The Famous and Powerful Khanates that Followed the Mongol Empire

The Famous and Powerful Khanates that Followed the Mongol Empire

A khanate was a political entity ruled by a khan. Later on, this title was adopted by many Muslim societies. Although there were many khanates throughout history, the most famous ones are those that succeeded the Mongol Empire.

During the 13th century, the Mongol Empire was established by Genghis Khan. To signify his position as the supreme ruler of the Mongols, Genghis Khan assumed the title ‘Khagan’, which may be translated to mean ‘Great Khan’. The successors of Genghis Khan continued to use the title ‘Khagan’, though it was not long before the empire began to fragment.

Eight of 15 Great Khagans of the Mongolian Empire. ‘Khagan’ means ‘Great Khan’ and refers to a leader of a khaganate, also known as a khanate Source: Public Domain

The Three Khagans After Genghis

The three khagans who succeeded Genghis Khan – Ogedei, Guyuk, and Mongke, were elected by a kurultai (roughly equivalent to a general council or assembly) and ruled over a united Mongol Empire. This system began to show flaws after the death of Ogedei but it was only after Mongke’s death in 1259 that things really started to break down.

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Genghis Khan and three of his four sons. ( Public Domain ) Genghis Khan’s successor’s continued to see themselves as the Khagans of their khanates.

Although no consensus could be reached, Kublai Khan became the new khagan, though this was only a nominal title. Whilst smaller khanates had already begun to form before Kublai Khan became the khagan, the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire may be traced to his reign, as he did not rule over a united empire. By the time of Kublai Khan’s death in 1294, the Mongol Empire had split into four khanates – the Chagatai Khanate, the Golden Horde, the Ilkhanate, and the Yuan Dynasty.

Four Khanates

The first of these four khanates to have been formed was the Chagatai Khanate, which was based in Central Asia. This area of the Mongol Empire was given to Chagatai, the second son of Genghis Khan. The Chagatai Khanate did not have as much of an impact on world history as the other three khanates.

Funeral of Chagatai Khan, the ruler of the Chagatai Khanate. ( Public Domain )

The Golden Horde, known also as the Kipchak Khanate, and the Ulus of Jochi, was the northwestern part of the Mongol Empire, and was given to Jochi, the eldest son of Genghis Khan. Jochi died several months before his father, and was succeeded by his son, Batu Khan. Under the new khan, the Golden Horde khanate expanded into Europe, subjugating the Russian principalities as they swept eastwards.

This khanate flourished until the middle of the 14th century, after which it began to decline. By the 15th century, the Golden Horde fragmented into a number of smaller khanates, three of the most important being the Khanates of Crimea, Astrakhan, and Kazan.

The Golden Horde army defeats the Ilkhanate at the battle of Terek in 1262. Many of Hulagu's men drowned in the Terek River while withdrawing. ( Public Domain )

The Ilkhanate (which is said to mean ‘subordinate khan’) was centered in Persia, and was founded by Hulegu (Hulagu) Khan, a brother of Mongke and Kublai. In 1255/6, Hulegu was charged by his brother, Mongke, with the task of subduing the Muslim states to the west all the way to Egypt. Baghdad was sacked by the Ilkhans in 1258, thus bringing the Abbasid Caliphate to an end.

In 1260, however, the westward expansion of the Ilkhans was halted in Palestine when they were defeated at the Battle of Ain Jalut by the Mamluks. Although the expansion of the Ilkhans in the Middle East was stopped after this defeat, they remained nonetheless a force in the region.

The Mongol ruler Hulagu in Baghdad interns the Caliph of Baghdad among his treasures. ( Public Domain )

This may be seen, for instance, in the attempts made by the rulers of Western Europe to form an alliance with the Ilkhans against the Mamluks. Less than a century after the founding of the Ilkhanate, however, it went into decline and disintegrated, with a number of pretenders emerging.

The Khanate that was also a Dynasty

Last but not least is the Yuan Dynasty, which ruled over China. Its first emperor was Kublai Khan , and the dynasty lasted until 1368. Although the Yuan Dynasty lasted less than a century, it made certain important contributions to Chinese history.

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For instance, Khanbaliq (modern day Beijing) was completely rebuilt by Kublai Khan as his new capital. Additionally, the Yuan Dynasty is reputed for its development of the literary genres of drama and novel. Moreover, Kublai Khan undertook various public works to improve the lives of his subjects, and his benevolent rule was recorded by the Venetian traveler, Marco Polo .

Kublai Khan and the Polo family. ( Public Domain )

Unlike the other khanates, the Yuan Dynasty did not disintegrate into smaller khanates, but was replaced by a when a native Han dynasty, the Ming.

Division of the Mongol Empire

The division of the Mongol Empire began when Möngke Khan died in 1259 in the siege of Diaoyu Castle with no declared successor, precipitating infighting between members of the Tolui family line for the title of khagan that escalated into the Toluid Civil War. This civil war, along with the Berke–Hulagu war and the subsequent Kaidu–Kublai war, greatly weakened the authority of the great khan over the entirety of the Mongol Empire, and the empire fractured into autonomous khanates: the Golden Horde in Eastern Europe, the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, the Ilkhanate in Southwest Asia, and the Yuan dynasty in East Asia based in modern-day Beijing – although the Yuan emperors held the nominal title of khagan of the empire. The four divisions each pursued their own interests and objectives and fell at different times.

Division of the Mongol Empire
LocationMongol Empire
ParticipantsIlkhanate, Yuan dynasty, Chagatai Khanate, Golden Horde
OutcomeThe Mongol Empire fractured into four separate khanates

Early Mongol Empire

Before a 1206 kurultai ("tribal council") in what is now called Mongolia appointed him as their universal leader, the local ruler Temujin — later known as Genghis Khan — simply wanted to ensure the survival of his own little clan in the dangerous internecine fighting that characterized the Mongolian plains in this period.

However, his charisma and innovations in law and organization gave Genghis Khan the tools to expand his empire exponentially. He soon moved against the neighboring Jurchen and Tangut peoples of northern China but seemed not to have had any intention of conquering the world until 1218, when the Shah of Khwarezm confiscated a Mongol delegation's trade goods and executed the Mongol ambassadors.

Furious at this insult from the ruler of what is now Iran, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, the Mongol hordes sped westward, sweeping aside all opposition. The Mongols traditionally fought running battles from horseback, but they had learned techniques for besieging walled cities during their raids of northern China. Those skills stood them in good stead across Central Asia and into the Middle East cities that threw open their gates were spared, but the Mongols would kill the majority of citizens in any city that refused to yield.

Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire grew to encompass Central Asia, parts of the Middle East, and east to the borders of the Korean Peninsula. The heartlands of India and China, along with Korea's Goryeo Kingdom, held off the Mongols for the time.

In 1227, Genghis Khan died, leaving his empire divided into four khanates that would be ruled by his sons and grandsons. These were the Khanate of the Golden Horde, in Russia and Eastern Europe the Ilkhanate in the Middle East the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia and the Khanate of the Great Khan in Mongolia, China, and East Asia.

The Famous and Powerful Khanates that Followed the Mongol Empire - History

The Mongol Empire expanded through brutal raids and invasions, but also established routes of trade and technology between East and West.

Learning Objectives

Define the significance of the Pax Mongolica

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The Mongol Empire existed during the 13th and 14th centuries and was the largest land empire in history.
  • The empire unified the nomadic Mongol and Turkic tribes of historical Mongolia.
  • The empire sent invasions in every direction, ultimately connecting the East with the West with the Pax Mongolica, or Mongol Peace, which allowed trade, technologies, commodities, and ideologies to be disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia.
  • The Mongol raids and invasions were some of the deadliest and most terrifying conflicts in human history.
  • Ultimately, the empire started to fragment it dissolved in 1368, at which point the Han Chinese Ming Dynasty took control.

