Chapter 14
The Mongol Empire of Chinggis Khan
 7th
Century Bedouin Tribe(s) [Islam]
Conquered and spread religion until 13th
Century Mongols
 13th Century Mongols conquests of
Russia, Central Asian kingdoms Islamic
Empire, Jin and Southern Song Dynasties
of China
 Until Mongols the Seljuk Turks migrated
to Persia, Anatolia, and India converted to
 After the Mongols – The Political &
Cultural map of Eurasia changed….
Mongol Origins
 Nomadic herders of goats and sheep who lived off the products of
their animals.
 Boys and girls learned to ride as soon as they could walk.
 The basic unit of social organization, the tribe, was divided into kinrelated clans. Great confederations were organized for defensive and
offensive operations.
 Men held dominant leadership positions; women held considerable
influence within the family.
 Leaders were elected by free men. They gained their positions
through displays of courage and diplomatic skills and maintained
power as long as they were successful.
Gathering intelligence had high priority
Foreign experts and advisors, in particular Persian and Chinese
Every man carried their own supplies and had 2 horses. Ate horse blood and
Thousands of vassals took loyalty oaths: became commanders, ran army, ran
• Took walled cities by using Chinese siege technology
• Brought Chinese engineers with them
• Conquered most of Asia, Middle East, Russia
Born 1167, son of tribal chief
 Father poisoned…fled as youth
 Returned as adult, avenged father,
eventually became chief….
• By age forty had unified all
Mongol tribes
• Battles, alliances, ability to survive
• Elected as the Great Khan
 Chinggis Khanʹs first campaigns
were directed against the Tangut
kingdom of Xi Xia and the Qin
kingdom of northern China in 1215
• Capital constructed by Chinggis
Khan for his empire called
 “Man’s
highest joy is victory:
to conqueror one’s enemies,
to pursue them, to deprive
them of their possessions, to
make their beloved weep, and
to embrace their wives and
From tent to palace
Grandson of Genghis Khan
 Son of Great Khan Mongke
who died fighting the Song
Dynasty 1259
 Kublai declared himself
“Great Khan” (khagan) in
1265 the other Mongol khans
refused to accept him
 Kublai founded the Yuan
Empire with its capital at
Beijing in 1271
 In 1279 he conquered the
Southern Song
 Though he was strong
enough to control most of
China, it was not enough to
unite the other Khanates
 All
males 15-70 served in army all as cavalry
 Organized army in Tumens: units made up of
10,000 cavalrymen divided into smaller units.
 Units within each of 1000, 100, and 10
 No one in the army was paid, though all shared to
varying degrees in the booty.
• All contributed to a fund to take care of those too old, hurt, or
 Elaborate
signals: every part can move in concert in
battle. Flags, hand signals
 Had to supply their own bows and other military
 Tactics: retreat, turn, flank, destroy
• Armaments: horsemanship, compound bow
• Reputation created paralyzing fear
• By 1241, they reached Poland and Hungary
Political structures- Autocratic Empire
Mongol Nomads: Families-->Clans-->Tribes-->
• Tribes gathered during annual migration
• Chiefs elected. Based on nobility, military ability, wisdom,
leadership skills
Forms of Government• brought stable government based on precedents in Islamic
and Chinese administration and religious toleration to
much of Asia
• Yassa (Yasa) "order" or "decree". It was a secret written
code of law written on scrolls and bound into volumes that
could only be seen by the Khan or his closest advisors, but
the rules were widely known and followed.
 No copies survive today!!!!!
 Regional, trans-regional, and
global structures &
 Divisions, assigned before
Genghis Khan’s Death; under
Ogedei Khan (Khagan)
• Four Khanates: (Grandsons of
1. Golden Horde- ( Batu
Khanate) – Russia
2. Il-Khanate – (Hulegu
Khanate) -Persia
3. Chagatai Khanate – Mongolia
4. Great Khanate (Kublai) –
China = Yuan Dynasty
* Outer Mongolia, Border
States, to which the others
owed allegiance.
