Who were the Mongols?
Christians and Muslims were bitter enemies during the crusades, but far more dangerous for both were the Mongols, who all of a sudden, appeared out of nowhere in the thirteenth century. The Mongols were a bunch of nomadic tribes to the north of China. Before the 13th century, the world hardly knew anything about them, but, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, they shook the entire globe and crushed several empires and realms that were considered to be the superpowers of their time. Under the banner ship of some of the greatest generals in history, the mongols founded an empire that held second to none in size, conquering huge parts of China, Persia, The Abbasid empire and Europe. They relied on heavily armed and skilled cavalry. They had a solid force of mounted archers who could shoot over their shoulders if necessary. They used clever tactics to annihilate large armies and never knew the meaning of defeat, striking fear across the entire world.
Mongols before the 13th century.
Hardly anyone knew a thing about mongols before the 13th century. This was due to following reasons:
- They were too busy fighting and stealing from each other to matter to the world.
- They hadn't waged a war yet that could make an impact on any of the major civilizations of their time.
- This was the time when, two of the most dominant powers in feudal ages, the Christians and the Muslims were too much occupied by the crusades to worry about a bunch of tribesmen.
- They were divided and not strong enough to pose a serious threat to any of the civilizations of that time.
The Birth of Genghis Khan, Mongols come to Power.
In the year 1162, a boy was born to a powerful Mongolian chief.This boy was named Temujin. Temujin' s mother had been forced into marriage by his father. Before Temujin was 10 , his father died and their clan abandoned his family. After many adventures, in the year 1178, he married his childhood sweetheart named Borte, who was kidnapped by the same clan from which his father kidnapped his mother. After rescuing her, Temujin decided to unite the mongols which took him 20 years. If he had died then, we would have hardly known about him, but in the years to come, he changed the course of entire Asian history.and took the title Genghis Khan that means " Universal Ruler"
He ruled over roughly 1 million people and ensured following steps to prevent tribal warfare:
- He abolished inherited aristocratic titles.
- He also forbade the selling and kidnapping of women, banned the enslavement of any Mongol.
- He made livestock theft punishable by death.
- Genghis Khan ordered the adoption of a writing system, conducted a regular census, granted diplomatic immunity to foreign ambassadors and allowed freedom of religion well before that idea caught on elsewhere.
This enabled him to successfully govern his people without any sort of internal conflicts.
Heads Up! The Mongols invade the World.
Now that he had united the mongols under him, Genghis Khan focused to the greater task of world domination. He sent hordes of men to conquer huge parts of the world. They won so many victories at such an alarming rate that they seemed almost unstoppable. The following were major battles won by them:
- During the year 1206, Genghis Khan forced the emperor of Western Xi to vassal status.
- In 1211,he conquered the Jin dynasty.
- Genghis sent only two tumen (20,000 soldiers) against Kuchlug, under his younger general, Jebe, known as "The Arrow".
- They completely destroyed the Khwarizmi empire, killing more than a million people while doing so.
- By 1240, they had captured Georgia, Kiev an Rus and Volga Bulgaria.
His successors kept carrying his legacy onward and stretched the boundaries of his empire to make the largest empire known to us considering size.
Mongol culture and politics.
- The mongols were shanties, which means that they worshiped multiple gods of fire,mountains etc. However, they allowed their people to worship in any way the like.
- The mongols, were from grasslands and mainly herded sheep, which made them skilled horsemen.
- The mongols were nomads and wandered from place to place.They rarely built solid houses and spent most of their time in pavilions.
- The mongols could not read or write that well, however they encouraged scholars from other regions to serve their dynasty..
- Most of their food was derived from animals.
- Mongols showed cruelty during their conquests.However, in times of peace, they let the conquered people live in peace.
- The Mongolian court employed several foreign ministers.
The Downfall of Mongolian Empire.
The mongols started crumbling after the death of Kublai Khan. His successors were not capable of keeping together an empire of that great size and it crumbled into many smaller khanates. Never were they to return as a threat to the world. However, there was still a Mongol chief known as Tamer lame, who ruled over the magnificent city of Samarkand and successfully invaded south-Asia multiple times. After his death, the mongols lost power and were reduced to a small state the size of present day Mongolia, which was but a shadow of the empire's glory. Later, the empire had to face Chinese occupation and finally achieved freedom in 1885, and is now known to the world with it' s new name, Mongolia.
© 2019 Nouman Hasnain