Owing to their adaptability, their skill in communications, and their reputation for ferocity, the Mongols swept across Eurasia over the 13th and 14th centuries, quickly assembling the largest contiguous empire in world history. These non-state actors had to quickly learn how to become a state themselves.
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- Why did they go around India?? Was there nothing of interest to conquer in India, or was India to strong an opponent?(2 votes)
- India is Virtually surrounded by mountains on all sides. The Himalayas lay north, the Hindu Kush to the west, and the Arakan Mountains to the east. Even beyond the mountains, rivers also provided another layer of defenses while the Thar Desert provided the third layer in the west. Though India was a prized target, it was too difficult to launch a total conquest.(21 votes)
- How did they manage to hold this much territory, if they didn't have a centralized government??(7 votes)
- In the beginning of the Mongol Empire - Genghis Khan and his successors were in charge - Genghis Khan was followed by his son Ogedei then Ogedei's son - Guyuk, then Mongke (son of Tolui and Genghis grandson) and then Kublai Khan (forth son of Tolui) had real power over the other lesser Khans. After the death of Kublai the Yuan Emperor (or the Great Khagan) lost on his importance and other khanates (Golden Horde, Chagatai and the Il-khanate) went their own seperate ways. To the death of Kublai the governing body was the Kurultai where lesser Khans choose the Great Khagan and the code of law was the Yassa (which was written by Genghis) .(5 votes)
- 1) When exactly(under which ruler) and for what reasons did Mongols change their practices of slaughtering and settling in the cities they conquered?
2)And how did they manage the control of such a vast territory? (Were they divided into provinces like the Archemenid Empire or at least as the Roman?)(6 votes)
- Were the Mongols literate?(4 votes)
- Yes. They became so as their empire expanded. See this scholarly article: https://www.jstor.org/stable/4529015?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents(3 votes)
- What enables a spread of territory on this scale in such a short time?(2 votes)
- Power. The Mongols had a very high population, and they had a lot of warriors and soldiers. If you have a lot of warriors and soldiers attacking fairly primitive peoples, you are bound to be a force to be reckoned with.(2 votes)
- Why didn't the Great Wall of China protect China from the Mongol invasions? What specifically helped them surpass the great wall?(2 votes)
- The great wall didn't protect China. Invaders got through the gates by bribing or coercing the gatekeepers to open them up. Walls, whether in China or on the southern border of the USA, are only as good as the people who operate the gates.(2 votes)
- I read that Ghengis Khan showed no mercy to people who showed resistance to him, so I was wondering, was this why?(2 votes)
- He was that kind of guy. There are a lot of those around. Just ask at the women's shelter near where you live.(1 vote)
- how bad did the black death effect the mongols?(1 vote)
- The Black Death contributed to the decline of the Mongol Empire. It affected the people in the Mongol Empire with varying degrees of destruction. Many people died in Yuan China, but not as many (although still like 25-ish%) died in the Central Asian Khanates. We don't have many accurate medical records from the East at that time, but it had about the same intensity as the Western World experienced. The Mongol Empire was already showing signs of decline during that time. Many mongols in the Ilkhanate had converted to Islam and were assimilating into the culture. Mongols in the Yuan Dynasty were becoming Chinese and nationwide rebellion started in the mid-1300's. The Black Death was the main cause of the decline of the Mongol Empire, in addition to the Mongols themselves assimilating into the majority population.(2 votes)
- At2:33he talks about siegecraft. How is it different from what sieges have been? Or did the mongols come up with sieging, at least in Asia?(1 vote)
- The rugged terrain of the steppe is a rough environment. A soldier raised in this environment would have ideal training grounds for just about any sort of cavalry activity one could imagine - except siegecraft. As the Mongols expanded their dominion across Asia, they came across more heavily urbanized centers. Thus, they had to learn the practice of setting siege to a city from scratch. Indeed, the process took trial and error but it is evident that they ended up being clearly successful at it - otherwise the Mongols would not have established such a massive empire.(2 votes)
- What a striking point at the end!
"Because of the stability of trade that the Mongol Peace had established, it made it so much easier for this illness (Black Death/Plague) to sweep across Asia and Europe, killing even more people than even Genghis Khan could've achieved during his lifetime ."
Now my curiosity has led me to this question; How much of an impact did the Black Death/Plague leave on the world, and what are some examples of this globally?(1 vote)
- Here are the Khan Academy articles on the topic.
