The Great Mongolian State

The difficult process of establishing the Mongol state is described in the famous Mongolian manuscript called ‘The Secret History of the Mongols’. Temuujin defeated and subjugated the Mergid confederation in 1189 with the support of Tooril Khan of Khereid, the blood brother of his father. Another ally, who helped Temuujin in this venture, was his own blood brother Jamuka of Jadaran clan. The Mergids had attacked the home of Temuujin and captured his wife Burte of Hongirad tribe revenging for a much earlier event in which Temuujin’s father Yesukhei deprived a Mergid man Chiledu his bride Oelun of Olkhonud tribe, who became mother of Temuujin. The striving of Temuujin to free his wife became a reason for the campaign against the Mergids.
After the defeat of the Mergid, the reputation of Temuujin raised rapidly and the leading members of the Khamag Mongol aristocracy enthroned him with title Chinggis Khaan, as the ruler of Khamag Mongol in 1206. A conflict of the Tatars with the Jin Dynasty became a favourable opportunity Temujin and Tooril Khaan to defeat them in alliance with the Jurchens. At this point, Tooril Khan was granted the title Wan by the Jin court and since then became known as Wan Khan.
By the year 1201, the Taichuud and Jurhin tribes were defeated and subjugated. Influential aristocrats of many other tribes and confederations were joining Temuujin. In 1201, a crisis ignited in the Khanlig of Khereid, in which the siblings of Tooril Wan Khan allied with Inancha Khan of Naiman and defeated Tooril. Wan Khaan regained power in his kingdom with the support of Temuujin. Temuujin finally defeated and subjugated the Tatars in 1202.
Nilkha (childish) Sengum, son of Wan Khan, envied Temuujin as his power was growing and persuaded his father to battle against Temuujin. This venture led to a victory of Temuujin and conquest of the Khereid Khanlig. Wan Khan escaped alone into the southern deserts of the Naiman Khanlig, where he was caught by the Naiman patrols, who killed him irritated as he claimed himself as Wan Khan.
Tayan Khan of Naiman and his son Khuchulug initiated a campaign against Temuujin in 1204. They allied with Jamukha, who competed with Temuujin for the power over the Mongolic tribes. The Naiman troops outnumbered the Temuujin’s troops.
At night at the eve of the battle, Temuujin ordered each of his warrior to light ten bonfires, thus deceiving and demoralizing Tayan Khan, who was a weak warlord. Temuujin won the battle. Tayan Khan was captured but passed away of his wound, Khuchulug retreated to the river Irtysh where he was overtaken by Temuujin and defeated. After this battle, Khuchulug escaped to Gur-Khan of Khar Kidan.
As the Khanlig of Naiman was conquered, Khasar, brother of Temuujin, found a dignitary named Tata-Tunga, who spread the Uigur alphabet among the Mongols. This alphabet became the basis of the Classical Mongol script.
By the year 1206, all the tribes and confederations of Mongolia had come under the leadership of Temuujin. The success of Temuujin in consolidation of the Mongols was due to his flexibility, his cherishing of his friends and his elaborated tactics. A Grand Khurildai (congress) of the Mongol aristocrats on the river Onon in 1206 enthroned Temuujin as Chinggis Khaan as King of all Mongolia.
Chinggis Khaan was an extraordinarily gifted person of high intellect and intuition, an outstanding statesman and political figure of his time, a military genius surpassing all his predecessors and one of the world’s greatest commanders. The principles and rules given by him to the princes began to spread, becoming the customs and statesmanship heritage of the whole Mongolian nation. He attached great importance to law and traditions, and when he ascended to the throne of a united Mongol state, undertook a number of steps to strengthen the power of the state.
Chinggis Khaan abolished the organization of the former tribes and khanligs and reformed the country into 95 myangats. In this system, a group of households large enough to mobilize 10 warriors were organised into an aravt (10 warriors), 10 arvats were organised into a zuut (100 warriors), 10 zuuts constituted a myangat (1,000 warriors) and 10 myangats constituted a tumt or tumen (10,000 warriors). With an assumption that each household consisted of 4 persons, it can be estimated that the entire population of Mongolia was at least 400,000 and the nation possessed 95,000 cavalrymen.
The Mongol Empire and the states that emerged from played a major role in the world history of the 13th and 14th centuries. Chinggis Khaan and his immediate successors conquered nearly all of Asia and European Russia and sent armies as far as Central Europe and Southeast Asia.
The newly unified Khanate of Mongolia became an attractive force for many neighboring peoples and kingdoms. Beginning from the year 1207, the Uighur state, Taiga people of the river Yenisey and the Karluk Kingdom joined Mongolia.
