The Mongol Conquests

  1. The Mongols

    1. Nomadic steppeland herders from northwest Asia

    2. Long history of raiding on China; also working as mercenaries for China

    3. Fluid collection of chieftains who competed for followers and control of pasture lands

    4. No centralized state

  2. Genghis Khan (born Temujin) 1162-1227

    1. Unites Mongol chieftains under his rule in 1206

    2. Begins a series of raids against neighboring civilizations

      1. Differed from traditional patterns of Mongol raiding

      2. Previous Mongol raiders looted and left

      3. Genghis Khan imposed taxes and tribute systems

    3. Roots of Empire

      1. Mongols driven in part by need - cooler climate led to poorer pastures in their homeland

      2. Developed an ideology of universal empire

      3. Effective military techniques

        1. excellent horsemen

        2. effective use of terror

        3. quickly adapted new technology, notably siege engines

        4. used tribute to finance war - conquest begat conquest

    4. Conquers much of Eurasia

      1. Conquests continue after death of Genghis Khan

      2. Encompasses central Asia, Russia, China, Persia and some neighboring territories

      3. Seize control of the Silk Roads, further expanding wealth, but also guaranteeing easier and safer trade

  3. Life Under the Mongols

    1. Despite a reputation for terror, a flexible, tolerant, and adaptive empire

      1. "Mongolian Peace" increases trade and cultural exchange along the Silk Road network

      2. Sought scientific, technical, and governmental knowledge from all conquered cultures

      3. Enabled and encouraged cultural exchange

      4. Allowed free travel of religious missionaries within empire

      5. Frequently appointed non-Mongolians to important positions; made wide use of non-Mongol advisers at court

    2. Running the Mongol Empire

      1. No centralized state after death of Genghis Khan (1227)

      2. Run as allied confederation of khanates by descendants of Genghis Kahn, with loose allegiance to a Great Khan

      3. Generally mixed Mongol traditions with local customs

        1. in Persia, adopt Islam

        2. in China, claimed the Mandate of Heaven, ruled in style of Chinese emperor

        3. in Russia, ran a tribute empire called the Golden Horde based on terror

      4. empire declines in late 1200s and collapses in 1300s