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Genghis Khan was one of history’s most successful conquerors. At its peak, the Mongol empire spanned an area roughly the size of Africa.
Here are some world-beating facts about the ambitious Mongol.
34. Genghis Rules
Genghis Khan was born with the first name Temujin. He earned the name Genghis Khan – Khan means ruler, and Genghis is based on the Mongol word Tenggis which means ocean or wide-spreading.
33. Blood Oath
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.
32. Man Of The House
When Genghis Khan was just 10 years old, his father Yesugei was poisoned by a rival tribe (Tatars) for stealing and marrying Genghis Khan’s mother, Hoelun.
31. Sharing Is Caring
One of the many legends surrounding Genghis Khan’s early years was that he killed his brother Bekhtar for not sharing his food after a hunt.
30. Now You See Me
No one knows what Genghis Khan looked like. The only images of the Khan started appearing after he died, so it’s unclear how accurate they are to his likeness.
29. Solitary Cemetery
No one knows where the great Genghis Khan was buried. There are no official records, and anyone who knew where it was took the secret to their graves. He ensured this by having his entire funeral precession killed by 800 soldiers after he was buried. Later, those 800 soldiers were killed.
28. Cry Me A River
Genghis Khan is said to have had those he trusted most to divert a river over his final resting place to ensure no one would disturb his eternal slumber. Now he sleeps with the fishes.
27. No Man’s Land
Before Genghis Khan united Mongolia under a single banner, it was nothing more than warring, nomadic tribes.
26. It Was Written
Genghis Khan adopted the Uyghur script as the official written language of Mongolia. He did the write thing.
25. You Shall Not Pass
Ikh Khorig, or Great Taboo, is a 240 square kilometre piece of land in the Khentii province of Mongolia that was declared holy by Genghis Khan. Only an elite tribe of warriors called the Darkhad and the Mongolian royal family were allowed to enter, and anyone else caught doing so was put to death. It’s rumored that Genghis Khan was buried somewhere in Ikh Khorig. Who’s up for a scavenger hunt?
24. You’ve Got Mail
Genghis Khan created the first international postal service, allowing people to mail parcels and letters to friends and family in other countries without having to hire specialized couriers. The postal service was similar to the American Pony Express and used over 50 000 horses.
23. Live Your Truth
Genghis Khan was tolerant of individual beliefs, encouraging religious freedom amongst his subjects. It didn’t matter who you believed in, because Genghis Khan believed in you.
22. Financial Advisor
Yelu Chucai, one of Genghis Khan’s most trusted advisors suggest that Khan tax people instead of just killing them. This became a cornerstone of Genghis Khan’s conquests. Death and taxes indeed.
21. Charity Case
Genghis Khan was a brutal warlord, but also a generous ruler. He was among the first global leaders to exempt the clergy and the poor from taxation.
20. Show Me The Money
Genghis Khan’s face appears on Mongolia’s currency. Mongol, more like Mongoals!
19. Be fruitful and multiply
Genghis Khan is the most successful biological father of all time, with nearly 16 million direct descendants.
Genghis Khan believed the strength of a man was measured by the amount of children he left behind. That explains the why of the previous fact, but not the how. Who has that much time? Conquering must be easier than it sounds.
17. Father Figure
Nearly 8% of Asian men are descended from Genghis Khan. That’s nearly 350 million men with one common ancestor.
16. Influential In India
Shah Jahan, the Indian Shah responsible for building the Taj Mahal was a descendant of Genghis Khan.
15. Like Father…
Genghis Khan had 4 legitimate sons, all of whom heavily participated in the Mongol conquests. His third son, Ogedei became the Khan when Genghis finally died, and continued his father’s conquests of Asia and Europe. Don’t you hate it when your parents force you into the family business?
14. Marriage Proposals
Ghengis Khan would often marry his daughters off to local rulers, and use his daughters to rule in his stead.
Though Genghis Khan took many wives throughout his life, his only Empress was his first wife Börte.
12. Mr. International
Genghis Khan’s Empire spanned many modern countries, and even continents. From Eastern Asia into Eastern Europe, Genghis Khan amassed one of the largest empires history has ever seen. His tinder profile would have read “Loves To Travel/Conquer.”
11. Game Plan
Genghis Khan was a master tactician, often employing clever tricks to defeat his enemy. Some examples include false retreats to bait enemies into ambushes, and tying sticks to their horses’ tails to kick up dust storms equal to those kicked up by large armies.
10. Never Tell Me The Odds
Genghis khan was almost always outnumbered during battles, but found creative solutions to obtaining victory.
9. Asian Sensation
Genghis Khan invaded China with 90,000 troops and defeated an army of 1 million plus soldiers. He killed nearly 500,000 soldiers while a great many more, including generals and high ranking officers defected to the Mongols. It’s now about the size of your army, but how you use it.
Genghis Khan believed in being rewarded for hard work and operated on a meritocracy over nepotism. Many of his highest ranking officers and generals had earned their way to those positions, instead of simply being born to a particular family.
Most of Genghis Khan’s most trusted generals were his enemies at one point or another.
6. Cold Hearted
Genghis Khan’s armies killed an estimated 40 million people. In fact, his armies killed so many people that he cooled the planet and reduced the carbon footprint of human beings. While effective, this is definitely not the solution to climate change.
Khan often used spies to incite civil wars and revolutions within opposing empires to weaken them for his invasions.
4. Hard Feelings
Genghis Khan never let a slight go unpunished. The Khwarezmid Empire killed his messengers when he offered to open up trade routes. As a result, he decided to decimate the budding Persian empire, killing nearly 90% of the Persian population at the time. You could say Iran was caught between Iraq and a hard place.
3. Iran Away
Genghis Khan killed so many Persians (modern day Iranians), that the population of Persia didn’t return to pre-Mongol numbers until the 1900’s, nearly 700 years later. The Khwarezmid Shah fled the Mongol advance, but later died on an island in the Caspian Sea.
2. Killing It
Genghis Khan killed more people than Josef Stalin and Adolph Hitler combined. He also did all this killing when the Earth’s human population was much lower than it was when Stalin and Hitler were in power.
1. Horsin’ Around
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 Genghis Khan by saying he shot him in the neck. Valuing the archer’s courage and skill, Genghis Khan recruited the soldier, who would go on to be a great general under Khan.
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