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Mongol Empire

Монго»ñн Эзñнñ Гòññн
Mongolyn Ezent Guren
Ikh Mongol Uls
Mongol Empire
1206â1368 â

Spirit banners

Capital Khanbaliq(Beijing)
[note 1]
Religion Tengriism (Shamanism), later Buddhism, Christianity and Islam
Government Elective monarchy
Great Khan
 - 1206-1227 Genghis Khan
 - 1229-1241 Ögedei Khan
 - 1246-1248 Güyük Khan
 - 1251-1259 Möngke Khan
 - 1260-1294 Kublai Khan
 - 1333â1370 Toghan Temur
Legislature Kurultai
 - Genghis Khan united the tribes 1206
 - Death of Genghis Khan 1227
 - Pax Mongolica 1210-1350
 - Fragmentation of the empire 1260-1264
 - Fall of Yuan Mongol Empire 1368
Currency Coins (such as dirhams), Sukhe, paper money (paper currency backed by silk or silver ingots, and the Yuan's Chao)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Khamag Mongol
Chagatai Khanate
Golden Horde
Yuan Dynasty
Northern Yuan

The Mongol Empire (Mongolian: About this sound Монго»ñн Эзñнñ Гòññн , Mongolyn Ezent Güren or Иñ Mонго» ñ»ñ, Ikh Mongol Uls) was a massive empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. Beginning in Central Asia, it eventually stretched from the Korean Peninsula to Eastern Europe, covered Siberia in the north and extended southward into Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and the Middle East. It is commonly referred to as the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world. At its greatest extent it spanned 6,000 mi (9,700 km), covered an area of 33,000,000 km2 (12,741,000 sq mi),[1] 22% of the Earth's total land area, and held sway over a population of 100 million.

The Mongol Empire emerged from the unification of Mongol and Turkic tribes in modern day Mongolia under the leadership of Genghis Khan, who was proclaimed ruler of all Mongols in 1206. The Empire grew rapidly under his leadership and then that of his descendants, who sent invasions in every direction.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Under the Mongols, new technologies, various commodities and ideologies were disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia.

The Empire began to split as a result of wars over succession, as the grandchildren of Genghis Khan disputed whether the royal line should follow from Genghis's initial heir Ogedei, or one of his other sons such as Tolui, Chagatai, or Jochi. The Toluids prevailed after a bloody purge of Ogedeid and Chagataid factions, but disputes continued even among the descendants of Tolui. Rival councils would simultaneously elect different Great Khans, such as when brothers Ariqboke and Kublai were both elected and then not only had to defy each other, but also deal with challenges from descendants of other of Genghis's sons. Genghis's descendants would either challenge the decision of Great Khan, or assert independence in their own section of the Empire.[11][12] Kublai successfully took power, but civil war ensued, as Kublai sought, unsuccessfully, to regain control of the Chagatayid and Ogedeid families. By the time of Kublai's death, the Mongol Empire had fractured into four separate khanates or empires, each pursuing its own separate interests and objectives: the Golden Horde khanate in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate in the west, the Ilkhanate in the southwest, and the Empire of the Great Khan (Yuan dynasty), which was based in modern-day Beijing.[13] It was not until 1304, when all Mongol khans submitted to Kublai's successor, the Khagan Temür Öljeytü, that the Mongol world again acknowledged a single paramount sovereign for the first time since 1259 - and even the late Khagans' authority rested on nothing like the same foundations as that of Genghis Khan and his first three successors.[14][15] When the native Chinese overthrew the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, the Mongol Empire finally dissolved.


[edit] Name

What is referred to in English as the Mongol Empire is described in the Mongolian language as "Mongolyn Ezent Guren" (Монго»ñн ñзñнñ гòññн) literally meaning "Mongols' Imperial Power" and "Ikh Mongol Uls" (Иñ Монго» ñ»ñ), "Greater Mongol Nation/State". Genghis Khan used the latter when he was proclaimed Emperor. In 1271, Genghis's descendant Güyük Khan wrote a letter to Pope Innocent IV which used the preamble, "Dalai Qaghan of the great Mongol nation (ulus)".[16] In 1271, Kublai Khan added Dai Yuan to the term, renaming the state "Dai Ön Mongol Ulus" (Great Yuan Mongol Nation).[17]

[edit] Political history

[edit] Pre-Empire context

Genghis Khan's picture at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan

The area around Mongolia, Manchuria, and parts of North China had been controlled by the Khitan Liao Dynasty since the 10th century. In 1125, the Jin Dynasty founded by the Jurchens overthrew the Liao Dynasty, and attempted to gain control over former Liao territory in Mongolia. The Jin Dynasty rulers, known as the Golden Kings, were resisted by the Khamag Mongol, the Mongol tribe, which was ruled by Qabul Khan, great grandfather of Temujin (Genghis Khan). Qabul Khan pushed out the forces of the Jin Dynasty from Mongol territory in the early 12th century. There were five main powerful khanliks (tribes) in the Mongolian plateau at the time: Kereyds, Mongols, Naimans, Merkits and Tatars. The Golden Kings encouraged the Tatars in their dispute with the Mongols, in order to keep the nomadic tribes distracted by their own battles, and thereby away from the Jin. The Tatars betrayed Ambaghai, successor of Qabul, to the Jurchen who executed him. The Mongols retaliated by raiding the frontier and the Jurchen counter-attack failed in 1143. In 1147 the Jin signed a peace treaty with the Mongols and withdrew a score of forts that threatened them; this devised a more subtle indirect policy against the nomads. After that the Mongols attacked the Tatars to avenge the death of their late khan, opening a long period of active hostilities.[18] The Jin and Tatar armies defeated the Mongols in 1161. These events well illustrate the Jin policy of divide and rule.

[edit] Genghis Khan

History of Mongolia
Map of Mongolia.
This article is part of a series
Early History
Earlier history
Age of nomadic empires
The Xianbei
Nirun Qaghanate
The Khidan
Medieval Mongolia
Khamag Mongol
Mongol Empire
(Qubilaid, Jochid,
Ilkhan, Chagatayid)
Period of the small kings
Northern Khalkha
Zunghar Khanate
Foreign rule and independence
Qing Mongolia
Revolution of 1911
Theocratic period
Beiyang Occupation
Bogd Khaanate under Baron Ungern
Revolution of 1921
Modern Mongolia
Mongolian People's Republic
Battle of Khalkhin Gol
World War II
Yalta conference
Democratic Revolution of 1990
History of modern Mongolia
Timeline of Mongolian history
Culture of Mongolia
Geography of Mongolia

Mongolia Portal
Eurasia on the eve of the Mongol invasions, c. 1200.

Known during his childhood as Temujin, Genghis Khan was the son of a Mongol chieftain. He suffered a difficult childhood, and when his young wife Borte was kidnapped by a rival tribe, Temujin united the nomadic, previously ever-rivaling MongolâTurkic tribes under his rule through political manipulation and military might. His most powerful allies were his father's friend, Kereyd chieftain Wang Khan Toghoril, and Temujin's childhood anda (close friend) Jamukha of the Jadran clan. With their help, Temujin defeated the Merkit tribe, rescued his wife Borte, and then went on to defeat the Naimans and Tatars.

Temujin forbade looting and raping of his enemies without permission, and he divided the spoils to Mongol warriors and their families instead of giving all to the aristocrats.[19] He thus held the title Khan. However, his uncles were also legitimate heirs to the throne, and this decision brought conflict among his generals and associates. His previous ally Jamukha of the Jadran clan, as well as the Kereyds, separated from Temujin. For rival aristocrats, Temujin was regarded not as leader but merely an insolent usurper. Temujin's powerful position and reputation among other Mongols and nomads raised the fears of Kereyd nobles. Virtually all his uncles, cousins and other clan chieftains turned against him, and war ensued. Temujin's forces were nearly defeated, but he recovered and was reinforced by tribes loyal to him. In 1203-1205, the Mongols under Temujin destroyed all the remaining rival tribes and brought them under his sway. In 1206, Temujin was crowned as the Khaghan of the Yekhe Mongol Ulus (Great Mongol Nation) at a Kurultai (general assembly/council). It was there that he assumed the title of "Genghis Khan", probably meaning Oceanic ruler or Universal ruler, instead of the old tribal titles such as Gur Khan or Tayang Khan. This event essentially marked the start of the Mongol Empire under the leadership of Genghis Khan.

[edit] Early organization

Mongol Empire in 1227 at Genghis' death

Genghis Khan innovated many ways of organizing his army, dividing it into decimal subsections of arbans (10 people), zuuns (100), myangans (1000) and tumens (10,000). The Kheshig or the Imperial Guard was founded and divided into day (khorchin, torghuds) and night guards (khevtuul).[20] He rewarded those who had been loyal to him and placed them in high positions, placing them as heads of army units and households, even though many of his allies had been from very low-rank clans. Compared to the units he gave to his loyal companions, those assigned to his own family members were quite few.[21] He proclaimed a new law of the Empire, Ikh Zasag or Yassa, and codified everything related to the everyday life and political affairs of the nomads at the time. He forbade the selling of women, theft of other's properties, fighting between the Mongols, and the hunting of animals during the breeding season.[22]

He appointed his adopted brother Shigi-Khuthugh supreme judge (jarughachi), ordering him to keep records of the Empire. In addition to laws regarding family, food and army, Genghis also decreed religious freedom and supported domestic and international trade. He exempted the poor and the clergy from taxation.[23] Thus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians from Manchuria, North China, India and Persia joined Genghis Khan long before his foreign conquests. The Khan also encouraged literacy, adopting the Uyghur script which would form the Uyghur-Mongolian script of the Empire, and he ordered the Uyghur Tatatunga, who had previously served the khan of Naimans, to instruct his sons.[24]

Genghis quickly came into conflict with the Jin Dynasty of the Jurchens and the Western Xia of the Tanguts in northern China. Towards the West, under the provocation of the Muslim Khwarezmid Empire, he moved into Central Asia as well, devastating Transoxiana and eastern Persia, then raiding into Kievan Rus' (a predecessor state of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine) and the Caucasus.

Before his death, Genghis Khan divided his Empire among his sons and immediate family. But as custom made clear, the Mongol Empire remained the joint property of the entire imperial family who, along with the Mongol aristocracy, constituted the ruling class.

[edit] The Height of World Empire

[edit] Great expansion under Ogedei Khan

Ögedei Khan, Genghis Khan's son and successor

Genghis Khan died in 1227, by which point the Mongol Empire ruled from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea â an empire twice the size of the Roman Empire and Muslim Caliphate.[25] Genghis had directed that his heir should be his third son, the charismatic Ogedei. The regency was originally held by Ogedei's younger brother Tolui, until Ogedei's formal election at the kuriltai in 1229.

Among his first actions, Ogedei sent troops to subjugate the Bashkirs, Bulgars, and other nations in the Kipchak controlled steppes, eventually allying with the Bashkirs.[26] In the east, Ogedei's armies re-established Mongol authority in Manchuria, crushing the Eastern Xia regime and Water Tatars. In 1230, the Great Khan personally led his army in the campaign against the Jin Dynasty (China). Ogedei's general Subotai captured Emperor Wanyan Shouxu's capital, Kaifeng in 1232.[27] In 1234, three armies commanded by Ogedei's sons Kochu and Koten, as well as the Tangut general Chagan, invaded southern China. With the assistance of the Song Dynasty, the Mongols finished off the Jin in 1234.[28][29] In the West, Ogedei's general Chormaqan destroyed Jalal ud-Din Menguberdi, the last shah of the Khwarizmian Empire. The small kingdoms in Southern Persia voluntarily accepted Mongol supremacy.[30][31] In Southeast Asia, there were Mongol victories upon Korean armies, but Ogedei's attempt to annex the Korean peninsula met with less success. The king of Goryeo surrendered but revolted and massacred Mongol darugachis (overseers) and pro-Mongol Koreans.[32]

While Ogedei finished the construction of a new capital Karakorum in 1235-1238, Mongol administrations headed by Muslims and Khitans were established in North China, Turkestan and Transoxiana. In addition to building relay stations and roads, Ogedei pacified newly conquered populations, suppressed banditry or piracy, and decreed a proportion of all sheep should be levied to the impoverished.[33]

Sacking of Suzdal by Batu Khan in February, 1238: a miniature from the sixteenth century chronicle

In an offensive against the Song Dynasty, Mongol armies captured Siyang-yang, the Yangtze and Sichuan, however they couldnât deliver the final blow. The Song generals were able to recapture Siyang-yang from the Mongols in 1239. After the sudden death of Ogedei's son Kochu in Chinese territory, the Mongols withdrewn from southern China, but Kochu's brother Prince Koten invaded Tibet after their withdrawal.

