Jan 25, 2018 in Economics

Economic and Political Success

Temujin or simply Genghis Khan was born around the 12th century in the present day Mongolia. He was a son of a chief in the vast plains who ruled one of tribes at the time. The Mongolian tribes were mainly autonomous and nomadic; and they went to war against each other time to time. However, sometimes they forged alliances that were mainly made through marriages. It was during one of those traditions that Temujin was sent to the in-laws of his future wife Borte at the age of nine in order to promote the alliance between their tribes. At the time he was only nine years and was sent there due to customs in order to work for before reaching the acceptable age for marriage which was twelve years.

Unfortunately, his father was captured by a rival clan and subsequently killed by poisoning, prompting Temujin to abandon his in-laws in order to come and claim his birthright as the heir. Upon his return the tribe disowned him together with his family and they were left to wander in the wilderness relying entirely on hunting for survival. It was during that time that he consolidated his name as a Mongolian great. Firstly, he killed his half-brother because of a conflict arising from sharing the game they had hunted. He also escaped from prison after being held captured and made a slave of one of the tribes because one man helped him due to his noble blood lineage.

At the age of sixteen, he married Borte, the wife his father had negotiated for before his death

This helped him to boost his noble lineage and acted as a pillar of negotiating power later in his conquest. It was after the marriage that he started to ascend to power which was a slow and hectic journey that involved using friends and negations rather than military conquest. He got a major boost when his friend, Toghral offered him over twenty thousand warriors to use and also suggested he consult one of his childhood friends, a tribe ruler at the time. At the time the main tribes included the Markets, Tartars, Kharmag, Mongols and Kernites. He is attributed for uniting the Mongolian under one ruler and changing the functions of government from the traditional chieftainships to the more centralized type of government which is in many ways similar to most modern governments.

After successfully conquering his Mongolian tribe he began military expeditions in order to increase his empire. It was after his success in military expeditions that he got the title of ‘Genghis Khan ‘which means “a ruler”. In order to consolidate power and create motivation, he adapted a system where the leaders of regions were chosen according to their merit rather that heredity. This meant that everybody who was successful and loyal had a chance of being rewarded and given a title of a general or a leader of a certain province of his empire. This acted to motivate his soldiers and civilians to strive to achieve their emperor‘s ambitions. It also made all the subjects feel a sense of appreciation and identity because they also perceived Mongolia as their kingdom. In the long run, his system of meritocracy in government brought a lot of patriotism in the Mongolian empire.

After a military conquest of a certain place, the emperor embarked on winning the hearts of people he had conquered by incorporating them into the empire. The new subjects were assimilated to the Mongolian empire and they were protected from external enemies and at the same time taught a common code of conduct, which he had introduced. This meant that Mongolian populace was united by having one code of rules and this formed the basis of citizenship. With an established form of identity the new subjects were easily accepted into the community and at the same time maintained unity, which was paramount for the Mongolian survival as a state.

Temujin also made sure that his subjects approved and supported his military conquest

In order to win their hearts, he promised soldiers and civilians a portion of wealth accumulated through conquering other states. The soldiers were awarded for their heroic actions, and civilians were given some of the wealth that was taken through the campaigns. His ability to create a sense of togetherness meant that the soldiers and the citizens always supported his policies and prevented rebellions, which were rampant in other kingdoms at the time. This helped him to create a united country, hence his soldiers concentrated on conquering new lands rather that crushing internal rebellions. It was this political strategy that made him start wars in different fronts committing thousands of soldiers without compromising his kingdom.

He made a personal effort to unify his new subjects into the empire. One of the most outstanding was adaptation of children into his family. Genghis adopted children in the conquered states and made them his family. This made the new subjects have that sense of belonging and instead of rebelling joined him in his conquest expeditions. He therefore showed great tolerance and appreciation of people of different ethnic and cultural background. Setting example made his subjects to appreciate and accommodate people who had a diverse background.

Throughout his life and even before, the tribes were involved in various betrayals along family line and in friendship. In fact, at one point his friend’s son became jealous of his ability to consolidate power and expand his territory. He designed a plot to assassinate the emperor with the help of his father. It was by luck that he discovered that plot and subsequently defeated his enemies. It was, therefore, paramount to establish an intelligence gathering unit in order to have an edge over his enemies that gradually enabled him to run a unified government. This can be attributed to the fact that he could suppress any rebellion before it actually happened.

Genghis also had an emphasis on good and effective governance as the guiding principle in the running of his empire. This can be explained by the fact that he anointed administrative personnel based on merit rather than family lineage. His shift from the traditional means  and the decision to rebel against the culture are done  for the sake of achieving good governance. This brought political accountability in the empire and it transformed the Mongolian Empire into one of the greatest empires of the time. A classic example of his policy is illustrated by the fact that he mandated conquered people  to run the cities he had acquired. He did this by overlooking the local people who were incompetent and lacked knowledge to run cities due to the logistics involved that nomadic people were not used to.

