Mongol Empire

Mongol Empire

Overview
The Mongol Empire initially named as Greater Mongol State (Mongolian
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

: Ikh Mongol Uls) was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. Beginning in the Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

n steppes, it eventually stretched from Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 to the Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan
The Sea of Japan is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, between the Asian mainland, the Japanese archipelago and Sakhalin. It is bordered by Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific...

, covered large parts of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 in the north and extended southward into Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. It is commonly referred to as the largest contiguous empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 in the history of the world.
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Timeline

1229   Ögedei Khan was proclaimed Qaghan of the Mongol Empire in Kodoe Aral, Khentii: Mongolia.

1249   Andrew of Longjumeau is dispatched by Louis IX of France as his ambassador to meet with Mongol Khagan of the Mongol Empire.

1260   Kublai Khan becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire.

1260   The Mamluks defeat the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in Palestine, marking their first decisive defeat and the point of maximum expansion of the Mongol Empire.

1281   The Mongolian fleet of Kublai Khan is destroyed by a typhoon while approaching Japan.

 
Encyclopedia
The Mongol Empire initially named as Greater Mongol State (Mongolian
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

: Ikh Mongol Uls) was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. Beginning in the Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

n steppes, it eventually stretched from Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 to the Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan
The Sea of Japan is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, between the Asian mainland, the Japanese archipelago and Sakhalin. It is bordered by Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific...

, covered large parts of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 in the north and extended southward into Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. It is commonly referred to as the largest contiguous empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 in the history of the world. At its greatest extent it spanned 9700 km (6,027.3 mi), covered an area of 24000000 km² (9,266,451.8 sq mi), 16% 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
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 and Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 tribes in the region of modern-day Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 under the leadership of Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

, 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
Mongol invasions
Mongol invasions progressed throughout the 13th century, resulting in the vast Mongol Empire which covered much of Asia and Eastern Europe by 1300....

 in every direction. The vast transcontinental empire which connected the east
Eastern world
__FORCETOC__The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Eastern Asia or geographically the Eastern Culture...

 with the west
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 would eventually function as a cultural "clearing house"
Pax Mongolica
The Pax Mongolica is a Latin phrase meaning "Mongol Peace" coined by Western scholars to describe the stabilizing effects of the conquests of the Mongol Empire on the social, cultural, and economic life of the inhabitants of the vast Eurasian territory that the Mongols conquered in the 13th and...

 for the Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

. Under the Mongols, new technologies
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

, various commodities
Commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

 and ideologies
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 were disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

; the exchanges ranged from cartography
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 to printing
Printing
Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....

, from agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 to astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

.

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 son and initial heir Ögedei
Ögedei Khan
Ögedei Khan, born Ögedei was the third son of Genghis Khan and second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire by succeeding his father...

, or one of his other sons such as Tolui
Tolui
Tolui, was the youngest son of Genghis Khan by his chief khatun Börte...

, Chagatai
Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan was the second son of Genghis Khan and first khan and origin of the names of the Chagatai Khanate, Chagatai language and Chagatai Turks....

, or Jochi
Jochi
Jochi was the eldest of the Mongol chieftain Genghis Khan's four sons by his principal wife Börte. An accomplished military leader, he participated in his father's conquest of Central Asia, along with his brothers and uncles.-Early life:...

. 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 Ariq Böke
Ariq Boke
Ariq Böke , the components of his name also spelled Arigh, Arik, Bukha, Buka , was the youngest son of Tolui , a son of Genghis Khan. After the death of his brother the Great Khan Mongke, Ariq Boke briefly took power while his brothers Kublai and Hulagu were absent...

 and Kublai
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

 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.

Kublai successfully took power, but civil war ensued, as Kublai sought, unsuccessfully, to regain control of the Chagatayid
Chagatai Khans
The Chagatai Khans were the heads of the Chagatai ulus from Chagatai Khan's inheritance of the state in 1227 to their removal from power by the Dzungars and their vassals in 1687...

 and Ogedeid families
House of Ogedei
The House of Ogedei, sometimes called the Ogedeids were an influential family of Mongol Borjigin from the 12th to 14th centuries. They were descended from Ogedei Khan , a son of Genghis Khan who had become his father's successor, second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Ogedei continued the...

. 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
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 khanate in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate
Chagatai Khanate
The Chagatai Khanate was a Turko-Mongol khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan , second son of the Great Khan Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors...

 in the west, the Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

 in the southwest, and the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 based in modern-day Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

.

It was not until the early 14th century, when the three western khanates accepted the nominal suzerainty of the Yuan Dynasty, that the Mongol world again acknowledged a single paramount suzerain for the first time since 1259 - even though the supremacy of the Yuan emperors over the western khanates was by and large symbolic. When the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 was overthrown by the Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 under the Hongwu Emperor
Hongwu Emperor
The Hongwu Emperor , known variably by his given name Zhu Yuanzhang and by his temple name Taizu of Ming , was the founder and first emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China...

 in 1368, the Mongol Empire finally dissolved.

Name


What is referred to in English as the Mongol Empire is described in the modern Mongolian language
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

 as "Mongolyn Ezent Guren" (Монголын эзэнт гүрэн) and as "Ikh Mongol Uls" (Их Монгол улс), "Greater Mongol State".
Genghis Khan used the latter when he was proclaimed Emperor. In the 1240s, Genghis's descendant Güyük Khan
Güyük Khan
Güyük was the third Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. As the eldest son of Ögedei Khan and a grandson of Genghis Khan, he reigned from 1246 to 1248...

 wrote a letter to Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV , born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was pope from June 25, 1243 until his death in 1254.-Early life:...

 which used the preamble, "Dalai Khagan of the great Mongol state (ulus)".

After the succession war between Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

 and his brother Ariq Böke
Ariq Boke
Ariq Böke , the components of his name also spelled Arigh, Arik, Bukha, Buka , was the youngest son of Tolui , a son of Genghis Khan. After the death of his brother the Great Khan Mongke, Ariq Boke briefly took power while his brothers Kublai and Hulagu were absent...

 which limited his real power to the east, Kublai Khan officially issued an imperial edict
Edict
An edict is an announcement of a law, often associated with monarchism. The Pope and various micronational leaders are currently the only persons who still issue edicts.-Notable edicts:...

 on December 17, 1271 to name the country "Great Yuan" (Dai Yuan, or Dai On Ulus) to establish the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

, though some sources state that the full Mongolian name was "Dai Ön Yehe Monggul Ulus".

Pre-Empire context




The area around Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, and parts of North China
North China
thumb|250px|Northern [[People's Republic of China]] region.Northern China or North China is a geographical region of China. The heartland of North China is the North China Plain....

 had been controlled by the Liao Dynasty
Liao Dynasty
The Liao Dynasty , also known as the Khitan Empire was an empire in East Asia that ruled over the regions of Manchuria, Mongolia, and parts of northern China proper between 9071125...

 since the 10th century. In 1125, the Jin Dynasty founded by the Jurchens
Jurchens
The Jurchens were a Tungusic people who inhabited the region of Manchuria until the 17th century, when they adopted the name Manchu...

 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
Khamag Mongol
Khamag Mongol was a major tribal confederation in Mongolian plateau in 12th century. It is sometimes also considered a predecessor state to the Mongol Empire....

 confederation, which was ruled by Khabul Khan
Khabul Khan
Khabul Khan was the first known Khan of the Khamag Mongol confederation and great-grandfather to Genghis Khan.Khabul Khan was a son of Tumbinai Setsen and great-grandson of the Khaidu....

, great grandfather of Temujin (Genghis Khan). Khabul Khan pushed out the forces of the Jin Dynasty from Mongol territory in the 1130s. There were five main powerful tribal
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

 confederation
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

 (khanlig) in the Mongolian plateau
Mongolian Plateau
The Mongolian Plateau is part of the larger Central Asian Plateau and has an area of approximately 2,600,000 square kilometres. It is occupied by Mongolia in the north and Inner Mongolia in the south. The plateau includes the Gobi Desert as well as dry steppe regions...

 at the time: Kereit, Khamag Mongol, Naiman
Naimans
The Naimans, also Naiman Turks or Naiman Mongols, was a Mongolian name given to a group of people dwelling on the steppe of Central Asia, having diplomatic relations with the Kara-Khitan, and subservient to them until 1177...

