Jenghiz Khan (jĕng´gĬz, –gĬs kän) or Genghis Khan (jĕng´gĬs, gĕng´gĬs kän), Mongolian Chinggis Khaan, 1167?–1227, Mongol conqueror, originally named Temujin. He succeeded his father, Yekusai, as chieftain of a Mongol tribe and then fought to become ruler of a Mongol confederacy. After subjugating many tribes of Mongolia and establishing his capital at Karakorum, Temujin held (1206) a great meeting, the khuriltai, at which he accepted leadership of the Mongols and assumed his title. He promulgated a code of conduct and reorganized his armies. He attacked (1213) the Jurchen-ruled Chin empire of N China and by 1215 had occupied most of its territory, including the capital, Yenching (now Beijing). From 1218 to 1224 he conquered Turkistan, Transoxania, and Afghanistan and raided Persia and E Europe to the Dnieper River. Jenghiz Khan ruled one of the greatest land empires the world has ever known. He died while campaigning against the Jurchen, and his vast domains were divided among his sons and grandsons. His wars were marked by ruthless carnage, but Jenghiz Khan was a brilliant ruler and military leader. Timur was said to be descended from him.
See biographies by H. Lamb (1927, repr. 1960), B. J. Vladimirtsov (1930, repr. 1969), R. Fox (1936, repr. 1962), R. Grousset (tr. 1967), and R. P. Lister (1969); H. D. Martin, The Rise of Chingis Khan and His Conquest of North China (1950, repr. 1971); L. Kwanten, Imperial Nomads (1979).