Agricultural & pastoral production
• Nomads strove for economic self-sufficiency,
• However, relied on trade with settled people for certain
goods, including iron, wood, cotton, grain, and silk
• When normal trade relations were interrupted, nomads
tended to make war on settled agriculturalists
 Trade & Commerce- The Mongol conquests opened
overland trade routes and brought about an unprecedented
commercial integration of Eurasia
 Maximizing revenues was the central goal of Mongol
leaders, and tax farming was the method devised toward
that end.
 The government sold contracts for tax collecting to
small corporations, who bid for the privilege. The
highest bidder was responsible for raising revenue.
 Labor Systems- Usually local Labor systems were retained
or improved upon
Khocho, Nestorian Temple,
683–770 CE.
Religion(s): religious pluralism
• Shamanism traditional beliefs and
practices concerned with
communication with the spirit world.
• Nature deities, but Mongol Khans were
thought to represent the Sky God, who
transcended all cultures and religions
 Sacred color: blue
The seasonal movements of the Mongol
tribes brought them into contact with
Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and
• All religions were tolerated in GK’s
 Khans were thus conceived of as universal
rulers who both transcended and used the
various religions of their subjects
 Nestorians- Asian Christian sect; cut off
from Europe by Muslim invasions
• The Mongols helped retain their possessions through
their tolerance of many religions and their attempts to
gain the support of all religious leaders.
Science & Technology
• The growth of long-distance trade under the Mongols
led to significant transfer of military and scientific
knowledge between Europe, the Middle East, China,
Iran, and Japan
• They funded projects in engineering, astronomy, and
mathematics, hiring Middle Eastern Muslims to oversee
 For example: the construction of an observatory and
institute for astronomical studies in China
They encouraged the integration of Chinese and Middle Eastern mathematics
and encouraged publication of books with moveable type
The sharing of medical knowledge between the Muslim Middle East and
China is also significant, especially the sharing of medical texts
There were many connections to warfare, such as metal casting for cannon and
explosives. Shipping and navigation were also important.
Transmission of knowledge and skills allowed Mongols to adapt a broad range
of advances to their needs.
• Examples include:
 Metallurgy, in the form of ironworking and cast bronze for cannon
 Mongol bow, which could shoot farther than other bows of the same
 Catapult
 Pharmacology
 Engineering
 Applications of advanced mathematics.
Gender roles and relations
• Women from prestigious families often played an
important role in negotiating these alliances
• Cultures treatment of women continued
Racial and ethnic constructions: (Ethnic Ranking)
• Mongols: Top military, civilian posts
• Persians, Turks, Non-Chinese nomad stock: High civil
• N. Chinese, border people, Manchurians: Next highest
• S. Chinese: Lowest civil posts
 All records and proceedings in Uighur Turkic, then
translated word by word into Chinese
 Language: Altaic (Rel. To Turkic, Manchurian)
Writing systems: Started their own to chronicle Genghis
Khan’s life, “The Secret History of the Mongols”
Demography: Population increased until the
Black Plague
• Consequences of the Mongol trade routes
in the pandemic of the Black Plague
• The plague that had lingered in Yunnan
(now southwest China) was transferred to
central and north China, to Central Asia, to
the Crimean city of Caffa, and from there to
the Mediterranean world
Migration: (First Slide)
Southern European cities enriched themselves by
participating in trade with the Mongol territories.
By means of trade, as well as communications through
Constantinople, Europe learned of Asian advances in
gunpowder and guns, astronomy, mathematics, pharmacology,
history, and geography.
The threatened Mongol invasion of Europe provoked a period
of religious questioning and created new avenues of
transmission, including the Black Death.
During this conflict European leaders attempted to make an
alliance with the Il-khans
They wanted to drive the Muslims out of Syria, Lebanon, and
The Il-khans sought European help in driving the Golden
Horde out of the Caucasus
These plans for an alliance never came to fruition because the
Il-khan ruler Ghazan became a Muslim in 1295.
