The Mongolians

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Transcript The Mongolians

A Nomadic Empire
Pastoral Nomads
 Dependent on horses, camels, goats, sheep, cattle,
yaks, reindeer
 Not in the Americas – No domesticated animals
 Feature of Pastoral Nomads
- generally less productive
- needed grasslands for grazing
- smaller populations
- lived in kinship groups / clans
- more equality
Pastoral Nomads
 Deep connection with agricultural neighbors
- sought access to food / manufactured/luxury goods
-Adopted Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam
 Formation of states was difficult but possible
- Chinggis Khan
–unified the tribes
- almost all men became warriors
 Mastered lands not suitable for agriculture
 After 1000bce horseback riding changed the lives of
the nomads
The Xiongnu
 The first nomadic empire
 Mounted warfare made empire possible
-horses of the steeps
 Centralized hierarchical system
 Served as a model for Turkic and Mongol Empires
 Extracted tribute from China and other nomads
Arabs and the Turks
 Greatest impact of nomads was from 500-1500
-Arabs, Berbers, Turks, and Mongols created largest
 Byzantium, Persia, India, and China were all
controlled at least for a time by formerly nomadic
 Bedouin Arabs
– camel nomads
- effective fighters
- made trade through Arabia possible
Bedouin – Crucial to Islamic
The Mongol Empire
 Created the largest land empire in history
 Extensive connections of nomads with agricultural
neighbors – trade/tribute
-mostly interested in exploiting neighbors
 Mongol population – only 700,000
 Mongols - the last great nomadic state
From Temujin to Chinggis Khan
 Temujin created the Mongol Empire
 Shifting alliances, betrayals and military victories
- reputation as a great leader
 1206 – tribal council recognized him as “Chinggis
Khan” (universal leader)
 Wide expansion after unification
 By the time of his death, the mission of Chinggis Khan
was to “unify the world”
Chinggis Khan
Mongol Military Successes
 Well-led, organized, disciplined army
- conquered tribes were broken up and scattered
among units
- all members of a unit were killed if any deserted in
- leaders shared the hardships of their men
- elaborate tactics: encirclement, retreat, deception
- horses of the steeps
 Reputation of Brutality
- those who resisted were destroyed
Mongolian Battles
Mongolian Bureauocracy
 elaborate census taking and systematic taxation
 system of relay stations for communication and trade
 encouraged commerce
 lower administrative posts to Chinese and Muslim
 practiced religious toleration
China and the Mongols
 Destructive in northern China, more tolerant in South
– accommodation of populace
- landowners guaranteed their estates in return for
- gave themselves a dynastic title (the Yuan)
- built a new capital—Khanbalik (Beijing)
 But the Mongolians were still harsh
- Mongols didn’t become Chinese
- Mongol law discriminated
- women had a surprisingly good quality of life
 Rebellions forced the Mongols out
Persia and the Mongols
 Very destructive
– many Muslims massacred
- Agriculture messed up – turned into pasture land
 Mongols were transformed in Persia
- large scale conversion to Islam
- extensive use of Persian bureaucracy
- Mongol elites learned Persian
 Mongols were assimilated when the empire fell apart
Russia and the Mongols
 Russia was devastated – they could not unite
- destruction of cities
- widespread slaughter
- deportation of skilled workers
 Did not occupy Russia
- invaded for tribute, taxes and slaves
- Moscow was the primary tax collector which made it
 Russia broke free of Mongolian rule by 15th century
 Remember – Russia = Christian/Orthodox Church
Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
A Eurasian Network
 Towards a Global Economy
- produced little, not active traders
- but they promoted trade as a source of tax revenue
- created relatively safe travel across central Asia (Marco
Polo made the trip and got home safe)
 Cultural Exchange
- thousands of artisans were forcibly relocated to
Karakorum (Mongol Capital)
- Chinese technology and Art flowed West
- Europe benefited greatly from these encounters
- scholars argue that Europe’s rise to power has its’
foundations with the Mongols
The Plague (aka Black Death)
 Spread across Eurasian trade routes
 Spread by fleas on rats (Jews blamed)
 first biological warfare – Mongols catapulted plague
infested bodies into enemy towns
 Plague responsible for breakdown of Mongol Empire
and eliminating trade routes
-this is why Europeans sought other routes to Asia
 1/3 – 2/3 of Europe died
- undermined serfdom
-more equality for women
The Plague