The largest contiguous empire the world has ever seen,.
The other day I told Erica about one of Genghis Khan’s incredible campaigns, against the Khwarezmian Empire.
Khan saw the empire as a valuable trading partner, so he sent a 500-man caravan to trade with them, only, long story short, the Khwarezmians attack the caravan, convinced that the caravan is full of spies (the Mongols have a certain reputation, after all). Then the refuse to pay for the damage.
So Genghis Khan sends three ambassadors to figure all this mess out. The Shah of the Khwarezmians has all three of them shaved, and the Muslim one beheaded! He sends the other two back to give the head to Khan.
Obviously they failed to realize they had twice now gravely insulted the most powerful man in the world at the time. So what does Genghis Khan do? He invades the empire with 200,000 men. From Wikipedia:
The Mongols’ conquest, even by their own standards, was brutal. After the capital Samarkand fell, the capital was moved to Bukhara by the remaining men, while Genghis Khan ordered two of his generals and their forces to completely destroy the remnants of the Khwarezmid Empire, including not only royal buildings, but entire towns, populations, and even vast swaths of farmland. According to legend, Genghis Khan even went so far as to divert a river through the Khwarezmid emperor’s birthplace, erasing it from the map.
So great was Genghis Khan’s anger that he diverted a river to erase the emperor from history, basically. Can you imagine someone diverting a river to wash over your birthplace? Like, how mad does a person have to be to do that?!