Mongol invasions and conquests

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Mongol Conquests
Mongol Empire map.gif
Expansion of the Mongol Empire 1206–94
Date1206–1405
Location
Result

The Mongol invasions and conquests took place during the 13th century, creating the vast Mongol Empire which by 1300 covered large parts of Eurasia. Historians regard the Mongol devastation as one of the deadliest episodes in history. [1] [2] In addition, Mongol expeditions may have spread the bubonic plague across much of Asia and Europe, helping to spark the Black Death of the 14th century. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Mongol Empire former country in Asia and Europe

The Mongol Empire existed during the 13th and 14th centuries; it became the largest contiguous land empire in history. Originating in Mongolia, the Mongol Empire eventually stretched from Eastern Europe and parts of Central Europe to the Sea of Japan, extending northwards into Siberia; eastwards and southwards into the Indian subcontinent, Indochina and the Iranian Plateau; and westwards as far as the Levant and the Carpathian Mountains.

Eurasia The combined continental landmass of Europe and Asia

Eurasia is the largest continental landmass on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. The term is a portmanteau of its constituent continents. Located primarily in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and by Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean to the south. The division between Europe and Asia as two different continents is a historical social construct, with no clear physical separation between them; thus, in some parts of the world, Eurasia is recognized as the largest of the six, five, or even four continents on Earth. In geology, Eurasia is often considered as a single rigid megablock. However, the rigidity of Eurasia is debated based on paleomagnetic data.

Destruction under the Mongol Empire

The death and destruction during the 13th century Mongol conquests have been widely noted in both the scholarly literature and popular memory. The Mongol army conquered hundreds of cities and villages, and also killed millions of men, women and children It has been calculated that approximately 5% of the world's population were killed during Turco-Mongol invasions or in their immediate aftermath. If these calculations are accurate, this would make the events the deadliest acts of mass killings in human history.

Contents

The Mongol Empire developed in the course of the 13th century through a series of victorious campaigns throughout Asia, reaching Eastern Europe by the 1240s. In contrast with later "empires of the sea" such as the British, the Mongol Empire was a land power, [7] fueled by the grass-foraging Mongol cavalry and cattle. [8] Thus most Mongol conquest and plundering took place during the warmer seasons, when there was sufficient grazing for the herds. [8]

A thalassocracy or thalattocracy is a state with primarily maritime realms, an empire at sea or a seaborne empire. Traditional thalassocracies seldom dominate interiors, even in their home territories. Examples of this are Phoenician Tyre, Sidon, and Carthage, or Srivijaya and Majapahit in Southeast Asia. One can distinguish this traditional sense of thalassocracy from an "empire", where the state's territories, though possibly linked principally or solely by the sea lanes, generally extend into mainland interiors: the Bruneian Empire (1368–1888) in Asia. Compare to tellurocracy.

Tellurocracy is a type of civilization or state system that is clearly associated with the development of land territories and consistent penetration into inland territories. Tellurocratic states have a certain territory and the state-forming ethnic majority living on it, around which further expansion takes place. The opposite of tellurocracy is thalassocracy, although in the pure type of a particular state is rarely observed. Usually there is a combination of tellurocratic characteristics with thalassocratic. In political geography, geopolitics and geo-economics, the term is used to explain the power of a country through its control over land. For example, prior to their merger, the Sultanate of Muscat was thalassocratic, but the Imamate of Oman was landlocked and purely tellurocratic. In addition, it could be said that most or all landlocked states are tellurocracies.

Though the Mongol Empire began to fragment from 1260, Tartar and Mongol threats to the Russian states continued for centuries. Mongols continued to rule China into the 14th century under the Yuan dynasty, while Mongol rule in Persia persisted into the 15th century under the Timurid Empire. In India, the later Mughal Empire survived into the 19th century.

