Genghis Khan: Campaigns

Genghis Khan: Campaigns

Conquest of the Jin Dynasty

  • In 1211, Genghis Khan turned his attention to the Jin Dynasty, then ruling over Northern China. This campaign represented his first major foray outside Mongolia.
  • The Mongols used siege warfare, dealing with walled-city assaults, in addition to their well-practiced horsemanship and archery.
  • The Jin Dynasty finally capitulated in 1215 when the Mongols captured their capital, Zhongdu (now Beijing).

Khwarazm Empire Conflict

  • After establishing control in Northern China, Genghis Khan set his sights westwards on the Khwarazm Empire.
  • The conflict initiated in 1219 following the murder of Genghis Khan’s ambassadors by the Khwarazmian Shah.
  • This resulted in a brutal three-year campaign by the Mongol Empire, culminating in the complete annihilation of the Khwarazm Empire.

The Kievan Rus’ and Eastern Europe

  • In the early 1220s, Genghis Khan’s generals, Subutai and Jebe, led a scouting mission through the Caucasus and into Eastern Europe.
  • They clashed with various people including the Georgians, the Cumans, and the Bulgars before encountering the Kievan Rus’.
  • The Mongols defeated the combined forces of various Rus’ principalities at the Battle of Kalka River in 1223.

Invasion of Korea and Attempt on Japan

  • Mongoles invaded the Korean Peninsula in the mid 13th century under Genghis Khan’s successors, attempting to expand Mongol hegemony.
  • The Mongols launched two unsuccessful attempts at invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281, dominantly remembered for Kamikaze, or “divine winds”, that apparently saved Japan from the Mongol invasions.


  • Genghis Khan’s campaigns led to an unprecedented expansion of the Mongol Empire — from the Pacific Ocean to Eastern Europe.
  • His campaigns demonstrated strategic use of military might, diplomacy, psychological warfare, and efficient communication.
  • However, these campaigns were also infamously ruthless — they involved widespread destruction, razing entire cities, and mass killing of their occupants.

In light of these campaigns, it is crucial to understand Genghis Khan’s military genius as well as his ruthlessness, both of which were instrumental in shaping the world during and after his reign.