Key Terms

  • tributary states: Pre-modern states subordinate to a more powerful state.
  • Pax Mongolica: Also known as the Mongol Peace, this agreement allowed trade, technologies, commodities, and ideologies to be disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia.
  • High Middle Ages: A time between the 10th and 12th centuries when the core cultural and social characteristics of the Middle Ages were firmly set.

Rise of the Mongol Empire

The Mongol Empire: Expansion of the Mongol empire from 1206 CE-1294 CE.

During Europe’s High Middle Ages the Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous land empire in history, began to emerge. The Mongol Empire began in the Central Asian steppes and lasted throughout the 13th and 14th centuries. At its greatest extent it included all of modern-day Mongolia, China, parts of Burma, Romania, Pakistan, Siberia, Ukraine, Belarus, Cilicia, Anatolia, Georgia, Armenia, Persia, Iraq, Central Asia, and much or all of Russia. Many additional countries became tributary states of the Mongol Empire.

The empire unified the nomadic Mongol and Turkic tribes of historical Mongolia under the leadership of Genghis Khan, who was proclaimed ruler of all Mongols in 1206. The empire grew rapidly under his rule and then under his descendants, who sent invasions in every direction. The vast transcontinental empire connected the east with the west with an enforced Pax Mongolica, or Mongol Peace, allowing trade, technologies, commodities, and ideologies to be disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia.

Mongol invasions and conquests progressed over the next century, until 1300, by which time the vast empire covered much of Asia and Eastern Europe. Historians regard the Mongol raids and invasions as some of the deadliest and most terrifying conflicts in human history. The Mongols spread panic ahead of them and induced population displacement on an unprecedented scale.

Impact of the Pax Mongolica

The Pax Mongolica refers to the relative stabilization of the regions under Mongol control during the height of the empire in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Mongol rulers maintained peace and relative stability in such varied regions because they did not force subjects to adopt religious or cultural traditions. However, they still enforced a legal code known as the Yassa (Great Law), which stopped feudal disagreements at local levels and made outright disobedience a dubious prospect. It also ensured that it was easy to create an army in short time and gave the khans access to the daughters of local leaders.

The Silk Road: At its height these trade routes stretched between Europe, Persia, and China. They connected ideas, materials, and people in new and exciting ways that allowed for innovations.

The constant presence of troops across the empire also ensured that people followed Yassa edicts and maintained enough stability for goods and for people to travel long distances along these routes. In this environment the largest empire to ever exist helped one of the most influential trade routes in the world, known as the Silk Road, to flourish. This route allowed commodities such as silk, pepper, cinnamon, precious stones, linen, and leather goods to travel between Europe, the Steppe, India, and China.

Marco Polo in a Tatar costume: This style of dress, with the fur hat, long coat, and saber, would have been popular in regions in and around Russian, Eurasia, and Turkey.

Ideas also traveled along the trade route, including major discoveries and innovations in mathematics, astronomy, paper-making, and banking systems from various parts of the world. Famous explorers, such as Marco Polo, also enjoyed the freedom and stability the Pax Mongolica provided, and were able to bring back valuable information about the East and the Mongol Empire to Europe.

The Empire Starts to Fragment

Tatar and Mongol raids against Russian states continued well into the later 1200’s. Elsewhere, the Mongols’ territorial gains in China persisted into the 14th century under the Yuan Dynasty, while those in Persia persisted into the 15th century under the Timurid Dynasty. In India, the Mongols’ gains survived into the 19th century as the Mughal Empire.

However, the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 was a turning point. It was the first time a Mongol advance had ever been beaten back in direct combat on the battlefield, and it marked the beginning of the fragmentation of the empire due to wars over succession. The grandchildren of Genghis Khan disputed whether the royal line should follow from his son and initial heir Ögedei or one of his other sons. After long rivalries and civil war, Kublai Khan took power in 1271 when he established the Yuan Dynasty, but civil war ensued again as he sought unsuccessfully to regain control of the followers of Genghis Khan’s other descendants.

By the time of Kublai’s death in 1294, the Mongol Empire had fractured into four separate empires, or khanates. This weakness allowed the Han Chinese Ming Dynasty to take control in 1368, while Russian princes also slowly developed independence over the 14th and 15th centuries, and the Mongol Empire finally dissolved.

Military practices

The amazing military achievements of the Mongols under Genghis Khan and his successors were due to superior strategy and tactics rather than to numerical strength. Mongol armies were chiefly composed of cavalry which afforded them a high degree of mobility and speed. Their movements and maneuvers were directed by signals and a well-organized messenger service. In battle they relied mainly on bows and arrows and resorted to man-to-man fighting only after having disorganized the enemy’s ranks. Mongol armaments and tactics were more suited to open plains and flat countries than to mountainous and wooded regions. For the siege of walled cities they frequently secured assistance from artisans and engineers of technically advanced conquered peoples such as Chinese, Persians, and Arabs.

Another factor contributing to the overwhelming success of their expeditions was the skilful use of spies and propaganda. Before attacking they usually asked for voluntary surrender and offered peace. If this was accepted, the population was spared. If, however, resistance had to be overcome, wholesale slaughter or at least enslavement invariably resulted, sparing only those whose special skills or abilities were considered useful. In the case of voluntary surrender, tribesmen or soldiers were often incorporated into the Mongol forces and treated as federates. Personal loyalty of federate rulers to the Mongol khan played a great role, as normally no formal treaties were concluded. The “Mongol” armies, therefore, often consisted of only a minority of ethnic Mongols.

Mongol Empire Timeline

This Mongol Empire timeline features such information as the life of Genghis Khan, the major achievements of the Mongol military, and the growth of the empire and expanse of its massive trade networks.

