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Chinggis Khan: Conquering the Army That Conquered the World
(Released April 2011)

  by Erin McCoy  


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News Articles

  1. Battle for Mongolia's soul; Mongolia

    The Economist, 12-23-2006

    On the 800th anniversary of his empire's birth, China and Mongolia both claim Genghis Khan as their own.

    SOUTH of the great bend of the Yellow River a newly built four-lane expressway cuts through the scrub-covered semi-desert of the Ordos plateau. It is a bleak landscape. Overgrazing, intensive farming and the ravages of mining have taken their toll. Legend has it that Genghis Khan stopped to admire the area's lush grasslands and herds of deer as he and his warriors passed through on a mission of conquest eight centuries ago. If today he were to follow the signs to his mausoleum, just off the motorway, he would not be so impressed.

    Members of a Mongolian tribe said to have been appointed by Genghis to take on the hereditary task of guarding his mementoes are certainly not pleased with what is happening on their ancestral land near Highway 210. The few hundred Darkhats, as they are known, are among some 4m Mongols living in Inner Mongolia, a province of China. The Mongols are vastly outnumbered by ethnic Han Chinese who, encouraged by the communist leadership, have migrated to Inner Mongolia in recent decades to work in factories and turn pastureland into farms. The Darkhats are happy enough that the new motorway brings more free-spending tourists to the mausoleum. What they resent is that much of their land has now been appropriated by the local government for the development of a Genghis Khan theme park next to it. To add insult to injury, they say, a Han Chinese businessman is running it...

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  2. Flogging Genghis Khan

    Bill Donahue, The Atlantic Monthly, 09-01-2010


    WHEN HE WENT MARAUDING about the known world some 800 years ago, Genghis Khan almost certainly never slept on a bed scattered with rose petals. He was a hard guy. So it seems fitting that the journey east from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital, toward a 131-foot stainless-steel statue of the infamous Mongol warlord is a stark experience. The roadside is barren of trees and unpeopled, and brown rubbly mountains stretch into the distance. When you travel the 35-mile route on a bicycle, as I did recently, the headwinds can be cruel.

    Still, I pedaled on, for Genghis Khan is Mongolia's future. After his conquests were downplayed in the history books during seven decades of de facto Soviet rule, the nomad who ruled an empire stretching from the Caspian Sea to Siberia reemerged in 1990, as democracy was being established. Today, he is a poor nation's avatar of hope- and he's becoming a major industry.

    In Ulaanbaatar, you can drink Chinggis beer at the Grand Khaan Irish Pub. (For obscure reasons, the local spelling differs from the Western.) The Genco Tour Bureau, an Ulaanbaatar-based company, has spent about $7 million on the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex, a commercially minded homage where the giant steel Chinggis will soon be flanked by an artificial pond, a skating rink, and 200 small gers, or round tents, for paying campers. Nearby, Genco has also built a 13th-century living history museum, sort of a Colonial Williamsburg on the steppes, where artisans make felt by beating wool with wood sticks. And at the Chinggis Khaan Golf Country Club, the greens are tiny, bright patches of artificial turf on the infinite brown...

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  3. Genghis Khan's legacy?

    John Travis, Science News, 02-08-2003

    Some 800 years ago, a fearsome, charismatic warrior named Temujin united the nomadic tribes of Mongolia. In 1206, he assumed the title Genghis Khan, often translated as emperor of emperors, and started invading surrounding territories. Massacring many of the people that he conquered, so as to leave no enemies and to strike fear in would-be foes, Genghis Khan ultimately controlled a massive empire ranging from today's Afghanistan across China. His male descendants continued the dynasty for many generations.

    It appears that Genghis Khan left a mark on more than history: His influence may persist in the DNA of men today. According to an international team of geneticists, about 1 in 12 men in Asia-and therefore 1 in 200 men worldwide-carry a form of the Y chromosome that originated in Mongolia nearly 1,000 years ago. Today's unusual prevafence of this chromosomal variant is most likely the result of Genghis Khan's military success, the investigators say. Even more provocatively, the researchers suggest that Genghis Khan himself had this particular version of the Y.

    Unlike other chromosomes, the Y exchanges little DNA with its partner, the X chromosome, when the sperm's DNA joins with the egg's. As a result, the Y chromosome retains a largely undisturbed record of mutations.

    Using some 30 natural genetic markers, Chris Tyler-Smith of the University of Oxford in England and his colleagues classified the Y chromosomes of more than 2,100 men from locations across Asia. The markers included DNA deletions and insertions, as well as more subtle changes in the Y's DNA sequence. Other crucial markers were so-called microsatellites, regions of repetitive DNA that can expand or shrink from one generation to the next...

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Historical Newspapers

    New York Times, Nov 5, 1888.

    Abstract (Summary) In a recent issue of the Missions Catholiques of Lyons, the well-known traveler and savant, Abbe Armand David, says that the mortal remains of the great conquerer Genghis Khan, or Genghis Bogoto as he is called in Mongolian, ...

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  2. LAST OF TARTAR RACE; Mr. Rockhill Visits Puny Remnant of Mighty Empire. OUTER MONGOLIA IN CRISIS Cradle of Ancient People Being Crushed by China, Russia, and Japan -- Inhabitants Remain as in Thirteenth Century, Says Agent of Asiatic Society. Mrs. Rockhill With Him on Journey.

    The Washington Post, Apr 26, 1914.