The division of the Mongol Empire began when Möngke Khan died in 1259 in the siege of Diaoyu castle with no declared successor, precipitating infighting between members of the Tolui family line for the title of Great Khan that escalated to the Toluid Civil War. This civil war, along with the Berke–Hulagu war and the subsequent Kaidu–Kublai war greatly weakened the authority of the Great Khan over the entirety of the Mongol Empire and the empire fractured into autonomous khanates, including the Golden Horde in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate in the middle, the Ilkhanate in the southwest, and the Yuan dynasty in the east based in modern-day Beijing, although the Yuan emperors held the nominal title of Khagan of the empire. The four khanates each pursued their own separate interests and objectives, and fell at different times.

Tartary Historical region in northern and central Asia

Tartary or Great Tartary, was a historical region located in northern and central Asia stretching eastwards from the Caspian Sea and from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, inhabited mostly by Turkic peoples.

China Country in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Central Asia

Battle of Valiyan against the Khwarazmian dynasty. Bataille de valiyan (1221).jpeg
Battle of Vâliyân against the Khwarazmian dynasty.

Genghis Khan forged the initial Mongol Empire in Central Asia, starting with the unification of the Mongol and Turkic confederations such as Merkits, Tartars, and Mongols. The Uighur Buddhist Qocho Kingdom surrendered and joined the empire. He then continued expansion via conquest of the Qara Khitai [9] and the Khwarazmian dynasty.

Genghis Khan founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire

Genghis Khan was the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. After founding the Empire and being proclaimed "Genghis Khan", he launched the Mongol invasions that conquered most of Eurasia. Campaigns initiated in his lifetime include those against the Qara Khitai, Caucasus, and Khwarazmian, Western Xia and Jin dynasties. These campaigns were often accompanied by large-scale massacres of the civilian populations – especially in the Khwarazmian and Western Xia controlled lands. By the end of his life, the Mongol Empire occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China.

Central Asia Region of the Asian continent

Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of".

Merkit

The Merkit was one of the five major tribal confederations (khanlig) of probably Mongol or Turkic origin later Mongolized in the 12th century Mongolian Plateau.

Large areas of Islamic Central Asia and northeastern Iran were seriously depopulated, [10] as every city or town that resisted the Mongols was destroyed. Each soldier was given a quota of enemies to execute according to circumstances. For example, after the conquest of Urgench, each Mongol warrior – in an army of perhaps two tumens (20,000 troops) – was required to execute 24 people. [11] [ better source needed ]

Islam in Central Asia

Islam in Central Asia has existed since the beginning of Islamic history. Islam is the most widely practiced religion in Central Asia. The Hanafi school of thought of Sunnism is the most popular, with Shiism of Imami and Ismaili denominations predominating in the Pamir plateau and the western Tian Shan mountains, while boasting to a large minority population in the Zarafshan river valley, from Samarkand to Bukhara. Islam came to Central Asia in the early part of the 8th century as part of the Muslim conquest of the region. Many well-known Islamic scientists and philosophers came from Central Asia, and several major Muslim empires, including the Timurid Empire and the Mughal Empire, originated in Central Asia. In the 20th century, severe restrictions on religious practice were enacted by the Soviet Union in Soviet Central Asia and the People's Republic of China in Xinjiang. Concerns about Islamic radicalism and religious freedom in the region persist to this day.

Konye-Urgench city

Konye-UrgenchOld Gurgānj also known as Kunya-Urgench, Old Urgench or Urganj, is a municipality of about 30,000 inhabitants in north Turkmenistan, just south from its border with Uzbekistan. It is the site of the ancient town of Ürgenç (Urgench), which contains the ruins of the capital of Khwarazm, a part of the Achaemenid Empire. Its inhabitants deserted the town in the 1700s in order to develop a new settlement, and Kunya-Urgench has remained undisturbed ever since. In 2005, the ruins of Old Urgench were inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.

Tumen, or tümen, was a part of the decimal system used by the Turkic peoples and Mongol peoples to organize their armies. Tumen is an army unit of 10,000 soldiers.

