Merkit


Merkit

The Merkit, Merged, or Mergid ("Merged" means "wise ones," "adept ones," "skillful ones," "(skillful) archers," or "hunters"in Mongolian) were a Turkic [cite book|last=Soucek|first=Svat|title=A History of Inner Asia|publisher=Cambridge University Press|year=2000|language=English|isbn=978-0521657044|pages=p. 104|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=7E8gYYcHuk8C&pg=PA104&dq=merkit+turkic&lr=&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U057R79zsZspbwEMxBLh5W8qRhOPA|accessdate=2008-10-01] or MongolFact|date=October 2008 tribe with a fiercereputation that inhabited southeastern Siberia during the Middle Ages. After a long struggle over two decades, the Merkits were defeated and incorporated into the Mongol nation formed by Temüjin (later Genghis Khan) in the first decade of the 13th century.cite book
title = Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world
author = Jack Weatherford
publisher = Three Rivers Press
date = 2004
isbn = 978-0-609-61062-6 (0-609-61062-7)
Most of the dates in this article are from this book, which is mainlybased on the "Secret History".] They disappear as a separate group after the Mongol unification of 1206, but Merkit descendants may still be found in Mongolia.

Ethnic Relations

The ethnicity of the Merkits is somewhat obscure; most likely they were MongolicFact|date=October 2008 (related to Mongols, Naimans, Keraits, and Khitan), but it has also been postulated that they are more closely related to Paleosiberian,Facts|date=July 2007 such as the Chukchi, or to Tungusic peoples, such as the Manchu and the Evenks.Fact|date=October 2008

Conflict with Genghis Khan

Temüjin's mother Hoelun, originally from the Olkhunut tribe, had married the Merkit warrior Chiledu around 1160. She was abducted by Temüjin's father Yesugei, while being escorted home by Chiledu.

In turn, Temüjin's new wife Börte was kidnapped by Merkitraiders from their campsite by the Onon river around 1184 and given to one of their warriors. Temüjin, supported by his blood brother Jamuga and his foster-father Toghril, the Khan of the Keraits, attacked the Merkit and rescued Börte within the year. The Merkit were dispersed after this attack. Shortly thereafter she gave birth to a son named Jochi. Temüjin accepted paternity but the question kept lingering over Jochi's life.

Those incidents resulted in a strong animosity between Temüjin and his family and the Merkits. Over the following two decades, he attacked them several times. By the time he had united the other Mongol tribes and was given the title "Genghis Khan" in 1206, the Merkits seem to have disappeared as a separate ethnic group. Those who survived were most likely absorbed by other Mongol tribes, such as the Oirats and others who fled to Kypchaks mixed with them.

References


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