Another grandson of Genghis by his son Jochi, Batu Khan overran the countries of the Bulgars, the Alans, the Kypchaks, Bashkirs, Mordvins, Chuvash, and other nations of the southern Russian steppe. By 1237, the Mongols began encroaching upon their first Russian principality, Ryazan. After a 3 day-siege using heavy bombardment, the Mongols captured the city and massacred its inhabitants, then proceeding to destroy the army of the Grand principality of Vladimir at the Sit River. The Mongols captured the Alania capital, Maghas, in 1238. By 1240, all Rusâ lands including Kiev had fallen to the Asian invaders except for a few northern cities. Mongol troops under Chormaqan in Persia connected his invasion of Transcaucasia with the invasion of Batu and Subotai, forcing the Georgian and Armenian nobles to surrender as well.[34]

But strife continued within the Mongol ranks. Despite his military victories, Batu's relations with Güyük, Ogedei's eldest son, and Büri, the beloved grandson of Chagatai Khan, remained tense, and worsened during Batu's victory banquet in southern Russia. But Guyuk and Buri could do nothing to harm Batu's position as long as his uncle Ogedei was still alive. Meanwhile, Ogedei continued with Mongol invasions into the Indian subcontinent, temporarily investing Uchch, Lahore and Multan of the Delhi Sultanate and stationing a Mongol overseer in Kashmir.[35] Ogedei agreed to receive tributes from the court of Goryeo and reinforced his keshig with the Koreans through both diplomacy and military force.[36][37][38] The court of Goryeo eventually moved their capital to Kanghwa Island.

The battle of Liegnitz, 1241. From a medieval manuscript of the Hedwig legend.

The advance into Europe continued with Mongol invasions of Poland, Hungary and Transylvania. When the western flank of the Mongols plundered Polish cities, a European alliance consisting of the Poles, the Moravians, the Christian military orders of the Hospitallers, Teutonic Knights and the Templars assembled sufficient forces to halt the Mongol advance at Liegnica, but only briefly. The Hungarian army, their Croatian allies and the Templar Knights were beaten by Mongols at the banks of Sajo River on April 11, 1241. After their victories over European Knights at Liegnica and Muhi, Mongol armies quickly advanced across Bohemia, Serbia, Babenberg Austria and into the Holy Roman Empire.[39][40] But before Batu's forces could continue into Vienna and northern Albania, he received news of Ogedei's death in December 1241.[41][42] As was customary in Mongol military tradition, all princes of Genghis's line had to attend the kurultai to elect a successor. Batu and his western Mongol army withdrew from Central Europe the next year.

[edit] Struggles for superpower

Seal from Great Khan Güyük's letter to pope Innocent IV, 1246

Following the Great Khan Ogedei's death in 1241, his widow Toregene took over the empire. She persecuted her husband's Khitan and Muslim officials, giving high positions to her own allies instead. She built palaces, cathedrals and social structures on an imperial scale, supporting religion and education. She was able to win over most Mongol aristocrats to support Ogedei's son Guyuk. But Batu, ruler of the Golden Horde, refused to come to the kurultai, claiming he was ill and the Mongolian climate was too harsh for him. The resulting stalemate lasted more than four years, and further destabilized the unity of the Empire.

When Genghis Khan's youngest brother Temuge threatened Toregene to seize the throne, Guyuk came to Karakorum to try and secure his position.[43] Batu eventually agreed to send his brothers and generals to the kurultai which Toregene convened in 1246. Guyuk by this time was ill and alcoholic, but his campaigns in Manchuria and Europe gave him the kind of stature necessary for a Great Khan. He was duly elected at a ceremony attended by Mongols and foreign dignitaries from both within and without the Empire -- leaders of vassal nations, and representatives from Rome and other entities, who came to the kurultai to show their respects and negotiate diplomacy.[44][45]

Guyuk took steps to reduce corruption, announcing that he would continue the policies of his father Ogedei, not Toregene. He punished Toregene's supporters, except governor Arghun the Elder. He also replaced young Khara Hulegu, the Khan of the Chagatai Khanate, with his favorite cousin Yesü Möngke to assert his newly conferred powers. He restored his father's officials to their former positions and was surrounded by the Uyghur, Naiman and Central Asian officials, favoring Han Chinese commanders who helped his father's conquest of North China. He continued military operations in Korea, advanced into Song China and Iraq, and ordered an Empire-wide census. Guyuk also divided the Sultanate of Rum between Izz-ad-Din Kaykawus and Rukn ad-Din Kilij Arslan, though Kaykawus disagreed with this decision.[46][47]

Stone Turtle at Karakorum

Not all parts of the Empire respected Guyuk's election. The Hashshashins, former Mongol allies whose Grand Master Hasan Jalalud-Din had offered his submission to Genghis Khan in 1221, angered Guyuk by refusing to submit, instead murdering Mongol generals in Persia.[48][49][50] Guyuk appointed his best friend's father Eljigidei as chief commander of the troops in Persia, tasked with both reducing the strongholds of the Assassins, and also conquering the Abbasids in the center of the Islamic world, Iran and Iraq.

In 1248, Guyuk raised more troops and suddenly marched westwards from the Mongol capital of Karakorum. The reasoning was unclear: Some sources wrote that he sought to recuperate at his personal property Emyl. Others suggested that he might have been moving to join Eljigidei to conduct a full-scale conquest of the Middle East, or possibly to make a surprise attack on his rival cousin Batu Khan in Russia. Suspicious of Guyuk's motives, Sorghaghtani Beki, the widow of Genghis's son Tolui, secretly warned her nephew Batu of Guyuk's approach with a large army. Batu had himself been traveling eastwards at the time, possibly to pay homage, or perhaps with other plans in mind. Before the forces of Batu and Guyuk met though, Guyuk, sick and worn out by travel, died en route at Qum-Senggir in Eastern Turkestan, possibly a victim of poison.

Guyuk's widow Oghul Ghaimish stepped forward to take control of the empire, but she lacked the skills of her mother-in-law Toregene, and her young sons Khoja and Naku and other princes challenged her authority. To decide on a new Great Khan, Batu called a kurultai on his own territory in 1250. As it was far from the Mongolian heartland, members of the Ogedeid and Chagataid families refused to attend. The kurultai offered the throne to Batu, but he rejected it, claiming he had no interest in the position. He instead nominated Mongke, a grandson of Genghis by his son Tolui. Mongke was leading a Mongol army in Russia, Northern Caucasus and Hungary. The pro-Tolui faction rose up and supported Batu's choice, and Mongke was elected, though given the kuriltai's limited attendance and location, it was of questionable validity. Batu sent Mongke under the protection of his brothers, Berke and Tukhtemur, and his son Sartaq to assemble a more formal kurultai at Kodoe Aral in the heartland. The supporters of Mongke invited Oghul Ghaimish and other main Ogedeid and Chagataid princes to attend the kurultai, but they refused each time. The Ogedeid and Chagataid princes refused to accept a descendant of Genghis's son Tolui as leader, demanding that only descendants of Genghis's on Ogedei could be Great Khan.

[edit] The Toluid reformation

The Silver Tree Fountain of Karakorum (modern recreation)

When Mongke's mother Sorghaghtani and his cousin Berke organized a second kurultai on July 1, 1251, the assembled throng proclaimed Mongke Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. This marked a major shift in the leadership of the Empire, transferring power from the descendants of Genghis's son Ogedei, to the descendants of Genghis's son Tolui. The decision was acknowledged by a few of the Ogedeid and Chagataid princes, such as Mongke's cousin Kadan and the deposed khan Khara Hulegu, but one of the other legitimate heirs, Ogedei's grandson Shiremun, sought to topple Mongke. Shiremun moved with his own forces towards the emperor's nomadic palace with a covert plan for an armed attack, but Mongke was alerted by his falconer of the plans. Mongke ordered an investigation of the plot, which led to a series of major trials all across the Empire, from Mongolia to China, Afghanistan, and even Iraq in the west. Many members of the Mongol elite were found guilty and put to death, with estimates ranging from 77-300, though princes of Genghis's royal line were often exiled rather than executed. Mongke eliminated the Ogedeid and the Chagataid families' estates and shared the western part of the empire with his ally Batu Khan. After the bloody purge, Mongke ordered a general amnesty for prisoners and captives, but ever after, the power of the Great khan's throne remained firmly with the descendants of Genghis's son Tolui.

Mongke was a serious man who followed the laws of his ancestors and avoided alcoholism. He was tolerant of outside religions and artistic styles, which led to the building of foreign merchants' quarters, Buddhist monasteries, mosques, and Christian churches in the Mongol capital. As construction projects continued, Karakorum was adorned with Chinese, European and Persian architecture. One famous example was a large silver tree with cleverly designed pipes which dispensed various drinks. The tree, topped by a triumphant angel, was crafted by Guillaume Boucher, a Parisian goldsmith.

Hulagu, Genghis Khan's grandson and founder of the Il-Khanate. From a medieval Persian manuscript.

Although he had a strong Chinese contingent, Tolui relied heavily on Muslim and Mongol administrators, and he launched a series of economic reforms to make government expenses more predictable. His court limited government spending and prohibited nobles and the troops from abusing civilians or issuing edicts without authorization. He commuted the contribution system into a fixed poll tax which was collected by imperial agents and forwarded to needy units. His court also tried to lighten the tax burden to commoners by reducing tax rates. Along with the reform of the tax system, he reinforced the guards at the postal relays and centralized control of monetary affairs. Mongke also ordered a count of the entire empire in a single census in 1252, which took several years to complete, not being finished until Novgorod in the far northwest was counted in 1258.[51]

In another move to consolidate his power, Mongkey assigned his brothers Hulegu and Kublai to rule Persia and Mongol-held China. In the southern part of the Empire, he continued his predecessors' struggle against the Song Dynasty. In order to outflank the Song from three directions, Mongke dispatched Mongol armies under his brother Kublai to Yunnan, and under his uncle Iyeku to subdue Korea and pressure the Song from that direction as well. Kublai conquered the Dali Kingdom in 1253, and Mongke's general Qoridai stabilized his control over Tibet, inducing leading monasteries to submit to Mongol rule. Subotai's son, Uryankhadai, reduced neighboring peoples of Yunnan to submission and beat the Trán Dynasty in northern Vietnam into temporary humiliated submission in 1258.[52]

After stabilizing the Empire's finances, Mongke once again sought to expand its borders. At kurultais in Karakorum in 1253 and 1258 he approved new invasions of the Middle East and south China. Mongke put Hulagu in overall charge of military and civil affairs in Persia, and appointed Chagataids and Jochids to join Hulagu's army. The Muslims from Qazvin denounced the menace of the Nizari Ismailis, a heretical sect of Shiites. The Mongol Naiman commander Kitbuqa began to assault several Ismaili fortresses in 1253, before Hulagu deliberately advanced in 1256. Ismaili Grand Master Rukn ud-Din surrendered in 1257 and was executed. All of the Ismaili strongholds in Persia were destroyed by Hulagu's army in 1257 though Girdukh held out until 1271.

