Western Eurasia, 1200
Transcript Western Eurasia, 1200
The Rise of the Mongols, 1200 – 1260
A. Nomadism in Central Asia
1. Nomadism can be defined as a way of life
forced by a scarcity of resources.
2. Because of this scarcity, nomads are
continually on the move.
3. Constant movement required centralized
decision making with strong hierarchies, but
the khan, or leader, was always required to
have decisions ratified by a council.
4. Those captured during warfare or raids
became slaves – some even became slaves
willingly to avoid starvation.
5. The long-distance, seasonal movements of
the Central Asian nomads created powerful
channels for trade and communication.
6. Every man was a full-time herdsman,
hunter, and warrior, while women generally
oversaw the breeding and birthing of livestock
and the preparation of furs.
7. Iron was crucial to Central Asian nomads
since they did not mine it themselves.
8. They did, however, create ironworking
stations where they make bridles, stirrups,
wagons, and weapons.
9. Genghis Khan’s real name was Temüjin,
which literally means “blacksmith” and several
of his followers were sons of blacksmiths.
B. The Mongol Conquests
1. Temüjin was made Genghis Khan, or
Great leader, in the year 1206.
2. Genghis Khan’s main priority was to
establish a tributary system with the Eurasian
3. Due to the mixed response, Mongolian
aggression pushed westward into Central Asia,
the Middle East, and Russia.
4. Genghis Khan died in 1227 and was
succeeded by his son Ögödei.
5. Ögödei decided to pursue the conquest of
China destroying the empires of the Tanggut
6. In 1236 Genghis’s grandson Batu
conquered Moscow, Poland, and Hungary
establishing the Golden Horde.
1246 - 1248
7. When the Mongol armies approached a
city they gave them three choices: (1) Fight and
face immediate slaughter, (2) stay within your
city walls and face starvation and then
slaughter, or (3) surrender and receive food,
shelter, and protection.
8. With the capture of each city, their armies
swelled with new recruits – by the time the
Mongols conquered the Middle East their army
consisted of Mongolian elites overseeing
armies of Turks, Iranians, and Arabs.
C. Overland Trade and the Plague
1. Overland trade was protected by the
Mongols and promoted by their tax policies.
2. Merchants hoping for wealth joined
ambassadors journeying to Mongol courts.
3. Their travels often produced vivid
descriptions of the Eurasian world during this
4. One such account is that of Marco Polo, a
Venetian traveler who often mixed the fantastic
with the factual.
5. There was also great danger to these
exchanges across Eurasia.
6. In southwestern China, the plague had
festered in Yunnan province since the early
7. By the mid-thirteenth century, the
Mongols arrived establishing a garrison.
8. This provided the perfect environment for
flea-infested rats carrying the plague to travel
to Central Asia, the Middle East, and finally
The Fall and Rise of Islam, 1260 – 1500
A. Mongol Rivalry
1. By 1260 there were two Mongol realms
that had been established in western Eurasia:
(1) the Il-Khan, and (2) Golden Horde.
2. The Mongols under Hülegü controlled
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Mesopotamia, and Iran.
3. The Golden Horde established themselves
in southern Russia north of the Caspian Sea.
4. Tensions between individual Mongols and
Muslims grew starting with the murder of the
last Abbasid caliph.
5. Muslims were also disgusted with the
Mongols’ worship of idols, which is
fundamental to Shamanism.
6. Another source of contention dealt with
the rules governing animal slaughter,
specifically the spilling of blood.
7. By the 1260s, the Mongol leader of the
Golden Horde, Batu, declared himself a
Muslim and swore to avenge the death of the
8. The Il-Khans were Buddhist and a conflict
erupted between the two domains.
9. By 1295, the new Il-Khan leader, Ghazan,
now declared himself a Muslim and the two
empires worked together to spread the faith.
B. Islam and the State
1. The Mongols used a system called tax
farming – practice of selling tax-collecting
contracts to small corporations who got to keep
any revenue above the contracted amount.
2. The short-term result was a large amount
of grain, cash, and silk for the government.
3. The long-term result drove many
landowners into debt and servitude.
4. Soon, the power of the Il-khans and the
Golden Horde weakened during the 14th century
allowing for a new power to emerge in Central
5. The Jagadai Khanate emerged as the new
power under the leadership of Timur.
6. Much of the Middle East was united under his
rule allowing for the consolidation of Sunni Islam
in that region.
7. This also allowed for the groundwork of
Muslim control in India under the Mughal
dynasties in the 16th century.
Regional Definition in Response to the
A. Russian and Rule from Afar
1. The Mongols first defeated a Russian army
in the late 1230s and by 1240 the central
Russian town of Kiev fell.
2. Batu and his descendants established a
regime known as the Golden Horde.
3. The primary concern in Russia was their
extraction of wealth. Specifically gold and
4. With the destruction of Kiev, the Russian
towns of Novgorod and Moscow became the
dominant centers of Russian culture.
5. By the 1300s, Moscow emerged as the new
center of Russia.
6. After the Russians threw off Mongolian
domination in 1480, Russian rulers used the title
Tsar (or Czar) to show that Russia should be ruled
7. The Russian ruler who gained independence
for Russia was Ivan III, prince of Moscow.