Did Genghis Khan really kill 1,748,000 people in one hour?

The 1,748,000 refers to the estimated population in April 1221 of a Persian city called Nishapur. This city, located in what is now Iran, was a bustling cultural center during Khan’s time. And during his campaign to the West, following his successful subduing of China, Nishapur was one of the cities his troops sacked.­

Genghis Khan (whose adopted name means “Universal Ruler” in Altaic, his native tongue) was something of a populist conqueror. He generally followed a self-imposed rule that those who surrendered to him were allowed to live. Common folk were often spared­, while their rulers usually were put to death. The same fate met anyone else who dared resist.

­In Nishapur, Khan’s favorite son-in-law, Toquchar , was killed by an arrow shot by a Nishapuran. It’s not entirely clear whether a revolt broke out after Khan’s troops had already overtaken the city, or if the fateful event took place during an initial siege. Either way, this proved to be the death warrant for the inhabitants of the city.

Khan’s daughter was heartbroken at the news of her husband’s death, and requested that every last person in Nishapur be killed. Khan’s troops, led by his youngest son, Tolui undertook the gruesome task. Women, children, infants, and even dogs and cats were all murdered. Worried that some of the inhabitants were wounded but still alive, Khan’s daughter allegedly asked that each Nishapuran be beheaded, their skulls piled in pyramids. Ten days later, the pyramids were complete.

Exactly how many died at Nishapur during the siege is questionable, but it does appear that a great many people were killed and beheaded. There is no evidence that Genghis Khan was at the city when the massacre took place, however.

It’s unclear why the legends say these events transpired in just one hour. And when the 1.75 million deaths became attributed directly to Khan is equally murky. Even more difficult to understand is how the idea made it on so many lists of amazing statistics. Regardless, a great many people died at the hands of Genghis Khan or his men. But in a strange, roundabout way, he put back more than he took. Thanks to his far-flung travels and his appetite for women, a 2003 study found that as many as 16 million people alive today – or about 0.5 percent of the global population – are descendants of Khan


i mean 1.75m in the 1200s is a 0.29% CAGR for 16m in 2003. world population growth now is about 1.2% per year. so he definitely did not grow at the same pace as he killed. with that said. you gotta admire genghis for destroying everypone.

I mean, it’s not that impressive if Genghis Khan had 1 million soldiers to do the killing. For example, Nery can slay chicks at a rate of 3 per night - more so if his f-boy beta posse is there to make him look alpha. So, in a 24 hour period, that is more productive than those mongols, amiright?

you could also use that same argument for how his genetic code in 0.5% of the population. genghis doesnt need to be doing the repopulating, he coulda done the killing and conquering and his children and their children do the reproduction in the conquered territories.