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Genghis Khan 1162 (?) -1227

Genghis Khan was born in Mongolia around the 1155. He married at age 16, but had many wives during his lifetime. At 20, he began building a large army with the intent to destroy individual tribes in Northeast Asia and unite them under his rule. He was successful – the Mongol Empire was the largest empire in the world before the British Empire and lasted well after his own death.

The early success of the Mongol army owed much to the brilliant military tactics of Genghis Khan and his understanding of his enemies' motivations. He employed an extensive spy network and was quick to adopt new technologies from his enemies. The well-trained Mongol army of 80,000 fighters coordinated their advance with a sophisticated signaling system of smoke and burning torches.

In 1207, he led his armies against the kingdom of Xi Xia and, after two years, forced it to surrender. In 1211, Genghis Khan's armies struck the Jin Dynasty in northern China, lured not by the great cities' artistic and scientific wonders, but rather the seemingly endless rice fields and easy pickings of wealth. Although the campaign against the Jin Dynasty lasted nearly 20 years, Genghis Khan's armies were also active in the west against border empires and the Muslim world.

In time, the conquests of Genghis Khan connected the major trade centers of China and Europe. The empire was governed by a legal code known as Yassa. Developed by Genghis Khan, the code was based on Mongol common law but contained edicts that prohibited blood feuds, adultery, theft, and bearing false witness.

Genghis Khan died in 1227 soon after the submission of the Xi Xia. The exact reason is uncertain. Some historians maintain he fell off a horse while on a hunt and died of fatigue and injuries.

Genghis Khan was buried without markings according to the customs of his tribe, somewhere near his birthplace close to the Onon River and the Khentii Mountains in northern Mongolia. According to legend,


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