Today on August 18, 1227, Genghis Khan dies while invading the Xi Xia Kingdom in China.
Genghis Khan is undoubtedly one of the most feared and well-known conquerors in history. He founded the mighty Mongol Empire, becoming the first Great Khan. Prior to his rule, the Mongolian plateau was largely made up of small, disparate tribes. Little is known about his actual childhood, however, he certainly came from humble beginnings. Genghis grew up to become the first leader to unite the vast nomadic peoples of Mongolia. Almost overnight, he turned Mongolia into a formidable military power and launched invasions into neighboring lands.
By the time of his death, the Mogul Empire stretched across most of Central Asia and China. Genghis was a notoriously cruel and ruthless conqueror. Anyone who refused to submit to his rule was quickly slaughtered. Despite his fearsome reputation, he is also remembered for implementing several forward-thinking policy changes, such as granting religious freedom to his subjects and abolishing torture. Commerce and trade flourished under his rule with Genghis creating the world’s first international postal system. During this period, the Silk Road became a safe and reliable trading and communications highway. His great empire truly bridged the East and West for the first time in history.
While on a military campaign against the Xi Xia Kingdom, Genghis was suddenly thrown from his horse which caused severe internal injuries. Nevertheless, the campaign moved forward despite the Great Khan’s deteriorating health. On August 18, 1227, Genghis suddenly died yet no one knows for certain what caused his death. His final resting place remains unknown to this day. The descendants of Genghis Khan went on to expand the empire even further, eventually forming the largest land empire in history. His grandson, Kublai Khan, launched a massive invasion against the Song Dynasty and successfully conquered all of China. At the height of their power, the Moguls controlled a landmass similar in size to the continent of Africa.