Mongol Empire Timeline

  • 1162(?) Genghis Khan was born into the Borjigin tribe under the name Temujin. His childhood was poor and his family struggled to survive. Temujin, however, thrived and made many political alliances among other Mongol tribes.
  • 1177? Temujin was captured by a rival tribe and imprisoned. With the help of a guard, he escaped by hiding in a river crevice.
  • 1178? At around the age of 16, Temujin married Borte who became his empress.
  • 1178-1206 Temujin makes allies and works to unite the disparate Mongol tribes under his rule. Mongolian tribes had never united before. The various Chinese dynasties usually schemed to keep them divided and fighting each other.
  • 1206 Mongol and Turkic tribes united under Temujin, proclaiming him Genghis Khan, the Oceanic or Universal Ruler of all the Mongols.
  • 1207-1210 Mongol wars against the western Xia which ruled northwest China and parts of Tibet. The Xia surrended to Genghis in 1210.
  • 1209 The Uyghur Turks joined Genghis peacefully and many of them became administrators of the new and growing empire.
  • 1211 Genghis and his army cross the Gobi Desert to battle the Jin Dynasty in northern China.
  • 1215 The Mongol army conquers Zhongdu, the Jin Dynasty capital.
  • 1218 Genghis sends an envoy to the Khwarezmid empire under Shah Muhammad. The Shah has all the envoys put to death.
  • 1219 Genghis and his army go to war against the Khwarezmid Empire. He sent special troops to find and kill Shah Ala al-Din Muhammad II, the shah who murdered Genghis’ envoys. The Mongol army split its forces in order to attack from many directions at once.
  • 1219 Mongols begin a campaign against Transoxiana, comprising parts of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
  • 1221 Khwarezmid Empire destroyed.
  • 1223 While Genghis led the main Mongol army through Afghanistan back to Mongolia, a Mongol army division of 20,000 under the generals Jebe and Subutai headed over the Caucasus. They attacked the kingdom of Georgia and won. They spent the winter on the Black Sea. On the way back to Mongolia, the generals attacked and won over an 80,000 strong army of the Kievan Rus at the Battle of the Kalka River. They then headed back to Mongolia.
  • 1227 Genghis and his army went on campaign against the rebellious Tangut, Xia and Jin, capturing the city of Lingzhou and putting its leaders to death. In August, still on campaign, Genghis Khan died. He was 65 years old, a ripe old age for a military commander who spent his life at war.
  • 1227 Mongol leaders all return to Mongolia for a mass meeting, the kuriltai, where the next khan would be elected. Before his death, Genghis had already chosen his son Ogedai as his successor. His other sons, Jochi, Chagatai and Tolui would be khans with Ogedai as the Great Khan.
  • 1229 Ogedai elected Great Khan. At this point, the Mongol Empire comprised almost 24 million square kilometers, four times as large as the Roman Empire.
  • 1229-1234 Under Ogedai, the war in northern China continues with sieges at Kaifeng and Caizhou against the Jin dynasty. Fire arrows or missiles were launched against the Mongols by the Jin.
  • 1235-1238 Ogedai constructs a Mongol capital city at Karakhorum.
  • 1236 Mongols invade Korea and begin a war against the southern Chinese Song dynasty.
  • 1237 Batu Khan, a son of Jochi, Genghis’ first son, begins campaign to conquer the Kievan Rus.
  • 1237-1242 Mongols sack Kiev, invade Armenia, Georgia, Hungary and Bulgaria.
  • 1241 Battles of Sajo and Legnica, with Mongols crushing all enemies.
  • 1241 Ogedai dies.
  • 1241-1246 Odegai’s wife, Toregene, becomes regent. Toregene works in the background to get Ogedai’s eldest son, Guyuk, elected as Great Khan.
  • 1246 Guyuk elected Great Khan.
  • 1247 First census of the empire.
  • 1248 Guyuk dies.
  • 1251 Mongke, eldest son of Tolui, Genghis’ fourth son, elected Great Khan. Some of his relatives rebel and Mongke kills all who would challenge him from the Ogedied and Chagataid families. Mongke sends his brothers Hulagu to war in the Middle East and Kublai to war in China. His other brother, Ariq Boke remains in Karakhorum.
  • 1256 Hulagu attacks the Hashshashins, an order of assassins, establishes the Ilkhanate.
  • 1257 Mongols invade Vietnam.
  • 1258 The Abbasid Caliphate falls to the Mongols, who capture Baghdad.
  • 1259 Mongols invade Syria. Mongke dies.
  • 1260 Mongols defeated by Egyptian Mamluks in the battles of Ain Jalut and Homs.
  • 1260 Both Ariq Boke and Kublai, grandsons of Genghis Khan, declared Great Khans. Civil war between the two breaks out.
  • 1262 Golden Horde (Russia) and Ilkhanate (Iraq) go to war in Caucasus.
  • 1264 Kublai becomes the Great Khan.
  • 1269 Mongolian language school founded by Kublai Khan.
  • 1271 Yuan Dynasty established and paper money issued by Kublai Khan.
  • 1274 Japan invaded by Mongols for the first time.
  • 1276 Song Dynasty (southern China) falls to Yuan Dynasty.
  • 1281 Mongol’s second invasion of Japan.
  • 1281 In Western Syria, Mongols again defeated by Eqyptian Mamluks.
  • 1284 Second invasion of Vietnam fails.
  • 1288 Third invasion of Vietnam fails.
  • 1293 Mongols raid Java.
  • 1294 Kublai Khan dies. Oljeitu Temur, Kublai’s grandson, becomes khan of the Yuan Dynasty.
  • 1295 Ghazan, ruler of the Ilkhanate, converts to Islam.
  • 1299 Mongols win over the Mamluks in Syria.
  • 1303 Mamluks defeat Mongols at Battle of Marj al-Saffar, Mongols leave Syria.
  • 1305 The Yam postal routes and trade routes reopened between the Khanates, which had been closed when the Khanates warred with each other.
  • 1315 Golden Horde turns to Islam. Ozbeg Khan persecutes non-Muslim Tartars.
  • 1323 Mamluks make a truce with the Ilkhanate, ending a long war.
  • 1327 Rebellion in Golden Horde against Mongol rule. Ozbeg crushes the rebellion.
  • 1335 Ilkhanate dissolves.
  • 1368 Ming Dynasty overthrows the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. End of Mongol Empire, although elements of it continues to the 1600s.

For more information similar to this Mongol Empire timeline, please see our comprehensive resource on the Mongol Empire.

Pax Mongolica: Trade and Traders in the Mongol Empire

Beginning in 1206 large parts of Eurasia came under the sway of the Chinggissid Mongols. In 1260 the united Mongol Empire came to an end and divided into four khanates ruled by the progenies of Chinggis Khan. The four khanates were the Yuan (centered at China), the Ilkhanate (Middle East), the Golden Horde (Russia and the Caucasus), and the Chaghadaids (Central Asia). These political entities remained connected under the broad umbrella of the institutions and worldview that originated in the steppe and one that was informed by Chinggis Khan’s rule. Essentially the periods of the united Mongol Empire (1206–1260) and of the four khanates (1260–1350) can be termed as the period of Mongol rule. The abiding allegiance to the Chinggissid legacy continued to find resonance for the far-flung imperial family well in to the mid-14th century and even later in certain parts of Eurasia. Under this united system of rule, trade came to occupy a special place and led to hitherto unprecedented exchanges and prosperity. Mongol Eurasia was able to transform micro economies into a coherent macro economy that relied on overland and maritime trade. These exchanges in large part were achieved through the building of physical infrastructure connecting China all the way to northwest Europe, and provision of capital. Along with overland trade, the Mongols were able to participate in and spur maritime trade in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean-Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean trade complex, even though they didn’t control all of it. The architecture essential for conquest proved important for trade and exchanges of goods, peoples, and ideas as well. Physical security, storage facilities, monetary policies, and the creation of markets and cities across the expanse of Mongol Eurasia enlivened trade. The historical accounts of this period describe cities overflowing with goods and riches along with transfers of a variety of technologies, providing a vivid picture of exchanges. The Mongols followed in the footsteps of a long line of nomadic empires that had been pivotal in the flow of long-distance trade and expanded it across Eurasia. Not only did they promote trade and patronize traders, they influenced the kinds of goods and technologies that were found on the Silk Road(s) at the time. The presence of a wide array of manufactured goods in large quantities signifies their role in the founding of production centers. While the Mongols were not traders themselves, the Khans were impressive in their understanding of the importance of trading networks and relied heavily on access to the information traders provided. From the very beginning of the empire traders filled the ranks of interlocutors and helped carve a space for bolstering exchanges in policymaking. Traders were close to the Khans and political elites and informed decision-making, often serving as emissaries, ministers, and administrators in the service of the Khans. Not only did traders provide the Khans with commodities, but they also served as money lenders, making them important partners to the Mongol state and the imperial family. The myriad relationships between the Mongol Khans and traders are testament to a deep partnership that brought to bear an exciting moment for Eurasia, making it possible to refer to the Mongol period as the first globalization.

