The Mongol tribes of northern China coalesced into the Mongol empire under the rule of Genghis Khan (? 1167–1227) in 1206. He set in motion a series of invasions that would reverberate in Europe for the following 50 years. By the time of his death, his armies had conquered as far west as the Caspian Sea. When one of his grandsons, Batu, invaded Russia and Eastern Europe from 1236–42, the Mongols came into contact with Christian Europe for the first time. Following the Battle of the Sit River (1238), when the Russian forces were routed, Batu then split his forces, roaming self as far as the Crimea, subduing the principalities in turn. The Mongol army advanced into eastern Europe, but the death of the Great Khan suspended operations, giving Europe a reprieve. Another of Ghengis’s grandsons, Hülegü, founded the Il-Khanid dynasty and took Baghdad in 1258, turning his attention is to Syria, where the Mamluk sultanate routed the Mongol aggressors. From 1262, the Mongol Empire split into four khanates: the Great Khanate in Mongolia and China; the Chaghatai Khanate in Central Asia; the Golden Horde in Russia and Il-Khanate in Persia. The Mongols of the Il-Khanate eventually converted to Islam, making peace with the Mamluks in 1322.
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