The mongol s place in world history
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The Mongol’s Place In World History. Nomadic Empires. Overview.

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The Mongol’s Place In World History

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The mongol s place in world history

The Mongol’s Place In World History

Nomadic Empires



  • Nomadic herders populated the steppes of Asia for centuries during the classical and postclassical eras and periodically came into contact and conflict with the established states and empires of the Eurasian land mass. It was not until the eleventh century, however, that the nomadic peoples like the Turks and Mongols began to raid, conquer, rule, and trade with the urban-based cultures in a systematic and far-reaching manner. While these resourceful and warlike nomads often left a path of destruction in their wake, they also built vast transregional empires that laid the foundations for the increasing communication and exchange that would characterize the period from 1000 to 1500 in the eastern hemisphere. The success of these nomadic empires in this era can be attributed to

Unique traits

Unique traits

  • Their unmatched skill on horseback. When organized on a large scale these nomads were practically indomitable in warfare. Outstanding cavalry forces, skilled archers, and well-coordinated military strategy gave these peoples an advantage that was difficult for even the most powerful states to counter.

  • Their ability to integrate vast territories through secure trade routes, exceptional courier networks, diplomatic missions, missionary efforts, and resettlement programs.

The world of pastoral societies

The World of Pastoral Societies

  • Generally less productive than agricultural societies

  • Needed large grazing areas

  • Smaller population groups

  • Lived in kin based societies

  • Clans could unite in groups of ten into a confederacy in times of strife

  • Women played a more equal role than in traditional sedentary societies

  • Less social stratification given smaller amounts of specialized labor



  • In spite of these successes and the enormous influence of these nomadic peoples, their leaders were, in general, better at warfare than administration

  • With the exception of the later Ottoman empire, most of these states were relatively short-lived, brought down by both internal and external pressures.

Migration and expansion

Migration and Expansion

  • Nomads live off their animals and follow their migratory patterns.

  • Limited agriculture—geographical limitations.

Relation to tribute states

Relation to Tribute States

  • See: unit on China

  • Mongols and other groups had deeply embedded relationships with agricultural/sedentary neighbors.

  • Mongols able to use their strength to leverage the Chinese for thethings that the y need.

The mongol way of life

The Mongol Way of Life

Mongolian animals

Mongolian Animals

  • Sheep

  • Goat

  • Yaks

  • Oxen

  • Camels

Mongolian housing yurt gert

Mongolian Housing: Yurt (Gert)



  • Shamanism

  • Tengir: Sky God

  • Buddhism

  • Nestorian Christianity

  • Islam in the 13th century

Chinggis khan

Chinggis Khan

  • Father assassinated when he was young.

  • Showed phenomenal charisma in his ability to unify the Mongolian tribes.



  • Once Chinggis had succeeded in bringing the Mongols together, in 1206, a meeting of the so-called Khuriltai (an assemblage of the Mongol nobility) gave their new leader the title of "Chinggis Khan": Khan of All Between the Oceans. Chinggis's personal/birth name was Temujin;

The grand khan

The Grand Khan

  • What made this possible?

  • They were outnumbered 100-1, had no technological advantage, no geographical advantage!

  • Genghis Khan had to turn to conquest to keep his fragile alliance together.

  • The likely target…China.

Mongol military

Mongol Military

  • Why were they so good?

  • Military horsemanship

  • Discipline: death penalty for any deserter or entire unit.

  • Loyalty and leadership

    • “I am always at the forefront, and in the battle I am never in the rear” Chinggis Khan

  • Terror

    • Whoever submits will be spared, but those who resist, they shall be destroyed with their wives, children, and dependents…so that the others who hear and see should fear and not act the same.” Chinggis Khan

A primary account

A Primary Account

From the King of Kings of the East and West, the Great Khan. To Qutuz the Mamluk, who fled to escape our swords.

You should think of what happened to other countries…and submit to us. You have heard how we have conquered a vast empire and have purified the earth of the disorders that tainted it. We have conquered vast areas, massacring all the people. You cannot escape from the terror of our armies.

Where can you flee? What road will you use to escape us? Our horses are swift, our arrows sharp, our swords like thunderbolts, our hearts as hard as the mountains, our soldiers as numerous as the sand. Fortresses will not detain us, nor arms stop us. Your prayers to God will not avail against us. We are not moved by tears nor touched by lamentations. Only those who beg our protection will be safe.

Hasten your reply before the fire of war is kindled…. Resist and you will suffer the most terrible catastrophes. We will shatter your mosques and reveal the weakness of your God, and then we will kill your children and your old men together.

At present you are the only enemy against whom we have to march.

Mongol terror

Mongol terror

  • Khararizm example

  • Conscious of rebellion—Khan often chose to eradicate populations.

