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Batu Khan

Batu Khan

The Mongolian military leader Batu Khan (died 1255) conquered Russia and the adjoining territories of eastern Europe and organized the Mongol state known as the Golden Horde.

Batu was a grandson of Genghis Khan, the conqueror of Asia and founder of the Mongol Empire. Batu early showed a talent for military and administrative affairs and distinguished himself in the service of his father, Juchi, who had been entrusted with the administration and expansion of the western section of the empire, then comprising the territory of central Asia and western Siberia. Following Juchi's death in 1227, this task fell to Batu.

Although the Mongols had defeated the Russians in a battle on the Kalka River in 1223, a serious attempt to conquer Russia, and perhaps Europe, was not undertaken until 1237. Exploiting disunity among Russian princes, Batu conquered their territories with unequaled brutality, and by 1241 all of Russia was under his control. While one of his armies proceeded as far west as Liegnitz (Legnica) in Silesia, where it defeated a combined force of Poles and Germans, Batu himself crossed the Carpathian Mountains and the Danubian plains to the Adriatic Sea and concentrated his forces in Hungary for a campaign against western Europe through the Danube valley. Upon receiving news of the death of Great Khan Ugedey (Ö gödei), however, Batu decided to return to the east and withdrew his armies to the Volga River, subjugating Bulgaria, Wallachia, Moldavia, and the Cuman khanate in the Pontic steppes along the way (1242).

Having failed to obtain the title of Great Khan of Mongolia for himself or his ally Mongka (Möngkë, Mangu), Batu settled in the city of Saray on the lower Volga and attended to the administration of his own domain, which now extended from the Ob River in western Siberia to Poland and Bulgaria in eastern Europe and which came to be called the Golden Horde. In 1251, when Mongka finally became great khan, Batu received from him a recognition of complete autonomy.

At first brutal and irreconcilable in his treatment of the conquered lands, Batu grew tolerant and accommodating with age, allowing local native princes to rule their lands at their will as long as they remained loyal to him and regularly paid him the tribute collected among their subjects. He died in 1255, but his empire survived until the end of the 15th century.

Further Reading

Batu receives ample treatment by George Vernadsky in A History of Russia, vol 3: The Mongols and Russia (1953). Although quite controversial, it surpasses the earlier work of Jeremiah Curtin, The Mongols in Russia (1908). A popular account of the Mongol conquest is Harold Lamb, The March of the Barbarians (1940). □

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"Batu Khan." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/batu-khan

Batu Khan

Batu Khan (bä´tōō kän), d. 1255, Mongol leader; a grandson of Jenghiz Khan. In 1235 Batu became commander of the Mongol army assigned to the conquest of Europe; his chief general was Subutai. Batu crossed the Volga, sending part of his force to Bulgaria but most of it to Russia. By 1240 he had Moscow and Kiev in his grasp, and in the following two years he conquered Hungary and Poland and invaded Germany. His recall to Karakorum in 1242 to participate in the election of a grand khan is sometimes said to have saved Europe from subjection to the Mongols. Batu died while preparing additional campaigns. The domain he established is known as the Kipchak khanate. In Russia it came to be known as the Golden Horde, because of the gorgeous tents in which the army camped.

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"Batu Khan." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Batu Khan." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/batu-khan

"Batu Khan." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/batu-khan