Colorful medieval depiction of a siege, showing the city of Baghdad surrounded by walls, and the Mongol army outside
Fall of Baghdad in 1258, an event often considered as the single most catastrophic event in the history of Islam

The center of the Islamic Empire at the time was Baghdad, which had held power for 500 years but was beginning to rot from within. When its caliph al-Mustasim refused to submit to the Mongols, Baghdad was besieged and captured by the Mongols in 1258, an event often considered as the single most catastrophic event in the history of Islam. With the destruction of the Abbasid Caliphate, Hulagu had an open route to Syria and moved against the other Muslim powers in the region. His army advanced towards Ayyubid-ruled Syria, capturing small local states en route.[53] The sultan Al-Nasir Yusuf of the Ayyubids refused to show himself before Hulagu; however, he had accepted Mongol supremacy two decades ago. When Hulagu headed further west, the Armenians from Cilicia, the Seljuks from Rum and the Christian realms of Antioch and Tripoli submitted to Mongol authority, joining the Mongols in their assault against the Muslims. While some cities surrendered without resisting, others such as Mayafarriqin fought back; their populations were massacred and the cities were sacked.

At the same time, in the northwestern portion of the Empire, Batu's successor and younger brother Berke sent punitive expeditions to Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland. But dissension was brewing between the northwestern and southwestern sections, and Batu suspected the Hulagu's invasion of Western Asia would result in the elimination of Batu's own predominance there.

Mongke Khan himself led his army to complete the conquest of China, a goal which he saw as a priority for the Empire. Military operations though, while generally successful, were prolonged. The weather became extremely hot and the Mongols began to suffer from bloody epidemics. Mongke decided to stay instead of retiring north as the Mongols usually did, and died there on August 11, 1259, due to reasons disputed till this day. This event began a new chapter of history for the Mongols, as again a decision needed to be made on a new Great Khan, and Mongol armies across the Empire withdrew from their campaigns to once again convene for a new kurultai.

[edit] Disintegration

The Mongol Empire after the death of Mongke Khan (r.1251-59)

[edit] Dispute over succession

The death of the Great Khan Mongke had far-reaching consequences in the Empire. When Mongke's brother Hulagu received the news, he broke off his successful military advance into Syria, and withdrew the bulk of his forces to Mughan, leaving only a small contingent under his general Kitbuqa. The main bulk of the Mongol army had successfully taken Aleppo, but with the now much smaller force, Kitbuqa rapidly ran into resistance from the Egyptian Mamluks. The Egyptians also engaged in an unusual passive truce with the Christians. The Mamluks and Christian Crusaders, though traditionally enemies, both recognized that the Mongols were a greater threat, and worked together to take advantage of the Mongols' weakened forces. The Crusaders of Acre allowed the Egyptians to advance northwards through Christian territory, and even camp to re-supply near the main Christian stronghold of Acre. The Mamluks engaged Kitbuqa's force just north of Galilee, at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. The Egyptians won the battle, and Kitbuqa was executed. This pivotal battle marked the western limit for Mongol expansion, as the Mongols were never again able to make any serious military advances further than Syria.

In a separate part of the Empire, another brother of Hulagu and Mongke, Kublai, heard of the great khan's death at the Huai in China. Rather than returning to the capital though, he continued his advance into the Wuchang area of China, near the Yangtze River. With the absence of both Hulagu and Kublai, their younger brother, Arikboke, used his position at the capital to prepare to win the title of Great Khan. Representatives of all the family branches proclaimed him as the leader at the kurultai in Karakorum. Kublai's wife informed her husband that Ariqboke was raising troops, and Kublai opted to summon his own kurultai at Kaiping. Virtually all the senior princes and great noyans resident in North China and Manchuria supported the latter's candidacy.

[edit] Civil war

Battles ensued between the armies of Kublai, and those of his brother Ariqboke, which includes forces still loyal to Mongke's previous administration. Kublai's army easily eliminated Arikboke's supporters, and seized control of the civil administration in southern Mongolia. Further challenges took place from their cousins, the Chagataids. Kublai sent Abishka, a Chagataid prince loyal to him, to take charge of Chagatai's realm. But Arikboke captured Abishka and had his own man, Alghu, crowned there instead. Alghu won control of the Qaraunas and arrested their commander, Sali, who was loyal to Kublai.[54][55][56] After a defeat during the first armed clash, Ariqboke executed Abishka in revenge. Kublai's new administration ordered widespread emergency mobilization of military equipment and manpower while he and his cousin Khadan blockaded Ariqboke in Mongolia to cut off food supplies. The resulting famine intensified when Alghu betrayed Ariqboke and began supporting Kublai instead. Karakorum fell quickly to Kublai, but Ariqboke rallied and re-took the capital in 1261.

Hulagu was loyal to his brother Kublai, but clashes with their cousin Berke, the ruler of the Golden Horde in the northwestern part of the Empire, began in 1262. The suspicious deaths of Jochid princes in Hulegu's service, unequal distribution of war booties and the Hulegu's massacres of the Muslims increased the anger of Berke. He considered supporting a rebellion of the Georgian Kingdom against Hulegu's rule in 1259-1260.[57] As a result of failed rebellions, King David Ulu lost his effective control over Georgia and Armenia to the Mongols while David Narin in Imereti was forced to pay nominal homage to the Ilkhans.[58][59] The increasing tension between Berke and Hulegu was a warning to the contingents belonging to the Golden Horde which had marched with Hulegu that they had better escape. Their one section reached the Kipchak Steppe, another traversed Khorasan and a third body took refuge in Mamluk ruled Syria where they were well received by Sultan Baybars (1260â77). Hulegu harshly punished the rest of them in Iran. Berke sought a joint attack with Baybars and forged an alliance with the Mamluks against Hulegu. The Ilkhan threw his support to Kublai, while Berke strongly supported Arikboke. The latter sent Nogai to invade the Ilkhanate and the former dispatched his army under Abagha to the Golden Horde in retaliation; both sides suffered disastrous defeats. Chagatai Khan Alghu also insisted Hulegu attack Berke's realm because he accused Berke of purging of his relatives in 1252. When the Muslim elites and the Jochid retainers in Bukhara declared their loyalty to Berke, Alghu smashed the Jochids appendages in Khorazm. In Bukhara, he and Hulegu slaughtered all the retainers of the Golden Horde and reduced their families into slavery, leaving only the Great Khan Kublai's and Sorghaghtani's men alive.[60]

Due to the winter disaster and the desertions of his allies, Arikboke Khan's force weakened. He proceeded to Shangdu where he surrendered on August 21, 1264, realizing his brother's advantages. With Arikboke defeated, the rulers of the Golden Horde, the Chagatai Khanate and the Ilkhanate acknowledged the reality of Kublai's victory and rule.[61] When Kublai summoned them to organize another kurultai, Alghu Khan demanded security for his illegal position from Kublai in return. Despite tensions between them, both Hulegu and Berke accepted Kublai's invitation at first.[62][63] However, they soon declined to attend the new kurultai. In the absence of a quorum for the kurultai, Kublai who was partially recognized pardoned his brother Arikboke and started preparations for his conquest of the Song Dynasty. The khanates now began to politically disintegrate, each asserting its claims and choosing its own rulers with nominal recognition from others.[64]

[edit] The reign of Kublai Khan

Kublai Khan, Genghis Khan's grandson and founder of the Yuan Dynasty. Painting from 1294.

When the Byzantine Empire, the ally of the Ilkhanate, captured Egyptian envoys, Berke sent an army through his vassal Bulgaria, prompting the release of the envoys and the Seljuk Sultan Kaykawus II. He tried to raise civil unrest in Anatolia using Kaykawus but failed. In the new official version of the family history, Kublai Khan refused to write Berke's name as the khan of Golden Horde for his support to Arikboke and wars with Hulegu, however, Jochi's family was fully recognized as legitimate family members.[65]

The Mongol Empire and its divisions

Kublai Khan also reinforced Hulegu with 30,000 young Mongols in order to stabilize the political crises in western khanates.[66] As soon as Hulegu died on the 8th of February, 1264, Berke marched to cross near Tiflis, but he died on the way. Within a few months of these deaths, Alghu Khan of the Chagatai Khanate died too. Nevertheless, this sudden vacuum of power relieved Kublai's control over the western khanates somehow. However, he named Abagha as the new Ilkhan and nominated Batu's grandson Mongke Temur for the throne of Sarai, the capital of the Golden Horde.[67][68] The Kublaids in the east retained suzerainty over the Ilkhans (obedient khans) until the end of its regime.[64][69] Kublai also sent his protégé Baraq to overthrow the court of Oirat Orghana, the empress of the Chagatai Khanate, who put her young son Mubarak Shah on the throne in 1265, without Kublai's permission after Alghu's death. Ogedeid prince Kaidu declined to personally come to the court of Kublai. Kublai instigated Baraq to attack him. The latter began to expand his realm northward, fighting Kaidu and the Jochids after he seized power in 1266. He also pushed out Great Khan's overseer from Tarim basin. When Kaidu and Mongke Timur defeated him together, Baraq joined an alliance with the House of Ogedei and the Golden Horde against Kublai in the east and Abagha in the west. But smart Mongke Temur stayed out of any direct military expedition into the Empire of the Great Khan. The armies of Mongol Persia defeated Baraq's invading forces in 1269. When Baraq died the next year, Kaidu took the control over the Chagatai Khanate.

Meanwhile, Kublai mobilized another Mongol invasion after he helped put King Wonjong (r. 1260-1274) on the throne of Goryeo in 1259 in Kanghwa. He forced two rulers of the Golden Horde and the Ilkhanate to call a truce with each other in 1270 despite the Golden Horde's interests in the Middle East and Caucasia.[70] After the fall of Xiangyang in 1273, the Mongols proposed the final conquest of the Song Dynasty in South China. Therefore, Kublai ordered Mongke Temur to revise the second census of the Golden Horde to provide sources and men for his conquest of China.[71] The census took place in all parts of the Golden Horde, including Smolensk and Vitebsk in 1274-75. The Khans also sent Nogai to Balkan to strengthen Mongol influence there.[72]

Niccolò and Maffeo Polo remitting a letter from Kublai Khan to Pope Gregory X in 1271.

As the Great Khan Kublai renamed the Mongol regime in China the Yuan Dynasty in 1271, he sought to sinicize his image as Emperor of China in order to win the control of millions Chinese people. When he moved his headquarters to Khanbalic or Dadu at modern Beijing, there was an uprising in the old capital Karakorum that he barely staunched. His actions were condemned by traditionalists and his critics still accused him of being too closely tied to Chinese culture. They sent a message to him: "The old customs of our Empire are not those of the Chinese lawsâ What will happen to the old customs?".[73][74] Even Kaidu attracted the other elites of Mongol Khanates, declaring himself to be a legitimate heir to the throne instead of Kublai who had turned away from the ways of Genghis Khan.[75][76] Defections from Kublai's Dynasty swelled the Ogedeids' forces. Because Khagan Kublai wanted to make sure that he laid claims to Mongolia and the sacred place Burkhan Khaldun where Genghis was buried, Mongolia was strongly protected by the Kublaids.

The Chinese Song imperial family surrendered to the Yuan in 1276, making the Mongols the first non-Chinese people to conquer all of China. Three years later, Yuan marines crushed the last of the Song loyalists at the Battle of Yamen on the Pearl River. Kublai succeeded in building a powerful Empire, creating an academy, offices, trade ports and canals and sponsoring arts and science. The record of the Mongols lists 20,166 public schools created during his reign.[77] Achieving actual or nominal dominion over much of Eurasia, and having seen his successful conquest of China, Kublai was in a position to look beyond China.[78] However, Kublai's costly invasions of Burma, Annam, Sakhalin and Champa secured only the vassal status of those countries. Mongol invasions of Japan (1274 and 1280) and Java (1293) failed. At the same time his nephew Ilkhan Abagha tried to form a grand alliance of the Mongols and the Western Europeans to defeat the Mamluks in Syria and North Africa that constantly invaded the Mongol dominions. Abagha and his uncle Kublai focused mostly on foreign alliances, and opened trade routes. Khagan Kublai dined with a large court every day, and met with many ambassadors, foreign merchants, and even offered to convert to Christianity if this religion was proved to be correct by 100 priests.

In 1277, a group of Genghisid princes under Mongke's son Shiregi rebelled, kidnapping Kublai's two sons and his general Antong. The rebels handed them over to Kaidu and Mongke Temur. The latter was still allied with Kaidu who fashioned an alliance with him in 1269, although, he promised Kublai Khan his military support to protect him from the Ogedeids.[79] Great Khan's armies suppressed the rebellion and strengthened the Yuan garrisons in Mongolia and Uighurstan.

