Genghis (also Jenghiz and Chingis) Khan, (1162?–1227), one of the world's great conquerors, founder of an enormous empire in Asia and eastern Europe. He was born by the Orhon River, near what is now the Russian-Mongolian border, and was named Temujin. His father was a minor Mongol (Tatar) chieftain. Until middle age Temujin was occupied with conquering neighboring tribes. In 1206 he convened a council and proclaimed himself Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongols.
He then began an invasion of China. By 1215 virtually all of China north of the Huang He (Yellow River) belonged to him. Immense booty was seized and taken to his capital at Karakorum in what is now Mongolia. In 1219 Genghis Khan turned southwest and plundered what are now parts of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, India, Afghanistan, and Iran. The thriving cities of Tashkent, Buxoro, Samarkand, Nishapur, and Herat were sacked and their inhabitants slaughtered. In 1222 the Mongol hordes overran the Caucasus and southern Russian regions. Soon after his death in 1227, Genghis Khan's empire was divided among his descendants.