Against the Alans and the Cumans (Kipchaks), the Mongols used divide-and-conquer tactics by first warning the Cumans to end their support of the Alans, whom they then defeated. [12] before rounding on the Cumans. [13] Alans were recruited into the Mongol forces with one unit called "Right Alan Guard" which was combined with "recently surrendered" soldiers. Mongols and Chinese soldiers stationed in the area of the former Kingdom of Qocho and in Besh Balikh established a Chinese military colony led by Chinese general Qi Kongzhi (Ch'i Kung-chih). [14]

The Alans were an Iranian nomadic pastoral people of antiquity.

Cumans Turkic nomadic people

The Cumans, also known as Polovtsians, were a Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman–Kipchak confederation. After the Mongol invasion (1237), many sought asylum in the Kingdom of Hungary, as many Cumans had settled in Hungary, the Second Bulgarian Empire, and Anatolia before the invasion.

During the Mongol attack on the Mamluks in the Middle East, most of the Mamluk military was composed of Kipchaks, and the Golden Horde's supply of Kipchak fighters replenished the Mamluk armies and helped them fight off the Mongols. [15]

Hungary became a refuge for fleeing Cumans. [16]

The decentralized, stateless Kipchaks only converted to Islam after the Mongol conquest, unlike the centralized Karakhanid entity comprising the Yaghma, Qarluqs, and Oghuz who converted earlier to world religions. [17]

The Mongol conquest of the Kipchaks led to a merged society with a Mongol ruling class over a Kipchak-speaking populace which came to be known as Tatar, and which eventually absorbed Armenians, Italians, Greeks, and Goths on the Crimean peninsula to form the modern day Crimean Tatar people. [18]

West Asia

Siege of Baghdad in 1258. Bagdad1258.jpg
Siege of Baghdad in 1258.

The Mongols conquered, by battle or voluntary surrender, the areas of present-day Iran, Iraq, the Caucasus, and parts of Syria and Turkey, with further Mongol raids reaching southwards into Palestine as far as Gaza in 1260 and 1300. The major battles were the Siege of Baghdad (1258), when the Mongols sacked the city which had been the center of Islamic power for 500 years, and the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, when the Muslim Kipchak Mamluks were able to defeat the Mongols in the battle at Ain Jalut in the southern part of the Galilee—the first time the Mongols had been decisively stopped. One thousand northern Chinese engineer squads accompanied the Mongol Khan Hulagu during his conquest of the Middle East. [19]

East Asia

Battle of Yehuling against the Jin dynasty. Bataille entre mongols & chinois (1211).jpeg
Battle of Yehuling against the Jin dynasty.
Mongol Empire's conquest of Chinese regimes including Western Liao, Jurchen Jin, Song, Western Xia and Dali kingdoms. Mongol Invasion of China.png
Mongol Empire's conquest of Chinese regimes including Western Liao, Jurchen Jin, Song, Western Xia and Dali kingdoms.

Genghis Khan and his descendants launched progressive invasions of China, subjugating the Western Xia in 1209 before destroying them in 1227, defeating the Jin dynasty in 1234 and defeating the Song dynasty in 1279. They made the Kingdom of Dali into a vassal state in 1253 after the Dali King Duan Xingzhi defected to the Mongols and helped them conquer the rest of Yunnan, forced Korea to capitulate through invasions, but failed in their attempts to invade Japan, their fleets scattered by kamikaze storms.

Mongol warrior on horseback, preparing a mounted archery shot. Mongol warrior of Genghis Khan.jpg
Mongol warrior on horseback, preparing a mounted archery shot.

The Mongols' greatest triumph was when Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty in China in 1271. The dynasty created a "Han Army" (漢軍) out of defected Jin troops and an army of defected Song troops called the "Newly Submitted Army" (新附軍). [20]

The Mongol force which invaded southern China was far greater than the force they sent to invade the Middle East in 1256. [21]

The Yuan dynasty established the top-level government agency Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs to govern Tibet, which was conquered by the Mongols and put under Yuan rule. The Mongols also invaded Sakhalin Island between 1264 and 1308. Likewise, Korea (Goryeo) became a semi-autonomous vassal state of the Yuan dynasty for about 80 years. The Yuan dynasty was eventually overthrown during the Red Turban Rebellion in 1368, which restored Han Chinese rule in the Ming dynasty.

