When Chinggis Khan died, he did not leave behind an orderly
system of succession to the Khanate, nor any principle, other
than a personal loyalty to a specific figure, as a basis for
the confederation. The confederacy he had designed was based
upon personal loyalty from tribal or other kinds of chieftains
it did not transcend to a Mongol nation or Mongol ethnic
identity. Thus, each succeeding khan would have to rebuild
these personal relationships.
had four sons, and before his death he had tapped the
to be his successor.
Ögödei oversaw the greatest expansion of the Mongol
Empire. During his 12-year reign (1229-1241), the Mongols
dramatically increased the territories under their control.
They moved from Central Asia into Russia in the 1230s and
absorbed much Russian territory; they also occupied Georgia
and Armenia; and by 1234, they had completely destroyed the
Jin dynasty of North China, occupied all of China north of
the Yangtze river, and moved into parts of Western Asia, particularly
the eastern sections of Persia. [Also see Key
Figures in Mongol History: Ögödei]