Everybody knows Genghis Khan but few knows his real name. The great Mongolian empire all started with a boy named Temujin.Genghis Khan means Universal Ruler or Absolute Ruler. Temujin was born around 1162 in the north central region of Mongolia. His father, Yesukhei, was the chieftain of their local tribe. The story goes that he was born to a great ruler and a vicious warrior, because he was born with a blood clot in his hand. His mother, Hoelun, taught him the harsh condition of the Mongol community and was unity between the tribes were needed. She used breaking arrows as an example. You can snap an single arrow very easily but once you bundle several arrows together it is very difficult to break them. She knew Temujin was a very independent boy and he never consulted anyone for help.

A portrait of Temujin at the age of 13 (Taken from

At the age of 9, Yesukhei  took Temujin to another tribe to arrange an marriage with Borte and left Temujin to get accustomed. When Temujin’s father was on the way back, he was invited to a friendly meal by a neighbouring tribe of Tatar. However the meal was poisoned and Yesukhei died. Upon hearing the news of his father’s death, Temujin swore revenge for his father’s death. He came back to his tribe then claimed his position as the new head of his family by killing his half-brother, Bekhter, at the age of 13. From here you can already see how ruthless he is in order to achieve power. After his father’s death, the tribe deserted Temujin’s family. At 16, Temujin married Borte of another tribe to gain alliance.  A rival tribe, Merkit, attacked Temujin’s clan or what’s left of it and captured Borte to assign her as a wife to their chieftain. He and a few man escaped. Dr. Morris Rossabi of Columbia University says “The decision to allow his wife to be captured was basically for survival and a strategic retreat. He didn’t want to stay behind and lose his life and the men he had left.” Temujin had a plan to fight back. Prior to this attack, Temujin made an alliance with, Jamukha, the chieftain of an neighbouring tribe. Jamukha was also a good childhood friend of Temujin. They gathered their men and defeated the Merkits and rescued Borte.Temujin and Jamukha mixed their blood to become blood brothers.


1 "Genghis Khan Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <>.

2 Holcombe,Charles. A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press, 2011, p 135, 136

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