The Mongol Empire Research Paper

The Mongols were a tribe of nomads from Central and North Asia who relied on nomadic lifestyle. The Mongols constantly depended on horses which were their only means of transportation from one place to another. Evidently, throughout history, the Mongols were in a fight with their neighbors. In this paper, there is more concentrate on breaking down the field of authentic written work on how Mongol Empire was ruled by extraordinary Mongol Khans both in a thirteenth and fourteenth century. It was the biggest Empire that ever existed in history as it united western and Asia. Mongol Empire first blooming occurs in the thirteenth century and meeting of tribes in 1206. This paper speaks more around an authentic audit about Mongol domain as it is identified with Islamic Civilisation.

How Biran related the Mongol Empire with Islamic Civilisation

To conquer his Islam neighbours, Genghis Khan used terror as a weapon of war. In case a city Genghis besieged a city, he could spare its citizens, but they will be under the Mongol control. However, if the city could make any attempts of fighting the Mongols, everyone in the city including the civilians could be massacred. The reign of terror is the main reason as to why he managed to conjure the Muslims who were very weak during that time. The Muslims were ready to give up than to suffer massacre at that time (Biran, 2013). Consequently, the Muslims were spared much of the Mongols wrath. Sparing the Muslim did not take long as in 1255 the Greta Khan named Mongke decided to put his brother Hulagu Khan in charge of the armies whose goal was to conjure Egypt, Syria and Persia. It was during this time that the army wanted to destroy anything attached to Islam. Muslim were not in any position to resist the Mongol attack and the Abbasid Caliphate was nothing bit a shell of its former self with no power outside Baghdad. The terror tactics employed for use by Ghengis Khan and Ogadei contributed to a massive expansion of the Mongol empire within a short period of time. The Mongol empire followed Islam despite fighting them Islams. The reason as to why the Mongols decided to follow the Islamic religion among other religions was due to the reason that it was a disparate religion.

According to Biran (2013), Chinggis Khan and his beneficiaries made the world biggest coterminous domain that extended from Korea to Hungary. The domain was named ‘Mongol’. The Chinggisids not just vanquished the entire Eurasian steppe and the home of the migrants. However, they additionally united under their principle three different civilisations. The Chinese’s came under their rule in 1279, when Islam had become part of the Mongols Religion. The religion of the Allah had never been defeated like the way Mongol was inflicting on them. Most of the crusaders the Mongols land had captured a few territories in Islamic land (Biran, 2013). However, much victory was evident as a result of lack of strong Muslim forces to counter the attacks. The Muslims learnt that they had to be much stronger to win the battle. Conversely, in the case with Khawarizm Shah the battle was not that strong as their attackers found some strong forces pulling them out. The attack was a big blow to the Islamic world and many writers through that the end of the world was near. The Muslim was severely attacked and many of them died in the battle. It was very strange that from the ashes of destruction, there rose the Islamisation of the entire Mongol empire outside China and Mongolia. The Islam was very strong and powerful after the attack that almost erased them from the face of the earth. No one could tell that Great Khan would make a big top-down decision that everyone was to convert to Muslim. Eventually 3 of the 4 Khanates that united to form Mongol Empire adopted Islam as their state religion (Biran, 2013). The process of adapting Islam to the states was more like a series of events that were taking place and were only partly related to each other. Evidently, Berke Khan was the first person who converted to Muslim. He was a grandson of Genghis Khan and the Khan of Golden Horde which formally had ruled parts of Russia and Caucasus. In addition, there is less evidence to confirm that the conversion of Berke to a Muslim was political. Berke tried to persuade his brother to convert to the Muslim religion, but it was not that easy as there was no widespread conversion of Mongol leadership in horde at such time. Brian assumed that Blue horde, White horde, Kipchuk Khanate and Golden Horde are all the same thing. Berke conversion had one big political consequence. The consequences that Berke had to endure are allying with a Muslim kingdom against a fellow Mongol Khan. Another grandson of Genghis named Hulagu Khan ruled Ilkhanate. Ilkhanate was the former Persian Khwarizm Empire. Hulagu Khan was mandated from the Great Khan and his brother (Mongke) was helped by Berke to make the Great Khan. The Mongke was now required to move to the south to subjugate the rest of the Islamic world (Biran, 2013). Through the effort they employed for use, they managed to destroy Baghdad together with the Abbasid Caliphate and killed the Caliph himself. It was a very pathetic act that was very brutally fashioned. However, Berke was a very devoted Muslim and was upset by the act that had taken place. However, in 1259, Mongke Khan died and Hulagu had to go back to Mongolia, where he decided to elect a new Great Khan. Back in Egypt, the Mamluks decided to destroy the Mongol army left in the country as Hulagu was not absent there. The army was killed in a famous battle that took place in Ain Jalut. It was in 1261 when Hulagu came back to Egypt only to be shocked that Berke had allied with the Mamluks. Immediately, Berke started instigating Hulagu till the war broke out between them in 1262. The war was named as Hulagu-Berke war leading to the halted Mong expansion in the Middle East. After the war ended between a Muslim (Berke), and non-Muslim (Hulagu), Ghazan converted to Muslim in 1295. Ghazan was a descendant of Hulagu and saw it prudent to convert to a Muslim as the majority of his subjects were Muslim (Biran, 2013). One would say that Ghazan conversion to Muslim was instigated by political expediency. From this point onwards, the Ilkhanate was now a very strong Muslim. It meant that the Islam was now a very strong religion as a Horde had converted to Muslim. The conversion to Islam took the throne in 1313 and Islam was adopted as the state religion. It was clear that the Muslim had become civilised for they were now very strong as compared to previous times.

The Aspect of Mongol Empire in relation with Islamic Civilisation

Mongol Empire (2015) is an article that explains when Genghis let himself loose on the Khawarizm Empire in 1219, the event that followed after were very traumatising to the Islamic Word. It is during this time that the event which took place was made the world be referred as ‘holocaust’. The Genghis Mongols liked fighting a lot and many cities in the Eastern Islamic world were ravaged (Mongol Empire, 2015). It did not matter what kind of city which was there as a city like Samarkhand and Bukhara was one of the greatest religious Islamic cities, but they were also ravaged. The war led to the current five central Asian Republic. Additionally, Khanate had a ruler named Mubarak Shah, who converted to be an Islam in 1256. It was different as rulers would later renounce Islam go back to their old beliefs (Mongol Empire, 2015). In 1331, Tarmashirin Khan tried to take the Khanate back to Islam. However, he was killed for his effort of trying to do so. Soon after his death, Khanate collapsed and Timur took over his religion and he worked so hard to ensure that everybody converted to be a Muslim.

How Alamut related the Mongol Empire with Islamic Civilisation

After the capture of the Alamut, Hulegu decided to match towards grand prize of Baghdad to face Caliph an important incompetent military commander during that time (Prawdin, 2006). However, Caliph learnt about what was going to happen and decide to prepare a siege, but Hulegu was already closing in. Upon his arrival, there were 20,000 cavalrymen who rode with courage to confront the Mongols. Evidently, the force was not successful in its entire plans as they were made inevitable. In addition, Baghdad held out for a week until breaching took place in the east. There was no any other option rather than the city surrendering its efforts due to the slaughtering that was ensued (Prawdin, 2006). All the treasures present were looted and magnificent mosques were destroyed and the population was heavily massacred. It was very interesting that all the Christians who were present in the city were spared. Research has proved that 800,000 men were killed even though the record of the number might have been a big exaggeration of what was perceived to happen (Prawdin, 2006).