Rabban Bar Sauma, the ambassador of Great Khan Kublai and Ilkhan Arghun, travelled from Dadu in the East, to Rome, Paris and Bordeaux in the West, meeting with the major rulers of the period in 1287-1288

As the successor of previous great khans, Kublai had to propose all foreign affairs at least nominally. When the Muslim Ahmad Teguder seized the throne of the Ilkhanate in 1282, attempting to make peace with the Mamluks, Abagha's old Mongols under prince Arghun appealed to the Great Khan. After the execution of Ahmad, Kublai confirmed Arghun's coronation and awarded his commander in chief who helped his master the title of chingsang. In spite of his lack of direct administration over the western khanates and the Mongol princesâ rebellions, it seems Kublai could intervene in their affairs because Abagha's son Arghun wrote that Great Khan Kublai ordered him to conquer Egypt in his letter to the Pope Nicolas IV.[80]

Kublai's niece Kelmish, who was married a Khunggirat general of the Golden Horde, was powerful enough to have Kublai's sons Nomuqan and Kokhchu returned. The court of the Golden Horde sent them back as a peace overture to the Yuan Dynasty in 1282 and induced Kaidu to release the general of Kublai. Nogai and Konchi, the khan of White Horde, established friendly relations with the Yuan and the Ilkhanate. Despite political disagreement between contending branches of the family over the office of Khagan, the economic and commercial system which trumped their squabbles continued. Thus, later developments of the Mongol Empire are seen as the commonwealth of Mongol Khanates or the Pan-Mongolism of the Mongol World while some just name it simply new Mongol Empire.[81][82][83][84]

[edit] Pan Mongolism of the New Empire

[edit] Peace treaty and political struggles

The battle of Wadi al-Khazandar, 1299. 14th century image.

When Ghazan took the throne of the Ilkhanate in 1295, he formally accepted Islam as his own religion. This marked a turning point in Mongol history after which Mongol Persia became more and more Islamic. Ghazan also strengthened ties with the central Mongol Empire. Previous Ilkhans had minted coins with the name of Great Khan in Iran. But Ghazan's coins in Georgia carried the traditional Mongolian formula: "Struck by Ghazan in the name of Khagan".[85] Ghazan found it politically useful to advertise the Great Khan's sovereignty there, because the Golden Horde had long made claims on Georgia.[86] Within four years, Ghazan began sending tributes to the court of the Kublaids, and also appealed to other khans to accept Temur Khagan as their true overlord.[87] Ghazan's seal even reinforced this relationship: Though Ghazan had a seal certifying the authority of his Royal Highness to establish a country and govern its people, he was styled as a prince under the Great Khan.[88]

Ghazan's faith may have been Islamic, but he continued his ancestorsâ war with the Mamluks, and consulted with his old Mongolian advisers in his native tongue. Ghazan defeated the Mamluk army at the battle of Wadi al-Khazandar, but was only able to occupy Syria briefly in 1299. The Chagatai Khanate, under its de facto ruler Kaidu, was making constant raids on Khorasan. This distraction interfered with Ghazan's plan to conquer Syria.

Political struggles also existed within the Golden Horde. Kaidu was at war with both the Ilkhans and the Yuan, and struggling for influence with the Horde. He sponsored his own candidate Kobeleg against Bayan (r.1299-1304), the Khan of White Horde.[89] Bayan, after receiving military support from the Mongol court in Russia, requested assistance from both Temur and the Ilkhanate to organize a unified attack against Kaidu's forces. Temur was amenable, but was unable to send immediate military support.[90] The Yuan enlarged their counterattacks to Kaidu a year later. Ghazan was satisfied with Temur Khan's policy that the Yuan led full-scale campaign in Central Asia. After the bloody battle with Temur's armies near Zawkhan River in 1301, old valiant Kaidu died.[91] His death gave breathing space of internal conflicts of Mongol Khans.

Khagan (Emperor) Temur of the Yuan Dynasty. 14th century image.

In spite of his conflicts with Kaidu and Duwa, Temur established tributary relationship with the war-like Shan brothers after his series of military operations against Babai-Xifu in Thailand from 1297 to 1303. It was the end of the southern expansion of the Mongols. However, the Mongols now began to look for their unity. Duwa, who was tired of costly wars, initiated a general peace and persuaded the Ogedeids that "Let we Mongols stop shedding blood of each other. It is better to surrender to Khagan Temur".[92][93] All Khanates approved the peace treaty in 1304 and accepted Temur's supremacy. Ghazan's successor Oljeitu and Tokhta, the ruler of the Golden Horde, introduced the Mongol unity to the Kingdom of France and Russia while Temur ratified Oljeitu as the new Ilkhan.[94][95][96][97]

However, the fighting between Duwa and Kaidu's son Chapar broke out shortly afterwards. With the assistance of Temur Khagan, Duwa defeated the Ogedeids. And Tokhta who strongly supported a general peace sent 20,000 men to buttress the Yuan frontier.[98] Under the general peace of the Mongols, international trade and cultural exchanges flourished between Asia and Europe. For example, patterns of the Yuan royal textiles influenced Armenian decorations and a different variety of trees and vegetables were transplanted in the provinces of the Empire including China and Iran while technological innovations spreading from Mongol dominions to the West.[99][100] The Chagataids' expansion was primarily south against India after the treaty.

After Tokhta's death in 1312, Ozbeg (r.1313-41) seized the throne and persecuted non-Muslim Mongols. The Yuan's influence to the Horde was largely reversed and border clashes between Mongol states continued again. Khagan Ayurbawda's envoys seem to have backed Tokhta's son against Ozbeg. Esen Buqa I (r. 1309-1318) was enthroned as khan of the Chagatai Khanate after suppressing a sudden rebellion by Ogedei's descendants and driving Chapar into exile in the Yuan. The Yuan and Ilkhanid armies eventually attacked the Chagatai Khanate and their Qaraunas despite the conciliatory attitude of Duwa's son Esen Buqa. The latter asked Ozbeg Khan who was loyal ally of Egypt to form an alliance against Ayurbawda but Ozbeg refused. However, Esen buqa's successor Kebek (d.1325) mitigated the situation, recognizing the Yuan's nominal authority in Uighurstan after his brother's failed wars with emperor Ayurbawda and Ilkhan Oljeitu who conquered Gilan in 1307 and attacked Mamluk fortresses in 1312-13.

Ozbeg Khan (1313-1341) judging the case of Mikhail of Tver. By Vasily Vereshchagin.

Realizing economic benefits and the Genghisid legacy, Ozbeg reopened friendly relations with the Khagans of the Yuan in 1326. The Golden Horde assembled its own khan's guards, following the Yuan style. After crushing a large rebellion in Tver in 1327, Ozbeg sent Russian prisoners to the court of Mongol Dynasty in China to show his respect. He revived the Horde's Balkan ambitions. For successfully expanding Islam, he connected Sarai city with international network of Muslim culture, building mosques and other elaborate places such as baths. Despite paying tributes to the Khagans, Ozbeg and his successors never left their claims on Caucasus and Middle East, menacing the Ilkhanate and the Chobanids in 1318, 1324, 1335 and 1356. By the second decade of the 14th century, Mongol invasions had been decreased. In 1323, Abu Said Khan (r. 1316-35) of the Ilkhanate signed a peace treaty with Egypt. By the request of him, the Yuan court awarded his custodian Chupan the title of a chief-commander of all Mongol Khanates. But Chupan's reputation could not rescue his life in 1327.[101]

When a civil war erupted in the Yuan Dynasty in 1327-1328, Chagatai Khan Eljigidey (r.1326-29) and Kusala, the Yuan Khagan Khayisan's son, saw their chance. The former sent the latter under the protection of his troops to Mongolia. Kusala was elected Khagan on August 30, 1329 because he was supported by a large part of Mongolian commanders and nobles. Fearing Chagataid influence on the Yuan, Tugh Temur's (1304â1332) Kypchak commander poisoned him. In order to be accepted by other khanates as the sovereign of Mongol World, Tugh Temur, who had a good knowledge of the Chinese language and history and was also a creditable poet, calligrapher, and painter, sent Genghisid princes and notable old Mongol generalsâ descendants to the Chagatai Khanate, Ilkhan Abu Said and Ozbeg. In respond of his emissaries, they all agreed to send him tributary missions each year.[102] Tugh Temur also gave lavish presents and imperial seal to Eljigidey to mollify his anger. Since the reign of Tugh Temur, the Kypchak and the Alans became even more powerful at the court of the Yuan. Pope John XXII was presented a memorandum from the eastern church describing their Pax Mongolica that "...Khagan is one of the greatest monarchs and all lords of the state, e.g. the king of Almaligh (Chagatai Khanate), emperor Abu Said and Uzbek Khan, are his subjects, saluting his holiness to pay their respects. These 3 monarchs send their overlord leopards, camels, falcons as well as precious jewelries every year. ... They acknowledge him as their absolute supreme lord.".[103]

[edit] Fall

The Tumens of Mongolia Proper and relict states of the Mongol Empire by 1500

With the death of Abu Said Bahatur Khan in 1335, the Mongol rule in Persia fell into political anarchy. A year later his successor was killed by an Oirat governor and the Ilkhanate was divided between the Suldus, the Jalayir, Qasarid Togha Temür (d.1353) and Persian warlords. Using the dissolution, the Georgians had already pushed out the Mongols when Uyghur commander Eretna established an independent state in Anatolia in 1336. Following the downfall of their Mongol masters, all-time loyal vassal Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia was threatened by the Mamluks more. Alongside the lost of Mongol colony in Persia, Mongol rulers of the Yuan and Chagatai Khanate were in a turmoil so deep that it threatened continuation of their power. Much fear arose outside the Mongol court. The Black Death began in the densely inhabited Mongol dominions from 1313 to 1331. This disastrous plague devastated all khanates, cutting off commercial ties and killing off millions. By the end of the 14th century, it may have taken 70-100 million lives of Africa, Asia and Europe.

As the power of the Mongols declined, chaos erupted everywhere. Golden Horde lost all of its western dominions (including modern Belarus and Ukraine) to Poland and Lithuania from 1342 to 1369. Muslim and non-Muslim princes in the Chagatai Khanate warred with each other from 1331-1343. But the Chagatai Khanate disintegrated when non-Genghisid warlords set up their own puppet khans in Mawarannahr and Moghulistan separately. Janibeg Khan (r. 1342-1357) briefly reasserted Jochid dominance over the Chaghataids to restore their former glory. Demanding submission from an offshoot of the Ilkhanate in Azerbaijan, he boasted that "today three uluses are under my control". However, rival families of the Jochids began fighting for the throne of the Golden Horde after the assassination of his successor Berdibek Khan in 1359. Nominal Khagan Toghan Temur (r. 1333-70) was powerless to regulate those troubles because the empire nearly reached its end.[104] His court's unbacked currency had entered a hyperinflationary spiral and the Han-Chinese people revolted due to the Yuan's late harsh restrictions. King Gongmin of Goryeo pushed Mongolian garrisons back and exterminated the family of Khagan Toghan Temur's empress while Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen eliminated the Mongol influence in Tibet.

Increasingly isolated from their subjects, the Mongols quickly lost most of China to the Ming rebels in 1368 and fled to their homeland Mongolia. After the overthrow of the Yuan Dynasty, the Golden Horde lost touch with Mongolia and China[105] while the two main parts of Chagatai Khanate were defeated by Timur (Tamerlane) (1336â1405). The Golden Horde broke into smaller Turkic-hordes that declined steadily in power through four long centuries. Among them, the Khanate's shadow Great Horde survived till 1502 that one of its successors - Crimean Khanate sacked Sarai. The Borjigin emperors had ruled Mongolia until 1635 when the Qing Dynasty defeated them. The Khalkha under the Genghisids and their former subjects-the Oirat Mongols lost their independence to the semi-nomadic Manchus in 1691 and 1755 respectively. The Crimean Khanate was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1783.

[edit] Organization

[edit] Military setup

With the help of their mounted archers, the Mongols conquered most of Eurasia.

