The death of Genghis Khan during that campaign (1227) increased the vindictiveness of the Mongols. He reformed his people’s laws and ushered in a military-feudal form of government. Kublai was not satisfied, though, and launched two attacks on Japan in 1274 and 1281 CE.

The Mongols spread ideas in cuisine, too, such as making their sulen (shulen) broth-come-stew a popular dish across Asia even today. Genghis’ first target after becoming Great Khan was the Jin state (aka Jurchen Jin Dynasty, 1115-1234 CE) in northern China.

The Jin capital of Kaifeng fell in 1233 CE, and the campaign of 1234 CE brought about the suicide of the Jin emperor, Aizong (r. 1224-1234 CE) and the total and final collapse of the Jin state. The once prosperous region of Khwārezm suffered for centuries from the effects of the Mongol invasion which brought about not only the destruction of the prosperous towns but also the disintegration of the irrigation system on which agriculture in those parts depended. Mongol armaments and tactics were more suited to open plains and flat countries than to mountainous and wooded regions. During Europe’s High Middle Ages the Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous land empire in history, began to emerge. Ogedei became the new Great Khan (r. 1229-1241 CE) and thus ruler of all the Mongols., Learn about the quest to find Genghis Khan’s lost tomb.

Korea was repeatedly raided in this period, too. Cartwright, M. (2019, November 11). Even Yuan China succumbed to the all-too-familiar civil wars from rival groups and, with a weak economy and beset by famines and localised rebellions, the Ming Dynasty was able to take over China in 1368 CE.

Bukhara, Samarkand, and the capital Urgench were taken and sacked by Mongol armies (1220–21). The Mongol army was based around a core 10,000 men, which was the khan’s personal bodyguard, the kesikten.

Kublai had to battle with his younger brother Ariq Boke (1219-1266 CE) for the position of Great Khan, but Kublai won and, even if the empire was now effectively split into four khanates, he had the consolation that his part remained the richest. (Learn about the quest to find Genghis Khan’s lost tomb.

In terms of conquests, Ogedei carried right on where his predecessor had left off and, with the help of the gifted general Subutai (aka Sube’etei, 1176-1248 CE), known as one of the ‘Four Hounds’ of the khan, campaigned against the Jin in 1230-1 CE. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Mongol armies were chiefly composed of cavalry which afforded them a high degree of mobility and speed. "Mongol Empire." The Mongols defeat a Russian army at Kalka.

Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. The “Mongol” armies, therefore, often consisted of only a minority of ethnic Mongols.

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