, Mergid
Merkit
The Mergid was one of the five major tribal confederations in Mongolian plateau in the 12th century.The Mergids inhabited in basins of the Selenge River and lower Orkhon River...

 and Tatar
Tatar confederation
Tatar was one of the five major tribal confederations in Mongolian plateau in 12th century. The name "Tatar" was first recorded in history in 732....

. The Jin emperors 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 Khan
Ambaghai
Ambaghai Khan was a khan of Khamag Mongol in 1149-1156, one of the great grandson Khaidu Khan and the cousin and predecessor of Hotula Khan. During his rule, he was captured by the Tatars under the commands of the Chinese Jin Dynasty in response to the Mongols' growing power.In 1211 Genghis Khan...

, successor of Khabul, 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. The Jin and Tatar armies defeated the Mongols in 1161. These events well illustrate the Jin policy of divide and rule
Divide and rule
In politics and sociology, divide and rule is a combination of political, military and economic strategy of gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into chunks that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy...

.

Genghis Khan



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
Börte
Börte was the first wife of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire. Börte became the head of the first Court of Genghis Khan, and Grand Empress of his Empire. Little is known about the details of her early life, but she was betrothed to him at a young age, married at 17, and then...

 was kidnapped by a rival tribe, Temujin united the nomadic, previously ever-rivaling Mongol–Turkic tribes under his rule through political manipulation and military might. His most powerful allies were his father's friend, Kereyd chieftain Wang Khan
Wang Khan
Wang Khan, also Ong Khan, was the title given to the Kerait ruler Toghrul by the Jurchen Jin Dynasty of China. Like the rest of their tribe he may have been Nestorian Christian...

 Toghoril, and Temujin's childhood anda (blood brother) 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. 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 Huruldai
Kurultai
Kurultai is a political and military council of ancient Mongol and Turkic chiefs and khans. The root of the word "Khural" means political "meeting" or "assembly" in the Mongolian language, it is also a verb for "to be established"...

 (general assembly/council). It was there that he assumed the title of "Genghis Khan" 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.

Early organization



Genghis Khan innovated many ways of organizing his army, dividing it into decimal subsections of arbans (10 people), zuuns (100), myangans (1000) and tumen
Tumen
Tumen or Tümen was a part of the decimal system used by Turkic and Mongol peoples to organize their armies. Tumen is an army unit of 10,000 soldiers...

s (10,000). The Kheshig
Kheshig
Kheshig were the imperial guard for Mongol royalty in the Mongol Empire, particularly for the rulers like the Genghis Khan and his wife Borte. Their primary purpose was as a body guard for the emperors and rulers and to protect them during the day and night...

 or the Imperial Guard
Imperial Guard
The Imperial Guard was originally a small group of elite soldiers of the French Army under the direct command of Napoleon I, but grew considerably over time. It acted as his bodyguard and tactical reserve, and he was careful of its use in battle...

 was founded and divided into day (khorchin
Khorchin
Khorchin is a subgroup of the Mongols that speak the Khorchin dialect of Mongolian and predominantly live in southeastern Inner Mongolia....

, torghuds) and night guards (khevtuul). 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. He proclaimed a new law of the Empire, Ikh Zasag or Yassa
Yassa
Yassa was a secret written code of law created by Genghis Khan. It was the principal law under the Mongol Empire even though no copies were made available...

, 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.

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. Thus, Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, Buddhists and Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s 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
Mongolian script
The classical Mongolian script , also known as Uyghurjin, was the first writing system created specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most successful until the introduction of Cyrillic in 1946...

 of the Empire, and he ordered the Uyghur
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

 Tatatunga, who had previously served the khan of Naimans, to instruct his sons.

Genghis quickly came into conflict with the Jin Dynasty of the Jurchens and the Western Xia
Western Xia
The Western Xia Dynasty or the Tangut Empire, was known to the Tanguts and the Tibetans as Minyak.The state existed from 1038 to 1227 AD in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Ningxia, Gansu, eastern Qinghai, northern Shaanxi, northeastern Xinjiang, southwest Inner Mongolia, and...

 of the Tanguts in northern China. Towards the West, under the provocation of the Muslim Khwarezmid Empire, he moved into Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 as well, devastating Transoxiana
Transoxiana
Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgystan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers...

 and eastern Persia, then raiding into Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 (a predecessor state of Russia, Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

) and the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

.

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.

Expansion under Ogedei



The Mongol Empire started in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, with the unification of Mongol and Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 tribes. Under the leadership of Genghis Khan, the Empire expanded westwards across Asia into the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, Rus
Rus' (region)
Rus' is an ethno-cultural region in Eastern Europe inhabited by Eastern Slavs. Historically, it comprises the northern part of Ukraine, the north-western part of Russia, Belarus and some eastern parts of Poland and Slovakia.The name comes from Old East Slavic , and remains the same in modern...

, and Europe; southward into India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

; and eastward as far as the Korean peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

, and into Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

.
Genghis Khan died in 1227, by which point the Mongol Empire ruled from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 – an empire twice the size of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

. 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
Tolui
Tolui, was the youngest son of Genghis Khan by his chief khatun Börte...

, until Ogedei's formal election at the kuriltai in 1229.

Among his first actions, Ogedei sent troops to subjugate the Bashkirs
Bashkirs
The Bashkirs are a Turkic people indigenous to Bashkortostan extending on both parts of the Ural mountains, on the place where Europe meets Asia. Groups of Bashkirs also live in the republic of Tatarstan, Perm Krai, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, Tyumen, Sverdlovsk, Kurgan, Samara and Saratov Oblasts of...

, Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

, and other nations in the Kipchak controlled steppes, eventually allying with the Bashkirs. 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
Kaifeng
Kaifeng , known previously by several names , is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, Central China. Nearly 5 million people live in the metropolitan area...

 in 1232. 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
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

, the Mongols finished off the Jin in 1234. In the West, Ogedei's general Chormaqan
Chormaqan
Chormaqan was one of the most famous generals of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan and Ögedei Khan. He was also a member of the keshik....

 destroyed Jalal ud-Din Menguberdi, the last shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

 of the Khwarizmian Empire. The small kingdoms in Southern Persia voluntarily accepted Mongol supremacy. In East Asia, there were Mongol victories upon Korean armies, but Ogedei's attempt to annex the Korean peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

 met with less success. The king of Goryeo
Goryeo
The Goryeo Dynasty or Koryŏ was a Korean dynasty established in 918 by Emperor Taejo. Korea gets its name from this kingdom which came to be pronounced Korea. It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the Joseon dynasty in 1392...

 surrendered but revolted and massacred Mongol darugachis (overseers) and pro-Mongol Koreans.

While Ogedei finished the construction of a new capital Karakorum
Karakorum
Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, and of the Northern Yuan in the 14-15th century. Its ruins lie in the northwestern corner of the Övörkhangai Province of Mongolia, near today's town of Kharkhorin, and adjacent to the Erdene Zuu monastery...

 in 1235-1238, Mongol administrations headed by Muslims and Khitans were established in North China, Turkestan
Turkestan
Turkestan, spelled also as Turkistan, literally means "Land of the Turks".The term Turkestan is of Persian origin and has never been in use to denote a single nation. It was first used by Persian geographers to describe the place of Turkish peoples...

 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.

In an offensive against the Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

, Mongol armies captured Siyang-yang, the Yangtze and Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

, but did not secure their control. 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 withdrew from southern China, but Kochu's brother Prince Koten invaded Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 after their withdrawal.

Another grandson of Genghis by his son Jochi, Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

, overran the countries of the Bulgars
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

, the Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

, the Kypchaks, Bashkirs, Mordvins, Chuvash
Chuvash people
The Chuvash people are a Turkic ethnic group, native to an area stretching from the Volga Region to Siberia. Most of them live in Republic of Chuvashia and surrounding areas, although Chuvash communities may be found throughout all Russia.- Etymology :...

