Mongol Conquest IV/35: 1206AD- 1266AD

DBA list:
1x 3Cv (General): Ghenghis Khan
2x 3Cv
8x 2LH
1x 2LH or Art

From his late teens to age thirty-eight in 1200, a Mongol named Temujin rose as khan over various families. He was vassal to Ong Khan, titular head of a confederacy better organized than other Mongol clans. Temujin joined Ong Khan in a military campaign against Tatars to their east, and following the success of this campaign Ong Khan declared Temujin his adoptive son and heir. And in 1206, at the age of 42, Temujin took the title Universal Ruler, which translates to Genghis Khan.He improved his military organization, which was also to serve as a mobile political bureaucracy, and he broke up what was left of old enemy tribes, leaving as ethnically homogeneous only those tribes that had demonstrated loyalty to him.

Genghis Khan moved to secure his borders. To his south he made an alliance with the Uighurs, who were closer than the Mongols were to the Silk Road and to wealth. He married his daughter to the Uighur Khan, in 1210 Genghis Khan won from the Tangut recognition as overlord.

Also in 1210, the Jin dynastry of Jurchen people, who ruled that part of northern China that included Beijing, sent a delegation to Genghis Khan demanding Mongol submission as vassals. In 1211, Genghis Khan and his army attacked. The Jurchen (Jin) dynasty had a large and effective army but they were hard pressed by both the Mongols and by a border war with the Tangut. They were also under attack by Chinese from south of the Yangzi River, the Southern Song emperor wishing to take advantage of the Jurchen-Mongol conflict to liberate northern China.Genghis Khan and his army overran Beijing and pushed into the heartland of northern China.

The Jurchen emperor recognized Mongol authority and agreed to pay tribute.

In 1218 the governor of an eastern province of Khwarizm mistreated several Mongol emissaries. Genghis Khan retaliated with a force of more than 200,000 troops, and Khwarizm was eradicated by 1220. In 1221 a scouting party of 15,000 Mongols separated from the Central Asian expedition and traveled around the Caspian Sea, exploring the lands on its western shore. The Polovtsy and the Russians hastily put aside their differences to meet the new threat, but their combined forces were beaten in the battle of the Kalka (1223). After that victory the Mongols forced the leaders of their captives to lie down while they built a large wooden platform over them. The Mongols then held a feast on the platform, crushing the Russians to death.

After six years of fighting the Jurchen, Genghis Khan returned to Mongolia, leaving one of his best generals in charge of Mongol positions. Returning with Genghis Khan and his Mongols were engineers who had become a permanent part of their army,

In 1225, Genghis Khan returned to Mongolia. He now ruled everything between the Caspian Sea and Beijing. Soon again, Genghis Khan was at war. He believed that the Tangut were not living up to their obligations to his empire. In 1227, around the age of sixty-five while leading the fighting against the Tangut, Genghis Khan, it is said, fell off his horse and died. The conquests of Genghis Khan were divided at his death among his four sons. Jochi, the eldest son had, however, already died; so his sector was actually divided between his own sons, Batu (the Blue Horde), Orda (the White Horde), and Shiban, later united into the Golden Horde, the most durable of the Mongol regimes. Tuli (Tolui), the youngest son, was given the homeland of Mongolia. And it was the sons of Tuli, after the conquest of Russia, who carried out the greatest subsequent conquests, of the Middle East and China.

Late in the life of Genghis Khan, members of his family fought over who was to be his heir. To end the dispute, Genghis Khan chose his third son, Ogotai. And in 1229, after Genghis Khan's death, a great Mongol assembly confirmed the succession of Ogotai as the Great Khan. The Mongols pushed into Europe.In 1235, Batu Khan was ordered by his father, Ogotai, to invade and conquer Russia. They first attacked the Ryazan Province. When the leaders refused to submit, the Mongols completely destroyed the town. They moved into the major Russian cities of Vladimir and Torzhok, and then moved westward towards the Crimea. Everywhere they went, they looted, and set fire to the towns. The major city of Kiev was attacked and surrendered on December 6, 1240.

