Genghis Khan’s Legacy

genghis khanGenghis Khan, ruthless yet successful, had grown the Mongol Empire to a point where it encompassed about two-thirds of the known world at that time. But, he was also aging and needed to make plans for the Empire for after his death. He chose his 3rd son to succeed him as Khan and developed instructions for choosing Khans in the future (one requirement being that they must be his direct descendants).
Meanwhile, the Tanguts (in Western Xia area of China) and the Jin had been developing a rebellion against the Mongols. Genghis learned of this and readied 180,000 troops. In 1226, he sent his troops to attack the Tangut. This battle led to the Tangut surrender in 1227. Before he died, Genghis divided the Mongol Empire between his 4 sons.
In 1227, just before he died he also passed on the instructions for selecting future Khans. The location of his grave is unknown. It is said that he asked to be buried with no grave markings. Some stories even say that his men changed the course of a river to cover his grave site and prevent its discovery.
After his death, the Mongol Empire continued to expand! It reached the peak under the rule of Kublai Khan, Genghis Khan’s grandson. Kublai Khan was a great conqueror as well and expanded the empire to roughly 35 million square kilometers, stretching from southeast Asia to Europe.
While it is easy to look at the list of his conquests and see Genghis Khan as ruthless, he is also known as a wise and decisive ruler. As a ruler, he unified a large population and showed great military and leadership expertise.