How Khwarezmian Related the Mongol Empire with Islamic Civilisation

The Mongols finished the brief Khwarezmian Empire, and brought the fall of the Abbasid Caliph and managed an extraordinary hit to Islamic society. In spite of the fact that the Mongols did without a doubt bring a tremendous rundown of passing’s and devastation, the temperate boo that took after is clearly something not to be disregarded. The Mongols had a direct political situation of the world. It was during this time that China was united under a single ruler. The biggest city in the Middle East had already lost its glory as the Mongols managed to end the short-lived Kwarezmina Domain and conveyed a tumble to Abbasid Caliph. What’s more, an extraordinary hit to Islamic society was felt.

How Weatherford Related the Mongol Empire with Islamic Civilisation

Weatherford clarified that the Mongol were tolerated in the Mongol Empire as evident in most sponsors that took place at that time. In addition, there were very many converts from Buddhism to Christianity and from Manichaeanism to Islam. However, there was religion, freedom that was accorded to all citizens, though the leader was a Shamanist (Weatherford, 2004). All Muslim leaders were exempted from taxation and all public administration the whole empire. It was now evident that all the clerics had sought better tactic of drawing large audiences to better places of worship. Due to the spread of Muslim religion in Mongol, developments were now evident. Many building projects took place in Mongol Capital. Places of worship for the Muslims were built thus, they felt comfort conducting their religion. Later, it was evident where three of the four principal Khanates embraced Islam. In addition, Islam was more favoured compared to any other religion, in Mongol. However, there were other religions that were practised in The East of Mongol Empire like Shamanism and Buddhism, which were once dominant, but became weak when Islam dominated the country (Weatherford, 2004). It was clear that in the early days the rulers of both khanates adopted Buddhism, which was a resemblance if Yuan dynasty at that time. It did not take long for the Mongol rulers Ghazan of Ilkhanate and Uzbeg converted to Islam. Yuan dynasty was based in China and Mongolia, but it later became the only division of the Mongol Empire. Mongolia Empire did not embrace Islam, but favoured Tibetan Buddhism until the dynasty ended.

Analysis of Different Authors on Islamic Civilisation

Prawdin, (1940) dedicates a good portion of the book to explaining the Mongol’s emphasis with Islamic civilisation. Several examples are given, such as rulers going to the extent of buying unwanted goods exorbitantly just to keep Islamic civilisation up. He also explained the Mongol Empire not just at its prime but in the beginning as well. Prawdin exceptionally depicted the gradual transformation into a powerful and an expansive nation dedicated to cultural exchange towards taking part in Islamic civilisation. This helped put into perspective just how remarkable their reign actually was. On the other side, Jack Weatherford, (2005) discusses the structure and accomplishments of the Mongol Empire towards Islamic civilisation. He even insinuates that the Mongols had a large impact on the renaissance because of their influence in acquiring new knowledge, technology, sciences towards Islamic civilisation. Weatherford uses great analogies that aid in comprehending the complexity of the empire. One such analogy about the empire conquering territory the size of Africa all with around 100,000 soldiers, less the number of employees most corporations have. Weatherford also tackles the stereotype of the name Genghis Khan being associated with destruction and violence. Although they’re reign included some horrific occurrences, Khan was able to cultivate an empire that utilized global trade. Likewise, Jackson, (2004) addresses the relationship between the nomadic Mongols and the surrounding sedentary societies. The author discusses how the Mongols affected and were affected by the surrounding smaller societies like the Muslims. Their relationship operated hand in hand as the empire would instil authority over conquered territory and absorb the cultures that resided within that land. He also explained more of how Islamic civilisation took place. In addition, Serjeant (1951), attempted to trace the different types of Mongol currency to figure out where the money was traveling and impacting the Islamic Civilisation. This helped explain what merchants were trading and where they were trading. The fur trade was most popular in the Russian territories as they had little else appealing to trade. The trading that occurred in Mongol territory depicted a chain reaction to the Islamic civilisation. Areas where furs were common would trade and seek commodities that weren’t native to their area and vice versa.

This paper gives more focus on the analysis of the historical writing about the Mongol Empire and how it relates to historical review. In the olden days, the Islam’s were very weak hence, the reason as to why they were easily attacked. It did not take long that they became very strong and became the leading religion in the Mongol empire. Various leaders of the Mongol empire had to convert to Muslim. The Muslims had changed from the way they used to handle most of their activities and employed the use of better ways, this implied that civilisation had taken place in the Islamic community.

Biran, M., (2013). The Mongol Empire in World History: The State of the Field. History Compass 11/11: 1021–1033

Jack Weatherford, (2005). Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Crown Publishing Group.

Jackson, Peter. (2004). Mongols, Turks, and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the Sedentary World. Leiden: Brill Academic.

Mongol Empire. (2015). Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 1p. 1

Prawdin (2006). The Mongol Empire. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Prawdin, Michael. (1940). The Mongol Empire: Its Rise and Legacy. 2nd ed. Transaction Publishers.

Expansion and Khanates

At the death of Genghis Khan in 1226, the empire was already large enough that one ruler could not oversee the administrative aspects of each region. Genghis realized this and created appanages, or khanates, for his sons, daughters, and grandsons to rule over in order to keep a consistent rule of law. Möngke’s administrative policies extended to these regions during his reign, often causing local unrest due to Mongol occupation and taxation. Some khanates were more closely linked to centralized Mongol policies than others, depending on their location, who oversaw them, and the amount of resistance in each region.

Painting of the Battle of Mohi in 1241. Möngke might have been present at this battle, which took place in the kingdom of Hungary, during one of the many Mongol invasions and attacks that expanded the Mongol Empire.

It should also be noted that the vast religious and cultural traditions of these khanates, including Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Orthodoxy, and Buddhism, were often at odds with the khanate rulers and their demands. Some of the most essential khanates to exist under Möngke’s administrative years included:

  • The Golden Horde, which contained the Rus’ principalities and large chunks of modern-day Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Belarus, and Romania. Many Russian princes capitulated with Mongol rule and a relatively stable alliance existed in the 1250s in some principalities.
  • Chagatai Khanate was a Turkic region which was ruled over by Chagatai, Odegei’s second son, until 1242 at his death. This region was clearly Islamic and functioned as an outlying region of the central Mongol government until 1259, when Möngke died.
  • Ilkhanate was the major southwestern khanate of the Mongol Empire and encompassed parts of modern-day Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey and the heartland of Persian culture. Möngke’s brother, Hulagu, ruled over this region and his descendants continued to oversee this khanate into the 14th century.

Broadly defined, the term includes the Mongols proper (also known as the Khalkha Mongols), Buryats, Oirats, the Kalmyk people and the Southern Mongols. The latter comprises the Abaga Mongols, Abaganar, Aohans, Baarins, Gorlos Mongols, Jalaids, Jaruud, Khishigten, Khuuchid, Muumyangan and Onnigud.

The designation "Mongol" briefly appeared in 8th century records of Tang China to describe a tribe of Shiwei. It resurfaced in the late 11th century during the Khitan-ruled Liao dynasty. After the fall of the Liao in 1125, the Khamag Mongols became a leading tribe on the Mongolian Plateau. However, their wars with the Jurchen-ruled Jin dynasty and the Tatar confederation had weakened them.

