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Arguably the most important historical thing to happen in the Global Tapestry (1200-1450) is the rise and fall of the Mongols. This group came from the middle of nowhere and rose to be the largest contiguous empire in the history of the planet. The Mongols affect nearly everything that happens historically in this period. Below, is the story of the most unlikely conquerors in history: THE MONGOLS.

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Below are the specific KEY CONCEPTS that apply to this sub-unit:

A deepening and widening of networks of human interaction within and across regions contributed to cultural, technological, and biological diffusion within and between various societies.

A deepening and widening of networks of human interaction within and across regions contributed to cultural, technological, and biological diffusion within and between various societies.

  • Improved commercial practices led to an increased volume of trade and expanded the geographical range of existing trade routes—including the Silk Roads, trans-Saharan trade network, and Indian Ocean—promoting the growth of powerful new trading cities.

  • The growth of inter-regional trade in luxury goods was encouraged by innovations in previously existing transportation and commercial technologies, including the caravanserai, forms of credit, and the development of money economies as well as the use of the compass, the astrolabe and larger ship designs.

  • The expansion of empires—including the Mongols—facilitated Afro-Eurasian trade and communication as new people were drawn into their conquerors’ economies and trade networks.

  • The expansion of empires—including Mali in West Africa—facilitated Afro-Eurasian trade and communication as new people were drawn into the economies and trade networks.

  • The expansion and intensification of long distance trade routes often depended on environmental knowledge, including advanced knowledge of the monsoon winds.

  • The growth of inter-regional trade was encouraged by innovations in existing transportation technologies.

  • In key places along important trade routes, merchants set up diasporic communities where they introduced their own cultural traditions into the indigenous cultures and, in turn, indigenous cultures influenced merchant cultures.

  • As exchange networks intensified, an increasing number of travelers within Afro–Eurasia wrote about their travels.

  • Increased cross-cultural interactions resulted in the diffusion of literary, artistic, and cultural traditions, as well as scientific and technological innovation.

    • Chinese cultural traditions continued, and they influenced neighboring regions.

    • Buddhism and its core beliefs continued to shape societies in Asia and included a variety of branches, schools, and practices.

    • Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and the core beliefs and practices of these religions continued to shape societies in Africa and Asia.

  • There was continued diffusion of crops and pathogens, with epidemic diseases, including the bubonic plague, along trade routes.

State formation and development demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in various regions.

State formation and development demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in various regions.

  • Empires collapsed in different regions of the world and in some areas were replaced by new imperial states, including the Mongol khanates

  • Inter-regional contacts and conflicts between states and empires, including the Mongols, encouraged significant technological and cultural transfers

Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes.

Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes.

  • Demand for luxury goods increased in Afro–Eurasia. Chinese, Persian, and Indian artisans and merchants expanded their production of textiles and porcelains for export; manufacture of iron and steel expanded in China.

  • The fate of cities varied greatly, with periods of significant decline and periods of increased urbanization buoyed by rising productivity and expanding trade networks.


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CLIP #1: THE MONGOLS (from CRASH COURSE World History)

CLIP #2: HISTORY vs. GENGHIS KHAN

CLIP #3: HISTORY OF THE MONGOLS… IN 5 MINUTES!

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1. MONGOL SOLDIERS, The Compendium of Chronicles, 1306, Rashid al-Din (ILKHANATE)

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2. BATTLE OF THE MONGOLS AND THE JIN DYNASTY, The Compendium of Chronicles, 1306, Rashid al-Din (ILKHANATE)

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3. MONGOL SIEGE OF BAGHDAD in 1258 (PERSIA)

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4. MONGOL INVASION OF HUNGARY (King Bela IV fleeing the Mongols), Chronicum Pictum, 1241 (BUDAPEST, HUNGARY)

5. MONGOLS (and Armenians) DEFEATED BY THE MAMLUKS, Flower of the Histories of the East, 1307, (POITIERS, FRANCE)

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1. Move over Romans, Arabs, and Chinese… allow the Mongols to introduce themselves. Never has there been a more unlikely world conqueror.
2. The Mongols unite the Steppe tribes under Genghis Khan and take their wrath out on any society nearby with plunder they might use.
3. The Mongols conquer from Egypt to Austria to Russia to Vietnam and in the process establish the largest contiguous empire in the history of the planet (sorry, Britain…)
4. The Mongols don’t bring much to the table culturally, unless you are a worshiper of the Blue Mighty Eternal Heaven. However, they do create a quasi-unified area under which a plethora of ideas, diseases, beliefs, technologies, etc. can spread around this massive empire.
5. The Mongols are awesome to study. And, although their impact is massive; they are not in charge of their empire for very long… in most places its a little more than a century.