The Mongol Empire explained :
The 13th and 14th century Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous land empire in history. The Mongol Empire gradually spread from Eastern Europe and parts of Central Europe to the Sea of Japan, beginning in Mongolia in East Asia, spreading northward into parts of the Arctic; eastward and southward into the Indian subcontinent, Mainland Southeast Asia and the Iranian Plateau; and westward as far as the Levant and the Carpathian Mountains.
Foundation of The Mongol Empire explained
The Mongol Empire emerged under the leadership of Genghis Khan (c. 1162–1227), whom a council declared as the king of all Mongols in 1206, from the union of many nomadic tribes in the Mongol homeland. Under his rule and that of his descendents, who sent out invading armies in every direction, the empire expanded rapidly. In an imposed Pax Mongolica, the immense transcontinental empire linked the East with the West, the Pacific with the Mediterranean, enabling trade, technology, goods and philosophy to be disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia.
In 1125, the Jin dynasty, established by the Jurchens, overthrew the Liao dynasty and tried to take control of Mongolia’s former Liao territory. The Jin Dynasty rulers, revered as the Golden Kings, effectively resisted the Khamag Mongol confederation in the 1130s, ruled at that time by Genghis Khan’s great-grandfather, Khabul Khan.
The Mongolian plateau was primarily occupied by five strong Keraite, Khamag Mongol, Naiman, Mergid and Tatar tribal confederations. In order to keep the nomadic tribes distracted by their own wars and thus away from the Jin, the Jin emperors, pursuing a strategy of divide and rule, encouraged conflicts between the tribes, especially between the Tatars and the Mongols. Ambaghai Khan, who was betrayed by the Tatars, handed over to the Jurchen, and executed, was Khabul’s successor. By raiding the border, the Mongols retaliated, resulting in a failed Jurchen counter-attack in 1143.
The Jin adjusted their policies somewhat in 1147, concluding a peace treaty with the Mongols and withdrawing from a score of forts. In order to avenge the death of their late khan, the Mongols then resumed attacks on the Tatars, opening a long period of intense warfare. In 1161, the Jin and Tatar Armies defeated the Mongols.
The normally cold, parched steppes of Central Asia enjoyed their mildest, wettest conditions in more than a millennium during the rise of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century. This is believed to have contributed to a rapid rise in the number of war horses and other animals, which greatly increased the military power of the Mongols.
Identified as Temüjin during his youth, Genghis Khan was the son of a Chieftain of the Mongols. He grew very rapidly as a young man, working with the Toghrul Khan of the Kerait. Kurtait was the most powerful Mongolian leader at the time; the Chinese title “Wang” was granted to him, which means King. Temujin went to fight with Kurtait (now Wang Khan). He gave himself the name Genghis Khan, after Temujin had defeated Wang Khan. He then, under himself and his family, expanded his Mongol state. The word Mongol came to be used under Genghis Khan’s rule to refer to all Mongolian speaking tribes. His most important allies were his father’s friend, Khereid chieftain Wang Khan Toghoril, and Jamukha of the Jadran clan of Temujin’s childhood anda (blood brother). Temujin defeated the Merkit tribe with their aid, rescued his wife, Börte, and went on to defeat the Naimans and Tatars.
Those assigned to his own family members were comparatively few, compared with the units he provided to his loyal companions. He declared the empire’s new code of law, Ikh Zasag or Yassa; he later extended it to include most of the nomads’ daily life and political affairs. During the breeding season, he prohibited the sale of women, stealing, combat between the Mongols, and the hunting of animals.
As the supreme judge (jarughachi), he appointed his adopted brother Shigi-Khuthugh to order him to keep records of the kingdom. Genghis also decreed religious freedom and sponsored domestic and foreign trade, in addition to laws concerning family, food, and the army. The poor and the clergy were exempted from taxation by him. He also promoted literacy, adopting the Uyghur script that would form the empire’s Uyghur-Mongolian script, and he ordered his sons to be taught by the Uyghur Tatatunga, who had previously served the Naimans’ khan.
DEATH OF GENGHIS KHAN
On 18 August 1227, Genghis Khan died, at which time the Mongol Empire ruled from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea, an empire twice the size of the Roman Empire or the Muslim Caliphate at its height. Genghis named his third son, the charismatic Ögedei, as his heir. Genghis Khan was buried in a hidden location, according to Mongol tradition. Originally, Ögedei’s younger brother Tolui retained the regency until Ögedei’s formal election at the kurultai in 1229.
END OF THE EMPIRE
The Mongols, gradually alienated from their subjects, rapidly lost much of China to the revolting Ming forces and fled to their heartland in Mongolia in 1368. The Golden Horde lost relations with Mongolia and China after the overthrow of the Yuan dynasty, while the two main parts of the Chagatai Khanate were defeated by Timur (Tamerlane) (1336-1405), who founded the Timurid Empire. Remnants of the Chagatai Khanate, however, survived; the Yarkent Khanate was the last Chagataid state to survive, until its defeat in the Dzungar conquest of Altishahr in 1680 by the Oirat Dzungar Khanate. The Golden Horde split into smaller Turkic hordes, which for four centuries declined steadily in strength. Among them, the khanate’s shadow, the Great Horde, lasted until 1502, when Sarai was sacked by one of its predecessors, the Crimean Khanate. Until 1783, the Crimean Khanate existed, while khanates such as the Bukhara Khanate and the Kazakh Khanate lasted for much longer.
ALSO READ :