Batu Khan bä´to͞o kän [key], d. 1255, Mongol leader; a grandson of Jenghiz Khan. In 1235 Batu became commander of the Mongol army assigned to the conquest of Europe; his chief general was Subutai. Batu crossed the Volga, sending part of his force to Bulgaria but most of it to Russia. By 1240 he had Moscow and Kiev in his grasp, and in the following two years he conquered Hungary and Poland and invaded Germany. His recall to Karakorum in 1242 to participate in the election of a grand khan is sometimes said to have saved Europe from subjection to the Mongols. Batu died while preparing additional campaigns. The domain he established is known as the Kipchak khanate. In Russia it came to be known as the Golden Horde , because of the gorgeous tents in which the army camped.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Central Asian History: Biographies