The Mongolian Empire comprised of Buddhists, Christians and Muslims

In fact, it was the most diverse society of the time with people of different races and cultures. The emperor, therefore, introduced policies that promoted cohesiveness of all people. His politics advocated for the unity of the people based on ideology rather than identity. He succeeded in shaping the populace by giving equal opportunities to all. He also articulated for equality of women. Indeed, unlike in most medieval political establishments, women were given a role to play. For example, if a ruler died, his mother assumed political leadership until anointing of a new ruler. His promotion of equality is also demonstrated by the fact that his daughters played an important role in promoting the Silk Road trade.

On the economic front, Temujin made several strides which triggered economic growth and facilitated trade in Asia, Europe and Africa. One of his major contributions to trade was the fact that he brought political stability into the region. He was able to conquer new areas and maintain law and order which was a phenomenon, given the fact that the area was notorious for tribal warfare for centuries. Political stability created conducive environment for economic growth by promoting trade and other economic activities. Mongolian Empire was able to accumulate wealth from far lands as Horn of Africa, where they got ivory and gold. They were also able to export goods to Europe and other parts of the world.

By conquering new territories Khan acquired new technology, which he used to boost the Mongolian economy. One of the methods that he acquired was animal husbandry. The technology helped to boost the breed of the Mongolian animals, hence high yields. Temujin acquired agricultural practices such as irrigation, which led to increased food production.  The food production resulted in increased population and emergency of cities. With the development of the cities and the expansion of his sphere of influence, Khan was able to acquire more wealth, which he used to fund his military expeditions growing his kingdom further.

Although Mongolian people remained nomadic, palaces and cities were built and this brought economic growth in several ways. Firstly, division of labor came into play as some people became merchants, soldiers, doctors and teachers. In fact, the emperor motivated people to become professionals by giving them incentives. For example, teachers and doctors were exempted and paid lower taxes than others. The division of labor led to specialization and efficiency in the economy (Man 12).

The Mongolian Empire by maintaining law and order revived the Silk Road trade. The trade which was practiced for hundreds of years had dwindled due to insecurities. With Mongolian now controlling most of trade routes and posts, trade started to thrive again. There were goods that were not seen as valuables by Mongolians, but they were highly treasured in the west. This enabled the country to get goods forms the west. In fact, after Genghis Khan’s death, the Mongolian empire sent messages to Europe to explore trade options that were available at the time. Some European explores also ventured into the Mongolian Empire, bringing back the stories about the potential in terms of trade with the Far East empires.

His policy of meritocracy led to continuity of economic growth even after his death

In the subsequent reign of his sons and grandsons his legacy carried on with great effect. This means that his foundations did not collapse after his demise. For example, Mongols administrators are credited with having introduced monetary policies in order to curb on government spending and wastage by the nobles. They established centralized monetary institutions with the aim of improving accountability. The administrative personnel also introduced five rate taxes and at the same time lowered the tax burden on the common people. Systematic collection of taxes from the populace and from traders meant that public officials and soldiers were well taken care of.

His principle of tolerance meant that people of different background and culture were always invited. This gave the Mongolian Empire an edge over their rivals because they could acquire different technology from various places. In the process different architectural buildings sprung up across the empire. These buildings included mosques and churches. It also led to the increase in populations as people flocked in to the empire. With the increase in population and creation of wealth, which was boosted by economic growth, Mongolia became an economic destination for merchants across the world.

Genghis Khan is therefore associated with great development in all the pillars of society namely political, social and economic. His visions made Mongolia rise from tribal political units that were constantly in fighting against themselves to a world empire. His influence was felt from the mountains of Alps all the way to the Sahara desert in the Northern Africa. His principle of unifying people under a common goal meant that there was a great feeling of citizenship, which formed the basis of identity his ability to unify people under one geographical area, is one of his outstanding contributions to the political world. It established patriotism which was converted in prosperity.

He also used competent personnel in order to achieve his political and economic aspirations

His deviation from appointing administrators based on the family lineage meant that only the most qualified people got the job. He, therefore, diverted the power of personality and transferred it into institutions. This was a major political contribution because it assured continuity beyond his death. In fact it is only after a myriad of event that included internal fighting among his grandchildren that led to the collapse of Mongolian Empire.

In conclusion, we can argue that Genghis Khan overcame childhood challenges which included poverty and captivity to become a visionary in his own right. He used his charismatic ability to unite people of different origin and cultures and at the same time to promote religious tolerance. He also supported centralized form of government where officials were appointed on merit. He also accommodated different views and encouraged acquisition of technology from other countries, which in the long run helped him to create one of the greatest medieval empires.


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