Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia

Interesting Facts & Trivia

16 - QUESTION:  Who was the leader of the largest contiguous empire in history?

Answer: Genghis Khan.

The conquests of Genghis Khan, and his successors, effectively connected the Eastern and Western worlds. They ruled a vast territory of Eurasia from Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe. Genghis Khan unified nomadic tribes of northeast Asia, leading to the expansion of the Mongol Empire, which conquered most of Eurasia in the early thirteenth century, becoming the largest contiguous empire in history. He was born in Mongolia to a noble family and named "Temujin." The Silk Road, which connected trade centers across Asia and Europe, came under the sole rule of the Mongol Empire where security and stability was provided. Under the leadership of Kublai Khan (the grandson of Genghis Khan), China was also unified. After the Mongol leader captured Beijing, he established Dadu as the capital of the Mongol-Yuan Dynasty (AD 12711368). The capital of Xanadu, where the summer capital of the Mongols was established, is better known due to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan, completed in 1797.

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