The Mongol military organization was simple but effective. It was based on an old tradition of the steppe, which was a decimal system known in Iranian cultures since Achaemenid Persia. Later on, the army was built up from squads of ten men each, called an arbat; ten arbats constituted a company of one hundred, called a zuut; ten zuuts made a regiment of one thousand called myanghan and ten myanghans would then constitute a regiment of ten thousand (tumen), equivalent to a modern division.

Unlike other mobile-only warriors, such as the Xiongnu or the Huns, the Mongols were comfortable in the art of the siege. They were careful to recruit artisans and military talents from the cities they conquered, and along with a group of experienced Chinese engineers and bombardier corps, were experts in building trebuchets, Xuanfeng catapults and other machines with which they could lay siege to fortified positions. These were effectively used in the successful European campaigns under General Subutai. These weapons were sometimes built on the spot using available local resources such as nearby trees.

When in battle Mongol forces used an extensively coordinated combination of armed forces. Although they were famous for their horse archers, troops armed with lances were equally skilled and just as essential to their success. Mongol forces also used engineers in battle, siege engines and rockets were used to disrupt enemy formations, enemy forces were confused with smoke whilst smoke was also used to isolate portions of an enemy force while it was destroyed so that allies were prevented from sending aid.

The army's discipline distinguished Mongol soldiers from their peers. Forces under the command of the Mongol Empire were generally trained, organized, and equipped for mobility and speed. To maximize mobility, Mongol soldiers were relatively lightly armored compared to many of the armies they faced. In addition, soldiers of the Mongol army functioned independently of supply lines, considerably speeding up army movement. Skillful use of couriers enabled these armies to maintain contact with each other and with their higher leaders. Discipline was inculcated during a nerge (traditional hunt), as reported by Juvayni. These hunts were distinct from hunts in other cultures which were the equivalent to small unit actions. Mongol forces would spread out on line, surround an entire region then drive all of the game within that area together. The goal was to let none of the animals escape and to slaughter them all.

The Samurai facing Mongols, during the Mongol invasions of Japan. From Takezaki Suenaga's Moko Shurai Ekotoba.

All military campaigns were preceded by careful planning, reconnaissance and gathering of sensitive information relating to enemy territories and forces. The success, organization and mobility of the Mongol armies permitted them to fight on several fronts at once. All males aged from 15 to 60 and capable of undergoing rigorous training were eligible for conscription into the army, a source of honor in their tribal warrior tradition.

Another advantage of the Mongols was their ability to traverse large distances even in debilitatingly cold winters; in particular, frozen rivers led them like highways to large urban conurbations on their banks. In addition to siege engineering, the Mongols were also adept at river-work, crossing the river Sajó in spring flood conditions with thirty thousand cavalry in a single night during the battle of Mohi (April, 1241) to defeat the Hungarian king Bela IV. Similarly, in the attack against the Muslim Khwarezmshah, a flotilla of barges was used to prevent escape on the river.

[edit] Law and governance


The Mongol Empire was governed by a code of law devised by Genghis, called Yassa, meaning "order" or "decree". A particular canon of this code was that the nobility shared much of the same hardship as the common man. It also imposed severe penalties â e.g., the death penalty was decreed if the mounted soldier following another did not pick up something dropped from the mount in front. On the whole, the tight discipline made the Mongol Empire extremely safe and well-run; European travelers were amazed by the organization and strict discipline of the people within the Mongol Empire.

Under Yassa, chiefs and generals were selected based on merit, religious tolerance was guaranteed, and thievery and vandalizing of civilian property was strictly forbidden. According to legend, a woman carrying a sack of gold could travel safely from one end of the Empire to another.

The empire was governed by a non-democratic parliamentary-style central assembly, called Kurultai, in which the Mongol chiefs met with the Great Khan to discuss domestic and foreign policies.

Genghis also demonstrated a rather liberal and tolerant attitude to the beliefs of others, and never persecuted people on religious grounds. This proved to be good military strategy, as when he was at war with Sultan Muhammad of Khwarezm, other Islamic leaders did not join the fight against Genghis â it was instead seen as a non-holy war between two individuals.

Throughout the empire, trade routes and an extensive postal system (yam) were created. Many merchants, messengers and travelers from China, the Middle East and Europe used the system. Genghis Khan also created a national seal, encouraged the use of a written alphabet in Mongolia, and exempted teachers, lawyers, and artists from taxes, although taxes were heavy on all other subjects of the empire.

At the same time, any resistance to Mongol rule was met with massive collective punishment. Cities were destroyed and their inhabitants slaughtered if they defied Mongol orders.

[edit] Religions

Persian miniature showing Ghazan's conversion from Buddhism to Islam

Mongols were highly tolerant of most religions, and typically sponsored several at the same time. At the time of Genghis Khan, virtually every religion had found converts, from Buddhism to Christianity and Manichaeanism to Islam. To avoid strife, Genghis Khan set up an institution that ensured complete religious freedom, though he himself was a shamanist. Under his administration, all religious leaders were exempt from taxation, and from public service.[106] Mongol emperors organized competitions of religious debates among clerics with a large audience.

Initially there were few formal places of worship, because of the nomadic lifestyle. However, under Ögedei, several building projects were undertaken in Karakorum. Along with palaces, Ogodei built houses of worship for the Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, and Taoist followers. The dominant religion at that time was Shamanism, Tengriism and Buddhism, although Ogodei's wife was a Christian.[107] Later, three of the four principal khanates embraced Islam,[108] as the Mongol elite favored Islam over other religions.[109][110]

[edit] Buddhism

Buddhists entered the service of Mongol Empire in the early 13th century. However, Buddhist monasteries established in Karakorum and their clerics were granted tax exempts, the religion was given official status by the Mongols quite later. All variants of Buddhism, such as Chinese, Tibetan and Indian Buddhism flourished, though Tibetan Buddhism was eventually favored in the imperial level under emperor Mongke. The latter appointed Namo from Kashmir a chief of all Buddhist monks.

Ogedei's son and Guyuk's younger brother, Khoten, became the governor of Ningxia and Gansu. He launched a military campaign into Tibet under the command of Generals Lichi and Dhordha. The marauding Mongols burned down Tibetan monuments such as the Reting monastery and the Gyal temple in 1240. Prince Kötön was convinced that no power in the world exceeded the might of the Mongols. However, he believed that religion was necessary in the interests of the next life. Thus he invited Sakya Pandita to his ordo. Prince Kötön was impressed and healed by Sakya Pandita's teachings and knowledge. Then he became the first known Buddhist prince of Mongol empire.

Kublai, the founder of Yuan Dynasty, also favored Buddhism. As early as 1240s, he made contacts with a Chan Buddhist monk Haiyun, who became his Buddhist adviser. Kublai's second son, whom he later officially designated as his successor of the Yuan Dynasty, was given Chinese name "Zhenjin" (literally, "True Gold") with the help of Haiyun. Khatun Chabi influenced Kublai to be converted to Buddhism. She received the Hévajra tantra initiations from Phagspa and was very impressed. Kublai appointed him his state preceptor, and later imperial preceptor, giving him power over all the Buddhist monks within the territory of the Yuan Dynasty. For the rest of the Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia and China to 1368, Tibetan lamas were most influential Buddhist clergy. Via Tibetan clergy, Indian Buddhist textual tradition strongly influenced the religious life in the Empire.

Some of the Ilkhans in Iran held Paghmo gru-pa order as their appanage in Tibet and lavishly patronized a variety of Indian, Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist monks. In 1295, Ghazan persecuted Buddhists and destroyed their temples. Before his conversion he built Buddhist temple in Khorasan. The 14th century Buddhist scriptures found at archaeological sites related to Chagatai Khanate show the popularity of Buddhism among the Mongols and the Uighurs. Tokhta of Golden Horde also encouraged lamas to settle in Russia.[111] But his policy was halted by his successor Ozbeg Khan, a Muslim.

[edit] Christianity

Nestorian tombstone found in Issyk Kul, dated 1312.

Some Mongols had been Evangelized by Christian Nestorians since about the 7th century, and a few Mongols were converted to Catholicism, esp. by John of Montecorvino who was appointed by Papal states.[112]

Although, the religion never achieved great position in the Mongol Empire, many Great Khans and khans were raised by Christian mothers and tutors. Some of the major Christian figures among the Mongols were: Sorghaghtani Beki, daughter in law of Genghis Khan, and mother of the Great Khans Möngke, Kublai, Hulagu and Ariq Boke; Sartaq, khan of Golden Horde; Doquz Khatun, the mother of the ruler Abaqa; Kitbuqa, general of Mongol forces in the Levant, who fought in alliance with Christians. Marital alliances with Western powers also occurred, as in the 1265 marriage of Maria Palaiologina, daughter of Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus, with Abaqa. Tokhta, Oljeitu and Ozbeg had Greek Khatuns as well. Mongol Empire contained the lands of the Eastern Orthodox church in Caucasus and Russia, the Apostolic church in Armenia and the Assyrian Church of Nestorians in Central Asia and Persia.

The 13th century saw attempts at a Franco-Mongol alliance with exchange of ambassadors and even military collaboration with European Christians in the Holy Land. Ilkhan Abagha sent a tumen to support crusaders during the Ninth Crusade in 1271. The Nestorian Mongol Rabban Bar Sauma visited some European courts in 1287-1288. At the same time however, Islam began to take firm root amongst the Mongols, as those who embraced Christianity such as Tekuder, became Muslim.[113] After Ongud Mar Yahbh-Allaha, the monk of Kublai Khan, was elected a catholicos of the eastern Christian church in 1281, Catholic missionaries were begun to sent to all Mongol capitals.

[edit] Islam

The Ilkhanate, Golden Horde, and the Chagatai Khanate - three of the four principal khanates - embraced Islam,[114] as the Mongol elite favored Islam over other religions.[115][116] Mongols also employed many Muslims in various fields and increasingly took their advice in administrative affairs. For example, Genghis Khan's advisor, Mahmud Yalavach, was a Muslim. As they were well educated and knew Turkish and Mongolian, Muslims became a favored class of officials with notable Mongol converts to Islam including Mubarak Shah of the Chagatai Khanate, Tuda Mengu of the Golden Horde, Ghazan of the Ilkhanate. Berke, who ruled Golden Horde from 1257 to 1266, was the first Muslim leader of any Mongol khanates.

Ghazan was the first Muslim khan to adopt Islam as national religion of Ilkhanate, followed by Uzbek of the Golden Horde who urged his subjects to accept the religion as well. Though in Chagatai Khanate, Mongols continued their nomadic lifestyle as Buddhism and Shamanism flourished until the 1350s. When western part of the khanate embraced Islam quickly, eastern part or Moghulistan retarded Islamization until Tughlugh Timur (1329/30-1363) accepted Islam with his thousands of subjects.

Though the Yuan Dynasty, unlike the western khanates, never converted to Islam, there had been many Muslim foreigners since Kublai Khan and his successors were tolerant of other religions, though Buddhism was the most influential religion within its territory. Contact between Yuan emperors in China and Muslim states in North Africa, India and Middle East lasted until the mid-14th century. Muslims were classified as Semuren, "various sorts", below the Mongols but above the Chinese. According to Jack Weatherford, there were more than one million Muslims in Yuan Dynasty (See also Islam during the Yuan Dynasty for more information).

[edit] Tengriism

Alexander Nevsky standing near Mongol shaman in the Golden Horde. Painting by Henryk Siemiradzki.

Shamanism, which practices a form of animism with several meanings and with different characters, was a popular religion in ancient Central Asia and Siberia. The central act in the relationship between human and nature was the worship of the Blue Mighty Eternal Heaven - "Blue Sky" (Хóñ ññнгññ, Эññññ мóнñ ññнгññ). Chingis Khan showed his spiritual power was greater than others and himself to be a connector to heaven after the execution of rival shaman Teb Tengri Kokhchu.

Under the Mongol Empire the khans such as Batu, Duwa, Kebek and Tokhta kept a whole college of male shamans. Those shamans were divided into bekis and others. The bekis (not confused with princess) were camped in front of the Great Khan's palace while some shamans left behind it. In spite of astrological observations and regular calendar ceremonies, Mongol shamans led armies and performed weather magic (zadyin arga). Shamans played a powerful political role behind the Mongol court.

