The Mongols of Genghis Khan

In the early 12th century, many Turkish-Mongolian nomadic tribes, similar in language, culture and lifestyle, used to live in the steppe plateau of Central Asia. These groups had gathered into small tribes, mostly composed of one family, armed and determined to defend their pastures and cattle. The tribes were headed by the most powerful clans, who decided when and where to pitch camp or pasture their cattle and who to fight.  The weakest families still had authority and kept possession of their animals, but had to pay a tribute to the ruling clan. Nomadic life did not make the tribes completely self-sufficient, so they often raided and forayed the rich neighbouring regions of China. China, to defend itself militarily and politically, skilfully took advantage of the disagreements existing among different chieftains, granting some tribes honorific titles and food supplies in return for watching over its boundaries.
Later on, through the intense trades of Chinese and Muslim merchants, the Mongolian economy remarkably developed. The Mongols adopted paper money as a medium of exchange whose value was ensured by the Great Khan. The paper they used was made from mulberry bark, the bills were black and bore the emperor’s seal. If a bill was damaged, the owner could change it at the imperial mint, paying three per cent of its face value for the service. In addition, they built hotels, markets, borders posts and many roads in the Mongolian territory.
The legendary Gengis Khan
The exact date of birth of Temujin (Genghis Khan’s true name) is not known. According to Persian sources, he was born in 1155, and in 1162, 1167 or 1176 according to others. In 1206, Temujin, for his political and military skills, was appointed head of all Mongols with the title of Genghis Khan. From then on, his armies invaded the north of China and entered Peking. In 1215, the Mongolian empire stretched to Tibet and Turkestan. In a few decades, the Mongols invaded Afghanistan, went round the Caspian, the Russian plains and settled in Baghdad, the historical Arabic capital, killing the last caliph. When Genghis Khan died in 1227, the Mongolian empire was disintegrated by conflicts among its successors. China invaded Mongolia and set fire to the capital of the empire, but could not completely rule over its territory.

 

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