Chinggis (Genghis) Khan was born probably in 1167, though Mongol tradition has it that he was born in 1162. Because much of his early life is not described, except in myth, reliable knowledge of Chinggis's early life is very limited.

What we do know is that his father was assassinated when Chinggis was nine years old, and that this event left his family extremely vulnerable. Chinggis's mother appears in the traditional Mongol sources as a savior and great heroine.

Chinggis's mother kept her family together, even after many of her retainers left when her husband, the family patriarch, was killed. She kept the family going in the harsh desert lands of Mongolia, surviving on nuts and berries or whatever else they could find. She taught Chinggis the basic skills of survival, particularly those needed for survival in the steppelands and in the desert.



 
 
© 2004 Asia for Educators, Columbia University
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