The Mongol Empire
Perhaps no empire in history has risen so spectacularly as that of the Mongols. In less than 80 years, a band of warriors originally composed of several men grew to an empire that encompassed all from the Pacific Ocean to the Danube River. This story is about one of the most dramatic series conquests in history and how it was the Mongols themselves who shattered their own invincibility.
In the 12th century, various Turkic and Mongol-Tungusic tribes roamed the steppes of Mongolia. One of these tribes was the Mongols. Around 1130, the Mongols emerged as a powerful tribe, defeating neighboring nomads and forcing the Jin Empire of Northern China to pay tribute. However, the glory was short lived. In 1160, the Mongol Kingdom was shattered, having been defeated by the neighboring Tartars tribe. The Mongol clans (divisions within a tribe) became disunited and fought among themselves for what little there was.
The leader of the Mongol Kiyad Sub-Clan was Yesugei, who happened to be a descendant of a Khan (chieftain) of the former Mongol Kingdom. In 1167, Yesguei and his wife had a son named Temujin, the one who would become Genghis Khan. When Temujin was nine years old, his father was poisoned by Tartar chiefs. Since he was much too young to rule, his clansmen deserted him. Temujin and his family (7 people total) moved to the most desolate areas of the steppes, eating roots and rodents for living. He had many great adventures, ranging from chasing horse thieves to being captured by enemies.
List of Great Khans
1206-1227 Chingis / Genghis Khan
1229-1241Ogedei Khan (Khakhan) – Son of Chingis
1246-1248 Guyuk Khan (Khakhan) – Son of Ogedei
1251-1259 Mongke / Mengku Khan (Khakhan) – Cousin of Ogedei
After the death of Mongke, in 1260, two Khakhans were elected by rivaling Khuriltais (assemblies): Ariq-Boke (brother of Kubiliai), who ruled from Karakorum, and Kubilai, who ruled from China. Kubilai defeated Ariq-Boke in 1264 to secure sole leadership.
1264-1294 Kubilai Khan (Khakhan) – Brother of Kubilai
No ruler was elected after Kubilai
*Khakhan (also Kaghan, Haqan, meaning “Khan of Khans”): Title used by Khans of the greatest steppe Empires, including the Mongol Empire. This title was officially used by all Khans of the Mongol Empire except for Chingis Khan.
Regents (Temporary rulers) during the election interludes
1227-1229 Tolui – Son of Chingis, Father of Kubilai and Mongke
1241-1246 Toregene Khatun – Wife of Ogedei, mother of Guyuk
1248-1251 Oghul Ghaymish
1167? Brith of Temujin (Genghis/Chingis Khan)
1206. The great Khuriltai (assembly) of
1206. Temujin takes the title of “Chingis Khan”
1209-10. Campaign against Xi Xia.
1211, 1213, 1215. Campaigns against the Jin Empire.
1214. Mongols lay siege to the Jin capital of Zhongdu (modern day Beijing), which falls in
1215. Areas north of the Huang He becomes under Mongol control. Jin capital moved south to Kai-feng.
1218. Conquest of the Kara Kitai. Mongols raid Korea.
1220. Mongol caravan and ambassadors are murdered by the Khwarazmians. War against Khwarazm (Persia) begins. Capture of Bokhara and Samarkand.
1221. Subedei begins an expedition around the Caspian Sea and into Russia. Jalal ad-Din rises in Persia and challenges the Mongols. Jalal ad-Din defeated at the battle of Indus. War with the Kwarazmian Empire concludes.
1226. Final campaign against the Xia Xia.
1227. Genghis Khan dies. War with Xi Xia concludes.
1228. Ogedei Khan ascends the throne and becomes Khakhan (Great Khan)
1235. First serious invasion of Korea.
1234. War against the Jin Empire concludes.
1235. Construction of Karakorum, Mongol imperial capital
1237. Batu Khan and Subedei begin the conquest of Russia.
1241. War in Korea concludes
1241. Batu Khan and Subedei invade and conquer Poland and Hungary. Defeat of the Europeans at Liegnitz and Sajo River. Death of Ogedei Khan
1242. Upon hearing the death of Ogedei Khan, Batu khan withdraws from Europe to secure his conquests in Russia. Political establishment of the Golden Horde Khanate, with Batu as its first Khan.
1246-8. Reign of Guyuk Khan
1251. Election of Mongke Khan as Khakhan.
1252. Invasion of the Sung Empire of south China begins.
1253. Hulegu begins his campaign into the Middle East.
1258. Hulegu captured Baghdad. Death of the last Abassid Caliph.
1259. Death of Mongke Khan.
1260. Hulegu withdraws from Syria upon hearing the death of Mongke, saving the Muslims from further invasion. A minor force left behind is defeated by the Mameluks at Ain Jalut. Hulegu settles in Persia and creates the Il-Khanate, with him becoming the first Il-Khan.
1260. Disagreement on succession of the Mongol throne leads to civil war between the two candidates, Kubilai and Ariq-boke.
1264. Kubilai is victorious over Ariq-boke, becoming Khakhan.
1266. Kubilai builds a new imperial capital at Tatu (modern day Beijing)
1271. Journey of Marco Polo begins.
1272. Kubilai adopts the Chinese dynastic title of Yuan. Kubilai becomes both the Khakhan of the Mongol Empire and the “Yuan Emperor” of China.
1274. First invasion of Japan.
1276. Hangzhou, capital of the Sung Empire, falls to the Mongols.
1277-8. Mongols invade Burma, installs a puppet government.
1279. Death of the last Sung emperor during a naval battle.
1294. Death of Kubilai. The Yuan dynasty continues but the Mongol Empire ceased to have a Khakhan. In name, the Mongol Empire ends, as it fractures into four clearly distinct kingdoms.
1335. Death of Abu Sa’id. The Il-khanate failed to produce a successor and became fractured. The Il-khanate ends.
1359. As with the Il-khanate, the line of rules of the Golden Horde ended and the khanate failed to produce a successor. The Golden Horde becomes more of a puppet government.
1330. Timur Lenk (Tamerlane) is born in Samarkand. Reunites Persia and defeats both the Russians and the Golden Horde. Builds the so-called Timurid Empire.
1368. Yuan rule in China ends.
1370. Death in Karakorum of Toghon Temur, last Yuan emperor.
1405. Timur Lenk (Tamerlane) dies. The Timurid Empire, referred to as the last great nomadic power, ends. Persia and the Golden Horde are again without a clear ruler. The Golden Horde fractures and becomes separate states.
1502. The Russians overthrow Mongol rule in Russia. Today Mongolia