Chinggis Khaan’s policy towards foreign countries was called the Altan Argamj (The Golden Tether). The policy was aimed at maintaining peace and developing friendly relations with neighboring countries. However, the state of relationships with neighboring countries at the time made it difficult to practice these policies. The urgent task of Chinggis Khaan was strengthening the independence of his young nation.
For a century, the southeastern neighbor Jin Dynasty had been provoking the Mongolic tribes against one another in order to eventually subjugate them. With a purpose of testing the military strength of his state and preparing for a struggle against the Jin Dynasty, in 1209 Chinggis Khaan conquered the Tanguud empire Xi-Xia, which pledged vassalage.
In 1211, Mongolia with over 90 thousand cavalrymen led by Chinggis Khaan accompanied by his sons Zuchi, Tsagaadai, Ogedei and Tului and brother Khasar launched a war with the Jin Dynasty with a multi-million population. At this stage, the Mongols passed over the Great Wall, intruded Shanxi and Shandong provinces and approached the river Huang He. The Altan Khan (Jin Emperor) surrendered in 1214 and gave Chinggis Khaan his princess and tribute of gold and silver to his warlords. Chinggis Khaan gave out to his warriors the present of the Jin Emperor loaded on 3 thousand horses. However, the Jin Dynasty continued hostility against Mongolia, hence Chinggis Khaan ordered his warlord Mukhulai of Jalair clan to complete the conquest of the Jin Dynasty and returned to Mongolia.
Later, warlord Zev of Besud clan defeated Khuchulug who had become the Gur-khan of Khar Kidan. The Mongol Empire now included several states of central Asia and eastern Turks, reaching as far as the borders of the Khorezm state.
Chinggis Khaan intended to develop friendly relations with the Khorezm Empire, which was located on a junction of the trade routes connecting the East and the West and dominated Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan. In 1218, Chinggis Khaan dispatched a caravan with ambassadors on a diplomatic and commercial mission to the capital of the Khorezm state, Urgench. At the frontier town of Otrar, the caravan was pillaged and the ambassadors murdered.
Later, three Mongolian emissaries, sent to Khorezm to investigate the incident, were subjected to unprecedented humiliation. This was an announcement of war. The Mongol troops invaded Khorezm Empire in 1219. Although Khorezm Shah possessed an army outnumbering the Mongol troops dozen of times, he lacked the courage and initiatives to unite his forces and fight back. The Mongol troops sacked cities Otrar, Buhara, Merve, Samarkand and Urgench. Shah’s warlord Tumurbileg led a daring resistance when the Mongol troops besieged city Hojent. Shah’s son Jelal-ad-Din courageously battled with the Mongol army in 1221, but was defeated and escaped to the river Ind.
Pursuing Khorezm Shah in 1220, the scout groups of warlords Zev and Subeedei of Uriankhan clan conquered northern Iran. They invaded Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia in 1221 and entered the territories of the Kipchak Khanate in Crimea and grasslands of the northern Black Sea. The Mongol leaders then thought they had accomplished their mission. Before returning to Mongolia, however, they decided to rest their troops and to gain more information about the lands to the north and the west. They camped near the mouth of the Dnieper River, and their spies soon were scattered throughout eastern and central Europe. Meanwhile, a mixed Russian-Cuman army of 80,000 under the leadership of Mstislav, prince of Kiev, marched against the Mongol encampment. Zev and Subeedei sought peace; however, when their envoys were murdered, they attacked and routed Mstislav’s force on the banks of the Kalka River in 1223.
Chinggis Khaan issued edicts ensuring the right to practice other religions and preventing religious intolerance and hostilities. He instructed his commanders and warriors to avoid destroying occupied countries’ churches and temples, and carried out policies with respect to religious persons, exempting them from taxation and military service. His exceptionally flexible mounted army and the cadres of Chinese and Muslim siege-warfare experts who facilitated his conquest of cities comprised one of the most formidable instruments of warfare that the world had ever seen.
The Tanguud kingdom denied its obligation as a vassal state to take part in the western campaign of Chinggis Khaan. While Chinggis Khaan was in Iran, Tanguud kingdom or Western Xia and Jin had formed an alliance against the Mongols. Shortly after returning to Mongolia, the Mongol army invaded the Tanguud state in 1226 and conquered in city Ninxia. The Tanguud kingdom completely surrendered in March 1227.
In the same year, Chinggis Khaan was wounded while out hunting and on August 25, 1227, the founder of the Mongol Empire, expander of its borders throughout central Asia and Middle Asia, died.

Leave a Comment