The winter of 1240 found the Mongols in Poland, where the brilliant strategies of General Subedei enabled them to attack Lublin, sack Sandomierz, rout the Poles at Boleshlav and Chmielnik, burn Cracow, and defeat 40,000 Poles, Germans, and Teutonic Knights near Liegnitz (Legnica) in 1241. Liegnitz resisted entry and was leveled by the Mongols. Still energized, the Mongol army swiftly turned southward to Hungary over the Carpathian Mountains, entering from Galicia, marching from Moldavia into Transylvania and German Saxony, and reaching the Danube River. The Hungarians, frightened and weakened by battles with the Kipchaks, who were blamed for the coming of the Mongols, had little room to maneuver in the four-way pincer action initiated by the Mongols. King Bela IV (1206- 70) of Hungary mistakenly thought the main Mongol force would come from the north (near Pest, now Budapest) and sent some troops along the Sajo River. The Battle of MOHI ( q .v. ) in 1241 crippled Hungary and allowed the Mongols to burn Pest (Christmas Day, 1241), make a westward raid into Austria, and then rest and rearm for the summer of 1242. There would have been a resumption of the campaign had not the death of the Mongols' supreme ruler Ogotai summoned everyone back to Asia. He died at the age of fifty-six after binge drinking during a hunting trip. Ogotai's widow, Toregene, began administering Ogotai's estate, ruling her late husband's realm in his name and acting as regent for her eldest son, Guyuk, in his late thirties. Military operations slowed, including a reprieve of the fighting in Korea. Fighting began among men in the extended family. In 1246, Guyuk was able to buy support and win selection as Ogotai's successor.Guyuk's short reign, from 1246 to 1247, ended with Guyuk dying mysteriously amid royal family squabbling. The selection of the new Great Khan went in 1251 to another of Genghis Khan's grandsons: Mongke.

To complete the rule of the world, Mongke sent one of his brothers, Hulegu, westward, and Mongke planned to lead the conquest of the whole of China. As Hulegu and his army were passing through Persia, they destroyed the Muslim sect known in Europe as the Assassins (Hashshashin), opening the Mongol's route to Baghdad, the largest and richest city in the Muslim world. In 1258, Baghdad was destroyed and many Sunni inhabitants butchered, while Christians and Shi’a Muslims were spared. The conquest of Baghdad ended the Abbasid caliphate there and Baghdad as an Islamic spiritual capital. In 1260, their further advance was stopped at Ayn Jalut (Spring of Goliath), near Nazareth, by the Mamelukes who had taken power in Egypt. Ketboġa, the Mongol commander,was captured and beheaded.

After two years of preparation, Mongke's army invaded China's Sichuan province. There, in 1259, Mongke died in battle. He was the last of the great khans ruling from Karakorum and the last to exercise authority over the entire Mongol empire. Another fight ensued over who was to become the Great Khan, and succeeding Mongke was a brother, to be known as Kublai Khan, who had been fighting alongside Mongke in China.

1205–1209 conquest of Western China
1207 conquest of Siberia
1211–1234 conquest of Northern China
1213–1235 conquest of Manchuria
1218–1220 conquest of Central Asia and Eastern Persia
1220-1223, 1235-1330 invasions of Georgia and the Caucasus
1220–1224 of the Cumans
1223–1236 invasion of Volga Bulgaria
1231–1259 invasion of Korea

Mongol invasion of Europe:
1237–1242 invasion of Rus
1241 invasion of Poland (Battle of Legnica)
1241 invasion of Hungary
1241 invasion of Austria and Northeast Italy
1241–1242 invasion of Croatia
1242 invasion of Serbia and Bulgaria

1241-1244 invasion of Anatolia
1251-1259 invasion of Persia, Syria and Mesopotamia
1257, 1284, 1287 invasions of Vietnam
1258 invasion of Baghdad
1258-1259 invasion of Galych-Volhynia, Lithuania and Poland
1260 Battle of Ain Jalut
1260 Mongol raid raid against Syria
1264-1265 raid against Bulgaria and Thrace

In terms of square miles conquered, Genghis Khan had been the greatest conqueror of all time -- his empire four times larger than the empire of Alexander the Great. He is reputed to have said:

"The greatest joy a man can know is to conquer his enemies and drive them before him. To ride their horses and take away their possessions. To see the faces of those who were dear to them bedewed with tears, and to clasp their wives and daughters in his arms"

 

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