'Genghis Khan' was his title, not his name. As a boy, he was called Temujin ('iron one').
As was the custom among Mongols, Genghis Khan was buried in an unmarked grave. His sons were so anxious to keep its location secret that they slaughtered every single person the funeral procession came across – Marco Polo claimed this exceeded 20,000 people. Leaving nothing to chance, they then got the soldiers to execute the slaves who had excavated the tomb, and then had those soldiers executed in turn. This left them with the problem of how they were going to find the tomb themselves. The answer presented itself in the form of a camel.
Camels have proverbially long memories. Genghis's sons sacrificed a suckling camel in front of its mother and buried it in his tomb. Then, each spring, they released the mother camel, which sure enough returned to the precise position it had last seen its offspring. The only flaw with the plan was that when the old camel died, all knowledge of the grave was lost; despite many false claims of discovery, it remains so today.
The most likely location is an area of Northern Mongolia, near Genghis's birthplace in the Khenti mountains. Cleverly disguised by the name Ikh Khorig (the Great Taboo), this 240-square-kilometre area of wilderness was completely closed off to the outside world and entry was forbidden on pain of death, unless you happened to be burying a direct relative of the Great Khan. All of which sounds like a bit of a giveaway.
In 1989, a joint Mongolian/Japanese archaeological expedition used ultrasound to locate 1,380 tomb-like cavities in the area, but the Mongolian government, who are famously touchy about desecration, refused them permission to excavate them. It seems that Genghis' grave will remain a mystery.
Genghis Khan remains a national hero in Mongolia, remembered for his military prowess, law-making and introduction of the Mongolian script. Within a hundred years of his death in 1226, the Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous land empire ever known. At 14 million square miles, it was four times larger than the empire of Alexander the Great and twice as large as Rome’s, covering a sixth of the Earth’s total land area and containing 100 million people. From a population base of only two million people the Mongols somehow managed to massacre 50 million victims, from China to what is now Hungary.
The Mongols used a number of techniques which gave them a military advantage. Their recurved bows (bows which curve away from the archer at the tips) were strong because they were made of different materials, and were more powerful than longbows but short enough to be used on horseback. The Mongols had an excellent system of battlefield communications, which consisted of messages attached to arrows and relayed over long distances from archer to archer. They were highly mobile, too: each soldier used a team of six horses and changed from one to another at the gallop, not dismounting even to defecate – so they weren’t held up by comfort stops.
Genghis Khan had over 500 wives drawn from many different races, and scores of children. A recent genetic study of central Asia found that 8% of the current male population could be traced back to a single common ancestor 1,000 years ago, who may well be Genghis.
Genghis became leader of the family at the age of nine. At the age of 12, he killed a half-brother for stealing food.
According to a 2011 study published in The Holocene Journal, the Mongol invasions of the 13th and 14th centuries shrank humanity's carbon footprint, scrubbing some 700 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That's roughly equivalent to the amount of carbon produced from the global use of gasoline every year. The murder of up to 40 million people meant that large areas of farmland could no longer be cultivated. Those fields eventually returned to forests.
The study looked at the carbon impact of several historical events that also saw massive depopulation followed by a period of reforestation. They included the European Black Death (1348), the fall of China's Ming Dynasty (1644) and the conquest of the Americas in the 16th and 17th centuries. Only the Mongol Horde managed to have a significant effect on the planet's climate.
Genghis Khan's Mongols had a pony express that could travel 200 miles a day.
There's no more morality in world affairs, fundamentally, than there was at the time of Genghis Khan.
My strength was fortified by Heaven and Earth. Foreordained by Mighty Heaven, I was brought here by Mother Earth.