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Religious Affiliations of Influential People III
Posted In: Religion Articles  3/20/12
By: Yona Williams

From successful conquerors to adventurous explorers, sometimes it is a religious belief that drives people towards victory or allows them to stay strong in the face of danger. In this article, you will learn of the religious affiliations of influential people, such as the infamous Genghis Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte.

Genghis Khan

The Mongol conqueror named Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire – taking on the name of the Great Khan (which meant emperor). His Empire became known as the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. Genghis acquired his power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes that lived in northeast Asia. When he became the emperor of his people, he began the task of invading and raiding other regions, which led to the conquest of the majority of Eurasia. He was greatly feared because his conquests often involved widespread massacres of the civilian populations. By the time of his death, the Mongol Empire was found in a great deal of Central Asia and China.

Genghis Khan's religious affiliation has been noted as Mongolian shamanism (which centers on communication with the spirit world), but he was also known to be highly tolerant of other religions. He showed an interest in becoming familiar with the philosophical and moral lessons of other faiths. Khan would also consult Buddhist monks, Muslims, and Christian missionaries.

Francisco Pizarro

Born towards the end of the 1400s in Spain, Francisco Pizarro was the illegitimate son of an infantry colonel named Gonzalo Pizarro. He didn’t receive a proper education and grew up not being able to read. However, Pizarro sailed from Spain to the New World in 1509, and would eventually after many other expeditions become responsible for defeating the Incas, which was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. Known for conquering South America, Pizarro was a Catholic who lived close to his 70s before he was killed by a group of heavily armed supporters of a rival. It is said that when he collapsed to the ground before dying, he drew a cross on the floor using his own blood and cried out for Jesus Christ.

Hernando Cortes

The Spanish conquistador named Hernando Cortes was a Catholic who led an expedition that ultimately led to the fall of the Aztec Empire. He is responsible for bringing a large part of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile during the early 16th century. While war and the introduction of unknown diseases played a significant role in destroying the Aztecs, Cortes is still acknowledged as fueling the first actions that led to the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

Napoleon Bonaparte

The infamous French conqueror named Napoleon Bonaparte was an influential military and political leader during the later years of the French Revolution. Born in 1769, the Roman Catholic Napoleon would later serve as the Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815. Named after him, the Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars that opponents declared against the French Empire. They took place from 1803 to 1815. Napoleon was successful in conquering a great deal of Europe and the power of the French increased, but unfortunately, the collapse of the people quickly followed after France unsuccessfully invaded Russia in 1812. After the empire that Napoleon built fell, the Bourbon monarchy in France was restored. Another highlight of his career was the many civil law jurisdictions that took place worldwide.


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