Europe

The Battle of Legnica took place during the first Mongol invasion of Poland. Bitwa pod Legnica.jpg
The Battle of Legnica took place during the first Mongol invasion of Poland.
The Mongol invasion in the 13th century led to construction of mighty stone castles, such as Spis Castle in Slovakia. Spisska nova ves...castle.jpg
The Mongol invasion in the 13th century led to construction of mighty stone castles, such as Spiš Castle in Slovakia.

The Mongols invaded and destroyed Volga Bulgaria and Kievan Rus', before invading Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and other territories. Over the course of three years (1237–1240), the Mongols razed all the major cities of Russia with the exceptions of Novgorod and Pskov. [22]

Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, the Pope's envoy to the Mongol Great Khan, traveled through Kiev in February 1246 and wrote:

They [the Mongols] attacked Rus, where they made great havoc, destroying cities and fortresses and slaughtering men; and they laid siege to Kiev, the capital of Rus; after they had besieged the city for a long time, they took it and put the inhabitants to death. When we were journeying through that land we came across countless skulls and bones of dead men lying about on the ground. Kiev had been a very large and thickly populated town, but now it has been reduced almost to nothing, for there are at the present time scarce two hundred houses there and the inhabitants are kept in complete slavery. [23]

The Mongol invasions displaced populations on a scale never seen before in central Asia or eastern Europe. Word of the Mongol hordes' approach spread terror and panic. [24]

South Asia

From 1221 to 1327, the Mongol Empire launched several invasions into the Indian subcontinent. The Mongols occupied parts of modern Pakistan and other parts of Punjab for decades. However, they failed to penetrate past the outskirts of Delhi and were repelled from the interior of India. Centuries later, the Mughal Empire, with Mongol roots from Central Asia, conquered the northern part of the sub-continent.

Southeast Asia

The Battle of Bach Dang against Vietnam. Battle of Bach Dang (1288).jpg
The Battle of Bạch Đằng against Vietnam.

Kublai Khan's Yuan dynasty invaded Burma between 1277 and 1287, resulting in the capitulation and disintegration of the Pagan Kingdom. However, the invasion of 1301 was repulsed by the Burmese Myinsaing Kingdom. The Mongol invasions of Vietnam (Đại Việt) and Java resulted in defeat for the Mongols, although much of Southeast Asia agreed to pay tribute to avoid further bloodshed. [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30]

Death toll

Due to the lack of contemporary records, estimates of the violence associated with the Mongol conquests vary considerably. [31] Not including the mortality from the Plague in Europe, West Asia, or China [32] it is possible that between 20 and 40 million people were killed between 1206 and 1405 during the various campaigns of Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, and Timur. [33] [34] [35] The havoc included battles, sieges, [36] early biological warfare, [37] and massacres. [38] [39]

Timeline

See also

Related Research Articles

Mongol invasion of Kievan Rus Mongolian invasion of Kievan Rus

As part of the Mongol invasion of Europe, the Mongol Empire invaded Kievan Rus' in the 13th century, destroying numerous cities, including Ryazan, Kolomna, Moscow, Vladimir and Kiev.

Golden Horde Mongol Khanate

The Golden Horde was originally a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century and originating as the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire. With the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire after 1259 it became a functionally separate khanate. It is also known as the Kipchak Khanate or as the Ulus of Jochi.

Batu Khan Mongol Khan

Batu Khan, also known as Sain Khan and Tsar Batu, was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Golden Horde, a division of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde, which ruled Rus', Volga Bulgaria, Cumania, and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies of Poland and Hungary. "Batu" or "Bat" literally means "firm" in the Mongolian language. After the deaths of Genghis Khan's sons, he became the most respected prince called agha in the Mongol Empire.

Battle of Ain Jalut battle between the Mamluk Sultanate and the Mongol Empire

The Battle of Ain Jalut took place in September 1260 between Muslim Mamluks and the Mongols in the southeastern Galilee, in the Jezreel Valley, in the vicinity of Nazareth, not far from the site of Zir'in.

