Notes : the Mongols






...ORIGINS : Central Asia herdsmen country, inhabitants nomadic Turks and Mongols, tribes competed with each other for control of best pastures (steppe), had vast herds of camel and horse.
Short Mongolian pony sturdy, robust, well-suited for rides covering far distance. Mongolians and Steppe Turks had animistic religion; controlled the trade along the SILK ROAD. Were in contact with China; the GREAT WALL OF CHINA had been constructed to fend off steppe nomad raids.

...STEPPE ROAD : a stretch of steppe lands, shortly interrupted by the southern Ural mountains, stretching from western Mongolia (the Altai mountains) across central Asia westward across southern Russia and Ukraine to the Carpathian mountains. In history, many central Asian peoples migrated westward to Europe, raiding or conquering parts of it : the HUNS, the BULGARIANS (Hun descendants), the KHAZARS, the PATZINAKS, the HUNGARIANS (= Magyars), the CUMANS and the MONGOLS (actually, the Kipchak Tatars).

...TEMUJIN = GENGHIS KHAN (many spelling varieties)
born ca. 1167, united the Mongol tribes under his rule in 1206, defeated neighbouring peoples - Turks, Tatars, conquered Northern China (Peking fell in 1215); died in 1227.

...KURALTAI (Khuraltai) Mongol 'parliament', assembly of Mongol leaders called for when a KHAN died; every Mongol army has to return to Mongolia when a Kuraltai is called for.
Here a new Khan or Great Khan was recognized, decisions for future Mongol campaigns taken.

...MONGOL STRATEGY
.....in battle : encircle enemy, shoot arrows from horseback from distance (often out of enemy reach), annihilate enemy; spare last 2 living things (religious reasons)
.....obtain intelligence about enemy (at the Battle of Legnica the Mongols knew where the Bohemians, coming to the aid of the Polish-German host, were; the commander of the Polish-German host did not know.) Partially obtain intelligence from bypassing traders. Mongols learned other languages rather than teach others Mongolian.
.....lay waste lands between Mongol country and enemy country. Mongols would first destroy/lay waste a country and conquer it only in their second attempt. Stategy taken over by Ottoman Turks (GHAZI Strategy).
.....tolerate religions, cultural traditions, laws


...MONGOL CONQUESTS :
.....Bolgar (VOLGA BULGARIA) 1236, KIEV 1240, BATTLES OF LEGNICA (Silesia, modern Poland) 1241, OF SAJO (Hungary) 1241, enemies annihilated, Mongols return to Central Asia for Kuraltai
.....BAGHDAD - allegedly the largest city in the world - razed to ground by HULAGU KHAN in 1258; returns for Kuraltai. Mameluks defeat small Mongol garrison; Euphrates established as border
.....SUNG CHINA falls to KUBLAI KHAN (1279); Mongols defeated by Vietnamese 1294; two Mongol attempts to conquer Japan fail

...PAX MONGOLICA
.....Mongolian World Empire facilitates flourishing of trade. Franciscan monks (DE PLANO CARPINI), Italian merchants (MARCO POLO) visit Far East. Marco Polo's travelogue one of most important books in history.

...DISINTEGRATION AND CONVERSION
.....late 13th century Khanate disintegrates; 4 Khanates emerge - China/Mongolia, the central JAGATAI KHANATE, the IL-KHANATE (Persia), the KHANATE OF GOLDEN HORDE (Russian steppe). Russian principalities depend on Khan of Golden Horde.
.....Mongolia proper converted to Buddhism by Tibetan monks, Il-Khanate and Golden Horde converted to Islam.

...TAMERLANE and MOGHULS
..... Tamerlane or Timur Lenk (1336-1405), Muslim ruler from Tashkent claiming to be a descendant of Genghiz Khan, conquered Iran, Golden Horde, Ottoman Empire, India, plundering the conquered countries and destroying what he could not take.
When Oghuz Turks take Central Asia and Afghanistan from TIMURIDS (descendants of Timur Lenk), one of them, BABUR, the ruler of Kabul (1504), conquers Delhi and established MOGHUL EMPIRE (= Mongol Empire, in 1526) which lasted into the 18th century.

...LEGACY
.....Mongol Dynasty in China overthrown in 1361; new Ming Dynasty replaced Buddhism, favoured by Mongol Yuan Dynasty, by Confucianism which emphasized Chinese tradition.
.....Il-Khanate in Persia was succeeded by a number of short-lived states; in 16th century strong Iranian state under Safavid Dynasty, Shi'ite, emerges
.....Jagatai and Golden Horde Khanates further disintegrate. Pieces - Khanates of KAZAN (1552), ASTRAKHAN (1556), SIBIR (1584) annexed by Moscow, CRIMEA in 1783.
.....Moghul Empire, Crimean Khanates and statelets in Central Asia preserved some of Mongol tradition the longest; all of them Islamic states by then.
.....Mongolia itself reduced to economically backward region, as major trade was channelled across the seas from 16th century onward.


This page is part of World History at KMLA
Last revised on June 28th 2001

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