Mongol invasions and conquests
Expansion of the Mongol Empire 1206–94
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 European colonial powers
, the Mongol Empire was a land power
, fueled by the grass-foraging Mongol cavalry and cattle.
Thus most Mongol conquest and plundering took place during the warmer seasons, when there was sufficient grazing for their herds.
The rise of the Mongols was preceded by 15 years of wet and warm weather conditions from 1211 to 1225 that allowed favourable conditions for the breeding of horses, which greatly assisted their expansion.
Large areas of Islamic Central Asia
and northeastern Iran were seriously depopulated,
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.
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,
before rounding on the Cumans.
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).
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.
Hungary became a refuge for fleeing Cumans.
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.
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
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 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.
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
Mongol Empire's conquest of Chinese regimes including Western Liao, Jurchen Jin, Song, Western Xia and Dali kingdoms.
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).
The Mongol force which invaded southern China was far greater than the force they sent to invade the Middle East in 1256.
By 1206, Genghis Khan
had conquered all Mongol and Turkic tribes in Mongolia
and southern Siberia. In 1207 his eldest son Jochi
subjugated the Siberian forest people, the Uriankhai, the Oirats
, Barga, Khakas
, and Kyrgyz
He then organized the Siberians into three tumens
. Genghis Khan gave the Telengit
along the Irtysh River
to an old companion, Qorchi. While the Barga, Tumed, Buriats, Khori, Keshmiti
, and Bashkirs
were organized in separate thousands, the Telengit, Tolos, Oirats and Yenisei Kirghiz were numbered into the regular tumens
Genghis created a settlement of Chinese craftsmen and farmers at Kem-kemchik after the first phase of the Mongol conquest of the Jin dynasty
. The Great Khans
, furs, women and Kyrgyz horses for tribute.
Western Siberia came under the Golden Horde
The descendants of Orda Khan
, the eldest son of Jochi, directly ruled the area. In the swamps of western Siberia, dog sled Yam
stations were set up to facilitate collection of tribute.
In 1270, Kublai Khan
sent a Chinese official, with a new batch of settlers, to serve as judge of the Kyrgyz and Tuvan basin areas (益蘭州
Ogedei's grandson Kaidu
occupied portions of Central Siberia from 1275 on. The Yuan dynasty
army under Kublai's Kipchak
general Tutugh reoccupied the Kyrgyz lands in 1293. From then on the Yuan dynasty controlled large portions of Central and Eastern Siberia.
Eastern and Central Europe
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.
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.
From 1221 to 1327, the Mongol Empire launched several invasions into the Indian subcontinent
. The Mongols occupied parts of Punjab region for decades. However, they failed to penetrate past the outskirts of Delhi and were repelled from the interior of India. Centuries later, the Mughals
, whose founder Babur
had Mongol roots, established their own empire in India.
Due to the lack of contemporary records, estimates of the violence associated with the Mongol conquests vary considerably.
Not including the mortality from the Plague
in Europe, West Asia, or China
it is possible that between 20 and 57 million people were killed between 1206 and 1405 during the various campaigns of Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, and Timur.
The havoc included battles, sieges,
early biological warfare,
- 1207–1210 invasion of Western Xia
- 1207 conquest of Siberia
- 1211–1234 conquest of Jin dynasty
- 1216–1220 conquest of Central Asia and Eastern Persia
- 1220–1223, 1235–1330 invasions of Georgia and the Caucasus
- 1220–1224 invasion of the Cumans
- 1222–1327 Mongol invasions of India
- 1223–1236 invasion of Volga Bulgaria
- 1225–1227 conquest of Western Xia
- 1231–1259 invasion of Korea
- 1233 conquest of Eastern Xia
- 1235–1279 conquest of Song dynasty
- 1222, 1236–1242 Mongol invasion of Europe
- 1240–1241 invasion of Tibet
- 1241–1244 invasion of Anatolia
- 1244–1265 invasion of Dali Kingdom
- 1251–1259 invasion of Persia, Syria and Mesopotamia
- 1253–1256 invasion of Yunnan
- 1253–1256 Mongol campaign against the Nizaris
- 1257, 1284, 1287 invasions of Vietnam
- 1258 invasion of Baghdad
- 1258–1260 invasion of Halych-Volhynia, Lithuania and Poland
- 1260 Battle of Ain Jalut
- 1260 Mongol raid against Syria
- 1264–1265 raid against Bulgaria and Thrace
- 1264–1308 invasion of Sakhalin Island
- 1271 raid against Syria
- 1274, 1281 invasions of Japan
- 1274 raid against Bulgaria
- 1275, 1277 raids against Lithuania
- 1277 battle of Abulustayn
- 1277 invasion of Myanmar
- 1281 invasion of Syria
- 1284–1285 invasion of Hungary
- 1285 raid against Bulgaria
- 1283 invasion of Khmer Empire
- 1287 invasion of Myanmar
- 1287–1288 invasion of Poland
- 1293 invasion of Java
- 1299 invasion of Syria
- 1300 Mongol invasion of Myanmar
- 1300 Mongol invasion of Syria
- 1303 Invasion of Syria
- 1307 Mongol invasion of Gilan
- 1312 Mongol invasion of Syria
- 1324, 1337 Tatar raids against Thrace
- 1337, 1340 Ruthenian-Tatar raids against Poland
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- ^ a b |Invaders|The New Yorker "Of necessity, the Mongols did most of their conquering and plundering during the warmer seasons, when there was sufficient grass for their herds. [...] Fuelled by grass, the Mongol empire could be described as solar-powered; it was an empire of the land. Later empires, such as the British, moved by ship and were wind-powered, empires of the sea. The American empire, if it is an empire, runs on oil and is an empire of the air.
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