Genghis Khan was born as Temujin and had grown into a feared warrior and charismatic figure who began gathering followers and forging alliances with other Mongol leaders. After his wife was kidnapped by a rival tribe, Temujin organized a military force to defeat the tribe. By 1206, Temujin was the leader of a great Mongol confederation and was granted the title Genghis Khan, translated as “Oceanic Ruler” or “Universal Ruler.” Genghis Khan created laws to unite Mongolians like outlawing the tradition of kidnapping women. He declared all children legitimate, whomever the mother. He made it law that no woman would be sold into marriage. The stealing of animals had caused dissension among the Mongols, and Genghis Khan made it a capital offense. A lost animal was to be returned to its owner, and taking lost property as one’s own was to be considered thievery and a capital offense. Genghis Khan regulated hunting improving the availability of meat for everyone. He passed laws declaring religious freedom for all and even granted tax exemptions to places of worship. He created one of the first international postal systems known as the “Yam” consisting of a well-organized series of post houses and way stations strung out across the whole of the Empire.
Khan promulgated a code of conduct and organized his armies. Using an extensive network of spies and scouts, Khan detected a weakness in his enemies’ defenses and then attacked the point with as many as 250,000 cavalrymen at once. Most armies and cities crumbled under the overwhelming show of force, and the massacres that followed a Mongol victory eliminated thoughts of further resistance. By 1227, Khan had conquered much of Central Asia and made incursions into Eastern Europe, Persia, and India. His great empire stretched from central Russia down to the Aral Sea in the west, and from northern China down to Beijing in the east. He was responsible for death of 40 million people. On August 18, 1227, while putting down a revolt in the kingdom of Xi Xia, Genghis Khan died. Still bringing death as he had in life, many were killed before his corpse was buried in an unmarked grave. His final resting place remains a mystery.