  • Moats of human corpses

  • Human shields



  • He organized his people into units of ten, a hundred, a thousand, and ten thousand, and the head of a unit of ten thousand would have a strong personal relationship with Chinggis himself. That kind of loyalty was to be extremely important in Chinggis's rise to power and in his ability to maintain authority over all the various segments of his domain.

Capital at karakorum

Capital at Karakorum

Use of horses

Use of horses

  • The Mongols prized their horses primarily for the advantages they offered in warfare. In combat, the horses were fast and flexible, and Chinggis Khan was the first to capitalize fully on these strengths.

The mongol s place in world history


  • The Mongols had developed a composite bow made out of sinew and horn and were skilled at shooting it while riding, which gave them the upper hand against ordinary foot soldiers. With a range of more than 350 yards, the bow was superior to the contemporaneous English longbow, whose range was only 250 yards

Battle gear

Battle Gear

  • Chinggis Khan personally led three campaigns.

Death of chinggis khan

Death of Chinggis Khan

Legacy of ghengis khan

Legacy of Ghengis Khan

• his tolerance of many religions• his creation of the Mongols' first script• his support for trade and crafts—Silk Road• his creation of a legal code specific to the Mongols' pastoral-nomadic way of life

Mongols and trade

Mongols and trade

  • Mongols offered merchants 10% over their asking price to transport goods to and from the Mongols

  • The Mongols and the Silk Road

Mongol conquest four case studies

Mongol Conquest: Four Case Studies

  • Mongols and China

  • Mongols and Persia

  • Mongols and Russia

  • Mongols and Central Asia

Mongols and china

Mongols and China

  • Long a target of the Mongols

  • Song conquest, quicker than others…careful not to destroy too much of the wealth.

  • Claimed the Mandate of Heaven

  • What to do with China when conquered? Consider Great Khan Ogodei’s perspective!

  • Mongols adopted Chinese administrative practices, techniques of taxation and postal system.

  • New capital at Beijing

Yuan china

Yuan China

  • Kublai Khan: 1271-94

  • Marco Polo

  • Sinofied Ruler?

  • Mongols adopt Confucianism, Buddhism, and political processes of the Chinese.

  • Kept their pastoral culture in private.

  • Ignored exam system, relied on foreigners to staff bureaucracy!

  • Few Mongols learned Chinese and it was forbidden the other way around.

  • Extensive discrimination and prohibition of intermarriage.

Mongol china

Mongol China

  • Supported Islam, and Christianity…promoted Buddhism.

  • Condemned Daoism, sided with Buddhism

  • Unsuccessful in his conquest of Vietnam, Burma, and Japan.

Kublai s diversity

Kublai’s diversity

  • He gathered together Muslims from Central Asia and Persia (as shown in this Persian work), Buddhists from Tibet, Christians from Europe, Nestorians from West Asia, Uyghur Turks from Northwest China, and Confucians from Korea, along with numerous Chinese, to serve in the bureaucracy that administered the so-called "Middle Kingdom of China



  • Outlawed intermarriage between Mongols and Chinese

  • Forbade Chinese from learning Mongol language

  • Brought foreigners into govern, lack of confidence in Chinese…disdain for Confucianism.

  • Dismantled civil service system

  • Noted tolerance for traditions and religions.

Arts painting and calligraphy

Arts: Painting and Calligraphy

Mongol conquest of persia

Mongol Conquest of Persia

  • Part of a series of conquests from 1210 to 1258

  • “No eye left open to weep for the dead”

  • Destroyed Qanats

  • Destroyed Persian cities such as Heart

  • “quote”

  • Patrons of Islam?



  • Invited Persians and other groups to China to “beef up” intelligentsia in Yuan China.

Trade and commerce

Trade and Commerce

  • Overturned Chinese society by promoting the Silk Roads and guaranteeing liberty and social standing for Merchants.

  • Postal system, unified system of money

  • Diplomatic missions with Europe.

The golden horde

The Golden Horde

Area 3 the golden horde

Area #3: The Golden Horde

  • Overran Russia in 1237

  • Moved into Eastern Europe: Poland, Hungary, and East Germnay

  • Controlled area until 15th century

Chaghatai khanate

Chaghatai Khanate

  • Given to a son of Ghengis Khan in Central Asia

  • Precursor to “Timurad” state

Chaghatai khanate area 4

Chaghatai Khanate: Area #4

  • Central Asia

  • This area will be in constant conflict with area #1-China under Kublai Khan

Decline of the mongols

Decline of the Mongols

  • Collapse of the Ilkhanate in Persia

  • Excessive spending

  • Leadership struggle.

  • Collapse of Yuan Dynasty-Red Turban Rebellion

  • Depopulation/labor shortage--Plague

  • Resurgence of Chinese

  • Rise of Gunpowder Empires

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