Mongol Eurasia and Its Aftermath (1200-1500) Chapter 12 Outline

I. The Rise of the Mongols A. Nomadism in Central and Inner Asia -Although many people think of nomads as simple people moving from place to place, the Mongols were much more advanced than that. They had a rough political system, strong military tactics, and a core religion. -The Mongols lived and moved with their families, and lived in groups throughout the Eurasian continent. They had a main, leader or Khan, and the rest of the people had their own voice. The more powerful families would vote on the Khans decisions, and the Khan would usually listen to the peoples’ voice. If one or two of the families didn’t like his decisions, they had the option of going out on their own without the support of the rest of the group. -The Mongols excelled at horse riding and it was their main source of transportation in peace and warfare. They had a pastoral community, and they depended mostly on herding livestock. The Mongols were aware of agriculture and historians speculate that they could have started a settled agricultural empire if they wanted too; however the Mongols preferred to remain dependant on livestock. -Slaves acquired through warfare and conquests did a lot of work in the Mongol camps. They were also given to powerful groups by smaller groups who wanted protection or land. Some very powerful groups relied almost entirely on tribunes, and focused on military conquests to obtain a bigger tribune. Arranged marriages also helped to forge alliances between groups. -The Mongols usually stayed close to established agricultural settlements in order to maintain a steady flow of iron, which they worked into weapons, stirrups, and other things. They usually traded wool, leather, and pack animals for fresh vegetables, grain, tea, and iron. B. The Mongol Conquests -After gaining power in 1206, Genghis Khan set out on a military conquest, aiming to capture and rule the Eurasian continent. He captured parts of China and Iran during his lifetime, and after his death in 1227 his sons and grandsons continued his dream. During the 1300s the Mongols ruled the areas of China, Russia, and parts of Europe and the Middle East. These empires were split between Ghenghis’s offspring. -The Mongols almost never outnumbered their enemies, yet their superior cavalry skills helped them to win. Using powerful bows, they would first take out their opponent’s marksmen. They would then attack the main cavalry using swords and lances, using their superiority on horseback to help them win. They used catapults to break through fortifications and when all else failed, they would lay siege to the cities. -At one point, the momentum of these conquests was so great that the Mongol’s reputation alone was enough to make cities surrender. These conquests helped to provide tribune and helped to support the Mongol’s and their military. C. Overland Trade and the Plague -Under the Mongols, Eurasian trade flourished. Silk became wildly popular and was traded in vast quantities to the west for use in clothes and home decorations. Also, because the Mongol rule extended over almost the entire continent, trade

became safer and longer in distance. This increased merchants’ encounters, which led to cultural exchanges and the exchange of ideas. -This new contact however was not all good. It helped to spread the plague and other viruses and diseases like smallpox and typhus. This disease hampered the Mongols conquests when it reached their army and severely crippled them. The ironic thing was that this sickness came from peace, not warfare. II. The Mongols and Islam A. Mongol Rivalry -There was much friction between the Mongols and the Islam faith, mostly because of conflicting beliefs. The Mongols believed in eating blood and worshiping idols, which horrified the Muslims. The tension became even greater when a Mongol leader declared himself Muslim and led a conquest to avenge the assassination of the Islam Abbasid caliph. -Some of the crusaders of west Europe tried to forge an alliance with the nonMuslim Mongols in an attempt to oust the Muslims. B. Islam and the State -Because of high taxes that the Il-khans imposed many farmers lost their farms and livelihood. The Mongols used a system of tax farming to extract the most amounts of taxes as possible. As many farmers began to lose profits and land, they converted to growing grain, which was tax-free. -The Mongol leader was having a hard time balancing the demands of the nobles and the army versus the promise of lower taxes to the people. - Timur, who saw himself as Genghis Khan started a military conquest that targeted Western Europe. He was unable to obtain the position of Khan though because of his ethnic background as a Turk. This did no stop him from leading conquests that eventually conquered the Ottoman Empire. C. Culture and Science in Islamic Eurasia -Because of Timur’s emphasis on literature and art, many great historians were thriving during the 1300s. Some of them include Juvaini, Rashid al-Din, Ibn Khaldun. Juvaini often criticized the Mongols and was one of the first great historians of the period. Rashid al-Din, Ghazan’s prime minister, was inspired and influenced by these writings and attempted to write the first world history. Ibn Khaldun was one of the greatest historians of his time, noting geographic, political, and social details in his writings. -Nasir al-Din helped forge new pathways in trigonometry and algebra, following in the footsteps of Omar Khayyam, a poet and mathematician. -He also made huge advancements in astronomy. Nasir created incredibly accurate eclipse predictions and observation charts that were used later by the Europeans. He was also the one who suggested the model of the solar system, with the sun in the center and all of the other planets orbiting around it. III. Regional Responses in Western Eurasia A. Russia and Rule from Afar -The Golden Horde controlled most of Russia, and in doing so they affected the area socially and economically. Because of the high taxes the Mongols imposed, much of the gold and silver flowed out of Russia and there was little valuable metal in the local markets. The Mongols tried to fix this by introducing a paper

