Khan personally led three invasions. In each case, an
economic issue was involved.
In 1209, Chinggis set forth on a campaign against
the Tanguts, who had established a Chinese-style dynasty known
as the Xia, in Northwest China, along the old silk roads.
The Tanguts had become involved in a trade dispute with the
Mongols. Chinggis quickly overwhelmed the Tanguts,
received what he wanted in terms of a reduction of the tariffs
the Tanguts imposed on trade, and returned to Mongolia. He
did not capitalize upon his victory, this time, to expand
the Mongols' territory.
The second campaign was against the Jin dynasty of North China,
which controlled China down to the Yangtze River. The Jin
were a people from Manchuria and were actually the ancestors
of the Manchus. They too had become involved in a trade dispute
with the Mongols, and the result was an attack by the Mongols,
who desperately needed the products the Jin produced. By 1215,
Chinggis's troops had seized the area now known as Beijing
and defeated the Jin, forcing them to move their capital south.
Chinggis had what he wanted in terms of additional
trade again, he returned to Mongolia.
The third campaign was initiated because of the murder of
envoys Chinggis had sent to Central Asia.
The shah of Central Asia, not knowing anything about Chinggis
or the Mongols, killed the envoys for being insolent enough
to request changes in the conditions of trade between the
Mongols and the Central Asians. From the Mongol standpoint,
the murder of the ambassadors was the most heinous of crimes,
and this campaign against Central Asia was first and foremost
an act of revenge.
After devoting considerable time to logistical planning,
Chinggis organized a major force and finally set
forth against Central Asia in 1219. This would be the most
devastating of his campaigns. Both sides engaged in mass slaughter,
and it took several years for Chinggis to successfully
penetrate and conquer the great centers of Central Asia. And
when he left Central Asia in 1225, Chinggis didn't
pull out all his forces as he had in his previous campaigns.
This time, Chinggis left behind Mongol troops to
occupy the lands he had conquered.
In 1227, still making his way back to Mongolia, Chinggis
Mongol Empire at the Death of Chinggis Khan in 1227
This map shows the location of Chinggis Khan's death, as well
Khara Khorum, the Mongol capital at the time, and the Jin
and Xia [Xi Xia] empires, both conquered by Chinggis before
Figures in Mongol History: The Death of Chinggis