In the thirteenth century, the word Mongol grew into an umbrella term for a large group of Mongolic-speaking tribes united under the rule of Genghis Khan. [14]

In various times Mongolic peoples have been equated with the Scythians, the Magog, and the Tungusic peoples. Based on Chinese historical texts the ancestry of the Mongolic peoples can be traced back to the Donghu, a nomadic confederation occupying eastern Mongolia and Manchuria. The identity of the Xiongnu (Hünnü) is still debated today. Although some scholars maintain that they were proto-Mongols, they were more likely a multi-ethnic group of Mongolic and Turkic tribes. [15] It has been suggested that the language of the Huns was related to the Hünnü. [16] [17]

The Donghu, however, can be much more easily labeled proto-Mongol since the Chinese histories trace only Mongolic tribes and kingdoms (Xianbei and Wuhuan peoples) from them, although some historical texts claim a mixed Xiongnu-Donghu ancestry for some tribes (e.g. the Khitan). [18]

In the Chinese classics

The Donghu are mentioned by Sima Qian as already existing in Inner Mongolia north of Yan in 699–632 BCE along with the Shanrong. Mentions in the Yi Zhou Shu ("Lost Book of Zhou") and the Classic of Mountains and Seas indicate the Donghu were also active during the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BCE).

The Xianbei formed part of the Donghu confederation, but had earlier times of independence, as evidenced by a mention in the Guoyu ("晉語八" section), which states that during the reign of King Cheng of Zhou (reigned 1042–1021 BCE) they came to participate at a meeting of Zhou subject-lords at Qiyang (岐阳) (now Qishan County) but were only allowed to perform the fire ceremony under the supervision of Chu since they were not vassals by covenant (诸侯). The Xianbei chieftain was appointed joint guardian of the ritual torch along with Xiong Yi.

These early Xianbei came from the nearby Zhukaigou culture (2200–1500 BCE) in the Ordos Desert, where maternal DNA corresponds to the Mongol Daur people and the Tungusic Evenks. The Zhukaigou Xianbei (part of the Ordos culture of Inner Mongolia and northern Shaanxi) had trade relations with the Shang. In the late 2nd century, the Han dynasty scholar Fu Qian (服虔) wrote in his commentary "Jixie" (集解) that "Shanrong and Beidi are ancestors of the present-day Xianbei". Again in Inner Mongolia another closely connected core Mongolic Xianbei region was the Upper Xiajiadian culture (1000–600 BCE) where the Donghu confederation was centered.

After the Donghu were defeated by Xiongnu king Modu Chanyu, the Xianbei and Wuhuan survived as the main remnants of the confederation. Tadun Khan of the Wuhuan (died 207 AD) was the ancestor of the proto-Mongolic Kumo Xi. [19] The Wuhuan are of the direct Donghu royal line and the New Book of Tang says that in 209 BCE, Modu Chanyu defeated the Wuhuan instead of using the word Donghu. The Xianbei, however, were of the lateral Donghu line and had a somewhat separate identity, although they shared the same language with the Wuhuan. In 49 CE the Xianbei ruler Bianhe (Bayan Khan?) raided and defeated the Xiongnu, killing 2000, after having received generous gifts from Emperor Guangwu of Han. The Xianbei reached their peak under Tanshihuai Khan (reigned 156–181) who expanded the vast, but short lived, Xianbei state (93–234).

Three prominent groups split from the Xianbei state as recorded by the Chinese histories: the Rouran (claimed by some to be the Pannonian Avars), the Khitan people and the Shiwei (a subtribe called the "Shiwei Menggu" is held to be the origin of the Genghisid Mongols). [20] Besides these three Xianbei groups, there were others such as the Murong, Duan and Tuoba. Their culture was nomadic, their religion shamanism or Buddhism and their military strength formidable. There is still no direct evidence that the Rouran spoke Mongolic languages, although most scholars agree that they were Proto-Mongolic. [21] The Khitan, however, had two scripts of their own and many Mongolic words are found in their half-deciphered writings.

Geographically, the Tuoba Xianbei ruled the southern part of Inner Mongolia and northern China, the Rouran (Yujiulü Shelun was the first to use the title khagan in 402) ruled eastern Mongolia, western Mongolia, the northern part of Inner Mongolia and northern Mongolia, the Khitan were concentrated in eastern part of Inner Mongolia north of Korea and the Shiwei were located to the north of the Khitan. These tribes and kingdoms were soon overshadowed by the rise of the First Turkic Khaganate in 555, the Uyghur Khaganate in 745 and the Yenisei Kirghiz states in 840. The Tuoba were eventually absorbed into China. The Rouran fled west from the Göktürks and either disappeared into obscurity or, as some say, invaded Europe as the Avars under their Khan, Bayan I. Some Rouran under Tatar Khan migrated east, founding the Tatar confederation, who became part of the Shiwei. The Khitan, who were independent after their separation from the Kumo Xi (of Wuhuan origin) in 388, continued as a minor power in Manchuria until one of them, Ambagai (872–926), established the Liao dynasty (907–1125) as Emperor Taizu of Liao.

Mongol Empire

The destruction of Uyghur Khaganate by the Kirghiz resulted in the end of Turkic dominance in Mongolia. According to historians, Kirghiz were not interested in assimilating newly acquired lands instead, they controlled local tribes through various manaps (tribal leader). The Khitans occupied the areas vacated by the Turkic Uyghurs bringing them under their control. The Yenisei Kirghiz state was centered on Khakassia and they were expelled from Mongolia by the Khitans in 924. Beginning in the 10th century, the Khitans, under the leadership of Abaoji, prevailed in several military campaigns against the Tang dynasty ' s border guards, and the Xi, Shiwei and Jurchen nomadic groups. [22]

Khitan royalty led by Yelü Dashi fled west through Mongolia after being defeated by the Jurchens (later known as Manchu) and founded the Qara Khitai (1125–1218) in eastern Kazakhstan while still maintaining control over western Mongolia. In 1218, Genghis Khan incorporated the Qara Khitai after which the Khitan passed into obscurity. Some remnants surfaced as the Qutlugh-Khanid dynasty (1222-1306) in Iran and the Dai Khitai in Afghanistan. With the expansion of the Mongol Empire, the Mongolic peoples settled over almost all Eurasia and carried on military campaigns from the Adriatic Sea to Indonesian Java island and from Japan to Palestine (Gaza). They simultaneously became Padishahs of Persia, Emperors of China, and Great Khans of the Mongols, and one became Sultan of Egypt (Al-Adil Kitbugha). The Mongolic peoples of the Golden Horde established themselves to govern Russia by 1240. [23] By 1279, they conquered the Song dynasty and brought all of China proper under the control of the Yuan dynasty. [23]

. from Chinggis up high down to the common people, all are shaven in the style pojiao. As with small boys in China, they leave three locks, one hanging from the crown of their heads. When it has grown some, they clip it the strands lower on both sides they plait to hang down on the shoulders. [24]

With the breakup of the empire, the dispersed Mongolic peoples quickly adopted the mostly Turkic cultures surrounding them and were assimilated, forming parts of Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, Tatars, Bashkirs, Turkmens, Uyghurs, Nogays, Kyrgyzs, Kazakhs, Caucasaus peoples, Iranian peoples and Moghuls linguistic and cultural Persianization also began to be prominent in these territories. Some Mongols assimilated into the Yakuts after their migration to Northern Siberia and about 30% of Yakut words have Mongol origin. However, most of the Yuan Mongols returned to Mongolia in 1368, retaining their language and culture. There were 250,000 Mongols in Southern China and many Mongols were massacred by the rebel army. The survivors were trapped in southern china and eventually assimilated. The Dongxiangs, Bonans, Yugur and Monguor people were invaded by Chinese Ming dynasty.

