Every once in a long while, the world sees someone’s inherently, brutally unconventional rise to power. One such person was born (probably) in 1162, Mongolia, near the mountains and the Onon river, named Temüjin or as he later came to be known: Genghis Khan.
As was the norm back then, Temüjin had his marriage arranged at the age of nine and was sent to the Khongirad tribe, where he was to serve the head of the household of his future wife until he was of the marriageable age. The death of his father caused the tribe to turn their back on his family and left them helpless.
Around 1177, he was captured by his family’s former allies and later managed to escape, which earned him a reputation. This led many people to join forces with him and what followed is a dramatic rise of a boy from poverty to the most ruthlessly powerful emperor ever. His actions led to him having many popular names like: Source of God, Mighty Manslayer, Perfect Warrior etc. Here are a few facts about him and some of the most shocking things that happened under his rule:
1 | Slaughtered entire cities.
Genghis Khan’s response and solution for non-cooperation was short and simple: kill everyone who lives there. Whole cities were often brutally slaughtered, regardless of whether they were men, women or children. Once, the skulls of his massacre victims were piled up where the city once stood, to show what happens when you deny Genghis Khan’s demands. He is responsible for destroying many of the most grand and glorious cities in the world and is rarely not seen as a villain. Cities under his siege were even forced to resort to acts of cannibalism to survive.
2 | He had a kind spot.
Yep. Genghis Khan was the kind of person who had your back if you had his. People who cooperated with him and didn’t resist his demands were treated with utmost decency. Also, mistreating his captives or people under his conquered regions was strictly forbidden unless, their actions warranted it. In such cases, they were treated ruthlessly. He often relocated people with the needed skills and generously compensated. He never imposed his own culture and religion upon those he conquered and instead, made efforts to learn theirs.
3 | One in every 10 Mongolians is considered to be his descendant.
Thanks to his countless number of marriages, this fact is believed to be true. He had six Mongolian wives and married many, many daughters of the kings he defeated. The Russian Academy of Sciences declared that there are 16 million male descendants of his.
4 | He Killed his half-brother.
During the time when his family was exiled, they reduced to poverty and had to hunt for food. Once he hunted a marmot and hid it under leaves to preserve it for later for his family. He then saw his brother retrieving the marmot and eating it himself, which enraged Genghis Khan and he thus shot an arrow at him. At least that’s what Temüjin said. Many believe that he killed his brother because he didn’t like him exercising power, being the oldest male in the family, and even wanting to marry his step-mother (Temüjin’s mother).
5 | He rewarded talent without prejudice.
He never considered class and always had an eye for talent. The greatest of his generals were selected solely based on their skills. Once during a war, he was shot in the neck by an enemy soldier. After defeating them, he asked for the person who did it and spared his life and made him a general.
6 | Caused a climate change.
This is as outrageous as it can get. When you kill around 40 million humans, there’s bound to be some kind of consequence. His invasions and massacres led to reducing of about 700 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which essentially cooled the planet.
7 | Most of the Mughal emperors are considered to be his descendants.
Babur’s mother was born into the Chatagai lineage of Mongol Khans. Chatagai Khan was Genghis Khan’s second son. Babur despised the fact that he was a Mongol descendant and often made it clear amongst his people. It is strongly opposed by many scholars who believe that Mughals aren’t Mongol descendants.
8 | Brutal celebrations of victories.
Genghis Khan and his armies are known for the way they celebrate a siege or a victory. After killing most of the men, they would capture the women and would rate them according to their beauty before raping them. The top-rated women would be summoned for Genghis and he would do whatever he pleased. Once, after a victory, they laid the enemy survivors on the ground and dropped a gigantic metal gate on them. They, then, held a victory dinner on top of it causing the people under to suffocate to death.
9 | War genius.
Genghis Khan might just be the smartest warrior to have ever lived. He was almost always outnumbered by his enemy armies by huge numbers and yet always won. He invaded Russia in winter and won! He was known for using smart ways to deceive his enemies by creating illusions and man-made mountains and tornados and he even spread false news in order to scare his enemies away. He invaded China with 90,000 thousand men and fought against an army consisting of about a million and remained undefeated.
10 | Nobody knows about his death.
Yes. A person did all that and nobody knows what happened to him. There are numerous theories regarding his death: killed while horse riding, killed while hunting, killed by a princess who was his captive. Nobody even really knows how he looked. He forbid everyone from making his paintings, sculptures or engravings. His initial paintings and images emerged after his death.
*All the above facts have been compiled from Wikipedia and Quora
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