, and other nations of the southern Russian steppe. By 1237, the Mongols began encroaching upon their first Russian principality, Ryazan
Ryazan
Ryazan is a city and the administrative center of Ryazan Oblast, Russia. It is located on the Oka River southeast of Moscow. Population: The strategic bomber base Dyagilevo is just west of the city, and the air base of Alexandrovo is to the southeast as is the Ryazan Turlatovo Airport...

. 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
Vladimir
Vladimir is a city and the administrative center of Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Klyazma River, to the east of Moscow along the M7 motorway. Population:...

 at the Sit River
Battle of the Sit River
The Battle of the Sit River was fought in the northern part of the present-day Yaroslavl Oblast of Russia on March 4, 1238 between the Mongol Hordes of Batu Khan and the Rus' people under Grand Prince Yuri II of Vladimir-Suzdal during the Mongol invasion of Rus...

. The Mongols captured the Alania
Alania
Alania may refer to:*Alania, the medieval state of the Alans or Alani people in the North Caucasus*The short name of the modern North Ossetia-Alania, one of the Caucasian republics in the Russian Federation...

 capital, Maghas
Maghas
Known exclusively from Arabic sources, Maghas or Maas was the capital city of Alania, a medieval kingdom in the Greater Caucasus. Its location is uncertain, with some authors favouring North Ossetia and others pointing to Arkhyz in modern-day Karachay-Cherkessia, where three 10th-century churches...

, in 1238. By 1240, all Rus
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

’ lands including Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 had fallen to the Asian invaders
Mongol invasion of Rus
The Mongol invasion of Russia was resumed on 21 December 1237 marking the resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked the medieval powers of Poland, Kiev, Hungary, and miscellaneous tribes of less organized peoples...

 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
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 and Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

n nobles to surrender as well.

But strife continued within the Mongol ranks. Despite his military victories, Batu's relations with Güyük
Guyuk
Guyuk may refer to:*Guyuk, Nigeria, a town*Uğurtaş, a town in Turkey, formerly called Güyük*Güyük Khan , the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire...

, Ogedei's eldest son, and Büri
Büri
Buri was a son of Mutugen and a grandson of Chagatai khan. His name - Buri - means Wolf. According to Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, Buri's mother was a wife of Chagatai khan's one official. She was a beauty, and Mutuken was attracted by her while she served in Khan's ger. Mutuken made her pregnant...

, the beloved grandson of Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan was the second son of Genghis Khan and first khan and origin of the names of the Chagatai Khanate, Chagatai language and Chagatai Turks....

, 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
Mongol invasions of India
The Mongol Empire launched several Mongol invasions into the Indian subcontinent from 1221 to 1327. The Mongols made Kashmir their vassal state. However, the campaigns against the Delhi Sultanate proved unsuccessful, in spite of constant Mongol incursions....

, temporarily investing Uchch, Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 and Multan
Multan
Multan , is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District. It is located in the southern part of the province on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about from Islamabad, from Lahore and from Karachi...

 of the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

 and stationing a Mongol overseer in Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

. However, the invasions into India were defeated and driven back. Ogedei agreed to receive tributes from the court of Goryeo
Goryeo
The Goryeo Dynasty or Koryŏ was a Korean dynasty established in 918 by Emperor Taejo. Korea gets its name from this kingdom which came to be pronounced Korea. It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the Joseon dynasty in 1392...

 and reinforced his keshig with the Koreans through both diplomacy and military force.

The advance into Europe
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

 continued with Mongol invasions of Poland, Hungary and Transylvania
Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

. When the western flank of the Mongols plundered Polish cities, a European alliance consisting of the Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, the Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

ns, the Christian military orders of the Hospitallers, Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

 and the Templars
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 assembled sufficient forces to halt the Mongol advance at Legnica
Battle of Legnica
The Battle of Legnica , also known as the Battle of Liegnitz or Battle of Wahlstatt , was a battle between the Mongol Empire and the combined defending forces of European fighters that took place at Legnickie Pole near the city of Legnica in Silesia on 9 April 1241.A combined force of Poles,...

, but only briefly. The Hungarian
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 army, their Croatian allies
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

 and the Templar Knights were beaten by Mongols at the banks of Sajo River
Battle of Mohi
The Battle of Mohi , or Battle of the Sajó River, was the main battle between the Mongol Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary during the Mongol invasion of Europe. It took place at Muhi, Southwest of the Sajó River. After the invasion, Hungary lay in ruins. Nearly half of the inhabited places had...

 on April 11, 1241. After their victories over European Knights at Legnica
Legnica
Legnica is a town in south-western Poland, in Silesia, in the central part of Lower Silesia, on the plain of Legnica, riverside: Kaczawa and Czarna Woda. Between 1 June 1975 and 31 December 1998 Legnica was the capital of the Legnica Voivodeship. It is currently the seat of the county...

 and Muhi
Muhi
Muhi is a village in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county, Hungary.- External links :*...

, Mongol armies quickly advanced across Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Babenberg
Babenberg
Originally from Bamberg in Franconia, now northern Bavaria, an apparent branch of the Babenbergs or Babenberger went on to rule Austria as counts of the march and dukes from 976–1248, before the rise of the house of Habsburg.-One or two families:...

 Austria and into the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. But before Batu's forces could continue into Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 and northern Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, he received news of Ogedei's death in December 1241. 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.

Post-Ogedei power struggles



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
Güyük Khan
Güyük was the third Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. As the eldest son of Ögedei Khan and a grandson of Genghis Khan, he reigned from 1246 to 1248...

. But Batu, ruler of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

, 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
Temüge
Temüge was the youngest full-brother of Genghis Khan. As the youngest sibling, Temüge and his mother, by Mongol traditions, were allotted the most land and people by Genghis Khan during his coronation...

 threatened Toregene to seize the throne, Guyuk came to Karakorum to try and secure his position. 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.


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
Qara Hülëgü
Qara Hülëgü was head of the ulus of the Chagatai Khanate . He was the son of Mö'etüken, and a grandson of Chagatai Khan....

, the Khan of the Chagatai Khanate
Chagatai Khanate
The Chagatai Khanate was a Turko-Mongol khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan , second son of the Great Khan Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors...

, with his favorite cousin Yesü Möngke
Yesü Möngke
Yesü Möngke was head of the ulus of the Chagatai Khanate . He was the son of Chagatai Khan.In or around 1246, he was appointed as khan of the Chagatai Khanate by his cousin the Great Khan Güyük Khan, whom he was friends with, following the deposition of Qara Hülëgü...

 to assert his newly conferred powers. He restored his father's officials to their former positions and was surrounded by the Uyghur, Naiman
Naimans
The Naimans, also Naiman Turks or Naiman Mongols, was a Mongolian name given to a group of people dwelling on the steppe of Central Asia, having diplomatic relations with the Kara-Khitan, and subservient to them until 1177...

 and Central Asian officials, favoring Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 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
Kaykaus II
Kaykaus II or Kayka'us II was the eldest of three sons of Kaykhusraw II. He was a youth at the time of his father’s death in 1246 and could do little to prevent the Mongol subjugation of Anatolia. For most of his tenure as the Seljuq Sultan of Rûm, he shared the throne with one or both of his...

 and Rukn ad-Din Kilij Arslan
Kilij Arslan IV
Kilij Arslan IV was Seljuq Sultan of Rûm after the death of his father Kaykhusraw II in 1246. For part of his tenure as sultan he ruled with his two brothers Kaykaus II and Kayqubad II. He was executed in 1266 by the Pervane Mu‘in al-Din Suleyman.-Sources:...

, though Kaykawus disagreed with this decision.

Not all parts of the Empire respected Guyuk's election. The Hashshashin
Hashshashin
The Assassins were an order of Nizari Ismailis, particularly those of Persia that existed from around 1092 to 1265...

s, 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. Guyuk appointed his best friend's father Eljigidei
Eljigidei
Eljigidei was a Mongol commander in Persia, fl. He supposedly commanded a strong contingent when Chingis Khan invaded Khwarizm in 1219–1223. Ogedei was close to Eljihidey. That's why Eljigidei was given command over the Mongol forces in Persia, by the new khan Güyük in 1246, replacing Baiju...