While Ghazan converted to Islam, he still practiced some elements of Mongol shamanism. The Yassa code remained in place and Mongol shamans were allowed to remain in the Ilkhanate empire and remained politically influential throughout his reign as well as Oljeitu's. However, ancient Mongol shamanistic traditions went into decline with the demise of Oljeitu and with the rise of rulers practicing a purified form of Islam. With Islamization the shamans were no longer important as had been they in Golden Horde and Ilkhanate. But they still performed in ritual ceremonies alongside the Nestors and Buddhist monks in Yuan Dynasty.

[edit] Mail system

A partially unrolled scroll, opened from left to right to show a portion of the scroll with widely spaced vertical lines of a foreign language. Imprinted over two of the lines is an official-looking square red stamp with an intricate design.
1305 letter (a roll measuring 302 by 50 centimetres (9.91 by 1.6 ft)) from the Ilkhan Mongol Öljaitü to King Philip IV of France

The Mongol Empire had an ingenious and efficient mail system for the time, often referred to by scholars as the Yam, which had lavishly furnished and well guarded relay posts known as örtöö set up all over the Mongol Empire. The yam system would be replicated later in the U.S. in the form of the Pony Express.[117] A messenger would typically travel 25 miles (40 km) from one station to the next, and he would either receive a fresh, rested horse or relay the mail to the next rider to ensure the speediest possible delivery. The Mongol riders regularly covered 125 miles per day, which is faster than the fastest record set by the Pony Express some 600 years later.

It is said that Genghis and his successor Ogedei built roads. One of roads that Ogedei built carved the Altai Range. After his enthronement, the latter organized the road system and ordered Chagatai Khanate and Golden Horde to link up roads in western parts of the Mongol Empire.[118] In order to reduce pressure on households, he set up relay stations with attached households every 25 miles (40 km). Although, someone with paiza was allowed to supply with remounts and served specified rations, those carrying military rarities used the Yam even without a paiza. News of Great Khan's death in Karakorum, Mongolia reached the Mongols forces under Batu Khan in Central Europe within 4â6 weeks thanks to the Yam.[119] Mongke Khan limited notorious abuses of the Mongols when they use the system.

Kublai Khan, the founder of the Yuan Dynasty, built special relays for high-officials as well as ordinary relays which had hostels. During the reign of Kublai, the Yuan communication system consisted of some 1,400 postal stations, which used 50,000 horses, 8,400 oxen, 6,700 mules, 4,000 carts, and 6,000 boats.[120] In Manchuria and southern Siberia, the Mongols still used dogsled relays for the yam. On the other hand, Ghazan of the Ilkhanate restored the declining relay system in Middle East on restricted scale. He constructed few number of hostels and decreed only imperial envoys to receive a stipend. The Jochids of the Golden Horde financed their relay system by special jam tax. It is known that major Mongol khanates in the Mongol World reopened the yam among them in 1304-1305.

[edit] Economy

[edit] Appanage system

Members of Golden Kin (or Golden Family - Altan urag) was entitled to a share (khubi - ññвñ) of the benefits of each part of Mongol Empire just as each Mongol noble and their family, as well as each warrior, was entitled to an appropriate measure of all the goods seized in war. In 1206, Genghis Khan gave large lands with people as share to his family and loyal companions, of whom most were people of common origin. Shares of booty were distributed much more widely. Empresses, princesses and meritorious servants, as well as children of concubines, all received full shares including war prisoners.[121] For example, Kublai called 2 siege engineers from the Ilkhanate in Middle East, then under the rule of his nephew Abagha. After the Mongol conquest in 1238, the port cities in Crimea paid the Jochids custom duties and the revenues were divided among all Chingisid princes in Mongol Empire accordance with the appanage system.[122] As loyal allies, the Kublaids in East Asia and the Ilkahnids in Persia sent clerics, doctors, artisans, scholars, engineers and administrators to and received revenues from the appanages in each other's khanates.

After Genghis Khan (1206â1227) distributed nomadic grounds and cities in Mongolia and North China to his mother Hoelun, youngest brother Temuge and other members and Chinese districts in Manchuria to his another brothers, Ogedei distributed shares in North China, Khorazm, Transoxiana to the Golden Family, imperial sons in law (khurgen-ñòñгñн) and notable generals in 1232-1236. Great Khan Mongke divided up shares or appanages in Persia and made redistribution in Central Asia in 1251-1256.[123] Although Chagatai Khanate was the smallest in its size, Chagatai Khans owned Kat and Khiva towns in Khorazm, few cities and villages in Shanxi and Iran in spite of their nomadic grounds in Central Asia.[121] First Ilkhan Hulegu owned 25,000 households of silk-workers in China, valleys in Tibet as well as pastures, animals, men in Mongolia.[121] His descendant Ghazan of Persia sent envoys with precious gifts to Temur Khan of Yuan Dynasty to request his great-grandfather's shares in Great Yuan in 1298. It is claimed that Ghazan received his shares that were not sent since the time of Mongke Khan.[124]

Mongol and non-Mongol appanage holders demanded excessive revenues and freed themselves from taxes. Ogedei decreed that nobles could appoint darughachi and judges in the appanages instead direct distribution without the permission of Great Khan thanks to genius Khitan minister Yelu Chucai. Kublai Khan continued Ogedei's regulations somehow, however, both Guyuk and Mongke restricted the autonomy of the appanages before. Ghazan also prohibited any misfeasence of appanage holders in Ilkhanate and Yuan councillor Temuder restricted Mongol nobles' excessive rights on the appanages in China and Mongolia.[125] Kublai's successor and Khagan Temur abolished imperial son-in-law Goryeo King Chungnyeol's 358 departments which caused financial pressures to the Korean people,[126] whose country was under the control of the Mongols.[127][128][129][130][131]

The appanage system was severely affected beginning with the civil strife in the Mongol Empire in 1260-1304.[124][132] Nevertheless, this system survived. For example, Abagha of the Ilkhanate allowed Mongke Temur of the Golden Horde to collect revenues from silk-workshops in northern Persia in 1270 and Baraq of the Chagatai Khanate sent his Muslim vizier to Ilkhanate, ostensibly to investigate his appanages there (The vizier's main mission was to spy on the Ilkhanids in fact) in 1269.[133] After a peace treaty declared among Mongol Khans: Temur, Duwa, Chapar, Tokhta and Oljeitu in 1304, the system began to see a recovery. During the reign of Tugh Temur, Yuan court received a third of revenues of the cities of Mawarannahr under Chagatai Khans while Chagatai elites such as Eljigidey, Duwa Temur, Tarmashirin were given lavish presents and sharing in the Yuan Dynasty's patronage of Buddhist temples.[134] Tugh Temur was also given some Russian captives by Chagatai prince Changshi as well as Kublai's future khatun Chabi had servant Ahmad Fanakati from Ferghana valley before her marriage.[135] In 1326, Golden Horde started sending tributes to Great Khans of Yuan Dynasty again. By 1339, Ozbeg and his successors had received annually 24 thousand ding in paper currency from their Chinese appanages in Shanxi, Cheli and Hunan.[136] H.H.Howorth noted that Ozbeg's envoy required his master's shares from the Yuan court, the headquarter of the Mongol world, for the establishment of new post stations in 1336.[137] This communication ceased only with the break up, succession struggles and rebellions of Mongol Khanates.[note 2]

[edit] Money

Obverse: "Just the Khan Tokhta" with the tamgha (imperial seal) of the House of Batu

Genghis Khan authorized the use of paper money shortly before his death in 1227. It was backed by precious metals and silk.[138] The Mongols used Chinese silver ingot as a unified money of public account, while circulating paper money in China and coins in the western areas of the empire such as Golden Horde and Chagatai Khanate. Under Ogedei Khan the Mongol government issued paper currency backed by silk reserves and founded a Department which was responsible for destroying old notes.[139] In 1253, Mongke established a Department of Monetary affairs to control the issuance of paper money in order to eliminate the overissue of the currency by Mongol and non-Mongol nobles since the reign of Great Khan Ogedei.[140] His authority established united measure based on sukhe or silver ingot, however, the Mongols allowed their foreign subjects to mint coins in the denominations and use weight they traditionally used.[141] During the reigns of Ogedei, Guyuk and Mongke, Mongol coinage increased with gold and silver coinage in Central Asia and copper and silver coins in Caucasus, Iran and southern Russia.[142]

Yuan Dynasty under Kublai Khan issued paper money backed by silver and again banknotes supplemented by cash and copper cash. Marco Polo wrote that the money was made of mulberry bark. The standardization of paper currency allowed the Yuan court to monetize taxes and reduce carrying costs of taxes in goods as did the policy of Mongke Khan. But forest nations of Siberia and Manchuria still paid their taxes in goods or commodities to the Mongols.[143] Chao was used in Yuan Dynasty only and Ilkhan Rinchindorj Gaykhatu failed to adopt the experiment in Middle East in 1294. Golden Horde, Chagatai Khanate and Ilkhanate minted their own coins in gold, silver and copper.[144] Ghazan's fiscal reforms enabled the Khanate to inaugurate a unified bimetallic currency in the Ilkhanate.[145] Chagatai Khan Kebek renewed the coinage backed by silver reserves and created unified monetary system through the realm.

[edit] Trade networks

Archibishop John of Cilician Armenia, in a painting from 1287. His dress displays a Chinese dragon, an indication of the thriving exchanges with the Mongol Empire during the reign of Kublai Khan (1260-1294).

Mongols prized their commercial and trade relationships with neighboring economies and this policy they continued during the process of their conquests and during the expansion of their empire. All merchants and ambassadors, having proper documentation and authorization, traveling through their realms were protected. This greatly increased overland trade.

Genghis Khan had encouraged foreign merchants before uniting the Mongols. They provided him information about neighboring cultures and served as diplomats and official traders of his empire. Genghis Khan and his family supplied them with capital and sent to Khorazm. Since then, their ortoq (merchant partner) business had flourished under Ogedei and Guyuk. The merchants supplied imperial palaces with clothing, food and other provisions. Great Khans gave them paiza exempting taxes and allowed to use relay stations of Mongol Empire. They also served as tax farmers in China, Russia and Iran. The merchantsâ losses to banditry had to be made up by the imperial treasury. The Mongols and their partner merchants (mostly Muslims and Uyghurs) created a silver tax with unfixed interest rate. Because of money laundering and overtaxing the yam, Mongke attempted to limit abuses and sent imperial investigators to supervise the ortoq. He decreed all merchants to pay commercial and property taxes. Mongke also paid out all drafts drawn by high rank Mongol elites to merchants. This policy continued in Yuan Dynasty, however, Hulegu and his son Abagha of the Ilkhanate ignored their officials to interfere with partner merchants in Middle East. The court of Mongol Empire encouraged merchants, whether the Chinese, Indians, Persians, Central Asians or Hansa venders, to trade within their realms. Mongke-Temur granted the Genoese and the Venice exclusive rights to hold Caffa and Azov in 1267. The Golden Horde permitted the German merchants to trade in all over its territories including Russian principalities in 1270's.

During the 13th and early 14th centuries, European merchants, numbering hundreds, perhaps thousands, made their way from Europe to the distant land of China â Marco Polo is only one of the best known of these. Well-traveled and relatively well-maintained roads linked lands from the Mediterranean basin to China. The Mongol Empire had negligible influence on seaborne trade. Despite the unmaterialized Franco-Mongol alliance, trade of Western Europe especially Italians with the Mongol territories had rapidly increased since 1300. They established their ports, markets and guilds in China, Russia, Crimea and Iran(Isfahan) under the Mongols.

[edit] Military conquests

[edit] Central Asia

Genghis Khan forged the initial Mongol Empire from within Central Asia, starting with the unification of the Mongol and Turkic central Asian confederations such as Merkits, Tartars, Mongols, and Uighurs. He then continued expansion of the Empire via invasion of the Khwarezmid Empire in what is modern-day Iran.

