Genghis Khan was born Temujin, (blacksmith) around 1162. It is believed he was born with a blood clot held in his fist; a sign that he was destined to become a great leader.
He was the second son born to tribal chief Yesukhei.
Temujin’s father arranged a marriage for him at the age of nine. He sent him to live and serve in the household of his future wife Borte, until he reached the marriageable age of twelve. Shortly after arriving in this household Temujin discovered a rival tribe had poisoned his father while he travelled home.
Temujin then returned home to take his father’s place as chief. The tribe refused to accept him and abandoned him and his family, leaving them without protection and living in poverty. The next few years the family lived off the land, eating wild fruits and game hunted by Temujin and his brothers.
His elder brother Begter had tried to exercise his power over the family and Temujin did not like this. At the age of fourteen, Temujin murdered his brother.
Around 1177, Temujin was captured and enslaved by former allies of his father. He did however escape with the help of one of the men guarding him.
At the age of sixteen, Temujin married his betrothed Borte, but shortly after the marriage she was kidnapped. She was however rescued by Temujin with the help of his friends.
Borte was to have four sons by Temujin, the first born just nine months after the marriage.
Following his marriage, Temujin formed an alliance with Borte’s tribe. He followed this with further alliances until he was strong enough to launch a campaign against the Tatars (Turkic tribe) in 1197.
Temujin was a brutal leader and fighter. He destroyed the Tatar army and executed its leaders. He was not known to show mercy to his enemies.
More battles against Mongol tribes took place and over time the tribes were either defeated or chose to unite with Temajin. By 1206 he had conquered most of Mongolia and united the individual tribes. He was now in charge of one political and military force.
Temajin now became Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongols.
Genghis Khan continued to fight and extend his empire. By 1210 he had conquered the Xia Dynasty and by 1215 the Jin Dynasty.
He went on to conquer Khwarezmia (present day Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan) between 1219 – 1221.
Following this Genghis Khan split his forces in two and headed home. He took his army and raided both Armenia and Azerbaijan, and destroyed the kingdom of Georgia.
His forces were also led into Russia for further raids.
The Mongol Empire ruled by Genghis Khan was huge. It increased in size under both his son and grandson, before it finally started to fall apart.
The empire included Mongolia, China, Burma, Korea, Iran, Armenia, parts of Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and was twice the size of the Roman Empire.
Genghis Khan died in August 1227, although there is much speculation as to how he died.
He requested to be buried without any markings, as was the custom of his tribe.
Many believe he is buried near the Onon River and the Burkhan Khaldun mountains in Mongolia.
Legend has it that the funeral escort killed anybody and anything it passed, to keep concealment of the final burial place of Genghis Khan secret.