 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
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

.

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
Sorghaghtani Beki
Sorghaghtani Beki or Bekhi , also written Sorkaktani, Sorkhokhtani, Sorkhogtani, Siyurkuktiti; , a Kereyid princess of the Nestorian Christian faith and daughter-in-law of Temüjin , was one of the most powerful and competent women in the Mongol Empire...

, the widow of Genghis's son Tolui, secretly warned her nephew Batu of Guyuk's approach. 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
Oghul Qaimish
Oghul Qaimish was the principal wife of Güyük Khan and ruled as regent over the Mongol empire after the death of her husband in 1248. She was a descendant from the Mergid tribe. However, H.H.Howorth believed that she was an Oirat.- Life :...

 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 kurultai's limited attendance and location, it was of questionable validity. Batu sent Mongke under the protection of his brothers, Berke
Berke
Berke Khan was the ruler of the Golden Horde who effectively consolidated the power of the Blue Horde and White Hordes from 1257 to 1266. He succeeded his brother Batu Khan of the Blue Horde and was responsible for the first official establishment of Islam in a khanate of the Mongol Empire...

 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 son Ogedei could be Great Khan.

Toluid reformation



When Mongke's mother Sorghaghtani and their cousin Berke
Berke
Berke Khan was the ruler of the Golden Horde who effectively consolidated the power of the Blue Horde and White Hordes from 1257 to 1266. He succeeded his brother Batu Khan of the Blue Horde and was responsible for the first official establishment of Islam in a khanate of the Mongol Empire...

 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
Kadan
Kadaň , is a city in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.The city lies on the banks of the river Ohře. Although it is situated in an industrial part of the Czech Republic there is no major industry within the city and people usually work in offices or have to commute. There are two...

 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. 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
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

. 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.


Although he had a strong Chinese contingent, Mongke 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 on 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 an empire-wide census in 1252 which took several years to complete, not being finished until Novgorod in the far northwest was counted in 1258.

In another move to consolidate his power, Mongke assigned his brothers Hulagu 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
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

. In order to outflank the Song from three directions, Mongke dispatched Mongol armies under his brother Kublai to Yunnan
Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

, 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 Trần Dynasty in northern Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 into temporary submission in 1258.

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
South Central China
South Central China is a region of the People's Republic of China defined by governmental bureaus that includes the provinces of Guangdong, Hainan, Henan, Hubei, and Hunan, and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, however excluding the 2 special administrative regions : Hong Kong and...

. 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
Qazvin
Qazvin is the largest city and capital of the Province of Qazvin in Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 349,821, in 96,420 families....

 denounced the menace of the Nizari
Nizari
'The Shī‘a Imami Ismā‘īlī Tariqah also referred to as the Ismā‘īlī or Nizārī , is a path of Shī‘a Islām, emphasizing social justice, pluralism, and human reason within the framework of the mystical tradition of Islam. The Nizari are the second largest branch of Shia Islam and form the majority...

 Ismailis, a heretical sect of Shiites. The Mongol Naiman commander Kitbuqa
Kitbuqa
Kitbuqa Noyan was a Nestorian Christian and a member of the Naiman Turks, a group that was subservient to the Mongol Empire. He was a lieutenant and confidant of the Mongol Ilkhan Hulagu, assisting him in his conquests in the Middle East...

 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.
The center of the Islamic Empire at the time was Baghdad, which had held power for 500 years but was suffering internal divisions. When its caliph al-Mustasim refused to submit to the Mongols, Baghdad was besieged and captured
Battle of Baghdad (1258)
The Siege of Baghdad, which occurred in 1258, was an invasion, siege and sacking of the city of Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate at the time and the modern-day capital of Iraq, by the Ilkhanate Mongol forces along with other allied troops under Hulagu Khan.The invasion left Baghdad in...

 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. The sultan Al-Nasir Yusuf of the Ayyubids refused to show himself before Hulagu; however, he had accepted Mongol supremacy two decades earlier. When Hulagu headed further west, the Armenians
Lesser Armenia
Lesser Armenia , also known as Armenia Minor and Armenia Inferior, refers to the Armenian populated regions, primarily to the West and North-West of the ancient Armenian Kingdom...

 from Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

, the Seljuks from Rum
Rum
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels...

 and the Christian realms of Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 and Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

 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.

Meanwhile, in the northwestern portion of the Empire, Batu's successor and younger brother Berke
Berke
Berke Khan was the ruler of the Golden Horde who effectively consolidated the power of the Blue Horde and White Hordes from 1257 to 1266. He succeeded his brother Batu Khan of the Blue Horde and was responsible for the first official establishment of Islam in a khanate of the Mongol Empire...

 sent punitive expeditions to the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 and Poland. Dissension began brewing between the northwestern and southwestern sections of the Mongol Empire, as Batu suspected that Hulagu's invasion of Western Asia would result in the elimination of Batu's own predominance there.

Disintegration



Dispute over succession


In the southern part of the Empire, Mongke Khan himself had led his army to complete the conquest of China. 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. 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.

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
Kitbuqa
Kitbuqa Noyan was a Nestorian Christian and a member of the Naiman Turks, a group that was subservient to the Mongol Empire. He was a lieutenant and confidant of the Mongol Ilkhan Hulagu, assisting him in his conquests in the Middle East...

. The opposing forces in the region, the Christian Crusaders and Muslim Mamluks, then engaged in an unusual passive truce with each other as they both recognized that the Mongols were the greater threat. Taking advantage of the weakened state of the Mongol forces, the Mamluks advanced from Egypt, being allowed to camp and resupply near the Christian stronghold of Acre
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, and engaged Kitbuqa's forces just north of Galilee, at the Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut
The Battle of Ain Jalut took place on 3 September 1260 between Mamluks and the Mongols in eastern Galilee, in the Jezreel Valley, not far from Ein Harod....

 in 1260. The Mongols were defeated, and Kitbuqa 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
Huai River
The Huai River is a major river in China. The Huai River is located about mid-way between the Yellow River and Yangtze River, the two largest rivers in China, and like them runs from west to east...

 in China. Rather than returning to the capital though, he continued his advance into the Wuchang area of China, near the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

. Their younger brother Ariqboke
Ariq Boke
Ariq Böke , the components of his name also spelled Arigh, Arik, Bukha, Buka , was the youngest son of Tolui , a son of Genghis Khan. After the death of his brother the Great Khan Mongke, Ariq Boke briefly took power while his brothers Kublai and Hulagu were absent...

 took advantage of the absence of Hulagu and Kublai, and used his position at the capital to win the title of Great Khan for himself. Representatives of all the family branches proclaimed him as the leader at the kurultai in Karakorum. When Kublai learned of this though, he summoned his own kurultai at Kaiping
Kaiping
Kaiping : Hoi3 Pen6) or Hoi Ping is a county-level city in Guangdong Province, southern China. It has a population of 680,000 as of 2003 and an area of 1,659 km². The locals speak a variation of the Taishan dialect.-Administration:...

, where virtually all the senior princes and great noyans resident in North China and Manchuria supported his own candidacy over that of Ariqboke.

Civil war



Battles ensued between the armies of Kublai and those of his brother Ariqboke, which included forces still loyal to Mongke's previous administration. Kublai's army easily eliminated Ariqboke'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 Ariqboke captured and then executed Abishka, having his own man Alghu
Alghu
Alghu was a khan of the Chagatai Khanate . He was the son of Baidar and the grandson of Chagatai Khan.In 1260 he was appointed as head of the ulus of the Chagatai Khanate by the Great Khan claimant Ariq Böke, in opposition to the child khan Mubarak Shah and his mother Orghina...

 crowned there instead. Kublai's new administration blockaded Ariqboke in Mongolia to cut off food supplies, causing a famine. Karakorum fell quickly to Kublai, but Ariqboke rallied and re-took the capital in 1261.

