China, History, Horse Back, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Mongol Empire and Division

Mongol Empire (1206–1240s CE)

Genghis Khan united the Mongol tribes of the steppes and became Great Khan in 1206. Genghis Khan and his successors expanded the Mongol empire across Asia. Under the reign of Genghis’ third son, Ögedei Khan, the Mongols destroyed the weakened Jin dynasty in 1234, conquering most of northern China.[

Ögedei offered his nephew Kublai a position in Xingzhou, Hebei. Kublai was unable to read Chinese but had several Han teachers attached to him since his early years by his mother Sorghaghtani.

He sought the counsel of Chinese Buddhist and Confucian advisers. Möngke Khan succeeded Ögedei’s son, Güyük, as Great Khan in 1251. He granted his brother Kublai control over Mongol held territories in China.

Kublai built schools for Confucian scholars, issued paper money, revived Chinese rituals, and endorsed policies that stimulated agricultural and commercial growth.   He adopted as his capital city Kaiping in Inner Mongolia, later renamed Shangdu

Mongol Conquest of Khwaremia (1219  – 1221 CE)

The Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia  marked the beginning of the Mongol conquest of the Islamic states. The Mongol expansion would ultimately culminate in the conquest of virtually all of Asia (as well as parts of Eastern Europe) save for Japan, the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, Siberia, and most of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

It was not originally the intention of the Mongol Empire to invade the Khwarezmid Empire. According to the Persian historian Juzjani, Genghis Khan had originally sent the ruler of the Khwarezmid Empire, Ala ad-Din Muhammad, a message seeking trade and greeted him as his neighbor:

“I am master of the lands of the rising sun while you rule those of the setting sun. Let us conclude a firm treaty of friendship and peace.” or he said “I am Khan of the lands of the rising sun while you are sultan those of the setting sun: Let us conclude a firm agreement of friendship and peace.”

The Mongols’ original unification of all “people in felt tents“, unifying the nomadic tribes in Mongolia and then the Turcomens and other nomadic peoples, had come with relatively little bloodshed, and almost no material loss.

The Mongol wars with the Jurchens in Manchuria and northern China, however had shown how cruel the Mongols could be.  The war, which started in 1211, lasted over 23 years and ended with the complete conquest of the Jin dynasty by the Mongols.

When the Mongols arrived, the Shah was already busy with a dispute with the caliph in Baghdad, An-Nasir. The Shah had refused to make the obligatory homage to the caliph as titular leader of Islam, and demanded recognition as Shah of his empire, without any of the usual bribes or pretenses

Shah Muhammad reluctantly agreed to Gengis Khan’s peace treaty, but it was not to last. The war started less than a year later, when a Mongol caravan and its envoys were massacred in the Khwarezmian city of Otrar.

In the ensuing war, lasting less than two years, the Khwarezmid Empire was destroyed.

The Mongol Empire fractured into four khanates including the Yuan Dynasty, the Golden Horde, the Chagatai Khanate and the Ilkhanate.

Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368 CE)

Genghis Khan’s third son Ögedei offered his nephew Kublai a position in Xingzhou, Hebei. Kublai was unable to read Chinese but had several Han teachers attached to him since his early years by his mother Sorghaghtani.

He sought the counsel of Chinese Buddhist and Confucian advisers. Möngke Khan succeeded Ögedei’s son, Güyük, as Great Khan in 1251. He granted his brother Kublai control over Mongol held territories in China.

Kublai built schools for Confucian scholars, issued paper money, revived Chinese rituals, and endorsed policies that stimulated agricultural and commercial growth.   He adopted as his capital city Kaiping in Inner Mongolia, later renamed Shangdu

 

The Yuan dynasty, was the empire or ruling dynasty of China established by Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan. It followed the Song Dynasty and preceded the Ming Dynasty. of China. It’s capital was Khanbaliq, today’s Beijing.

Although the Mongols had ruled territories including modern-day North China for decades, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan officially proclaimed the dynasty in the traditional Chinese style, and the conquest was not complete until 1279.

