Mongolia is a rugged and beautiful land of grassy prairies, mountains, and deserts, located between China and Siberia. Today it is a relatively poor country and is the most sparsely-inhabited country in the world (meaning not many people in its large land area). But about 800 years ago the Mongol people ruled over the largest land empire ever in history. It stretched from Hungary in the west to Korea in the east, and from Russia in the north to Iraq in the south. Genghis Khan (a title meaning “Universal Monarch”) was the fierce military leader of the Mongols. His original name was Temujin. When Genghis Khan died in 1227, the Mongol Empire was twice the size of the Roman Empire. His descendants continued to send out armies in every direction and expand the size of the empire. Later, the empire began to split as Genghis Khan’s grandchildren argued over who should be in charge. His grandson Kublai Khan conquered China in 1271. Below you can see a map of the greatest extent of the Mongol Empire, and a portrait of Genghis Khan.