In the southwestern Ilkhanate, 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 Hulagu's service, unequal distribution of war booties and Hulagu's massacres of the Muslims increased the anger of Berke, who considered supporting a rebellion of the Georgian Kingdom against Hulagu's rule in 1259-1260. Berke also forged an alliance with the Egyptian Mamluks against Hulagu, and supported Kublai's rival claimant, Ariqboke. Hulagu died on February 8, 1264. Berke sought to take advantage of this and invade Hulagu's realm, but died himself along the way, and a few months later, Alghu Khan of the Chagatai Khanate died as well. Kublai named Hulagu's son Abaqa
Abaqa Khan
Abaqa Khan , also Abaga , or Abagha Khan, was the second Mongol ruler of the Persian Ilkhanate. The son of Hulagu Khan and Yesuncin Khatun, he reigned from 1265–1282 and was succeeded by his brother Tekuder Khan...

 as a new Ilkhan, and Abaqa sought foreign alliances, such as attempting to form a Franco-Mongol alliance
Franco-Mongol alliance
Franco-Mongol relations were established in the 13th century, as attempts were made towards forming a Franco-Mongol alliance between the Christian Crusaders and the Mongol Empire against various Muslim empires. Such an alliance would have seemed a logical choice: the Mongols were sympathetic to...

 with the Europeans against the Egyptian Mamluks. To lead the Golden Horde, Kublai nominated Batu's grandson Mongke Temur
Möngke Temür
Möngke Temür or Dudu Mentemu was the Jurchen chieftain of the Odoli tribe, one fo the three tribes of the lower Sungari river valley in Manchuria...

. Ariqboqe surrendered to Kublai at Shangdu on August 21, 1264.


In the south, after the fall of Xiangyang
Battle of Xiangyang
The Battle of Xiangyang also known as the Battle of Xiangfan was a six-year battle between invading Yuan Dynasty armies founded by the Mongols and Southern Song forces between AD 1267 and 1273. After the battle, the victorious Yuan forces pushed farther into the Song heartland...

 in 1273, the Mongols sought the final conquest of the Song Dynasty in South China. In 1271, Kublai renamed the new Mongol regime in China as the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

, and sought to sinicize his image as Emperor of China
Emperor of China
The Emperor of China refers to any sovereign of Imperial China reigning between the founding of Qin Dynasty of China, united by the King of Qin in 221 BCE, and the fall of Yuan Shikai's Empire of China in 1916. When referred to as the Son of Heaven , a title that predates the Qin unification, the...

 in order to win the control of the millions of Chinese. Kublai moved his headquarters to Dadu
Khanbaliq
Khanbaliq or Dadu refers to a city which is now Beijing, the current capital of the People's Republic of China...

, the genesis for what later became the modern city of Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, although his establishment of a capital there was a controversial move to many Mongols who accused him of being too closely tied to Chinese culture. But the Mongols were eventually successful in their campaigns against China, and the Chinese Song imperial family surrendered to the Yuan in 1276, making the Mongols the first non-Chinese people to conquer all of China. Kublai used his base to build a powerful Empire, creating an academy, offices, trade ports and canals, and sponsoring arts and science. Mongol records list 20,166 public schools created during his reign.

Having achieved 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. However, his costly invasions of Burma, Annam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, Sakhalin
Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

 and Champa
Champa
The kingdom of Champa was an Indianized kingdom that controlled what is now southern and central Vietnam from approximately the 7th century through to 1832.The Cham people are remnants...

 secured only the vassal status of those countries. Mongol invasions of Japan (1274 and 1280) and Java
Mongol invasion of Java
In 1293, Kublai Khan, the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty, sent a large invasion fleet to Java with 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers...

 (1293) failed.

Nogai and Konchi
Köchü
Köchü was the Khan of the White Horde between c.1280-1302. He was the eldest son of Sartaqtay and Qujiyan of the Qongirat and a grandson of Orda Khan....

, the khan of the White Horde, established friendly relations with the Yuan Dynasty and the Ilkhanate. Political disagreement between contending branches of the family over the office of Great Khan continued, but the economic and commercial success of the Mongol Empire continued despite the squabbling.

Political struggles and Pax Mongolica


Major changes occurred in the Mongol Empire in the late 1200s. Kublai Khan, after having conquered all of China and established the Yuan Dynasty, died in 1294, and was succeeded by Temur Khan, who continued Kublai's policies. The Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

 remained loyal to the Yuan court, but endured its own power struggle, in part because of a dispute with the growing Islamic factions within the southwestern part of the Empire. When Ghazan took the throne of the Ilkhanate in 1295, he formally accepted Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as his own religion, and this marked a turning point in Mongol history after which Mongol Persia became more and more Islamic. Ghazan also continued to strengthen ties with the Yuan Dynasty in the east. He found it politically useful to advertise the Great Khan's authority there, because the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 had long made claims on Georgia. Within four years, Ghazan began sending tributes to the Yuan court and also appealed to other khans to accept Temur Khan as their overlord. As an ally and subordinate of the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

, the Ilkhanate maintained a friendly relationship with the latter, and there would see an extensive program of cultural and scientific interaction between them in the following decades.

Ghazan's faith may have been Islamic, but he continued his ancestors’ war with the Egyptian Mamluks, and consulted with his old Mongolian advisers in his native tongue. Ghazan defeated the Mamluk army at the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar
Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar
The Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar, also known as the Third Battle of Homs, was a Mongol victory over the Mamluks in 1299.-Background:In 1260, Hulagu Khan had invaded the Middle East all the way to Palestine. Before he could follow up with an invasion of Egypt, he was called back to Mongolia. He left...

, but was only briefly able to occupy Syria in 1299. The Chagatai Khanate
Chagatai Khanate
The Chagatai Khanate was a Turko-Mongol khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan , second son of the Great Khan Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors...

, under its de facto ruler Kaidu
Kaidu
Kaidu was the leader of the House of Ogedei and the de facto khan of the Chagatai Khanate. He ruled part of modern-day Xinjiang and Central Asia during the 13th century, and actively opposed his uncle, Kublai Khan, who established the Yuan Dynasty in China until his death in 1301...

, was making constant raids on Khorasan
Greater Khorasan
Greater Khorasan or Ancient Khorasan is a historical region of Greater Iran mentioned in sources from Sassanid and Islamic eras which "frequently" had a denotation wider than current three provinces of Khorasan in Iran...

, and this distraction interfered with Ghazan's plan to conquer Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

.

Political struggles also existed within the Golden Horde. Kaidu was at war with both the Ilkhans and the Yuan, and struggling for his own influence within the Horde. He sponsored his own candidate Kobeleg against Bayan (r.1299-1304), the Khan of the White Horde. 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, and enlarged counterattacks against Kaidu a year later. After a bloody battle with Temur's armies near Zawkhan River in 1301, the old valiant Kaidu died.

In spite of his conflicts with Kaidu and Duwa, Yuan emperor Temur established a tributary relationship with the war-like Shan brothers after his series of military operations against Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 from 1297 to 1303. This was to mark the end of the southern expansion of the Mongols. Some Mongols sought to decrease internal strife, and unify under Temur. Duwa
Duwa
Duwa , also known as Du'a, was khan of the Chagatai Khanate . He was the second son of Baraq. He was the longest reigning monarch of the Chagatayid Khanate and accepted the Great Khan's supremacy...

, leader of the Chagatai Khanate, initiated a peace proposal and persuaded the Ogedeids that "Let we Mongols stop shedding blood of each other. It is better to surrender to Khagan Temur". All Khanates approved a peace treaty in 1304 and accepted Temur's supremacy.

New fighting between Duwa and Kaidu's son Chapar broke out shortly afterwards, but with the assistance of Temur, Duwa defeated the Ogedeids. Tokhta of the Golden Horde, also seeking a general peace, sent 20,000 men to buttress the Yuan frontier.

Under the Pax Mongolica, international trade and cultural exchanges flourished between Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. Patterns of Yuan royal textiles could be found on the opposite side of the Empire adorning Armenian decorations, trees and vegetables were transplanted across the Empire, and technological innovations spread from Mongol dominions towards the West. This period facilitated a wide-scale exchange of material and cultural wealth between peoples and countries. The communications between the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

 in Persia encouraged the trade and commerce between the east and the west.