Large areas of Islamic Central Asia and northeastern Iran were seriously depopulated,[146] as every city or town that resisted the Mongols was subject to destruction. In Termez, on the Oxus: "all the people, both men and women, were driven out onto the plain, and divided in accordance with their usual custom, then they were all slain". Each soldier was required to execute a certain number of persons, with the number varying according to circumstances. For example, after the conquest of Urgench, each Mongol warrior â in an army group that might have consisted of two tumens (units of 10,000) â was required to execute 24 people.[147]

[edit] Middle East

The Mongols conquered, either by force or voluntary submission, the areas today known as Iran, Iraq, Syria, and parts of Turkey, with further Mongol raids reaching southwards as far as Gaza into the Palestine region in 1260 and 1300. The major battles were the Battle of Baghdad (1258), when the Mongols sacked the city which for 500 years had been the center of Islamic power; and the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, when the Muslim Egyptian Mamluks, were for the first time able to stop the Mongol advance at Ain Jalut, in the northern part of what today is known as the West Bank.

The Mongols were never able to expand farther than the Middle East due to a combination of political and geographic factors, such as lack of sufficient grazing room for their horses.

[edit] East Asia

Genghis Khan and his descendants invaded China, and forced Korea to become a vassal through an invasion of Korea. They attempted a Mongol invasion of Japan, and attempted invasion of Vietnam. Their biggest conquest was in conquering China and setting up their own Yuan Dynasty, though it was eventually overthrown by the native Chinese in 1368, who launched their own Ming Dynasty.

[edit] Europe

The Mongols invaded and destroyed Kievan Rus, also invading Poland and Hungary, among others. Over the course of three years (1237â1240), the Mongols destroyed and annihilated all of the major cities of Eastern Europe with the exceptions of Novgorod and Pskov.[148]

Giovanni de Plano Carpini, the Pope's envoy to the Mongol Great Khan, traveled through Kiev in February 1246 and wrote:

"They [the Mongols] attacked Rus, where they made great havoc, destroying cities and fortresses and slaughtering men; and they laid siege to Kiev, the capital of Rus; after they had besieged the city for a long time, they took it and put the inhabitants to death. When we were journeying through that land we came across countless skulls and bones of dead men lying about on the ground. Kiev had been a very large and thickly populated town, but now it has been reduced almost to nothing, for there are at the present time scarce two hundred houses there and the inhabitants are kept in complete slavery."[149]

[edit] Political divisions and vassals

The Mongol world, ca. 1300. The gray area is the later Timurid empire. By 1270, The Goryeo was fully integrated into the imperialism of the Mongol Empire.[150][151][152][153][154]

The early Mongol Empire was divided into 5 main parts[155] and various appanage khanates. The most prominent sections were:

  • Mongolia, Southern Siberia and Manchuria under Karakorum;
  • North China and Tibet under Yanjing Department;
  • Khorazm, Mawarannahr and the Hami Oases under Beshbalik Department
  • Persia, Georgia, Armenia, Cilicia and Turkey (former Seljuk ruled parts) under Amu Dar'ya Department
  • Golden Horde, which was further subdivided into 10 provinces.[156]

When Genghis Khan was campaigning in Central Asia, his general Muqali (1170â1223) attempted to set up provinces and establish branch departments of state affairs. Genghis's successor Ogedei abolished them, instead dividing the areas of North China into 10 routes (lu, È) according to the suggestion of Yelü Chucai, a prominent Confucian statesman of Khitan ethnicity. Ogedei also divided the empire into separate Beshbalik and Yanjing administrations, while the Headquarters in Karakorum directly dealt with Manchuria, Mongolia and Southern Siberia. Late in Ogedei's reign, an Amu Darya administration was established. Under Mongke, these administrations were renamed Branch Departments.

Kublai Khan, the founder of the Yuan Dynasty, made significant reforms to the existing institutions. He established the Yuan Dynasty in 1271 and assumed the role of a Chinese emperor. The Yuan forces seized South China by defeating the Southern Song Dynasty, and Kublai became the emperor of all China. The territory of the Yuan Dynasty was divided into the Central Region (ÈÈ) and places under control of various Xing Zhongshusheng (È¡äÆç, "branch secretariats") or the Xuanzheng Institute (ÅÆ¿É).

[edit] Vassals and tributary states

The Mongol Empire at its greatest extent included Mongolia, Tibet, China, Korea, parts of Burma, Romania, Pakistan, much or all of Russia, Siberia, Ukraine, Belarus, Cilicia, Anatolia, Georgia, Armenia, Persia, Iraq, and Central Asia. In the meantime, many countries became vassals or tributary states of the Mongol Empire.

[edit] European vassals

  • A number of Russian states, incl. the Republic of Novgorod, Pskov and Smolensk,[157] Batu khan attempted to invade in 1239, but could not reach the northern part of Russia due to the marshlands surrounding city-states such as Novgorod and Pskov. However, due to the combined effects of Mongol threats, invasion by the Teutonic order, and diplomacy by Alexander Nevsky, Novgorod and later Pskov accepted the terms of vassalage. By 1274, all remaining Russian principalities had become subject to the Horde of Mongke-Temur.
  • Kingdom of Serbia.[158] Around 1288 Milutin launched an invasion to pacify two Bulgarian nobles in today's north-east Serbia, in the Branicevo region. However, those nobles were vassals of the Bulgarian prince of Vidin Shishman. Shishman attacked Milutin but was defeated and Milutin in return sacked his capital Vidin. But Shishman was a vassal of Nogai Khan, de facto ruler of the Golden Horde. Nogai Khan threatened to punish Milutin for his insolence, but changed his mind when the Serbian king sent him gifts and hostages. Among the hostages was his son Stefan Deäanski who managed to escape back to Serbia after Nogai Khan's death in 1299.

[edit] Southeast Asian and Korean vassals

  • äá¡i Viá»t (Vietnam).[159] After the Vietnamese captured Mongol envoys sent to ask a route to attack Southern China, the Mongol forces invaded the Trán Dynasty in 1257. The Mongols routed city defenders and massacred inhabitants of capital Thäng Long (Hanoi). King Than Tong agreed to pay tributes to Mongke Khan to spare his country. When Kublai Khan demanded full submission of the Dynasty where Mongol darughachis were well received before,[160] the relationship between two states deteriorated in 1264. After series of invasions in 1278-1288, the king of äá¡i Viá»t or Trán Dynasty accepted Mongol suzerainty. By the time, each side had suffered from heavy losses because of large but ineffective wars.
  • Champa.[159] Although king Ve Indrawarman of Champa expressed his desire to accept the Yuan rule in 1278, his son and subjects ignored the submission. The Mongol forces lost in the country and their general was killed, however, they defeated all forces of Champa in open battles in 1283. The king of Champa started sending tributes two years later to avoid Mongol invasions.
  • Khmer empire.[159] In 1278, a Mongol envoy was executed by the Khmer king. An envoy was sent again to demand submission when the Yuan army was besieging the fortress in Champa. 100 Mongol cavalries sent to Khmer after the imprisonment of the second envoy. They were ambushed and destroyed by the Khmers. However, the King of Khmer Empire asked a pardon and sent tribute in 1285 due to his war-like neighbours and Kublai Khan's rage.
  • Sukhothai Kingdom and Chiangmai or Taiyo. When Kublai sent Mongol forces to protect his vassals in Burma, Thai states including Sukhotai and Taiyo accepted Mongol supremacy. King Ramkhamhaeng and other Thai and Khmer leaders visited the Yuan court to show their loyalty several times.[161]
  • The Kingdom of Goryeo. The Mongol invasions of Korea consisted of a series of campaigns by the Mongol Empire against Korea, then known as Goryeo, from 1231 to 1270. There were six major campaigns at tremendous cost to civilian lives throughout the Korean peninsula, ultimately resulting in Korea becoming a vassal of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty for approximately eighty years.[162] The Mongol Empire and the Kingdom of Goryeo tied with marriages as Mongol princes married Korean princesses and Korean princes married Mongol princesses. A Korean princess called the Qi Empress became an empress through her marriage with Ukhaantu Khan, and her son, Biligtü Khan of Northern Yuan, became a Mongol Khan. King Chungnyeol of Goryeo married a daughter of Kubilai Khan, and marriages between Mongol and Korea continued for eighty years. The Goryeo dynasty survived under Mongolian influence until King Gongmin began to push Mongolian garrisons back starting in the 1350s.

[edit] Middle East vassals

  • The Principality of Antioch and the County of Tripoli.[163] - The small crusader state paid annual tributes for many years.The closest thing to actual Frankish cooperation with Mongol military actions was the overlord-subject relationship between the Mongols and the Franks of Antioch and others. Mongols lost their vassal and ally Franks as the fall of Antioch in 1268 and Tripoli in 1289 to the Mamluks.
  • The Empire of Trebizond- The Seljuks and the military forces of Trebizond were defeated by the Mongols in 1243 . After that, Kaykhusraw II, the Sultan of Iconium was compelled to pay tribute and supply annually horses, hunting dogs, and jewels. The emperor Manuel I of Trebizond, realizing the impossibility of fighting the Mongols, made a speedy peace with them and, on condition of paying an annual tribute, became a Mongol vassal. The empire reached its greatest prosperity and had opportunity to export the produce of its own rich hinterland during the era of Ilkhans. But with the decline of Mongol power in 1335, Trebizond suffered increasingly from Turkish attacks, civil wars, and domestic intrigues.[164]

[edit] Tributary states

  • The indigenous people of Sakhalin. The Mongol forces made several attacks on Sakhalin, beginning in 1264 and continuing until 1308.[165] Economically, the conquest of new peoples provided further wealth for the tribute-based Mongol Dynasty. The Nivkhs and the Orokhs were subjugated by the Mongols. However, the Ainu people raided Mongol posts every year.[166] The Ainus finally accepted Mongol supremacy in 1308.
  • The Byzantine empire.[167] When an Egyptian diplomat was arrested by emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, Sultan Baibars insisted his ally Berke Khan to attack the Greek Empire. In the winter of 1265 Nogai Khan led a Mongol raid on Byzantine Thrace with his vassal Bulgaria. In the spring of 1265 he defeated the armies of Michael and freed the diplomat and former Seljuk sultan Kaykaus II. Instead of fighting, most of the Byzantines fled. Michael managed to escape with the assistance of Italian merchants. After this Thrace was plundered by Nogai's army, and the Byzantine emperor signed a treaty with Berke of the Golden Horde, giving his daughter Euphrosyne in marriage to Nogai. Michael also sent much valuable fabric to the Golden Horde as a tribute thereafter. But the court of Byzantium had good relationship with both Golden Horde and Ilkhanate as allies.
  • Small states of Malay Peninsula. Kublai sent surrounding nations his envoys to demand their submission in 1270-1280. Most of states in Indo-China and Malay accepted the demand. According to Marco Polo, those subjects sent tribute on to the Mongol court, including elephants, rhinoceroses, jewels and a tooth of Buddha. One notable scholar identified that these acts of submission were more ceremonial in some regard. During the Mongol invasion of Java in 1293, small states of Malay and Sumatra submitted and sent envoys or hostages to them. Native people of modern Taiwan and Philippines helped the Mongol armada but they were never conquered.

[edit] Silk Road

A small caravan arriving to Beijing from the west - a modern relief near Marco Polo Bridge

The Mongol expansion throughout the Asian continent from around 1215 to 1360 helped bring political stability and re-establish the Silk Road, an extensive interconnected network of trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East, South, and Western Asia with Europe. One of the more remarkable journeys was that of the Chinese Mongol monk Rabban Bar Sauma who traveled from his home of Khanbaliq (Beijing) as far as Mongol-controlled Persia, and from there was sent by the Ilkhan as an ambassador to visit the courts of Europe in 1287-1288. A few Europeans traveled the reverse journey, such as Marco Polo or Christian missionaries such as William of Rubruck, but it was rare for anyone to travel its entire length. Instead, traders moved products much like a bucket brigade, with luxury goods being traded from one middleman to another, from China to the West, and resulting in extravagant prices for the trade goods.