His realm was, by this point, isolated from the other khanates and controlled most of modern-day China and its surrounding areas, including modern Mongolia.  It was the first foreign dynasty to rule all of China and lasted until 1368, after which the rebuked Genghisid rulers retreated to their Mongolian homeland and continued to rule the Northern Yuan dynasty.  Some of the Mongolian Emperors of the Yuan mastered the Chinese language, while others only used their native language (i.e. Mongolian) and the ‘Phags-pa script.

In addition to Emperor of China, Kublai Khan also claimed the title of Great Khan, supreme over the other successor khanates: the Chagatai, the Golden Horde, and the Ilkhanate. As such, the Yuan was also sometimes referred to as the Empire of the Great Khan. However, while the claim of supremacy by the Yuan emperors was at times recognized by the western khans, their subservience was nominal and each continued its own separate development

Golden Horde (1240s–1502 CE)

The Golden Horde  was originally a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century and originating as the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire.  With the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire after 1259 it became a functionally separate khanate. It is also known as the Kipchak Khanate or as the Ulus of Jochi.

After the death of Batu Khan (the founder of the Golden Horde) in 1255, his dynasty flourished for a full century, until 1359, though the intrigues of Nogai did instigate a partial civil war in the late 1290s.

The Horde’s military power peaked during the reign of Uzbeg (1312–1341), who adopted Islam. The territory of the Golden Horde at its peak included most of Eastern Europe from the Urals to the Danube River, and extended east deep into Siberia. In the south, the Golden Horde’s lands bordered on the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, and the territories of the Mongol dynasty known as the Ilkhanate.

The khanate experienced violent internal political disorder beginning in 1359, before it briefly reunited (1381–1395) under Tokhtamysh. However, soon after the 1396 invasion of Timur/Tamerlane, the founder of the Timurid Empire, the Golden Horde broke into smaller Tatar khanates which declined steadily in power.

At the start of the 15th century, the Horde began to fall apart. By 1466, it was being referred to simply as the “Great Horde”. Within its territories there emerged numerous predominantly Turkic-speaking khanates. These internal struggles allowed the northern vassal state of Muscovy to rid itself of the “Tatar Yoke” at the Great stand on the Ugra river in 1480. The Crimean Khanate and the Kazakh Khanate, the last remnants of the Golden Horde, survived until 1783 and 1847 respectively.

Chagatai Khanate (1225 CE – 1680’s)

1225 – 1340s (Whole)
1340s–1370 (Western)
1340s–1680s (Eastern)

The Chagatai Khanate  was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate  that comprised the lands ruled by Chagatai Khan, second son of Genghis Khan, and his descendants and successors. Initially it was a part of the Mongol Empire, but it became a functionally separate khanate with the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire after 1259.

The Chagatai Khanate recognized the nominal supremacy of the Yuan dynasty in 1304,but became split into two parts in the mid-14th century: the Western Chagatai Khanate and the Moghulistan Khanate.

At its height in the late 13th century, the Khanate extended from the Amu Darya River south of the Aral Sea to the Altai Mountains in the border of modern-day Mongolia and China.

Chagatai Khanate late 13th Century

The khanate lasted in one form or another from 1220s until the late 17th century, although the western half of the khanate was lost to Timur’s empire by 1370.

The eastern half remained under Chagatai khans, who were, at times, allied or at war with Timur’s successors, the Timurid dynasty. Finally, in the 17th century, the remaining Chagatai domains fell under the theocratic regime of Afaq Khoja and his descendants, the Khojas, who ruled Xinjiang under Dzungar and Manchu overlordships consecutively.

Ilkhanate (1256–1335/1353)

The Ilkhanate was established as a khanate that formed the southwestern sector of the Mongol Empire, ruled by the Mongol House of Hulagu. It was founded in the 13th century and was based primarily in Iran as well as neighboring territories, such as present-day Azerbaijan and the central and eastern parts of present-day Turkey.

The Ilkhanate was originally based on the campaigns of Genghis Khan in the Khwarazmian Empire in 1219–24 and was founded by Hulagu Khan, son of Tolui and grandson of Genghis Khan.

With the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire after 1259 it became a functionally separate khanate. At its greatest extent, the state expanded into territories that today comprise most of Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, western Afghanistan, and the Northwestern edge of the Indian sub-continent. Later Ilkhanate rulers, beginning with Ghazan in 1295, converted to Islam.

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