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At its height, the Mongolian Empire was so vast and continuous, that none has rivaled it in all of world

history. Temujin, a starving horse thief, rose to become Genghis Khan, the formidable Mongol warlord. Ultimately, by instituting legislative reforms and carefully restructuring his army, Genghis Khan established intercontinental communication, building the foundation for a 'world system.' Similarly, the Mongol empire rose from a scraggly confederation of warring tribes to become an organized, cultured state, renowned all over the world. Unfortunately, the immensity of this empire also brought about its downfall, as the increased efficiency of communication also hastened along the spread of the bubonic plague throughout Central Eurasia. Before the rule of Genghis Khan, the Mongols were chaotic, known only as a people constantly at war with one another. According to the Iranian historian, Ata Malik Juvaini, they dressed in the "skins of dogs and mice," eating a diet consisting only of whatever meat they could forage. Poverty abounded, and even minute luxuries, like iron stirrups, were prized. The Mongol people were in desperate need of a strong ruler to unite them. The Jin dynasty of China took what they pleased from these disorganized Mongols, who were not united enough to defend themselves as a people. When Genghis Khan was born, struggles with the Tatars were increasing, leading to more fighting within the Mongolian population. Legend has it that Genghis Khan was born clutching a blood clot in his right hand, symbolizing the mighty things to come. A descendent of the

an important victory in his rise to power and . he was named Temujin in honor of a martyred Tatar foe. In 1175.legendary Alan Qo'a. Due to his family's high social standing. found in the Bactrian-Margian Archaeological Complex only a few centuries earlier. a practice similar to that of the comitatus. Temujin was victorious and many men flocked to join him. living and dying for their leader. he remained in their care for many years. In The Secret Story. Known as nokurs. Mother Ujin digs up roots and wild onions. surrendering their tribal loyalties in the process. he hid in the woods for nine nights to escape them. Temujin's bride to be. was imprisoned by the Merkits. When the Tayichigud came looking for him. Borte. his family subsisting on whatever they could forage. Borte. he began the task of uniting his “scattered” people. With his beautiful wife by his side. vengeful Tatars poisoned Temujin’s father. Temujin led his army to save her. Borte. these men were his loyal companions. Yisugei. and returned home to marry his betrothed. As he fled his captors. As a warlord. assaulting a guard with the wooden collar they had imprisoned him in. After his wife. but was eventually apprehended. caring for her sons so they will grow up to be fine young men. Temujin gained followers. They formed the nucleus of his military operations as his generals. Temujin was engaged to his bride at a young age and left in the care of his in-laws. and Temujin's clan was abandoned by the others. and according to the Secret History. Even then he escaped. came from the Qonggirad. Temujin returned home to help provide for his widowed mother.

and more. He established . or "universal emperor. Reforming the government completely. Thus. to guard him day and night. a role he expertly filled. due to increasing contact with foreign lands as the possibility of further manipulations loomed. he built a small standing army loyal only to him and his household. Though Genghis Khan prized loyalty. he held this above even the ties of family. Jamuqa and To'oril. a longtime enemy of the Mongols. Genghis Khan instituted a codified law in place of the prevalent and unstructured nomadic practices. This became particularly vital. the term "Mongol" spread throughout the globe as a unified cultural entity. The hunger of his childhood made Temujin resilient and resourceful as a military leader. stood in his path to power. In order to solidify this newly established unity. Claiming that the only true loyalty should lie in him alone. Soon. He was elected Chinggis Khan. Genghis Khan sought to unify the Mongol peoples in the aftermath of Jin exploitation of Mongol politics. This inert population was in desperate need of a strong and charismatic leader. By 1189. As he conquered more territory. Genghis Khan eradicated tribal associations. some clans in Mongolia even went as far as to recognize Temujin as their rightful Khan. he was determined to eliminate anyone who blocked his path to power. his anda (blood brothers).recognition." by the quriltai assembly in 1206. He craved victory over the enemies that plagued his family throughout his childhood. beginning the line of the Golden Khan. After forming more key alliances. Genghis Khan defeated the Tatars. and he killed them in cold blood.

but also widened the empire’s sphere of influence. eventually leading to more pacified cultural interactions. often demonstrating that ultimately intact cities and states were more profitable than destroyed ones. Due to talented people moving freely through empire. hunting during animal breeding seasons. Continuous military achievement was necessary to gain new followers and preserve old recruits. he reorganized the army. more information could be shared throughout its vast borders. women’s rights. and expansion was the only way to continue this inclination. As the empire grew. As Mongols conquered more of the continent. dividing it into decimal subsections of tens. This increased not only the number of places to trade. This administration sent out scouts. more constant flow of info . the empire gained possession of almost all of the horses in Central Asia. and private property. they provided a strategic connection beyond their borders. These emissaries were then sent around the empire as needed to solve various problems. In addition. Certain family members were appointed as judges throughout the land. A steady supply of plunder and spoils of war kept armies happy and participating. including theft. and thousands. When the Uighurs voluntarily surrendered to Genghis Khan's regime. both to record events and to enforce the new laws. hundreds.mandates about a myriad of topics. Multilingual subjects also calmed the destructive nature of the Mongols. As larger portions of Asia came under Mongol control. searching for talented people of all cultures. travel and trade between ulus became exponentially more feasible.

According to Foltz. Spirituality consisted of realistic requests for food. and freedom of religion was only compromised when unfamiliar traditions clashed with their own. hoping at least one route would prove successful. Religious tolerance became prevalent. Though Nomadic tribesmen knew not to eat the animals. their underground burrows were perfect for incubating disease. the sky god. he had Muslim merchants as advisors. As the Silk Road shifted towards the more Northern grasslands. convoys encountered rodents who were susceptible to the plague. These wild rodents harbored . As any religion could be valid until proven otherwise. freezing winters. This search for talent also prompted increased religious tolerance. traveling merchants were not so knowledgeable in local traditions and often hunted them as extra food along the route. Knowledge about pharmacology came from Iran and China. as well as the acceptance of learning from all over the globe. as did other essential medical information. because of their legendary business acumen. perpetuating it in their warm habitat even through long. and success in war. with a particular reverence for Tangri. Mongol khans asked leaders of many religions to pray for them. Mongolian religion consisted mostly of shamanism.bringing ideas from many cultures and backgrounds. heath. Genghis Khan even passed an edict exempting religious leaders or scholars of all religions from taxes. Since the Khan enlisted people of all backgrounds into his service. McNeill found through a study of later person-to-person borne illnesses.

Thus. The impact of the improved cultural interconnectivity remained. halting the caravans traveling across the steppe. was not truly sustainable. providing the foundation for the world system we know today. traveling as quickly as its cargo and ideas. establishing lines of communication throughout Eurasia also increased the spread of illness. . though well structured and protected. Suddenly. However. the massive population growth was curtailed. Genghis Khan’s enormous empire. his sons and grandsons continued on to conquer even after his death.disease in their burrows. spreading the bubonic plague everywhere the merchants traveled.