Northern Yuan

After the fall of the Yuan dynasty in 1368, the Mongols continued to rule the Northern Yuan dynasty in northern China and the Mongolian steppe. However, the Oirads began to challenge the Eastern Mongolic peoples under the Borjigin monarchs in the late 14th century and Mongolia was divided into two parts: Western Mongolia (Oirats) and Eastern Mongolia (Khalkha, Inner Mongols, Barga, Buryats). The earliest written references to the plough in Middle Mongolian language sources appear towards the end of the 14th c. [25]

In 1434, Eastern Mongolian Taisun Khan's (1433–1452) prime minister Western Mongolian Togoon Taish reunited the Mongols after killing Eastern Mongolian another king Adai (Khorchin). Togoon died in 1439 and his son Esen Taish became prime minister. Esen carried out successful policy for Mongolian unification and independence. The Ming Empire attempted to invade Mongolia in the 14–16th centuries, however, the Ming Empire was defeated by the Oirat, Southern Mongol, Eastern Mongol and united Mongolian armies. Esen's 30,000 cavalries defeated 500,000 Chinese soldiers in 1449. Within eighteen months of his defeat of the titular Khan Taisun, in 1453, Esen himself took the title of Great Khan (1454–1455) of the Great Yuan. [26]

The Khalkha emerged during the reign of Dayan Khan (1479–1543) as one of the six tumens of the Eastern Mongolic peoples. They quickly became the dominant Mongolic clan in Mongolia proper. [27] [28] He reunited the Mongols again. The Mongols voluntarily reunified during Eastern Mongolian Tümen Zasagt Khan rule (1558–1592) for the last time (the Mongol Empire united all Mongols before this).

Eastern Mongolia was divided into three parts in the 17th century: Outer Mongolia (Khalkha), Inner Mongolia (Inner Mongols) and the Buryat region in southern Siberia.

The last Mongol khagan was Ligdan in the early 17th century. He got into conflicts with the Manchus over the looting of Chinese cities, and managed to alienate most Mongol tribes. In 1618, Ligdan signed a treaty with the Ming dynasty to protect their northern border from the Manchus attack in exchange for thousands of taels of silver. By the 1620s, only the Chahars remained under his rule.

Qing-era Mongols

The Chahar army was defeated in 1625 and 1628 by the Inner Mongol and Manchu armies due to Ligdan's faulty tactics. The Qing forces secured their control over Inner Mongolia by 1635, and the army of the last khan Ligdan moved to battle against Tibetan Gelugpa sect (Yellow Hat sect) forces. The Gelugpa forces supported the Manchus, while Ligdan supported Kagyu sect (Red Hat sect) of Tibetan Buddhism. Ligden died in 1634 on his way to Tibet. By 1636, most Inner Mongolian nobles had submitted to the Qing dynasty founded by the Manchus. Inner Mongolian Tengis noyan revolted against the Qing in the 1640s and the Khalkha battled to protect Sunud.

Western Mongolian Oirats and Eastern Mongolian Khalkhas vied for domination in Mongolia since the 15th century and this conflict weakened Mongolian strength. In 1688, Western Mongolian Dzungar Khanate's king Galdan Boshugtu attacked Khalkha after murder of his younger brother by Tusheet Khan Chakhundorj (main or Central Khalkha leader) and the Khalkha-Oirat War began. Galdan threatened to kill Chakhundorj and Zanabazar (Javzandamba Khutagt I, spiritual head of Khalkha) but they escaped to Sunud (Inner Mongolia). Many Khalkha nobles and folks fled to Inner Mongolia because of the war. Few Khalkhas fled to the Buryat region and Russia threatened to exterminate them if they did not submit, but many of them submitted to Galdan Boshugtu.

In 1683 Galdan's armies reached Tashkent and the Syr Darya and crushed two armies of the Kazakhs. After that Galdan subjugated the Black Khirgizs and ravaged the Fergana Valley. From 1685 Galdan's forces aggressively pushed the Kazakhs. While his general Rabtan took Taraz, and his main force forced the Kazakhs to migrate westwards. [29] In 1687, he besieged the City of Turkistan. Under the leadership of Abul Khair Khan, the Kazakhs won major victories over the Dzungars at the Bulanty River in 1726, and at the Battle of Anrakay in 1729. [30]

The Khalkha eventually submitted to Qing rule in 1691 by Zanabazar's decision, thus bringing all of today's Mongolia under the rule of the Qing dynasty but Khalkha de facto remained under the rule of Galdan Boshugtu Khaan until 1696. The Mongol-Oirat's Code (a treaty of alliance) against foreign invasion between the Oirats and Khalkhas was signed in 1640, however, the Mongols could not unite against foreign invasions. Chakhundorj fought against Russian invasion of Outer Mongolia until 1688 and stopped Russian invasion of Khövsgöl Province. Zanabazar struggled to bring together the Oirats and Khalkhas before the war.

Galdan Boshugtu sent his army to "liberate" Inner Mongolia after defeating the Khalkha's army and called Inner Mongolian nobles to fight for Mongolian independence. Some Inner Mongolian nobles, Tibetans, Kumul Khanate and some Moghulistan's nobles supported his war against the Manchus, however, Inner Mongolian nobles did not battle against the Qing.

There were three khans in Khalkha and Zasagt Khan Shar (Western Khalkha leader) was Galdan's ally. Tsetsen Khan (Eastern Khalkha leader) did not engage in this conflict. While Galdan was fighting in Eastern Mongolia, his nephew Tseveenravdan seized the Dzungarian throne in 1689 and this event made Galdan impossible to fight against the Qing Empire. The Russian and Qing Empires supported his action because this coup weakened Western Mongolian strength. Galdan Boshugtu's army was defeated by the outnumbering Qing army in 1696 and he died in 1697. The Mongols who fled to the Buryat region and Inner Mongolia returned after the war. Some Khalkhas mixed with the Buryats.

The Buryats fought against Russian invasion since the 1620s and thousands of Buryats were massacred. The Buryat region was formally annexed to Russia by treaties in 1689 and 1727, when the territories on both the sides of Lake Baikal were separated from Mongolia. In 1689 the Treaty of Nerchinsk established the northern border of Manchuria north of the present line. The Russians retained Trans-Baikalia between Lake Baikal and the Argun River north of Mongolia. The Treaty of Kyakhta (1727), along with the Treaty of Nerchinsk, regulated the relations between Imperial Russia and the Qing Empire until the mid-nineteenth century. It established the northern border of Mongolia. Oka Buryats revolted in 1767 and Russia completely conquered the Buryat region in the late 18th century. Russia and Qing were rival empires until the early 20th century, however, both empires carried out united policy against Central Asians.

The Qing Empire conquered Upper Mongolia or the Oirat's Khoshut Khanate in the 1720s and 80,000 people were killed. [31] By that period, Upper Mongolian population reached 200,000. The Dzungar Khanate conquered by the Qing dynasty in 1755–1758 because of their leaders and military commanders conflicts. Some scholars estimate that about 80% of the Dzungar population were destroyed by a combination of warfare and disease during the Qing conquest of the Dzungar Khanate in 1755–1758. [32] Mark Levene, a historian whose recent research interests focus on genocide, [33] has stated that the extermination of the Dzungars was "arguably the eighteenth century genocide par excellence." [34] The Dzungar population reached 600,000 in 1755.

