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yu shan mural xiaxia siege

Conquering the Neighbors

Having built a unified state, Genghis Khan now turned his energies toward several nations which directly and indirectly bordered on Mongol lands. These were the Golden Kingdom, or the Jin Dynasty, the Xi-Xia of the Tangut and the Kara-Khitan Empire, and the Khwarazmian Empire of the Sartuul. Conditions were growing ripe for the Golden Kingdom to try to settle accounts that had been accumulating since the days of Habul Khan. For the Mongols who had long been dependent, especially economically, on the Golden (Jin) Dynasty, the moment was coming to set themselves free.

Conquering the Tanguts

     Consuming flour without growing grains and wearing silks without producing them, the nomads suffered shortages of these goods because of the Golden Kingdom’s sufficient power to resist their attacks. Before attacking Jin, however, Genghis chose to deal first with the weaker Tangut Khanate. This was his first campaign against a sedentary people living in walled cities and his first taste of destroying a nation. Prior to actually assaulting the Tangut capital Irgai, he broke down the Yellow River dam and threatened to drown the city, which brought him an easy victory. Although the Tanguts were not completely overtaken, they became a launching pad for an attack on the long-hated Jin Dynasty.

Conquering Jin Dynasty

     The war between 250,000 Mongols and the more than twenty-million-strong Jin nation started in 1211 and continued for twenty-three years, ending sometime after Genghis’ death. Even during this first campaign, Genghis was so exhilarated by his victorious month-long pillage of Beijing that he arrogantly demanded that the Jin Emperor demote himself to the rank of a van and to unconditionally surrender to the Mongols all territories north of the Yellow River.

“Remind me that the Tangut Empire still stands”

     For the two decades since he had subjugated the Tanguts, his memory of that realm had been kept fresh in compliance with his famous order “Remind me every morning that the Tangut Empire is still out there!” At last, in 1226, he set out to deal with the Tanguts for good. In this way, these people who had fallen victim to Genghis’ first foreign campaign became the object to the foreign campaign became the object to ferocious khan’s last war twenty years later.


  • 1207-1209: Attacked the Tangut Empire several times.
  • 1209: Mongke Born
  • 1211: Genghis Khan waged war on the Jing Dynasty.
  • 1212: Second invasion of Jing Dynasty and conquering of the city.
  • 1213: About ninety Jing Dynasty cities invaded.
  • 1214: Mongolia established diplomatic relations with the Southern Song Dynasty.
  • 1215: Genghis Khan takes over the capital of the Jing Dynasty. The Khan meets Ye lu Chucai.

Bringing down Khwarazm

     Genghis sent four hundred merchant-ambassadors to Ortar, in the lands of the Khwarazm Shah. The arrogant Shah had them killed as spies. He also killed the ambassadors who were sent to obtain apologies, and so lit the flame of vengeance in the heart of Genghis, a khan “appointed” by Heaven itself, who was growing stronger from day to day. Genghis Khan started a campaign on Khwarazm’s western flank.

The price of foolishness

    The walls and subjects of Khawarazm paid a heavy price over the foolishness of the Shah and his political disputes. In this territory, Genghis’ rancorous armies perpetrated a bloodbath so violent nothing like it was seen again until Tumur Khan raided Samarkand in the early 1400s. In the fall of 1219, Genghis Khan’s two hundred thousand-strong armies crossed the Irtysh River and closed in on the city of Ortar. After a month-long siege, his sons Ogodei and Tsagaadai (Chagatai) took their revenge by pouring melted gold into the mouth of the city governor. Little remained of the city. Of the population of Bukhara, who defended the city for twelve days, only craftsmen were spared to become slaves of the victors. 


     Gurganj, the Khwarazam capital, put up resistance for seven months and managed to deliver a blow to the Mongols that is caused a quarrel between Genghis’ two sons Jochi and Tsagaadai. But after Genghis’ warrior son Ogodei arrives with more troops, the city – the people, livestock, and buildings- was demolished and flooded. when those who had fled the Khwarazm Empire came back to their ruined city, they found only a quarter of the former population. Genghis’ pregnant daughter avenged the death of her husband, Togochar, who was shot by an arrow from the walls of Nishabur, by leading a fierce massacre, pilling up the heads of men, women, and children in separate mounds, sparing none, not even the dogs and cats.

A Warning

     The genocide so systematically carried out against the Khwarazm Empire was not just revenge but also a demonstration to all of the consequences of daring to resist or ignore the will of Heaven to unite the world through the Mongols. For many years after this campaign nations shuddered with fear at the mere mention of Genghis name. Evidence of this mortal fear was the name of Genghis, ragshis, or demon, found in Muslim annals.

Jalal ad-Din

     During the bloody war against the Khwarazm Empire, the outstanding prince, Jalal ad-Din, son of the Shah, gained prominence. Although he suffered defeat at the hands of Genghis Khan and was forced to retreat to India, at all points he fought back fiercely as a tiger. Once in India, he replenished his army all changed again. When the news about Genghis’ death reached this valiant prince, he exclaimed, “A real man worthy of me has died! Whom shall I fight now?” He himself met an inglorious end in 1231, four years after Genghis’ demise.


  • 1217: Muhulai (Muquli) was given the title of Goo van. Four hundred and fifty Mongol traders head of Khwarazm.
  • 1218: Mongolia and Korea established peaceful relations and signed treaties. Ogodei was proclaimed as the heir to the Mongol empire.
  • 1219-1224: Genghis Khan invaded Khwarazm and Central Asia.
  • 1220: Khar-Khorum was chosen as the capital of the Mongol Empire.
  • 1221: Genghis Khan met Qiu Chuiji.
  • 1223: Muhulai died. Jebe and Subeedei’s army defeated a joint army of the Russian and Kipchaks at the Khalkha River.
  • 1224: General Jebe died. the Tangut Empire and jing Dynasty establish a secret treaty against Genghis Khan.
  • 1225: Ih huraldai was set at the source of the Irtysh River, at a place called Buga Sochigai. The archer Yesunge, shot an arrow 335 fathoms away and a stone was erected where the arrow fell. After conquering the Khwarazm Empire, Genghis Khan returned home to his palace. The Mongolian messenger Juchi was shot by the Koreans on his way home.
  • 1205-1227: The Tangut Empire defeated.
  • 1227: Chinggis Khan dies.   
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