Was The Mongol Empire Good Or Bad History Essay
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The Mongols had rule the largest land Empire in all of history. They had rule over land from the eastern most part of China to the as far west as Europe. At various time the empire included China, Korea, Mongolia, Persia, Turkestan, and Armenia and also including parts of Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, and Russia1.The Mongols under the rule of Chinggis Khan had conquered the most of the known and unknown world at that time. Amazingly, most of the empire's success can be accredited to one man, born as Temujin who later became Chinggis Khan. Temujin began his career with a ragtag clan that included his mother, and his brothers. There span of ruler ship stretched from 1279 to 1368 over the large empire1. It wasn't until the end of Chinggis Khan's life that the empire was realized and established. The Mongols were very efficient at what they did and that's what led to most of their success in their mission to rule the word. However many of the view towards the Mongolians life style and how they handled the middle aged "drive by" on the whole Asian continent are negative. There are some positive views on how they organized, ran and expanded their empire.
Here are some positives views that many people over look when they think of the Mongols. While under the rule of Kublai Khan there was a centralized strong
1 Richard L. Davis, Ph.D., Prof. of History, Brown Univ, "The Mongol Empire and its legacy" Concord Learning Systems,(1998 -2000),http://www.laughtergenealogy.com/bin/histprof/misc/mongol.html (accessed March 26, 2010)
government. Kublai Khan adopted many of the Chinese political structures and theories2. His tactics in ruler ship made the empire fully autocratic. The established capital was built in Beijing, and he himself built the Forbidden City, which was a magnificent palace2. Under his rule trade was expanded and many cultures began to merge. Many of the cultural elements that merged together under his rule were Arabic, Mongolian, Western Asia and Chinese. The Mongols were surprisingly quick at transforming themselves from a purely nomadic tribal people into rulers of cities and states. Also they were remarkably quick at learning how to administer their vast empire. They readily adopted the system of administration of the conquered states, placing a handful of Mongols in the top positions but allowing former local officials to run everyday affairs. This clever system allowed them to control each city and province and to also be in touch with the population through their administrators3. The Mongols under Kublai Khan had a reputation for greater tolerance than that shown under earlier Mongol rulers. Kublai permitted the existence of various religions. As they had a vast empire the Khan's focused on travel safety was important and it was guaranteedaranteedst empire the Khan's w and thus, a great trading network was form stretching from China to Europe2. For the first
2 Carboni, Stefano, and Qamar Adamjee. "The Legacy of Genghis Khan". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000-. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/khan1/hd_khan1.htm (March 27,2010)
3 Hines, Richard. "The Mongols". World Civilizations. http://www.worldcivilizations. com/Mongols (Accessed March 29, 2010)
time in centuries, the Silk Road was reopened, allowing a great deal of cultural diffusion between the East and the West.
Chinggis Khan was very good as was the other Mongols at being able to rally up the tribes. As this was a part of being very great horsemen. Since they were nomadic people they had to have a way of transporting themselves and the small amount of personal possessions. Mongolians have a high regard for horses since, for centuries, they have relied on them for transport, sustenance, and companionship4. Chingis Khan was also perhaps one of the greatest military innovators in human history. His army consisted of possibly the best horsemen ever noted in history. They would fight on horseback with remarkable efficiency. They could hit targets at full gallop with almost superhuman accuracy5. In additions Chingis Khan organized his troops into decimal units, that being one-hundred, one-thousand, and ten-thousand. His great ability to move his troops as easily as chest pieces and move them great distances revolutionized warfare at that time6. All of these great things that came out of the Mongol empire shouldn't be over looked when thinking about them. But moreover they are mostly noted for the bad and horrible things that they did.
The Mongols are more notably known for their ruthlessness in battle and to those who opposed them. If a town or city would fight back or resist his armies would
4,5,6 Hines, Richard, World Civilizations
lay siege to it. He would starve them out, then go in and kill everybody, and everything, except those that would be useful to him7. He would make sure that nothing would exist from the history of the town existence. His armies would kill women and children, whole families and burn the towns to the ground. They would literally decimate populations in Western Asia and China as they advanced8. This ruthless tactic allowed the Mongol armies to effectively advance across the lands conquering as they passed by. Some of the accounts of the Mongols ruthlessness were recorded in books and translated. One such account is recorded by Ibn Alathir; he was hesitant to write about the accounts of the Mongols for fear of death. He states that "The worst they recall is the treatment and extinction of the Israelites and the destruction of Jerusalem"4. He also records "The Mongols, however, spared none. They killed the men, women and children; they ripped open the bodies of pregnant women and slaughtered the unborn."4 The corpses from the dead bodies were catapulted over the city walls to scare those that opposed. These accounts paint a picture of how horrible the Mongols acted towards any, even the slightest bit of opposition. The Mongols to no
accord would ravage, plunder, devastate lands and kill. Many of the invaded
7,8 Hines, Richard, World Civilizations
9"The Mongols in the Eyes of the Europeans" in class reading, 32
cities and villages and nations were losing great numbers in their populations. Among the western accounts an estimated 30 million people were killed under the rule of the Mongol empire. The population of China fell to half of its original in just 50 years. Chinese dynasties reportedly had approximately 120 million inhabitants. After the Mongol conquest was complete in 1279, the census in 1300 reported roughly 60 million people5. One source states "terror and mass exterminations of anyone opposing them were a well tested tactic"10. About half of the Russian populations may have died during the invasions. Estimates to the population of Russia were reported to be 7.5 million prior to the invasion and afterwards it had dropped to 7 million11.
Many of their cultural aspects even seemed barbaric, like the things that they would eat. They would eat dogs, pigs, horses and other cattle; they had no sense of forbidden food, like many cultures at that time4. Even how they handled marital affairs would be seen as barbaric. Many men would sleep with one women, and if she would have a child the child wouldn't have a clue as to who was it father. They didn't believe in marriage.
Many people out there only know that the Mongols were a viscious and barbaric tribal Empire that raped, killed, pillaged and burned most of the Eur-Asia continent. But
10,11 Buell, Paul D. Historical Dictionary of the Mongol World Empire, The Scarecrow Press, Inc.; illustrated edition edition (March 19, 2003), page 43
12"The Mongols in the Eyes of the Europeans" in class reading, 32
very few people understand that they left a lasting and some what positive impact to the world in the time that they ruled their empire. Being very smart and doing what they do best is what made them successful in conquering most of what was known at that time. Can you ask yourself could just a bunch of barbarians do as much as what was done by the Mongols under Chinggis Khan? I know I would say no but being barbarians helped them.
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