After Tokhta's death in 1312, Ozbeg (r.1313-41) seized the throne of the Golden Horde and persecuted non-Muslim Mongols. The Yuan's influence on the Horde was largely reversed and border clashes between Mongol states resumed. Ayurbawda Khan's envoys backed Tokhta's son against Ozbeg. In the Chagatai Khanate, Esen Buqa I
Esen Buqa I
Esen Buqa I was Khan of the Chagatai Khanate . He was the son of Duwa.In 1309 Esen Buqa's brother Kebek ordered a meeting to determine the future of the khanate following his seizure of power...

 (r. 1309-1318) was enthroned as khan after suppressing a sudden rebellion by Ogedei's descendants and driving Chapar into exile. The Yuan and Ilkhanid armies eventually attacked the Chagatai Khanate.
Realizing economic benefits and the Genghisid legacy, Ozbeg reopened friendly relations with the Yuan in 1326, and strengthened ties with the Muslim world as well, building mosques and other elaborate places such as baths.

By the second decade of the 14th century, Mongol invasions had further decreased. In 1323, Abu Said Khan
Abu Sa'id (Ilkhanid dynasty)
Abu Sa'id also Abusaid Bahador Khan, Abu Sayed Behauder , was the ninth ruler of the Ilkhanate state in Iran ....

 (r. 1316-35) of the Ilkhanate signed a peace treaty with Egypt. At his request, the Yuan court awarded his custodian Chupan
Chupan
Amir Chupan, also known as Choban or Coban , , was a Chupanid noble of the Ilkhanate, and nominal general of the Mongol Empire. His father was named Malek of Mongol Suldus clan...

 the title of commander-in-chief of all Mongol Khanates. But Chupan's reputation could not save his life in 1327. A new civil war erupted in the Yuan Dynasty in 1327-1328, with Chagatai Khan Eljigidey
Eljigidey
Eljigidey was khan of the Chagatai Khanate, a division of the Mongol Empire in 1326-1329. He was the son of Duwa. After the death of his brother Kebek, Eljigidey took control of the Chagatai Khanate. He was involved in the succession struggles of Yuan court from 1327 to 1328. His friend Kusala was...

 (r.1326-29) supporting Kusala, the Yuan Khagan Khayisan's son, as Great Khan. Kusala was elected Khagan on August 30, 1329. Fearing Chagataid influence on the Yuan, Tugh Temur's (1304–1332) Kypchak commander poisoned him, and took power for himself. 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 generals’ descendants to the Chagatai Khanate, Ilkhan Abu Said and Ozbeg. In response to his emissaries, they all agreed to send tribute each year. Tugh Temur also gave lavish presents and an 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
Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII , born Jacques Duèze , was pope from 1316 to 1334. He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy , elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France...

 was presented a memorandum from the eastern church describing their Pax Mongolica
Pax Mongolica
The Pax Mongolica is a Latin phrase meaning "Mongol Peace" coined by Western scholars to describe the stabilizing effects of the conquests of the Mongol Empire on the social, cultural, and economic life of the inhabitants of the vast Eurasian territory that the Mongols conquered in the 13th and...

 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.".

Fall



With the death of Ilkhan Abu Said Bahatur 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
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

 was divided between the Suldus, the Jalayir
Jalayir
Jalayir is one of the Darliqin Mongol tribes according to Rashid-al-Din Hamadani's Jami' al-tawarikh. After the Mongol conquest in the 13th century many Jalayirs spread over Central Asia and the Middle East. Jalayirs are one of the founding tribes of Mongolia's largest ethnic group Khalkha....

, Qasarid
Jöchi Khasar
Hasar was one of Genghis Khan's three full brothers. According to the Jami' al-Tawarikh, his given name was Jo'chi and he got the nickname Khasar after his distinguished bravery...

 Togha Temür
Togha Temür
Togha Temür , also known as Taghaytimur, was a claimant to the throne of the Ilkhanate in the mid-14th century. Of the many individuals who attempted to become Ilkhan after the death of Abu Sa'id, Togha Temür was the only one who hailed from eastern Iran, and was the last major candidate who was of...

 (d.1353) and Persian warlord
Warlord
A warlord is a person with power who has both military and civil control over a subnational area due to armed forces loyal to the warlord and not to a central authority. The term can also mean one who espouses the ideal that war is necessary, and has the means and authority to engage in war...

s. Using the dissolution, the Georgians had already pushed out the Mongols when Uyghur commander Eretna established an independent state (Ertenids) in Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 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 domain in Persia, Mongol rulers in China and Chagatai Khanate
Chagatai Khanate
The Chagatai Khanate was a Turko-Mongol khanate that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan , second son of the Great Khan Genghis Khan, and his descendents and successors...

 were in a turmoil so deep that it threatened continuation of their power. Much fear arose outside the Mongol court. The Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 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 in Africa, Asia and Europe.
As the power of the Mongols declined, chaos erupted everywhere. Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 lost all of its western dominions (including modern Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

) to Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 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
Moghulistan
Moghulistan or Mughalistan is a historical geographic unit in Central Asia that included parts of modern-day Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Chinese Autonomous Region of Xinjiang...

 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
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, 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. The last Yuan ruler Toghan Temur (r. 1333-70) was powerless to regulate those troubles because the empire nearly reached its end. His court's unbacked currency had entered a hyperinflation
Hyperinflation
In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is very high or out of control. While the real values of the specific economic items generally stay the same in terms of relatively stable foreign currencies, in hyperinflationary conditions the general price level within a specific economy increases...

ary spiral and the Han-Chinese people revolted
Red Turban Rebellion
The Red Turban Rebellion was an uprising much influenced by the White Lotus Society members that targeted the ruling Yuan Dynasty.- Causes :...

 due to the Yuan's late harsh restrictions. King Gongmin of Goryeo pushed Mongolian garrisons back and exterminated the family of Toghan Temur Khan's empress while Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen
Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen
Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen was a key figure in Tibetan History. He was founder of the Phagmodrupa dynasty and ruler of Tibet from 1354 to 1364 or 1371....

 eliminated the Mongol influence in Tibet.

Increasingly isolated from their subjects, the Mongols quickly lost most of China to the Ming rebels
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 in 1368 and fled to their homeland Mongolia. After the overthrow of the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

, the Golden Horde lost touch with Mongolia and China, while the two main parts of Chagatai Khanate were defeated by Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

 (Tamerlane) (1336–1405). 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
Great Horde
- Dissolution of the Golden Horde :The peripheral regions of the Golden Horde broke off as follows: 1438: Kazan Khanate, 1441: Crimean Khanate, 1466: Astrakhan Khanate The remnant, which became known as the Great Horde, was left with the steppe between the Dnieper and Yaik, the capital Sarai and a...

 survived until 1502, when one of its successors - the Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

 sacked Sarai. The Yuan remnants, known as Northern Yuan, continued to rule Mongolia until 1635 when the semi-nomadic Manchus defeated them. The Khalkha
Khalkha
Khalkha is the largest subgroup of Mongol people in Mongolia since 15th century. The Khalkha together with Tsahar, Ordos and Tumed, were directly ruled by the Altan Urag Khans until the 20th century; unlike the Oirat people who were ruled by the Dzungar nobles or the Khorchins who were ruled by...

 under the Genghisids and their former subjects-the Oirat Mongols lost their independence to the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 in 1691 and 1755 respectively. The Crimean Khanate was annexed by the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in 1783.

Military setup


The Mongol military organization was simple but effective. It was based on an old tradition of the steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

, which was a decimal
Decimal
The decimal numeral system has ten as its base. It is the numerical base most widely used by modern civilizations....

 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 warrior
Warrior
A warrior is a person skilled in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society that recognizes a separate warrior class.-Warrior classes in tribal culture:...

s, such as the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 or the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, the Mongols were comfortable in the art of the siege
Siege
A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by attrition or assault. The term derives from sedere, Latin for "to sit". Generally speaking, siege warfare is a form of constant, low intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static...