 The
Mongol armies that attacked Europe were
actually an international force including
Mongols, Turks, Chinese, Iranians, and
Europeans and led by Mongol generals
 The
well-led “Mongol” armies drove to the
outskirts of Vienna, striking fear into the hearts
of the Europeans; but rather than press on, the
Mongols withdrew in December 1241 so that
the Mongol princes could return to Mongolia to
elect a successor to the recently deceased
Great Khan Ogodei.
 After
the Mongol withdrawal, Europeans
initiated a variety of diplomatic and trade
overtures toward the Mongols
 Contact
between Europeans and Mongols
increased through the thirteenth century and
brought knowledge of geography, natural
resources, commerce, science, technology and
mathematics from various parts of the Mongol
realms to Europe
 At
the same time, the Mongol invasions and the
bubonic plague caused Europeans to question
their accepted customs and religious beliefs
Chinese Rule of China: Yuan Dynasty
Originally, plundered and robbed
Yuan Dynasty: Shortest lived major Chinese dynasty
Learned the art of taxation
• Mongols ruling elite: Highly centralized
• Emperor-->Secretariat--> Roving Secretariat
• Ruling minority segregated
• Majority ranked according to ethnicity
Genghis Khan wanted the riches of China
• Built the Grand Canal to Beijing
• Palace of the Khan: designed by Arab architects.
• Summer palace: Shangtu (Xanadu)
• Developed hereditary succession
By the death of Kublai Khan’s son, series of weak rulers
• The Khanates lose cohesion due to religious and
cultural differences
• Yuan Dynasty becomes more isolated
Chinese never really accepted as legitimate
Succession wars between heirs and generals
o High Taxes, Corrupt officials
o Paper money controversy
o Yellow River changed course and flooded
Grand Canal among other natural disasters
o Decentralization & Rise of Warlords
o Zhu Yuanzhang, a Buddhist monk and
member of the secret sect within the Red
Lotus called the White Lotus, led the
peasant rebellion, He destroyed the
palaces of the Mongolians in Beijing and
became the first emperor Hongwu (great
martial) and named his dynasty Ming or
o Last Khan fled to Mongolia in 1368 after
the Red Turbans Buddhist led revolts
Defeated the Kievan Rus, the Golden
Horde made their capital at Kiev, which
was also the end of the overland caravan
route from Central Asia.
The main goal of the Golden Horde
(Batu) was to extract as much tax revenue
as possible (Feed the Horse)
Impact of the Mongol conquests of Russia
• Russian population to shifted from Kiev
to Moscow and it emerged as the new
center of the Russia (Later defeated
the Golden Horde)
• Serfdom was institutionalized as
tribute had to be paid (Problems later)
• Russian noble families of the 17th
century, over 15% of the Russian noble
families had Tatar
• Historians believe the Mongol rule of
Russia delayed the westernizing of
Russia for 200 years until Peter the
Great early1700s!
Mongols and Islam, 1260–1500:
 Il-khan Mongol Empire controlled parts of Armenia and all of
Azerbaijan, Mesopotamia, and Iran
 The Abbasid dynasty was ended and the Seljuk Turks who
had ruled through its outer reaches were devastated
• Mongols had murdered the last Abbasid caliph
 Made possible the rise of the Mamluks (ex-slave armies of
the Abbasids) in Egypt and the Ottoman Turks in Asia Minor
• Mamluks gained dominance after they slowed the
advance of the Mongolians
 Russia was under the domination of the Golden Horde, led by
Genghis Khan’s grandson Batu, who had converted to Islam
and announced his intention to avenge the last caliph. This
led to the first conflict between Mongol domains.
