T 4 1. Chinggis Khan and the Mongol Empire: be sure to know what things he did that made him an effective military leader. Be ready to discuss how Mongol rule affected Russia and China (or if it did).
2. China’s Treasure Fleet and the European Voyages of Discovery: read up on China’s Treasure Fleet and be ready to explain why the fleet was created, where it went and what, if any, the long term affects of its voyages were. Then, do the same thing for the European Voyages of Discovery covered in the slides (Chapters 11-13).
3. Bubonic Plague: study the various short term and long term changes the Black Death caused. Be ready to explain these changes in terms of society, economics and politics (power structures).
4. The Columbian Exchange: Study all of the slides on this and be prepared to explain what it was, what kinds of things were exchanged (there’s a lot more to this than food!) and how these exchanges changed the New World and the Old World. Don’t forget the fatally important role disease played for both worlds! Pastoral Peoples
World History I, Chapter 11
Pastoral societies were peoples who focused on raising livestock, usually because the lands they lived in were poor for farming. Horses, goats, sheep, llamas, yaks, cattle, camels and reindeer are the most common livestock these people built their entire culture around.
In many cases, these peoples’ civilizations rose and fell without much notice to the rest of the world, in part because they tended to occur in areas that were not widely populated, so the pastoral peoples themselves were often somewhat cut off from other societies. In a few cases, though, certain pastoral groups changed the world.
Because they lived fairly insular lives away from most other peoples, they tended to have very closely-knit groups.
Women usually had more personal freedom and equality in pastoral societies because they often did much of the same work the men did.
Most pastoral societies moved around at least a little according to the seasons, if they were not almost completely nomadic. Because they relied on their animals for food and other items, they had to continually take their herds to and from feeding grounds which varied in location according to the season.
Trading and Raiding
Even though they kept to themselves, typically, they did rely on trade with local farmers since most pastoral people could not adequately live on just the food their animals provided. Trade networks were important, therefore.
Some pastoral societies became adept at not only trading but raiding others. It was pastoral groups who invented iron stirrups for saddles and compact bows that could be fired while on horseback, among other types of armor and weapons. These inventions made some groups such as the Mongols and Huns into truly fierce conquerors.
The Arabs were an excellent example of a pastoral group that became so good at warfare they eventually built their own empire. Once a camel saddle was created that would actually stay in place, the Arabs were able to fight from atop their camels, giving them a higher perch – and thus an advantage- than anyone on horseback.
The Mongol Empire
The Mongols were the most successful of the pastoral empires. At one point the Mongul Empire stretched from Eastern Europe all the way to the Pacific coast of Asia- the largest ever in history.
Even though it was huge, the empire didn’t leave anything lasting such as a language, or a new religion.
AKA Genghis Khan
The empire began with its greatest leader, TEMUJIN, more commonly known to us as Chinggis Khan (which means universal ruler).
From his lowly start as a fatherless child living on the edges of pastoral society, he grew to be a warrior and leader that many wanted to follow but nobody wanted to have to face in battle. He readily accepted warriors from tribes who had been defeated and was loyal to those who were loyal to him.
He helped to unify the many Mongol tribes into a single Great Mongol Nation and was given the title of Chinggis Khan in 1206.
Successful Conquering 101
Chinggis Khan then turned his great Mongol army towards China and other areas, beginning what was in essence a Mongol World War which was carried on after his death in 1227 by his sons and later his grandsons.
This war included attacks in China, Central Asia, Russia, most of the Middle East, and some of Eastern Europe. The empire grew massively, which is amazing when you consider that there were only about 700,000 Mongols to begin with, but they often fought yet defeated civilizations with many, many more people and resources.
Chinggis Khan managed this because of several factors that have since been copied by many other armies….
1. He organized his troops into very precise military units ranging in size from only ten to as many as 10,000, just as many military units do today (for instance, the U.S. army uses squads, then companies, then battalions, then brigades, then divisions).
2. He made sure all were rigorously trained and disciplined and punished desertion with death.
3. He and his leaders ate the same food as the soldiers, shared the same supplies and slept on the same ground.
4. Tactics and strategies were carefully discussed, and the soldiers were trained in them until everyone knew what to do once the battle started.
5. Finally, he made sure that all shared in the spoils of war, even if they didn’t share equally.
Chinggis Khan was also mindful to adopt any new weapons or tactics his enemies used. Although there was plenty of slaughter when a group was conquered, Chinggis Khan made sure that some of the conquered were sent to work as slave laborers on roads, bridges and in supplying the troops.
Skilled laborers especially were identified and spared execution, but civilians as a whole were not likely to be left alive, especially if Chinggis Khan felt they would make troublesome captives. All were slaughtered, men, women and children.
This made the Mongol Hordes so feared that in some cases there was no resistance at all- groups would simply surrender to the Mongols without a fight.
When they did allow the conquered to live, the Mongols created a bureaucracy where they kept a strict census of the conquered people so they could exact tribute from them. Mongols held the highest offices, but Chinese and Muslims were allowed to be part of the government too.
Most religions were tolerated as long they weren’t disruptive or didn’t encourage rebellion.
