great leader over all tribes, was found by the Mongols chained as a prisoner at a young age. The surviving recollections of one of the eyewitnesses indicate that the boy already saw great potential at that moment: “There is fire in your eyes, there is light in your face” (“The Secret History of the Mongols”, p. 22). As a result, as Bedeski notes, in 1206, Genghis Khan achieved absolute hegemony in Mongolia (p. 71). All male Mongols became officially considered warriors united in groups, and in addition, Genghis Khan promoted the idea of ​​the exclusivity of his people and their superiority over all other nations.

China became one of the first directions of Genghis Khan’s conquests. In 1214, the previously great empire collapsed totally, and after the crushing of its eastern neighbor, the Mongol army devastated central Asia, including the armies of Russian princes (Linde, p. 65). The memoirs of the participants of that time indicate the readiness of many peoples to join the Mongol Empire. The reasons for this were its strength and invincibility and, in particular, the greatness of Genghis Khan: “We shall bring forth many camels” (“The Secret History of the Mongols”, p. 168). Despite the fact that in 1227, after an attack on eastern lands, Genghis Khan died, his descendants managed to continue the work of the commander (Linde, p. 65). As a result, during a relatively short reign, the leader of the Mongols ushered in the era of conquest.

Conquest of Eurasia Regions

The heirs of Genghis Khan conquered most of Eurasia, including the Middle East and considerable parts of Eastern Europe, China, and modern Russia. According to Linde, the siege of the Russian Principality was hard for the Mongols (Linde, p. 83). Nevertheless, in 1240, Kyiv that was the capital of Russia fell, and local residents paid tribute to the conquerors for more than two hundred years (Linde, p. 83). In the 1250s, the army, acting with incredible cruelty, the empire conquered Iran and most of the territory of the Persian Gulf and stopped only at the borders of Egypt. According to Linde, in the south, the Mongols approached India, and in the east, they finally conquered China and reached modern Cambodia and Thailand (p. 89). As a result, they were able to create the largest ever-existing state.

The descendants of Genghis Khan managed to unite most of Asia under their leadership, which allowed them to create prosperous trade and use the Silk Road actively. At the same time, the Mongols utilized all the advantages of the defeated countries, which was manifested in the constant updating of the arms industry, craft skills, and other important areas. As a result of large-scale conquests, over time, the Mongol empire was divided into several powers, and subsequently, internecine strife led to the collapse of the state (Linde, p. 90). However, it left a significant mark on the cultural, political, and economic features of many countries, including India, which, in turn, led to changes within the country and its role on the world stage.

India’s Encounters with Turks, Mongols, and Islam

The role of Islam in the history of India may be traced on the basis of several factors. Muslim Turkic rule, which was established here in the 11th century, lasted for several centuries (Aquil, p. 64). As a result, the culture of Islam was of great importance to the life of the country. The Turkic rule period became one of the main factors that influenced the promotion of this religion in the territory of modern India.

The Mongol invasions of India began during the life of Genghis Khan. The local Turkic sultanate could not withstand superior enemy forces. In addition, as Aquil notes, internal strife weakened the country’s military potential, and the descendants of the Mongol commander captured the state by expelling the existing Turkic government from it (p. 75). Thus, not only Islam but also the Mongol conquests affected Indian history and largely changed its foundations under the influence of the development of trade and economic relations supported by the conquerors.

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The history of Genghis Khan’s conquests affected the development of many Eurasian regions, and the status of the largest empire ever-existing proves the power of the Mongol army. Most of the continent was in possession of the great commander’s descendants, and only as a result of growth and the inability to control such a territory, it broke up into separate regions. The Mongol attacks had a significant impact on India, which manifested in expelling the Turkic caliphate from it, although Islam, as one of the main religions in the country, existed after the conquest.

Works Cited

  1. Aquil, Raziuddin. Lovers of God: Sufism and the Politics of Islam in Medieval India. Routledge, 2020.
  2. Bedeski, Robert. “Roots of the Mongolian State: Genghis Khan’s Survival and Pragmatism as Related in the Secret History of the Mongols.” Mongolian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 20, 2018, pp. 71-90.
  3. Linde, Barbara M. Genghis Khan: Creating the Mongol Empire. Greenhaven Publishing, 2017.
  4. The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century. Translated by Igor de Rachewiltz, Western CEDAR, 2015.

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