. 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 trebuchet
Trebuchet
A trebuchet is a siege engine that was employed in the Middle Ages. It is sometimes called a "counterweight trebuchet" or "counterpoise trebuchet" in order to distinguish it from an earlier weapon that has come to be called the "traction trebuchet", the original version with pulling men instead of...

s, Xuanfeng
Battle of Xiangyang
The Battle of Xiangyang also known as the Battle of Xiangfan was a six-year battle between invading Yuan Dynasty armies founded by the Mongols and Southern Song forces between AD 1267 and 1273. After the battle, the victorious Yuan forces pushed farther into the Song heartland...

 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
Subutai
Subutai was the primary military strategist and general of Genghis Khan and Ögedei Khan...

. 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
Ata al-Mulk Juvayni
Atâ-Malek Jovayni was a Persian historian who wrote an account of the Mongol Empire entitled Ta' rīkh-i jahān-gushā .He was born in Juvain, a city in Khorasan in northeastern Iran...

. 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.

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
Sajó
The Sajó is a river in Slovakia and Hungary.Its length is 229 km, of which 110 km is in Slovakia. Its source is in the Stolica Mountains range of the Slovak Ore Mountains. It flows through the Slovak town Rožňava and the Hungarian city Miskolc. In Hungary it flows through the county of...

 in spring flood conditions with thirty thousand cavalry in a single night during the battle of Mohi
Battle of Mohi
The Battle of Mohi , or Battle of the Sajó River, was the main battle between the Mongol Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary during the Mongol invasion of Europe. It took place at Muhi, Southwest of the Sajó River. After the invasion, Hungary lay in ruins. Nearly half of the inhabited places had...

 (April, 1241) to defeat the Hungarian king Bela IV. Similarly, in the attack against the Muslim Khwarezmshah
Muhammad II of Khwarezm
Ala ad-Din Muhammad II was the ruler of the Khwarezmid Empire from 1200 to 1220. His ancestor was a Turkic slave who eventually became a viceroy of a small province named Khwarizm. After his father died, Muhammad inherited his father's lands, and it was from there he began expanding outwards...

, a flotilla of barges was used to prevent escape on the river.

Law and governance


The Mongol Empire was governed by a code of law devised by Genghis, called Yassa
Yassa
Yassa was a secret written code of law created by Genghis Khan. It was the principal law under the Mongol Empire even though no copies were made available...

, 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 – 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
Meritocracy
Meritocracy, in the first, most administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration wherein appointments and responsibilities are objectively assigned to individuals based upon their "merits", namely intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or...

, religious tolerance
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

 was guaranteed, and thievery and vandalizing of civilian property was strictly forbidden.

The empire was governed by a non-democratic parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

ary-style central assembly, called Kurultai
Kurultai
Kurultai is a political and military council of ancient Mongol and Turkic chiefs and khans. The root of the word "Khural" means political "meeting" or "assembly" in the Mongolian language, it is also a verb for "to be established"...

, 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 was associated with their culture and progressive thought (Roger Bacon). Some historian of the XXth century thought that it was a good military strategy, as when he was at war with Sultan Muhammad of Khwarezm, other Islamic leaders did not join the fight against Genghis — 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 tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

es, 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.

Religions




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
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Manichaeism
Manichaeism
Manichaeism in Modern Persian Āyin e Māni; ) was one of the major Iranian Gnostic religions, originating in Sassanid Persia.Although most of the original writings of the founding prophet Mani have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived...

 to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. 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. Mongol emperors organized 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
Karakorum
Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, and of the Northern Yuan in the 14-15th century. Its ruins lie in the northwestern corner of the Övörkhangai Province of Mongolia, near today's town of Kharkhorin, and adjacent to the Erdene Zuu monastery...

. Along with palaces, Ogodei built houses of worship for the Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, and Taoist followers. The dominant religion at that time was Shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

, Tengriism
Tengriism
Tengriism is a Central Asian religion that incorporates elements of shamanism, animism, totemism and ancestor worship. Despite still being active in some minorities, it was, in old times, the major belief of Turkic peoples , Bulgars, Hungarians and Mongols...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, although Ogodei's wife was a Mongol Christian. Three of the four principal khanates embraced Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

Mail system



The Mongol Empire had an ingenious and efficient mail system for the time, often referred to by scholars as the Yam
Yam (route)
Yam is a supply point route messenger system employed and extensively used and expanded by Genghis Khan and used by subsequent Great Khans and Khans.Relay stations were used to give food, shelter and spare horses for Mongol armies messengers...

, 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
Pony Express
The Pony Express was a fast mail service crossing the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the High Sierra from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, from April 3, 1860 to October 1861...

. A messenger would typically travel 25 miles (40.2 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 (201.2 km) 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 the Chagatai Khanate and Golden Horde to link up roads in western parts of the Mongol Empire. In order to reduce pressure on households, he set up relay stations with attached households every 25 miles (40.2 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
Paiza
Paiza or Gerege is a tablet of authority for the Mongol officials and envoys...

. News of the Great Khan's death in Karakorum
Karakorum
Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, and of the Northern Yuan in the 14-15th century. Its ruins lie in the northwestern corner of the Övörkhangai Province of Mongolia, near today's town of Kharkhorin, and adjacent to the Erdene Zuu monastery...

 reached the Mongols forces under Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

 in Central Europe within 4–6 weeks thanks to the Yam.

Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

, the founder of the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

, built special relays for high officials, as well as ordinary relays which had hostels. During Kublai's reign, 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. In Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 and southern Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, the Mongols still used dogsled relays for the yam. In the Ilkhanate, Ghazan restored the declining relay system in the Middle East on a restricted scale. He constructed some hostels and decreed that only imperial envoys could receive a stipend. The Jochids of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 financed their relay system by a special jam tax.

Silk Road



The Mongols had a strong history of supporting merchants and trade. Genghis Khan had encouraged foreign merchants early in his career, even before uniting the Mongols. Merchants provided him with information about neighboring cultures, served as diplomats and official traders for the Mongols, and were essential for many needed goods, since the Mongols produced little of their own. Mongols sometimes provided capital for merchants, and sent them far afield, in an ortoq (merchant partner) arrangement. As the Empire grew, any merchants or ambassadors with proper documentation and authorization, received protection and sanctuary as they traveled through Mongol realms. Well-traveled and relatively well-maintained roads linked lands from the Mediterranean basin to China, and greatly increasing overland trade, and resulting in some dramatic stories of those who traveled what became known as the Silk Road. One of the best known travelers from West to East was Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

, and a comparable journey from East to West was that of the Chinese Mongol monk Rabban Bar Sauma
Rabban Bar Sauma
Rabban Bar Sauma , also known as Rabban Ṣawma or Rabban Çauma, , was a Turkic/Mongol monk turned diplomat of the Nestorian Christian faith. He is known for embarking on a pilgrimage from Mongol-controlled China to Jerusalem with one of his students, Rabban Markos...

, who traveled from his home of Khanbaliq
Khanbaliq
Khanbaliq or Dadu refers to a city which is now Beijing, the current capital of the People's Republic of China...

 (Beijing) as far as Europe. European missionaries such as William of Rubruck
William of Rubruck
William of Rubruck was a Flemish Franciscan missionary and explorer. His account is one of the masterpieces of medieval geographical literature comparable to that of Marco Polo....

 also traveled to the Mongol court, on missions of conversion, or as papal envoys, carrying correspondence between the Pope and the Mongols as attempts were made to form a Franco-Mongol alliance
Franco-Mongol alliance
Franco-Mongol relations were established in the 13th century, as attempts were made towards forming a Franco-Mongol alliance between the Christian Crusaders and the Mongol Empire against various Muslim empires. Such an alliance would have seemed a logical choice: the Mongols were sympathetic to...

. It was rare though for anyone to travel the entire length of the Silk Road. 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.

