The Mongol commander who in the 1230s to 1250s established their rule over much of eastern Europe. He was a grandson of Genghis Khan, who had died in 1227. In 1235 Batu and his general Subutai were assigned the European front. They crossed the Volga and destroyed the Kama Bulgars, who lived in what is now the Tatar region of Russia (separate from the other Bulgars who had travelled south and founded Bulgaria).

The Russian principalities fell over the next couple of years, with Kiev in 1240. In 1241 Batu conquered both Poland and Hungary, first defeating and killing the Polish commander Duke Henry the Pious of Silesia at Liegnitz or Legnica, then defeating Bela IV of Hungary at the battle of the River Sajo.

They would certainly have carried on to acquire a lot more of Europe, had not in 1242 the Great Khan Ogodei Khan died, and Mongol leaders were summoned back to their imperial capital Karakorum to elect a new one. However, most of Russia remained under Mongol rule, and the state known as the Kipchak Khanate. But its more common name, given by the Russians because of the colour of the Mongols' tents, was the Khanate of the Golden Horde. Batu Khan ruled this until his death in 1255.