I. The Rise of the Mongols
A. From Tent to Palace…
“Man’s highest joy is victory: to
conqueror one’s enemies, to
pursue them, to deprive them of
their possessions, to make their
beloved weep, and to embrace
their wives and daughters.”
-- nomadic horse people
-- northern Chinese grasslands (Mongolia)
-- raised horses, tended sheep
-- lived in felt tents called yurts (ger)
-- could NOT intermarry between tribes & clans
Mongolian Steppe
Mongol “Yurt”
1.5 million Mongols
B. Organization
1. families-->clans-->tribes-->
-- tribes gathered during annual migration
2. chiefs elected (based on nobility, military ability,
-- Khan (“ruler”) title given to chief
3. religion: Shamanism
--nature deities
C. Temüjin: Ghengis Khan
1. 1167-1227, son of tribal chief
2. father poisoned…fled as youth
3. by 40 had unified all Mongol
4. empire ruled by sons &
grandsons after death
Genghis Khan
 Genghis Khan’s Tax Laws:
If you do not pay homage,
we will take your prosperity.
If you do not have prosperity,
we will take your children.
If you do not have children,
we will take your wife.
If you do not have a wife,
we will take your head.
 Used cruelty as a weapon
Genghis Khan
D. Conquest
1. intelligence gathering: foreign experts/advisors (in
Persian & Chinese)
2. every man carried own supplies & had 2 horses
- survived mostly off horse milk & blood
3. vassal system: commanders running army & gov’t
brought Chinese engineers
conquered most of Asia, Middle East, Russia
32 million square km’s…
E. Mongol Army Tactics
1. all males 15-70 served in army as cavalry
organized army in “Myriads” (10,000’s)
no one in army was paid, though shared in war booty
4. tactics:
--Chinese siege technology & catapults
--horsemanship, compound bow
--elaborate signals (flags, hands)
--retreat, turn, flank, destroy
Mongol Warriors
F. Results of Expansion
1. increased trade & revival of Silk Road
2. facilitated movement of goods, merchants, & diplomats
3. unified law code (Yasa)
4. travelers encountered new languages, laws & customs
5. spread of disease & bubonic plague
Thesis Statement Writing Exercise:
 How did the Mongols, with a total
population of less than 1.5 million,
conqueror such a large area and hold onto
it for over a century?
II. Mongol Eurasia
A. The Conquest of China
1. Genghis Khan wanted the riches of China
2. 1227 conquered Beijing, but died same year
3. successors took all of China
B. Divisions at Genghis Khan’s Death
Four Khanates:
1. “Golden Hoarde” (Russia)
2. Il-Khanate (Persia)
3. Jagadai Khanate
4. Yuan Dynasty
C. Il-Khan & Golden Horde Conflict
Golden Horde adopts Islam & aligns with Mamluks
Il-Khanate briefly aligns with Europeans during Crusades
Ghazan (Il-Khan ruler) declares himself a Muslim in 1295
-- used “tax farming”
-- Il-Khanate ends in 1349
rise of Timur (Tamerlane) from Jagadai Khanate in C. Asia
D. Timur (Tamerlane)
Turk related to Genghis
by marriage
made Samarkand capital
the descendants of Timur
established in India a
Muslim Mongol-Turkic
empire (the Mughals) in
the 16th c.
E. Culture & Science in Islamic Eurasia
1. historical writing
2. mathematical innovations
3. astronomical discoveries (lunar orbit)
F. Russian Effect
1. Alexander Nevskii (prince of Novgorod)
submitted to Mongols; Mongols favored
Novgorod & Moscow
2. rise of tsar title
G. East Europe & Anatolia
1. Teutonic Knights: German
speaking knights who tried to
Christianize Slavic populations
in northern European Crusades
2. fear & awe of Mongols
3. bubonic plague reaches Europe
in 1340’s
4. 1453 the Ottoman Turk Sultan
Mehmet II captures
III. Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty, 1264-1368
A. Khubilai Khan (r. 1260-1294): Genghis’ grandson
1. Pax Mongolica (“Mongol Peace”)
2. moved capital to Beijing
3. tolerated Chinese culture but lived apart
4. NO Chinese in top govt. posts
5. encouraged foreign trade & foreign
merchants to live in China (Marco Polo)
Building Projects under Yuan:
--extended Grand Canal to Beijing
attacked Japan in 1281 & lost
Marco Polo
1. Venetian merchant
2. traveled through Yuan China
from 1271-1295: called Beijing
richest city in the world
--“black stones” (coal)
Marco Polo’s Travels
Yuan Porcelains & Ceramics
B. Yuan Organization
highly centralized: Mongols ruling elite
-Mongols: top posts
-Persians, Turks, Nomads: high civil posts
-N. Chinese: next highest posts
-S. Chinese: lowest posts
*all records in Uighur Turkic
C. Role of Religion in Yuan China
1. Policy of toleration
2. Christianity: Khubilai Khan invited a Papal Mission
3. Buddhism: gained 500,000 converts
4. Islam: spread rapidly
5. Confucianism survived
D. Decline & Fall
1. Yuan Dynasty: shortest lived major Chinese
2. the death of Kublai Khan’s son causes
decentralization & rise of warlords
3. last Khan fled to Mongolia in 1368

The Mongols - Doral Academy Preparatory School