currency, but had a lasting memory on the Russians. Their economy mostly rested on a barter system due to this unbalance. -The languages in Russia slowly changed due to the Mongols as well. It shifted from Slavic and Byzantine Greek to Russian. -Historians debate over the impact of the Mongols, as some point out that they destroyed Russia’s economy and socially isolated them, while others say that the Russian’s did it to themselves. B. New States in Eastern Europe and Anatolia -In some areas of Europe, countries like Holland and Poland faced the Mongol attacks on their own, mostly because of feuding between the Pope and the Emperor. The Holy Roman Emperor at the time was not hostile towards the Muslims, but the Pope threatened to excommunicate him from the church if he did not assist in the crusades against the Muslims. Their fighting created a distraction and so many of the European territories ended up getting overrun by the Mongols. -The Mongol army poised to take over Europe was not actually made up of all Mongols. Other forces joined them, such as people from Chinese, Iranians, Turks, and even some Europeans! -Right as the Mongol army prepared to strike Europe, they were recalled to their homeland because of the death of their Khan, Ogodei. They left in 1241, however if they had not, they would have almost certainly destroyed Europe’s weak defenses and overrun the feudal Europe in a matter of days. History may have been very different. -The Mongols built many cultural bridges between themselves and the Europeans, and the Europeans walked away with a better understanding of math, science, literature, and new technologies. -During the 13th-14th century, the Mongol presence led to more centralized governments in places like Lithuania. -During Mongol rule, Islam was spread to Europe through Constantinople. IV. Mongol Domination In China A. The Yuan Empire -The Mongol leader Khubilai Khan was known in China for believing in Chinese values and believing in Confusionist values. He named his oldest son a Chinese name and provided him with Confusionist teachers. When Khubilai Khan came to China, it was splintered into three separate parts: The Tanggut, the Jin, and the Song. Not only did he unify these separate states, but he also set up a prosperous capital in Beijing. -While under their rule, the Chinese experienced Mongol innovations that included tax farming, changes in the Chinese social rankings, and a secular law system. China also experienced an increase in wealth and trade as their ports and trade cities mushroomed. This increase was largely due to the increase in the merchants’ status in Chinese society. Rich, aristocratic families who relied on government service to provide now started to shift into the field of commerce and marketing. This increase in trade also led to a major increase in urbanization. -As a country, however, China was hurt by the Mongol rule. Their population dropped by over 40 percent due to not only the Mongol princes but also because of warfare, natural disasters, and the plague. The leaders did not help very much though, neglecting irrigation dikes and dams, and evicting many of the farmers needed to support the population. Also, the heavy taxation on not only the farmers

but also the average people led to poverty and servitude. By the time the Mongols realized this, like in Iran, it was too late. B. Cultural and Scientific Exchanges -Iran and China maintained a good relationship in the fact that a lot of knowledge was passed between them. The Yuan and the Il-khans were both Mongol groups and the Yuan learned new science and technology, while the Iranians imported Chinese texts and scholars. -China also learned algebra, trigonometry, astronomy, medicine, and formulas from other countries. C. The Fall of the Yuan Empire -In 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang took over China and overturned the Mongol rule. He established the Ming dynasty, however the dynasty was never able to reach full height as the Mongols and other areas constantly threatened it. V. The Early Ming Empire A. Ming China on a Mongol Foundation -The emperor of the Ming dynasty Zhu Yuanzhang publicly rejected the Mongol culture and practices and tried to reemploy the Confusionist-based government system. However, behind the scenes, he kept many of the Mongol institutions and ideas. He established a new capital in Nanjing, and tried to sever trade ties with the Middle East and the rest of Asia. -During the period of 1405 and 1433, the general Zheng He went on an expedition to the East. The goal of this expedition was to re-link China with the Middle East for trading and bring remote Chinese areas under Ming control. Overall the expedition did not do very much, and had little effect on China. It helped to add over 50 new areas to the Chinese rule, but due to limited resources and a lack of new technology, the expeditions were discontinued. -The Zheng He voyage did not accomplish its goals either, and while it did import some goods to China, the journeys did not have any effect on long distance trade between China and the Middle East areas. B. Technology and Population -During the period of the Ming, the Chinese actually saw a decrease in new technologies and the Ming lagged way behind the Song in technical innovations. The Ming economy grew in size, but the agriculture peaked at about 1450. The Ming actually lost knowledge in the area of metal work; they lost the art of creating high-quality bronze and steel. Historians believe that this was due to many factors including higher material price and a lack of a need to produce new weapons and tools. -The Ming did however, revive the Confusion civil service exam, which put more pressure on the wealthy aristocrats to receive and give their children an education. VI. Centralization and Militarism in East Asia A. Korea from the Mongols to the Yi -The Mongols pressured the Korea with frequent invasions, and in 1258 they finally gave in and forged an alliance with the Yuan through a royal marriage. The Koreans then fell under the influence of the Yuan Mongols, and profited through new technological and cultural advancements.

-The Koryo collapsed right after the Yuan, and it was replaced by the Yi dynasty. The Yi dynasty did something much like what the Ming dynasty did where they reestablished the local Korean traditions while maintaining the Mongol institutions. -The Yi made many technological advancements in not only everyday life but in warfare as well. New military technology included gunpowder arrow-launchers, armored ships, and cannons mounted on patrol boats. B. Political Transformations in Japan -The Mongol invasions of Japan made Japan much more centralized and put an emphasis on warfare in their culture. After the first Mongol invasion in 1274, the Kamakura shogun helped to unify and prepare Japan for a second attack, and when the Mongols did attack again, they along with a typhoon were able to force the Mongols back. This helped to greatly improve the status of the elite Japanese warriors called the Samurai. -The Kamakura government was affected by these wars however because much of their budget went into defense, putting a strain on resources. After civil war, the Kamakura fell, to be replaced by the Ashikaga. The Ashikaga had a very weak central government and local rulers who ruled its provinces. These local warlords sponsored growth projects in religion, schools, agriculture, art, and the economy.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.