Many different civilizations were conquered by the Mongols, but some were more affected by Mongol rule than others.
We’ll look now at Mongol rule in China, Persia and Russia.
China Under Mongol Rule
It took the Mongols 70 years to conquer China and not all areas of China were treated the same. For the Northern provinces, where the Mongol raids began, the conquering was brutal and merciless, but by the time the Mongols made it to the Southern provinces, ruled by the Song dynasty, there was less killing as long as the Chinese there agreed to assimilate peacefully into the Mongol empire.
The Mongols succeeded in unifying China (even though it was a unification of provinces conquered by outsiders), which made many Chinese scholars and leaders believe the Mongols served with the Mandate of Heaven and thus were legitimate rulers rather than conquering outsiders.
Khubilai Khan, the first Yuan
The Mongol empire transferred its treasury from the Mongol city of Karakorum in Mongolia to a city called Khanbalik, which is now known as Beijing, China’s capital city.
KHUBILIA KHAN, a grandson of Chinggis Khan who ruled over China even had his ancestors’ name’s changed to Chinese names and declared the beginning of the Yuan dynasty.
Khubilia Khan adopted many Chinese bureaucratic methods including their taxation system and set about learning how to squeeze every last drop of money from agriculture, a concept that was new to these nomadic warriors.
He then made various improvements to the infrastructure of China including building roads and canals, lowering some taxes, supporting the peasants in agriculture, removing torture and the death penalty for some crimes, etc., all things the Chinese felt Confucius would have approved.
Under the Mongol Yoke
Not everyone in China loved Mongol rule, of course. Marco Polo, the Venetian world traveler, reported the Mongols treated the Chinese like slaves. They took bribes, executed people at will and sexually abused their female Chinese captives. They also did not adopt the much-venerated Chinese examination system for government jobs, which all of China’s education was based upon. Instead, they gave jobs to Muslims who traveled with the Mongol hordes.
Mongol women had more rights and freedoms than Chinese women, which was another sore spot for the Chinese. Furthermore, the Chinese themselves did not have the same rights as Mongols, which is only to be expected since they were the conquered, not the conquerors, but this still irked the Chinese.
The Mongols stayed in China for about a hundred years until a combination of factors including factionalism, plague, inflation and peasant rebellions drove them out to seek greener pastures.
Chinese paying obeisance to the Mongol Khan
Persia Under Mongol Rule
Persia had been attacked before and conquered before from the Arabs, the Turks and Alexander the Great, but none of these could compare to the hell the Mongol hordes brought with them. They killed so wantonly and on such a massive scale that in some places the population never recovered.
The Mongols’ herds also destroyed the farmland in many areas, stripping the land of vegetation so badly it became desert.
The Mongols in Persia changed more than Mongols in China. In Persia, many adopted Islam and many became farmers, no longer living in pastoral societies. When Mongol rule in Persia finally began to falter as conquerors inevitably do, the Mongols who stayed were simply assimilated into Persian culture.
The Mongol Sack of Baghdad
Russia Under Mongol Rule
The Mongol invasion of Russia seems to have been particularly brutal, with reports of mass slaughters of men, women and children on an epic scale.
Even though the Mongols conquered Russia, they did not occupy cities or keep permanent administrators there, because Russia had nothing the Mongols wanted. Russia was farther away from trade routes, and really had no goods the Mongols wanted to take.
Instead, the Russian princes had to send huge amounts of tribute to the Mongol khan, and peasants paid heavy tax burdens as a result. The Mongols did raid the borderlands periodically, capturing Russians to sell into slavery.
As with other groups invaded by the Mongols, if a city resisted it was destroyed, but if it peacefully allowed itself to be inculcated into the Mongol Empire, it could survive and possibly thrive under Mongol rule.
As with Persia, Mongols who stayed in Russia eventually adopted Russian culture, although to a lesser extent than Mongols in Persia or China.
Western Europe Gets Lucky
Western Europe probably would have suffered the same fate as Eastern Europe under the hands of the Mongols, but the Great Khan Ogodei (right) died suddenly and the Mongol leaders were all called back to Mongolia.
Western Europe lacked the huge pastureland Mongols required in any event, though they would probably still have been conquered eventually had the Mongol empire not begun to fragment.
Although the Mongol Empire came and went, the trade routes it established linked various civilizations together in a step towards a world economy, also creatin a massive cultural exchange throughout Eur-Asia.
Chinese medicine, which was more advanced and inventions such as gunpower circulated throughout the continent. Crops and plants were also introduced from one area to another- Lemons and carrots from the Middle East made it to China, for example. Drama, art, sports, religious and political ideas were all swapped back and forth from the far East to the far West and everywhere in between.
Chinese dancers wearing Mongolian-inspired headdresses
Maybe the Most Profound Cultural Exchange of All
Not all cultural exchange was beneficial, however. The bubonic plaque, or Black Death, spread from the Mongol Empire throughout the trade routes it had established, and the consequences were catastrophic.
One ironic effect was the weakening of the Mongol Empire, where the plaque seems to have arisen. As population declined from the deaths, cities began to decline and trade as well, weakening the empire, which finally collapsed in the 1400s.
Plague victims from 14th Century