Saylor.org's Early Globalizations: East Meets West (1200s-1600s)/Chinggis Khan

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Chinggis Khan

The early years of Chinggis Khan's life (his father's death and the difficulties his mother had trying make a living) taught him that survival in Mongolia was quite difficult without a strong network of allies. One's anda (blood brother) pricked his finger and mixed blood with one to forge a blood brotherhood. Chinggis found many andas, and his blood brothers, realizing his superior abilities and his charisma, would often join under his banner. Early in his rise to power, Chinggis attempted immediately to break down the tribal groups that joined him, because he felt that loyalty in the tribal group would belong to the tribal leader rather than to himself. He wanted to eliminate any feeling of tribal identity and convert it to a Mongol identity — a unit that would be much larger, greater than that of the tribe, wherein the loyalty would remain with him, rather than with a tribal leader. Thus, when a tribe did join him, he quickly dispersed its members through the various units that he controlled.