 Impact of the Mongol conquests of Russia & the Islamic
heartland similar
• In both cases the traditional political structure was
removed and the path was smoothed for new political
organization to take place
 Islamic Learning, Technology, Science, Math, and Astrology
moved throughout the Mongol Empire and vise versa from
Rashid al-Din
produced a history
of the world was a
Jew converted to
Islam who served
as adviser to the Ilkhan ruler
Dai Viet (North Vietnam): Vietnamese captured Mongol
envoys. Mongol forces invaded in 1257 massacred
inhabitants of capital Thang Long (Hanoi), After series of
invasions in 1278-1288, Dai Viet Dynasty accepted
Mongol superiority because of the heavy losses
Champa (South Vietnam) Ignored the submission,
Mongol forces lost in the country and their general was
killed, The king of Champa started sending tributes two
years later to avoid Mongol invasions.
Khmer empire (Cambodia) 1278, a Mongol envoy was
executed by the Khmer king. 100 Mongol cavalries sent
were ambushed and destroyed However, the Khmer
Empire asked a pardon and sent tribute in 1285
Burma & Thai Kingdoms: Thai states accepted Mongol
According to Marco Polo, those subjects sent tribute on
to the Mongol court, including elephants, rhinoceroses,
jewels and a tooth of Buddha.
Invasions into the Indian subcontinent
from 1221 to 1327
The Mongols made Kashmir their vassal
state, but campaigns against the Delhi
Sultanate proved fruitless
Final Mongol invasion occurred when
Timur-i Lang sacked and plundered
Delhi, the capital of the Delhi Sultanate,
but left India soon after.
Later Babur would successfully conquer
and set up the Mughal Empire in 1526
• He was a direct descendant of Timur through
his father, and a descendant also of Genghis
Khan through his mother
6 major invasions of Korea from
1231 to 1270
 Cost to millions of civilian and
soldiers’ lives
 Korea become a vassal of the
Mongol Yuan Dynasty for 80 years
 The Mongol Empire and the
Kingdom of Goryeo tied the
relationship with marriages as
Mongol princes married Korean
princesses and vice versa
 Goryeo dynasty survived under
Mongolian influence until in the
1350s when Yuan Dynasty became
The Mongols shared information and facilitated the
spread of technologies and knowledge to Korea
They brought the philosophical ideas of Yuan China
to Korea as well as knowledge of astronomical
observation, mathematics, and the calendar
The Mongols’ role as intellectual facilitators also led
to the rise of the educated class in Korea. Different
literary demands led away from block printing to
movable type, bringing about a very high rate of
literacy in Yi Korea
Cash crops were common, particularly cotton, which
led to watermills and a textile export industry
Korean innovations in military technology made
possible a formidable navy with armored ships and
mounted cannon
Two Mongol invasions of Japan
1274 & 1281
• Immediate military effects,
Japanese leaders considered
the threat of Mongol invasion
to be permanent.
• Japanese unity against the
invader, both during the
invasions and after….
Consolidation of the social
position of the Japanese warrior
elite was also important.
National trade and
communication networks were a
major consequence of the
Mongol threat
This started the slow decline
in the military reputation
Yuan dynasty
 Large, multi-ethnic empire facilitated diffusion
 Subject states: Persian, Arab, Russian, Turkic
 Goods, art, technology and ideas spread up and
down trades routes
 Chinese communities found as far west as
 Printing, gunpowder, medicine diffuse west
 Mongol
 Mongol
 Mongol
 Mongol
Major Comparisons:
migration v. Vikings
migration v. Islam Expansion
migration v. Bantu migration
Invasions v. Crusades
 Define
the territorial extent of the
Mongol empire at its largest. How did this
affect inter-cultural exchange?
Define the territorial extent of the Mongol
empire at its largest. How did this affect intercultural exchange?
• Mongol empire extended from Russia and eastern Europe
in West to Mesopotamia as far as Egypt in the South
across the Caspian Sea region and the Asiatic steppes to
include all of China.
• Mongol empire linked great global civilizations of
Eastern Hemisphere, western and eastern Europe, Islam,
• This permitted free exchange of goods and ideas
between global cultures along traditional routes of trade.
 Page Ref: 305-310

Ch. 14 Central Asia & Mongols