The fall of the Mongol Empire led to the collapse of the political unity along the Silk Road. Also falling victim were the cultural and economic aspects of its unity. Turkic tribes seized the western end of the Silk Road from the decaying Byzantine Empire, and sowed the seeds of a Turkic culture that would later crystallize into the Ottoman Empire under the Sunni faith. TurkicâMongol military bands in Iran, after some years of chaos were united under the Saffavid tribe, under whom the modern Iranian nation took shape under the Shiite faith. Meanwhile Mongol princes in Central Asia were content with Sunni orthodoxy with decentralized princedoms of the Chagatai, Timurid and Uzbek houses. In the KypchakâTatar zone, Mongol khanates all but crumbled under the assaults of the Black Death and the rising power of Muscovy. In the East, the native Chinese overthrew the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, launching their own Ming Dynasty and pursuing a policy of economic isolationism.[168]

The introduction of gunpowder contributed to the fall of the Mongols, as previously conquered tribes used it to reassert their independence. Gunpowder had differing effects depending on the region. In Europe, gunpowder and early modernity lent to the integration of territorial states and increasing mercantilism. Along the Silk Road, it was quite the opposite: failure to maintain the level of integration of the Mongol Empire, and a resulting decline in trade, partially exacerbated by the increase in European maritime trade. By 1400, the Silk Road no longer served as a shipping route for silk.[citation needed]

[edit] Legacy

The Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous empire in human history. The 13th and 14th century, when the empire came to power, is often called the "Age of the Mongols". The Mongol armies during that time were extremely well organized. The death toll (by battle, massacre, flooding, and famine) of the Mongol wars of conquest is placed at about 40 million according to some sources.[who?]

Many ancient sources described Genghis Khan's conquests as wholesale destruction on an unprecedented scale in their certain geographical regions, and therefore probably causing great changes in the demographics of Asia. For example mass moving of the Iranian tribes of Central Asia into modern Iran. The eastern part of the Islamic world experienced the terrifying death and destruction of the Mongol invasion. Between 1220 and 1260, the total population of Persia may have dropped from 2,500,000 to 250,000 as a result of mass extermination and famine.[169]

Non-military achievements of the Mongol Empire include the introduction of a writing system, based on the Uighur script, that is still used in Inner Mongolia. The Empire unified all the tribes of Mongolia, which made possible the emergence of a Mongol nation and culture. Modern Mongolians are generally proud of the empire and the sense of identity that it gave to them.

This map shows the boundary of 13th century Mongol Empire and location of today's Mongols in Mongolia, Russia, Central Asian States and China.

Some of the long-term consequences of the Mongol Empire include:

  • The Yuan Dynasty (established by Kublai Khan in 1271) is traditionally given credit for reuniting China and expanding its frontiers. The use of paper money (Chao) reached its peak under the Mongol emperors in China, however, a later administration's incorrect monetary policy caused hyperinflation.
  • The language Chagatai, widely spoken among a group of Turks, is named after a son of Genghis Khan. It was once widely spoken, and had a literature, but eventually became extinct in Russia.
  • Moscow rose to prominence during the Mongol-Tatar yoke, some time after Russian rulers were accorded the status of tax collectors for Mongols (which meant that the Mongols themselves would rarely visit the lands that they owned). The Russian ruler Ivan III overthrew the Mongols completely to form the Russian Tsardom, after the Great stand on the Ugra river proved the Mongols vulnerable, and led to the independence of the Grand Duke of Moscow.
  • Europe's knowledge of the known world was immensely expanded by the information brought back by ambassadors and merchants. When Columbus sailed in 1492, his missions were to reach Cathay, the land of the Grand Khan in China and give a letter entitled to Grand Khan from the monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile.
  • Some research studies indicate that the Black Death, which devastated Europe in the late 1340s, may have reached from China to Europe along the trade routes of the Mongol Empire. In 1347, the Genoese possession of Caffa, a great trade emporium on the Crimean peninsula, came under siege by an army of Mongol warriors under the command of Janibeg. After a protracted siege during which the Mongol army was reportedly withering from the disease, they decided to use the infected corpses as a biological weapon. The corpses were catapulted over the city walls, infecting the inhabitants.[170] The Genoese traders fled, transferring the plague via their ships into the south of Europe, whence it rapidly spread. The total number of deaths worldwide from the pandemic is estimated at 75 million people, there were an estimated 20 million deaths in Europe alone. It is estimated that between one-quarter and two-thirds of Europe's population died from the outbreak of the plague between 1348 and 1350.
  • Among the Western accounts, R. J. Rummel estimated that 30 million people were killed under the rule of the Mongol Empire. The population of China fell by half in fifty years of Mongol rule. Before the Mongol invasion, the territories of the Chinese dynasties reportedly had approximately 120 million inhabitants; after the conquest was completed in 1279, the 1300 census reported roughly 60 million people. While it is tempting to attribute this major decline solely to Mongol ferocity, scholars today have mixed sentiments regarding this subject. Scholars such as Frederick W. Mote argue that the wide drop in numbers reflects an administrative failure to record rather than a de facto decrease whilst others such as Timothy Brook argue that the Mongols created a system of enserfment among a huge portion of the Chinese populace causing many to disappear from the census altogether. Other historians like William McNeill and David Morgan argue that the Bubonic Plague was the main factor behind the demographic decline during this period

in Études Song, Series 1, No 1, (1970) pp. 33â53.</ref> David Nicole states in The Mongol Warlords, "terror and mass extermination of anyone opposing them was a well tested Mongol tactic."[171] About half of the Russian population may have died during the invasion.[148] However, Colin McEvedy (Atlas of World Population History, 1978) estimates the population of Russia-in-Europe dropped from 7.5 million prior to the invasion to 7 million afterwards.[171] Historians estimate that up to half of Hungary's two million population at that time were victims of the Mongol invasion.[172]

One of the more successful tactics employed by the Mongols was to wipe out urban populations that had refused to surrender. In the invasion of Kievan Rus', almost all major cities were destroyed. If they chose to submit, the people were spared and treated as slaves, which meant most of them would be driven to die quickly by hard work, with the exception that war prisoners became part of their army to aid in future conquests.[173] In addition to intimidation tactics, the rapid expansion of the Empire was facilitated by military hardiness (especially during bitterly cold winters), military skill, meritocracy, and discipline. Subutai, in particular among the Mongol Commanders, viewed winter as the best time for war â while less hardy people hid from the elements, the Mongols were able to use frozen lakes and rivers as highways for their horsemen, a strategy he used with great effect in Russia.

The Mongol Empire had a lasting impact, unifying large regions, some of which (such as eastern and western Russia and the western parts of China) remain unified today, albeit under different rulership. The Mongols themselves were assimilated into local populations after the fall of the empire, and many of these descendants adopted local religions â for example, the eastern Khanates largely adopted Buddhism, and the western Khanates adopted Islam, largely under Sufi influence.

Mongolia today

The influence of the Mongol Empire may prove to be even more direct â Zerjal et al. [2003][174] identify a Y-chromosomal lineage present in about 8% of the men in a large region of Asia (or about 0.5% of the men in the world). The paper suggests that the pattern of variation within the lineage is consistent with a hypothesis that it originated in Mongolia about 1,000 years ago. Such a spread would be too rapid to have occurred by diffusion, and must therefore be the result of selection. The authors propose that the lineage is carried by likely male line descendants of Genghis Khan, and that it has spread through social selection.

In addition to the Khanates and other descendants, the Mughal royal family of South Asia are also descended from Genghis Khan: Babur's mother was a descendant â whereas his father was directly descended from Timur (Tamerlane). The word "Mughal" is a Persian word for Mongol

The remnants of the Empire of the Great Khan (Yuan Dynasty) in Mongolia after 1368, known as the Northern Yuan, did not surrender to the Manchus until 1635, who were prompted to establish the Qing Dynasty in 1636 as the successor of both the Northern Yuan Dynasty and the Ming Dynasty by 1644, though one successor khanate of the empire survived until the 1920s.[175]

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ The actual foundation of this city did not occur until 1220. After the death of Möngke Khan in 1259, there was no single major city in the empire, with Dadu being the capital of the Empire of the Great Khan from 1272 to 1368.
  2. ^ Ilkhanate broke up in 1335; the succession struggles of the Golden Horde and the Chagatai Khanate started in 1359 and 1340 respectively; the Yuan army fought against the Red Turban Rebellion since 1350s.

[edit] References

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  80. ^ Dailliez, p.324-325
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  87. ^ Michael Prawdin (Carol) â The Mongol Empire: Its rise and legacy
  88. ^ Allen, Thomas T. â Culture and conquest in Mongol Eurasia, p.32
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  90. ^ Rene Grousset â The Empire of steppes
  91. ^ Christopher P.Atwood â Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p.445
  92. ^ d.Ohson - History of the Mongols, p.II p.355
  93. ^ Sh.Tseyen-Oidov â Genghis bogdoos Ligden khutagt khurtel (khaad), p. 81
  94. ^ Vernadsky â The Mongols and Russia, p.74
  95. ^ Oljeitu's letter to Philipp the Fair
  96. ^ J.J.Saunders â The History of the Mongol conquests
  97. ^ H.H.Howorth â History of the Mongols: part II, p.145
  98. ^ Christopher P.Atwood, Ibid. p.106
  99. ^ Jack Weatherford â Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world, p. 236
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  137. ^ H.H.Howorth - History of the Mongols, Vol II, p.172
  138. ^ Jack Weatherford, ibid p.176
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  140. ^ Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world, p.176
  141. ^ Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world, p.175-176
  142. ^ Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p. 362
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  151. ^ Herbert Franke, Denis Twitchett, John King Fairbank-The Cambridge History of China: Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, p.473
  152. ^ Colin Mackerras-China's minorities, p.29
  153. ^ George Alexander Ballard-The influence of the sea on the political history of Japan, p.21
  154. ^ Conrad Schirokauer-A brief history of Chinese and Japanese civilizations, p.211
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  158. ^ a b Ринñен Хаñа Даван - Чингиñ ñан гений
  159. ^ a b c Rene Grousset - Empires of Steppes, Ж.Боñ Евñазийн ди¿»омаñ ñаñññиñ II боññ
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  161. ^ The Empire of the Steppes by Rene Grousset, trans. N. Walford, p.291
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  166. ^ Brett L. Walker-The Conquest of Ainu Lands, p.133
  167. ^ Ринñен Хаñа-Даван: Чингиñ ñан гений, Ж.Боñ: Евñазийн ди¿»омаñ ñаñññиñ II боññ
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  170. ^ Svat Soucek. A History of Inner Asia. Cambridge University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-521-65704-0. P. 116.
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[edit] Sources

[edit] Further reading

  • Brent, Peter. The Mongol Empire: Genghis Khan: His Triumph and his Legacy. Book Club Associates, London. 1976.
  • Buell, Paul D. (2003), Historical Dictionary of the Mongol World Empire, The Scarecrow Press, Inc., ISBN 0-8108-4571-7 
  • Howorth, Henry H. History of the Mongols from the 9th to the 19th Century: Part I: The Mongols Proper and the Kalmuks. New York: Burt Frankin, 1965 (reprint of London edition, 1876).
  • Kradin, Nikolay, Tatiana Skrynnikova. "Genghis Khan Empire". Moscow: Vostochnaia literatura, 2006. 557 p. (ISBN 5-02-018521-3).
  • Kradin, Nikolay, Tatiana Skrynnikova. "Why do we call Chinggis Khan's Polity 'an Empire' ". Ab Imperio, Vol. 7, No 1(2006): 89-118. (ISBN 5-89423-110-8)
  • May, Timothy. "The Mongol Art of War." Westholme Publishing, Yardley. 2007. ISBN 978-1-59416-046-2 / ISBN 1-59416-046-5
  • Weatherford, Jack (2004). Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80964-4.
  • Woods, Shelton (2002). Vietnam: An Illustrated History. Hippocrene Books Inc. ISBN 0-7818-0910-X
  • (French) Dominique Farale, De Gengis Khan à Qoubilaï Khan : la grande chevauchée mongole, Economica, 2003 (ISBN 2-7178-4537-2)
  • (French) Dominique Farale, La Russie et les Turco-Mongols: 15 siècles de guerre, Economica, 2007. ISBN 978-2-7178-5429-9
Preceded by
Khamag Mongol
States in Mongolian history
1206 - 1368
Succeeded by
Post-imperial Mongolia

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