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2. World History at a Glance

Mongol Empire, the World’s Largest Land Empire

“Do you know which empire was the largest in history?” It was the Mongol Empire!

How did the Mongol Empire start? Long ago, the Mongols and Turks lived in different groups. Their lives were tough because powerful states in nearby regions ruled over them. Then, in the 12th century, a young man named Temujin began to bring the Mongol tribes together. He also conquered other tribes to unite the whole Mongolian area. In a tribal council called a Kurultai in 1206, Temujin was declared Genghis Khan.

The Mongol Empire had one million people and 20 million animals like horses and cows. The Mongol army, led by Genghis Khan, fought on horses and shot arrows while riding. They first fought against the Jin dynasty, which had treated the Mongols badly. In 1215, Jin surrendered.

Genghis Khan was very interested in trade between the East and the West. He sent his messengers to the Islamic Khwarezmian Empire. But when his messengers were killed, Genghis Khan attacked and destroyed that empire. The Mongol army even conquered parts of India and Pakistan. Genghis Khan died in 1227 during a battle against the Western Xia. But the Mongolian army continued to conquer lands in South Russia all the way to Hungary in 1241.

Genghis Khan controlled a huge amount of land, but he only ruled Mongolia, Manchuria, and China in person. He let the royal family rule the rest.