Happy reading!(2 votes)
- [Instructor] The question before us today is: why were Mongols so effective? How did they manage to take an area, starting around here, and over the course of 20 years during the reign of Genghis Khan, from about 1206 to 1227, expand from this little part of Siberia, just south of Lake Baikal, all the way into Central Asia? This is what the Mongol Empire looked like in 1206, and this is what it looked like in 1279. This here is Genghis-Khan time, and this here is around the reign of Kublai Khan. What enables a spread of territory on this scale in such a short time? The Mongols were not a centralized state. They weren't a centralized empire. They were a band of traveling horsemen. How did they end up taking this much land? The story of the Mongols is a story of a non-state actor overcoming state actors, of a decentralized power becoming centralized eventually. What I wanna talk about in this video is three reasons why the Mongols were so effective in beating established empires. And then we're gonna talk about some of those follow-on effects. Reason one why the Mongols were so effective was planning, what we might call logistics. When Genghis Kahn, lemme pull up a picture of good ol' Genghis, when Genghis was declared Emperor, or Great Khan, of the Mongols in 1206, one of the first things he did was reformat the army. He swept away tribal affiliations and favoritism. If you were good, you got to have a higher position; if you were bad, you didn't. This meant that ordinary people within the Mongol army felt that they could have a measure of social mobility if they performed especially well in the army. This made them very committed and very loyal. Reason number two: the Mongols were extremely adaptable. We're talking about a group of horsemen here. These are the Mongols attacking a group of Chinese soldiers. What they were used to was mounted combat against mounted opponents. What they weren't used to was attacking major cities and holding them, or even trying to get major cities to break. But what the adaptability of the Mongol army meant was that as they conquered new territories and as they fought and won and lost in various regions of Asia, so, for example, as they started conquering the Western Xia here, they learned siegecraft, and that's the art of attacking walled cities and castles. It's a completely different style of combat. What it involves is sitting outside of a city, and waiting to starve out the inhabitants. Part of it involves using these things called siege engines. This here is a kind of catapult. You can see here the rocks. The Mongols are waiting with their archers here. The opponents have arrows, as well, but they're flinging rocks into the city in order to force a surrender. The Mongols didn't really have this technology or these tactics when they began their military campaigns; but as they rolled through Central Asia they picked it up, and then they continued to use those tactics as they swept westward. Now, the third reason that the Mongols were so effective is because they were terrifying. Even though they mastered siege warfare, in the beginning at least, the Mongols were not prepared to hold a city once they had conquered it. There are stories, especially from the conquest of the Western Xia and the Northern Song and the Khwarazmian Empire over here, that tell of the Mongols winning a battle and then sweeping in and murdering everyone. Just pulling plunder from corpses, and just looting the entire city, and leaving nothing standing. Because the Mongols weren't especially interested, at least early, we're talking about the period of Genghis Khan's life here, so, 1200s to 1220s, they weren't especially interested in governing. They wanted to hold territory, and get tribute, and get money, but they weren't especially interested in running an empire. It actually made more sense to them to slaughter everybody and take your things. Now, it got to the point that this reputation for fearsomeness got so powerful that some cities would just give up and surrender the moment the Mongols arrived. Those are the three main reasons that comprise Mongol effectiveness against settled states. They were very good at planning. Everybody rode in their armies. They could move very quickly. The Mongols were extremely adaptable. Every time they lost, they learned something from the people they lost to, and that meant that they picked up new technologies like siege warfare. And they were absolutely terrifying. Since, initially, the Mongols didn't know what they were gonna do with a conquered city besides loot it, they just killed everybody, and that reputation really allowed them to conquer a lot of land very quickly. And so we see out of the Mongol conquest, there are many follow-on effects, but one of the chief ones is something called the Pax Mongolica, the Mongolian Peace. If that phrasing looks familiar to you, it's because it's similar to the Roman Peace, the Pax Romana; and the Chinese Peace, the Pax Sinica of the First Century CE. This is 1100 years later, but the same principle applies. What happened was, with all of this territory conquered under one ruling power, it became safe to travel from one end of the empire to the other. Indeed, this is exactly what Marco Polo did when he set off from Venice, and made his way, eventually, to Beijing. That would've been around this time. Marco Polo's book, The Book of the Marvels of the World, was published in 1300. Marco Polo was this Venetian trader and adventurer who traveled extensively throughout Asia. That's one result of the Mongol conquests, is this Mongolian Peace. I should say that this Mongolian Peace came at a terrible price. When we were talking about that terror of the Mongols, that's a for-real thing. They murdered millions of people. But what would come after the Mongol Conquest as a result of this peace would end up killing even more people than the Mongol Conquest itself. This pacified region, this Mongolian Peace, led to increased trade throughout East Asia and reconnecting it to Eurasia and the Arab States. That would result in the exchanges of new ideas and new technologies and new agricultural techniques. But, as trade always does, it also results in the exchange of diseases. And so, out of the Mongol homeland, in fact, comes this illness called the Black Plague, or Bubonic Plague. Because of the stability of trade that had been established by the Mongol Peace, it makes it so much easier for this illness to sweep across Asia and Europe, killing even more people than even Genghis Khan could've achieved during his lifetime.