Unification of Neighboring Tribes
Conquest over the Merkid
In 1185, a group of bandits from the Merkid tribe abducted Temujin’s wife Borte from their ger. Temujin was able to flee into the countryside. Temujin enlisted the help of Ong Khan, whom he had previously formed a strategic alliance with. Together with his friend Jamuka and an army they launched a raid on the Merkid camp. After a night of fighting, Temujin was able to find his captured wife amongst all the confusion.
In 1189, Temujin called a khurildai (council) in order to make a try at being elected khan (king) of the Mongols. Temujin was given the throne as the Khan of The Mongols by Altan, a son of Khotula Khan and Sacha-Bekhi, the chieftain of Zurkhen aimag. Altan and Khuchar explained their reason of raising Temujin as the Khan:
“To lead the battles, capture good girls and grab the best gers
To raid the other people, own beautiful mistresses and take the best horses
To hunt roebucks and elks”
But on the other hand, they promised to follow the Khan’s words, by risking their wealth and life which helped Temujin to succeed in the future.
Their promises were as follows:
“If I fail to follow the strict decree
Ordered by Khan Temujin
Desert my guilty body
Take my property
And own my lady”
After becoming Khan of all Mongols, Temujin restored and newly established some rules in order to strengthen his position. He surrounded himself with courtiers and generals including: archers, cooks and chefs, cart men, a Cherbi (a man in charge of the serfs and accompanying women in the court), sheepherders and horsemen, scouts that investigated distant and surrounding areas, bodyguards, and a Chief of Court affairs.
Conquest over the Khereid
In 1203, after defeating the Tatars, Temujin sought to reestablish his bond with Ong Khan by requesting a marriage with Temujin’s son and Ong Khan’s daughter. However Ong Khan set up a plot to murder Temujin and his family during the wedding ceremony. Knowledge of this plot sparked Temujin’s desire for revenge. He amassed an army and quickly descended on the camp of Ong Khan. The tribe was defeated after three long days and nights of difficult battle, but Jamuka, Ong Khan and his son escaped. Sengum, Ong Khan’s son, ended up dying in the desert soon after. Jamuka and Ong Khan fled toward the protection of the Naiman clan but Ong Khan was killed on route. Many of Ong Khan’s troops were accepted into Temujin’s army.
War with the Tatar
In 1202, Temujin again engaged in war against the Tatars. He decisively defeated them near the Khalkh River. Too obsessed with old revenge, he slaughtered the Tatars by executing men who were taller than cart wheel. He took two daughters of a nobleman named Grand Cheren as his wives. In addition to Borte, these two women, Yesui and Yesugen, were made his queens. He also took the rest of the tribe members and integrated them into his own. His marriage to the two Tatar women was a symbolic gesture showing his people that the two tribes should be merged.
War with the Naiman
In 1204, Temujin’s forces faced the Naiman clan. This battle was the culmination of all the military strategy and tactics that Temujin had mastered up to this point. His army was outnumbered, but through strategic planning he was able to defeat his enemies. He employed techniques such as the “Tumbleweed formation”, “Lake Formation” and “Chisel Formation” to slowly pick away his opponents. During the battle Jamuka fled into the forest where he lived as an outlaw. A year later he would submit himself to his former ally Temujin, after this meeting the shamed Jamuka was put to death by his own request. Hence, the most powerful and wise opponent of Temujin was vanquished.