    Abstract (Summary) New York, April 25. — The Asiatic Institute, of this city, has made public the first of a series of reports from W.W. Rockhill, former United States Minister to China, and more recently Ambassador to Russia and later to Turkey, on the situation in Mongolia. In behalf of the Asiatic Institute, Mr. Rockhill recently penetrated the regions where the once powerful Mongol race has been trying to maintain its independence from the new republic of China...

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  3. That Limb of Satan, Genghis Khan; Mr. Lamb's Volume Gives a Vivid Picture of His "Golden Horde" GENGHIS KHAN: The Emperor of All Men. By Harold Lamb. Illustrated. 270 pp. New York: Robert M. McBride & Co. 3.50.

    New York Times , Sep 25, 1927.

    Abstract (Summary) THE task of compiling a life of Genghis Khan is no simple matter. Mr. Lamb has chosen an agreeable middle course between absolute fact and fable between established truth and myth. The material that he has had to work with is very sheer and historically delicate; it is filled with holes and gaps that he has been required to fill in and bridge over...

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Taken from ProQuest's Historical Newspapers.


  1. The mechanics of conquest and governance: The rise and expansion of the Mongol Empire, 1185--1265

    by May, Timothy, Ph.D., The University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004 , 432 pages.

    Abstract (Summary)
    A variety of reasons have been give for the rise of the Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century, ranging from climatic changes to a number of socio-economic motives. This study investigates the reasons for the rise of the Mongol Empire and the evolution of the Mongol military. Additionally this study examines what enabled the Mongols to continue to expand their empire simultaneously on multiple fronts.

    I argue that the Mongols after Chinggis Khan established a new state in the Mongolian steppes. Initially, the Mongols had little interest in actively ruling sedentary realms. Of greatest importance was the domination of steppe elements who sought to evade Chinggis Khan's rule in Mongolia. The pursuit of these led to the expansion of the Mongol state. After Chinggis Khan's death, however, his son Ögödei redefined the goals of the Empire. During his reign, the Mongol Empire emerged as an aggressive conquest state with the stated intention of dominating all who came into contact with them.

    The expansion of the empire was aided by what I term the "tidal wave" method of conquest. In this process, the Mongols invaded an area and carried out far-ranging military operations. Using several examples, I demonstrate that their intent, however was not to conquer the entire region; rather, while the Mongols raided and devastated, only a small portion of the area was annexed into the empire. The Mongols then governed and controlled the newly annexed area while the Mongol armies, remained on the frontier of the newly acquired territory. Rather than attempting to control large swaths of the territory they conquered, they retained only a portion of it. Thus they could govern it with fewer troops and keep the bulk of their forces on the periphery. Thus, much of their success emanated from a Mongolian institution and practice of governance rather than Sino-Islamic models.

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  2. Chinggis Khan Mausoleum and its guardian tribe

    by Su, Rihu, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1994 , 226 pages.

    Abstract (Summary)
    As part of Mongolian cultural traditions, the development of the Chinggis Khan Mausoleum reflects the process of symbol/tradition invention or culture constructs, which has been full of interactions among Mongolian cultural traditions and other non-Mongolian ones. The interactions are not simply represented by the adoption of different cultural traditions. Interpretations defining the symbolic meanings of the mausoleum by different groups of people, and the possible negotiations among different cultural sources are also involved in the process, from which different groups of people can make use of the symbols through manipulation or even re-invention. The presentation of the past and the present of us and others, approached in different ways and in different sociocultural contexts, particularly by scholars, can differ greatly in representing interests and cultural traditions of people. And this could lead to many possible consequences for the culture politics. Thus, a reflexive, and sometimes tolerant, approach should be adopted in the study of culture and history for a better understanding of our fellow human beings.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database

  3. Emergent complexity on the Mongolian steppe: Mobility, territoriality, and the development of early nomadic polities

    by Houle, Jean-Luc, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2010 , 241 pages.

    Abstract (Summary)
    It is now well recognized that mobile herding subsistence patterns do not preclude the development of complex social organization, but debate continues over whether the development of such societies depends upon and requires interaction with already existing agricultural state-level societies. This is known as the 'dependency' hypothesis. In the Mongolian case this debate centers on the Iron Age Xiongnu (ca. 209 BCE to 93 CE) and whether this polity of mobile herders resulted from indigenous political processes or from the influence of or interaction with sedentary agricultural neighbors to their south.

    In order to evaluate this, a number of concrete lines of inquiry are investigated in the present study through regional archaeological survey and small-scale excavations of fourteen Late Bronze Age (mid-second to mid-first millennia BCE) domestic contexts in a remote region far from the direct intersection with centers of power such as China, but where numerous monumental structures suggest complex social organizations, so as to investigate the early development of societal complexity in Mongolia and systematically and empirically evaluate the core variables and problematic aspects related to the development of 'nomadic' polities (i.e. those stated in the dependency hypothesis), namely demography, subsistence, mobility, and political economy in relation to higher degrees of sociopolitical organizations.

    Results of the present study upend some of the ideas tied to the dependency hypothesis and suggest that while clear social hierarchies have not been identified within domestic contexts there does seem to be some level of social differentiation during the Late Bronze Age. Based on this evidence and the evidence from the impressive ritual and funerary monumental landscape, it is suggested that this period may represent the first stage in the emergence of political organization operating beyond the descent group and that relatively complex forms of sociopolitical organization among mobile pastoralists can and did indeed develop in remote regions far from the direct intersection with powerful sedentary agricultural state-level societies. Accordingly, it is also suggested that some of the foundations of Early Iron Age complex sociopolitical organization in central Mongolia were already being laid locally during the preceding Late Bronze Age.

    For full-text documents see ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses Database