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The first massacre worth reporting is no doubt the slaughter of the Tatar people! All males taller than the axle of a wagon are put to death. The rest is reduced to slavery. This extermination of the male population of the Tatar country is carried out very systematically, in Mongol fashion. |
As a Khan's principle, it was custom to spare the lives of people that could prove useful: scientists, artists, technicians. Sometimes, women and children were also spared, then to be reduced to slavery.
During the first campaign against Northern China, 90 fortified and stoutly defended cities in the region of Ho-Pei are pillaged and burned in less than six months (autumn-Winter 1213-1214). Only a few cities are spared because their garrison surrendered quickly, all the others are razed to the ground. However, the Khan still refuses to try an assault on Peking yet, then he realizes that because its population is too numerous, he couldn't possibly keep this huge city for long if he took it by chance; no more than he could conquer a state of 50 million inhabitants in such a short period of time. It will take another year to seize and secure Peking (April 1215).
In the meantime, Genghis Khan withdraws and rides back home to Mongolia in the spring of 1214. For a while though, a question holds him back at the border: what was he going to do with the tens of thousands of prisoners that he had used as diggers and excavators for earthwork?
Those were useful for siegewarfare, but now? They were bringing with them germs, sicknesses, dangers of epidemic. They were in no condition to cross the Gobi desert. It was not possible to send them back home either, then they knew too much about the military art and the nature of the Mongols and could become dangerous adversaries as soldiers of the Kin emperor. Afterwards, what was a Chinaman's life worth? Besides, their great number was in itself a threat to the army. They are all exterminated as soon as they have crossed the Great Wall and reached the Kin-Yong Pass.