The Mongol empire was the largest contiguous empire in History, encompassing, at its height, almost nine and a half million square miles of land. About 16% of the earth's land belonged to one of the most fierce rulers of all time, Genghis Khan. His territory spanned from Japan in the east to Bulgaria in the West and stretched vertically almost across the whole continent of Asia. At its peak, the Mongol empire was home to about 100 million people accounting for approximately 25% of the earth's population. The vast empire was home to many different cultures, religions, languages, and people.
Genghis Khan was born in the year 1162 to a poor nomadic family. Khan's father died when he was a young boy, and he was taken care of by his brothers. During his late teenage years and early adulthood, Khan fought for his tribe. From the start, he was a very skillful warrior and a mastermind in creating alliances. He soon rose the ranks and grew his army to be one of the strongest in all of Mongolia. He would use strategies such as rewarding his soldiers by merit and dividing up winning equally to create a powerful and unified army. By the year 1206, he had united all of the people of Mongolia and become their ruler.
The first thing that Khan did as ruler of the empire was wage an attack on Western Xia in Northern China. The goal was to gain control of many ports along the Silk Road and take payments from the traders. Khan eventually captured the whole of Northern China and expanded westward towards the Caspian Sea. Khan died in 1277, but his empire did not fall with him, as his sons and daughters gained control. They further expanded the empire by capturing parts of Russia, Arabia, Pakistan, and finally, China.
The Khan family were intelligent rulers and knew how to keep peace within the empire. They gave their people the freedom to practice any religion they wanted. The Khans would capture a city and leave their political scene alone so that the city could function how it once did. The Mongols almost encompassed the entirety of the Silk Road and led to cultures, food, architecture, and ideas spreading across Asia and into parts of Europe.
The height of the Mongol empire was in 1309 when it conquered its most territory and was home to the most people. This height was short-lived because as time went on, succession from the wrong people led to the empire's demise. The Mongol empire may have only lasted 150 years, but its influence will impact hundreds of generations in the future.