Mongol Change and Continuity
Matthew Choi Period 4 11/25/12 MONGOLS CCOT ESSAY The Mongols were a vast and influential empire that spread throughout Eurasia. From the time of Genghis Khan to the Yuan dynasty, the Mongols experienced numerous changes in their lifestyle and leadership as they strayed from their nomadic ancestry. However, while they experienced some changes, they still clung tightly to their culture until the end of the empire.
Genghis Khan was the founder and emperor of the great Mongol Empire, and as a result, it became the largest contiguous land empire in all of history.
Genghis Khan sought to unify the Mongols, and conquered nomadic Mongol tribes, unifying them at Karakorum, the capital of the Mongolian Empire. Whether on the battlefield or at home, Genghis was famous for his ruthless brutality. For example, when he defeated Mongol clans, he boiled all of their chiefs alive while killing all males taller than a wheel. As a result, he struck fear into the hearts of men women and children, and all that he opposed viewed the Mongols as an invincible empire.
In 1211 Genghis Khan broke through the Great Wall of China, which the Chinese thought was an ultimate defense; but when Genghis pierced it, they were terrified by his seemingly undefeatable army. He spread his influence across central and Southeast Asia during his reign, but he could not conquer Japan because of divine kamikaze winds and the Mongol fleet was destroyed. This proved that the Mongols were not an invincible force, they could be killed, and this shifted the peoples view on the Great Khan.
The Pax Mongolica, or “The Mongolian Peace” was a time period that lasted for about a century during the Mongol Empire. During this time, intercontinental trade flourished because of the reopened trade routes, including the Silk Road. This time period is also used to describe the stabilization of the Mongol culture. While traveling through the routes and conquering other lands, the Mongols kept to their nomadic ancestry. They lived in Mongol yurts, which were portable dwellings made of pelts and ooden poles, and these were ideal for nomadic travel. The geography of Central Asia consist of deserts and grassy landscapes, where agriculture is hard to support. The nomads focused on the domestication of strong and healthy grazing animals so the Mongols would have enough food, shelter, and clothing. Mongol nomads travelled often, and they had to use the teachings of their ancestors in order to survive. Genghis Khan’s knowledge of his nomadic ancestry is probably one of the biggest reasons why the Mongolian army was so successful.