After Genghis, the merchant partner business continued to flourish under his successors Ogedei and Guyuk. Merchants brought clothing, food, and other provisions to the imperial palaces, and in return the Great Khans gave the merchants tax exemptions, and allowed them to use the official relay stations of the Mongol Empire. Merchants also served as tax farmers in China, Russia and Iran. If the merchants were attacked by bandits, losses were made up from the imperial treasury.

Policies changed under the Great Khan Mongke
Möngke Khan
Möngke Khan , born Möngke, , was the fourth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from July 1, 1251 – August 11, 1259. He was the first Great Khan from the Toluid line, and made significant reforms to improve the administration of the Empire during his reign...

. Because of money laundering and overtaxing, he attempted to limit abuses and sent imperial investigators to supervise the ortoq businesses. He decreed all merchants must pay commercial and property taxes, and he paid off all drafts drawn by high ranking Mongol elites from the merchants. This policy continued in the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

.

The fall of the Mongol Empire led to the collapse of the political, cultural, and economic unity along the Silk Road. Turkic tribes seized the western end of the Silk Road trade routes from the decaying Byzantine Empire, and sowed the seeds of a Turkic culture that would later crystallize into the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 under the Sunni faith. In the East, the native Chinese overthrew the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, launching their own Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 and pursuing a policy of economic isolationism.

Legacy


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, except the main population, might have been assimilated into local populations after the fall of the empire, and some of these descendants adopted local religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s — for example, the eastern Khanate
Khanate
Khanate, or Chanat, is a Turco-Mongol-originated word used to describe a political entity ruled by a Khan. In modern Turkish, the word used is kağanlık, and in modern Azeri of the republic of Azerbaijan, xanlıq. In Mongolian the word khanlig is used, as in "Khereidiin Khanlig" meaning the Khanate...

s largely adopted Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, and the western Khanate
Khanate
Khanate, or Chanat, is a Turco-Mongol-originated word used to describe a political entity ruled by a Khan. In modern Turkish, the word used is kağanlık, and in modern Azeri of the republic of Azerbaijan, xanlıq. In Mongolian the word khanlig is used, as in "Khereidiin Khanlig" meaning the Khanate...

s adopted Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, largely under Sufi influence.

According to some interpretretations, Genghis Khan's conquests caused wholesale destruction on an unprecedented scale in certain geographical regions, and therefore led to some changes in the demographics of Asia, such as the mass migration of the Iranian tribes of Central Asia into modern Iran. The Islamic world was also subject to massive changes as a result of Mongol invasions. The population of the Iranian plateau was decimated, resulting in the deaths of up to three-quarters of its population, possibly 10 to 15 million people. Historian Steven Ward estimates that Iran's population did not again reach its pre-Mongol levels until the mid-20th century.

Non-military achievements of the Mongol Empire include the introduction of a writing system, the old Mongol alphabet based on the Uighur
Uyghur language
Uyghur , formerly known as Eastern Turk, is a Turkic language with 8 to 11 million speakers, spoken primarily by the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China. Significant communities of Uyghur-speakers are located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and various other...

 characters, designed to write in Mongol language. that is still used today in Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

.


Some of the other long-term consequences of the Mongol Empire include:
  • Moscow rose to prominence during the Mongol-Tatar yoke, some time after Russian rulers were accorded the status of tax collectors for the Mongols. The fact that the Russians collected tribute and taxes for the Mongols, meant that the Mongols themselves would rarely visit the lands that they owned. The Russians eventually gained military power, and their ruler Ivan III
    Ivan III of Russia
    Ivan III Vasilyevich , also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow and "Grand Prince of all Rus"...

     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
    Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

     sailed in 1492, his missions were to reach Cathay
    Cathay
    Cathay is the Anglicized version of "Catai" and an alternative name for China in English. It originates from the word Khitan, the name of a nomadic people who founded the Liao Dynasty which ruled much of Northern China from 907 to 1125, and who had a state of their own centered around today's...

    , the land of the Grand Khan in China, and give him a letter from the monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon
    Ferdinand II of Aragon
    Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

     and Isabella I of Castile
    Isabella I of Castile
    Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

    .
  • Some research studies indicate that the Black Death
    Black Death
    The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

     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
    Republic of Genoa
    The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

     possession of Caffa, a great trade emporium on the Crimea
    Crimea
    Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

    n 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. 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, with an estimated 20 million deaths in Europe alone.
  • Western researcher R. J. Rummel
    R. J. Rummel
    Rudolph Joseph Rummel is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii. He has spent his career assembling data on collective violence and war with a view toward helping their resolution or elimination...

     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


David Nicole states in The Mongol Warlords, "terror and mass extermination of anyone opposing them was a well tested Mongol tactic." About half of the Russian population may have died during the invasion. However, Colin McEvedy
Colin McEvedy
Colin Peter McEvedy , was a British psychiatrist, historian, demographer and non-fiction author. He was born in Salford, Lancashire and died in London....

 (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. Historians estimate that up to half of Hungary's two million population at that time were victims of the Mongol invasion
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

. Rogerius
Rogerius of Apulia
Rogerius of Apulia was a medieval Roman Catholic monk and chronicler, born in Torremaggiore, Apulia...

, a monk who survived the Mongol invasion of Hungary, pointed out not only the genocidal element of the occupation, but also that the Mongols especially "found pleasure" in humiliating women.

One of the more successful tactics employed by the Mongols was to wipe out urban populations that had refused to surrender. For example, after the conquest of Urgench, each Mongol warrior – in an army group that might have consisted of two tumen
Tumen
Tumen or Tümen was a part of the decimal system used by Turkic and Mongol peoples to organize their armies. Tumen is an army unit of 10,000 soldiers...

s (units of 10,000) – was required to execute 24 people. In the Mongol invasion of Rus
Mongol invasion of Rus
The Mongol invasion of Russia was resumed on 21 December 1237 marking the resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked the medieval powers of Poland, Kiev, Hungary, and miscellaneous tribes of less organized peoples...

, 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 the Mongol army to aid in future conquests. 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
Subutai
Subutai was the primary military strategist and general of Genghis Khan and Ögedei Khan...

, in particular among the Mongol Commanders, viewed winter as the best time for war — 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 influence of the Mongol Empire may prove to be even more direct — Zerjal et al. [2003] 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
Diffusion
Molecular diffusion, often called simply diffusion, is the thermal motion of all particles at temperatures above absolute zero. The rate of this movement is a function of temperature, viscosity of the fluid and the size of the particles...

, and must therefore be the result of selection
Selection
In the context of evolution, certain traits or alleles of genes segregating within a population may be subject to selection. Under selection, individuals with advantageous or "adaptive" traits tend to be more successful than their peers reproductively—meaning they contribute more offspring to the...

. 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
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 royal family of South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 are also descended from Genghis Khan: Babur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

's mother was a descendant — whereas his father was directly descended from Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

 (Tamerlane). The word "Mughal"(مغول) is a Persian word
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 for Mongol.

Sources

  • 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).
  • Weatherford, Jack (2004). Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80964-4.

Further reading

  • Brent, Peter. The Mongol Empire: Genghis Khan: His Triumph and his Legacy. Book Club Associates, London. 1976.
  • Kradin, Nikolay
    Nikolay Kradin
    Nikolay Nikolaevich Kradin is a Russian anthropologist and archaeologist. Since 1985 he has been a Research Fellow of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology, Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok...

    , Tatiana Skrynnikova. "Genghis Khan Empire". Moscow: Vostochnaia literatura, 2006. 557 p. (ISBN 5-02-018521-3).
  • Kradin, Nikolay
    Nikolay Kradin
    Nikolay Nikolaevich Kradin is a Russian anthropologist and archaeologist. Since 1985 he has been a Research Fellow of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology, Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok...

    , 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
  • Woods, Shelton (2002). Vietnam: An Illustrated History. Hippocrene Books Inc. ISBN 0-7818-0910-X Dominique Farale, De Gengis Khan à Qoubilaï Khan : la grande chevauchée mongole
    Mongols
    Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

    , Economica, 2003 (ISBN 2-7178-4537-2) Dominique Farale, La Russie et les Turco-Mongols: 15 siècles de guerre, Economica, 2007. ISBN 978-2-7178-5429-9

External links