Hulagu Khan Il-Khan emperor

Hulagu Khan, also known as Hülegü or Hulegu, was a Mongol ruler who conquered much of Western Asia. Son of Tolui and the Keraite princess Sorghaghtani Beki, he was a grandson of Genghis Khan and brother of Ariq Böke, Möngke Khan, and Kublai Khan.

Ögedei Khan second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire

Ögedei was the third son of Genghis Khan and second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, succeeding his father. He continued the expansion of the empire that his father had begun, and was a world figure when the Mongol Empire reached its farthest extent west and south during the Mongol invasions of Europe and East Asia. Like all of Genghis' primary sons, he participated extensively in conquests in China, Iran, and Central Asia.

Mongol invasion of Europe 13th century conquests

The Mongol invasion of Europe in the 13th century was the conquest of Europe by the Mongol Empire, by way of the destruction of East Slavic principalities, such as Kiev and Vladimir. The Mongol invasions also occurred in Central Europe, which led to warfare among fragmented Poland, such as the Battle of Legnica and in the Battle of Mohi in the Kingdom of Hungary.

Kitbuqa Noyan was a Nestorian Christian of the Mongolian Naiman tribe, a group that was subservient to the Mongol Empire. He was a lieutenant and confidant of the Mongol Ilkhan Hulagu, assisting him in his conquests in the Middle East. When Hulagu took the bulk of his forces back with him to attend a ceremony in Mongolia, Kitbuqa was left in control of Syria, and was responsible for further Mongol raids southwards towards Egypt. He was killed at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260.

Berke Khan was a Mongolian military commander and ruler of the Golden Horde who effectively consolidated the power of the Blue Horde and White Horde from 1257 to 1266. He succeeded his brother Batu Khan of the Blue Horde (West) and was responsible for the first official establishment of Islam in a khanate of the Mongol Empire. He allied with the Egyptian Mamluks against another Mongol khanate based in Persia, the Ilkhanate. Berke supported Ariq Böke in the Toluid Civil War, but did not intervene militarily in the war due to the fact of he also occupied in his own war.

Mongol invasions of the Levant Wikimedia list article

Starting in the 1240s, the Mongols made repeated invasions of Syria or attempts thereof. Most failed, but they did have some success in 1260 and 1300, capturing Aleppo and Damascus and destroying the Ayyubid dynasty. The Mongols were forced to retreat within months each time by other forces in the area, primarily the Egyptian Mamluks. Since 1260, it had been described as the Mamluk-Ilkhanid War.

Köten was a Cuman–Kipchak chieftain (khan) and military commander active in the mid-13th century. He forged the important alliance with the Kievan Rus against the Mongols but was ultimately defeated by them at the Kalka River. After the Mongol victory in 1238, Köten led 40,000 "huts" to Hungary, where he became an ally of the Hungarian king and accepted Catholicism, but was nonetheless assassinated by the Hungarian nobility.

The Asud were a military group of Alani origin. The Mongol clan Asud is the plural of As, the Arabic name for the Alans.

Political divisions and vassals of the Mongol Empire

This article discusses the political divisions and vassals of the Mongol Empire. Through invasions and conquests the Mongols established a vast empire that included many political divisions, vassals and tributary states. It was the largest contiguous land empire in history. However, after the death of Möngke Khan, the Toluid Civil War and subsequent wars had led to the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire. By 1294, the empire had fractured into four autonomous khanates, including the Golden Horde in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate in the middle, the Ilkhanate in the southwest, and the Yuan dynasty in the east based in modern-day Beijing, although the Yuan emperors held the nominal title of Khagan of the empire.

During the Mongol invasion of Europe, Mongol tumens led by Batu Khan and Kadan invaded Serbia and then Bulgaria in the spring of 1242 after defeating the Hungarians at the battle of Mohi and ravaging the Hungarian regions of Croatia, Dalmatia and Bosnia.

First Mongol invasion of Hungary

The first Mongol invasion of Hungary started in March 1241 and started to withdraw in late March 1242.

References

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Further reading

Primary sources