Clutching a clot of blood—omen of courage and victory, at least according to legend—a boy is born to a Mongol family living near the Onon River. He is named Temujin, which means “blacksmith.”
Temujin’s father is murdered 1174
Temujin’s father, a minor chieftain named Yisugei, once robbed a group of Tatars, members of a rival tribe. Neither forgiving nor forgetting this affront, the Tatars poison Yisugei years later.
Temujin is nine when his father dies. Dejected, Yisugei’s followers defect to other chiefs—leaving Temujin and his family as outcasts. The widow and her children endure by fishing, foraging for berries and wild onions, and snaring rodents. 1174
Temujin kills his half brother 1180
Bekhter, an older half brother, torments Temujin and a younger brother by stealing the prize each time the younger boys fish or hunt. Enraged, Temujin and his brother stalk Bekhter and slay him with an arrow, the Mongol weapon of choice. Temujin’s own mother decries the killing,
and court historians, years later, will delicately omit this chapter from biographies of Chingis Khan.
Borte, Temujin’s wife, is kidnapped 1183
When the Merkit, another tribe of the steppe, hear the news that Temujin has married, they see a long-awaited opportunity for revenge against his father, who stole a Merkit bride. Three hundred warriors swarm Temujin’s camp. He rides off over the daunting terrain, leaving his wife, Borte, and several other women. Borte is captured. Temujin and his allies gather several hundred soldiers and rescue her.
Temujin emerges as local strongman 1200
Temujin has become a “player” in the rough-and-tumble world of the steppe; indeed, the Mongols and several neighboring tribes have hailed him as their khan, or leader. His daring and charisma draw followers from throughout the region, and he masters rival tribe after rival tribe—and all but exterminates the Tatars, who killed his father. Shamans in Temujin’s camp spread the word of a heavenly mandate for his power. Temujin himself reportedly declares, “My strength was fortified by Heaven and Earth.”
Temujin is enthroned as Chingis Khan 1206
At a kuriltai (great assembly) Temujin is lauded as Chingis Khan, the “strong ruler” or perhaps the “oceanic ruler.” (Scholars wrangle over the exact translation.) At about the age of 40, Chingis is master of all the tribes in what is now Mongolia, an expanse about the size of Alaska. He sets to work fusing them into a single people—building an army, imposing uniform laws, establishing a written language.
Chingis wages his first foreign campaign 1209
Chingis destroys Zhongdu (Beijing) 1215
Several years of sparring with the Jin dynasty in northern China yield an outright attack in 1214.Chingis surrounds their capital, Zhongdu (located where Beijing now stands) . The Jin emperor, Xuanzong, beseeches Genghis to withdraw, a plea sweetened with gold, silver, horses, slaves,and a princess (who became one of Genghis’s many wives). Chingis agrees, and the Mongols depart; the Jin court promptly flees southward to Kaifeng. The retreat enrages Chingis, who sees it as a ploy for regrouping before a counterattack. He storms back to Zhongdu in 1215, starving the city into submission and looting without pity.
Insults draws Chingis westward 1218
Chingis takes Samarkand and Bukhara 1220
Slashing his way across Central Asia, Chingis crushes the great cities that gleamed in Shah Muhammad’s crown. Samarkand, Muhammad’s own capital, surrenders to the Mongols.
So does Bukhara, a metropolis in what is now Uzbekistan. Chingis is unrepentant . “I am the punishment of God,” a Muslim historian later quoted him as saying, “If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.” A witness took a dimmer view: “They came, they sapped, they burnt, they slew, they plundered, and they departed.”
Chingis searches for immortality 1222
Still, Chingis hails the sage as a holy man, and the two become friends and correspondents.
Chingis wages his last campaign 1226
Chingis Khan dies 1227
Eternity claims Chingis Khan in August 1227. He has lived about 60 years The cause of death is a mystery, perhaps because of Chingis’s order to shroud his passing with secrecy. So seriously do the heirs take this command that they kill almost anyone who sees the funeral procession.
The great conqueror’s grave is not marked—to discourage grave robbers—and no one has found it yet.
Visit Amy Winehouse for Daily Updated Hairstyles Collection