About 200,000–250,000 Oirats migrated from Western Mongolia to Volga River in 1607 and established the Kalmyk Khanate.The Torghuts were led by their Tayishi, Höö Örlög. Russia was concerned about their attack but the Kalmyks became Russian ally and a treaty to protect Southern Russian border was signed between the Kalmyk Khanate and Russia.In 1724 the Kalmyks came under control of Russia. By the early 18th century, there were approximately 300–350,000 Kalmyks and 15,000,000 Russians. [ citation needed ] The Tsardom of Russia gradually chipped away at the autonomy of the Kalmyk Khanate. These policies, for instance, encouraged the establishment of Russian and German settlements on pastures the Kalmyks used to roam and feed their livestock. In addition, the Tsarist government imposed a council on the Kalmyk Khan, thereby diluting his authority, while continuing to expect the Kalmyk Khan to provide cavalry units to fight on behalf of Russia. The Russian Orthodox church, by contrast, pressured Buddhist Kalmyks to adopt Orthodoxy.In January 1771, approximately 200,000 (170,000) [35] Kalmyks began the migration from their pastures on the left bank of the Volga River to Dzungaria (Western Mongolia), through the territories of their Bashkir and Kazakh enemies. The last Kalmyk khan Ubashi led the migration to restore Mongolian independence. Ubashi Khan sent his 30,000 cavalries to the Russo-Turkish War in 1768–1769 to gain weapon before the migration. The Empress Catherine the Great ordered the Russian army, Bashkirs and Kazakhs to exterminate all migrants and the Empress abolished the Kalmyk Khanate. [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] The Kyrgyzs attacked them near Balkhash Lake. About 100,000–150,000 Kalmyks who settled on the west bank of the Volga River could not cross the river because the river did not freeze in the winter of 1771 and Catherine the Great executed influential nobles of them. After seven months of travel, only one-third (66,073) [35] of the original group reached Dzungaria (Balkhash Lake, western border of the Qing Empire). [40] The Qing Empire transmigrated the Kalmyks to five different areas to prevent their revolt and influential leaders of the Kalmyks died soon (killed by the Manchus). Russia states that Buryatia voluntarily merged with Russia in 1659 due to Mongolian oppression and the Kalmyks voluntarily accepted Russian rule in 1609 but only Georgia voluntarily accepted Russian rule. [41] [42]

In the early 20th century, the late Qing government encouraged Han Chinese colonization of Mongolian lands under the name of "New Policies" or "New Administration" (xinzheng). As a result, some Mongol leaders (especially those of Outer Mongolia) decided to seek Mongolian independence. After the Xinhai Revolution, the Mongolian Revolution on 30 November 1911 in Outer Mongolia ended over 200-year rule of the Qing dynasty.

Post-Qing era

With the independence of Outer Mongolia, the Mongolian army controlled Khalkha and Khovd regions (modern day Uvs, Khovd, and Bayan-Ölgii provinces), but Northern Xinjiang (the Altai and Ili regions of the Qing Empire), Upper Mongolia, Barga and Inner Mongolia came under control of the newly formed Republic of China. On February 2, 1913 the Bogd Khanate of Mongolia sent Mongolian cavalries to "liberate" Inner Mongolia from China. Russia refused to sell weapons to the Bogd Khanate, and the Russian czar, Nicholas II, referred to it as "Mongolian imperialism". Additionally, the United Kingdom urged Russia to abolish Mongolian independence as it was concerned that "if Mongolians gain independence, then Central Asians will revolt". 10,000 Khalkha and Inner Mongolian cavalries (about 3,500 Inner Mongols) defeated 70,000 Chinese soldiers and controlled almost all of Inner Mongolia however, the Mongolian army retreated due to lack of weapons in 1914. 400 Mongol soldiers and 3,795 Chinese soldiers died in this war. The Khalkhas, Khovd Oirats, Buryats, Dzungarian Oirats, Upper Mongols, Barga Mongols, most Inner Mongolian and some Tuvan leaders sent statements to support Bogd Khan's call of Mongolian reunification. In reality however, most of them were too prudent or irresolute to attempt joining the Bogd Khan regime. [43] Russia encouraged Mongolia to become an autonomous region of China in 1914. Mongolia lost Barga, Dzungaria, Tuva, Upper Mongolia and Inner Mongolia in the 1915 Treaty of Kyakhta.

In October 1919, the Republic of China occupied Mongolia after the suspicious deaths of Mongolian patriotic nobles. On 3 February 1921 the White Russian army—led by Baron Ungern and mainly consisting of Mongolian volunteer cavalries, and Buryat and Tatar cossacks—liberated the Mongolian capital. Baron Ungern's purpose was to find allies to defeat the Soviet Union. The Statement of Reunification of Mongolia was adopted by Mongolian revolutionist leaders in 1921. The Soviet, however, considered Mongolia to be Chinese territory in 1924 during secret meeting with the Republic of China. However, the Soviets officially recognized Mongolian independence in 1945 but carried out various policies (political, economic and cultural) against Mongolia until its fall in 1991 to prevent Pan-Mongolism and other irredentist movements.

On 10 April 1932 Mongolians revolted against the government's new policy and Soviets. The government and Soviet soldiers defeated the rebels in October.

The Buryats started to migrate to Mongolia in the 1900s due to Russian oppression. Joseph Stalin's regime stopped the migration in 1930 and started a campaign of ethnic cleansing against newcomers and Mongolians. During the Stalinist repressions in Mongolia almost all adult Buryat men and 22–33,000 Mongols (3–5% of the total population common citizens, monks, Pan-Mongolists, nationalists, patriots, hundreds military officers, nobles, intellectuals and elite people) were shot dead under Soviet orders. [44] [45] Some authors also offer much higher estimates, up to 100,000 victims. [45] Around the late 1930s the Mongolian People's Republic had an overall population of about 700,000 to 900,000 people. By 1939, Soviet said "We repressed too many people, the population of Mongolia is only hundred thousands". Proportion of victims in relation to the population of the country is much higher than the corresponding figures of the Great Purge in the Soviet Union.

The Manchukuo (1932–1945), puppet state of the Empire of Japan (1868–1947) invaded Barga and some part of Inner Mongolia with Japanese help. The Mongolian army advanced to the Great Wall of China during the Soviet–Japanese War of 1945 (Mongolian name: Liberation War of 1945). Japan forced Inner Mongolian and Barga people to fight against Mongolians but they surrendered to Mongolians and started to fight against their Japanese and Manchu allies. Marshal Khorloogiin Choibalsan called Inner Mongolians and Xinjiang Oirats to migrate to Mongolia during the war but the Soviet Army blocked Inner Mongolian migrants way. It was a part of Pan-Mongolian plan and few Oirats and Inner Mongols (Huuchids, Bargas, Tümeds, about 800 Uzemchins) arrived. Inner Mongolian leaders carried out active policy to merge Inner Mongolia with Mongolia since 1911. They founded the Inner Mongolian Army in 1929 but the Inner Mongolian Army disbanded after ending World War II. The Japanese Empire supported Pan-Mongolism since the 1910s but there have never been active relations between Mongolia and Imperial Japan due to Russian resistance. Inner Mongolian nominally independent Mengjiang state (1936–1945) was established with support of Japan in 1936 also some Buryat and Inner Mongol nobles founded Pan-Mongolist government with support of Japan in 1919.

The Inner Mongols established the short-lived Republic of Inner Mongolia in 1945.

Another part of Choibalsan's plan was to merge Inner Mongolia and Dzungaria with Mongolia. By 1945, Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong requested the Soviets to stop Pan-Mongolism because China lost its control over Inner Mongolia and without Inner Mongolian support the Communists were unable to defeat Japan and Kuomintang.

Mongolia and Soviet-supported Xinjiang Uyghurs and Kazakhs' separatist movement in the 1930–1940s. By 1945, Soviet refused to support them after its alliance with the Communist Party of China and Mongolia interrupted its relations with the separatists under pressure. Xinjiang Oirat's militant groups operated together the Turkic peoples but the Oirats did not have the leading role due to their small population. Basmachis or Turkic and Tajik militants fought to liberate Central Asia (Soviet Central Asia) until 1942.

On February 2, 1913 the Treaty of friendship and alliance between the Government of Mongolia and Tibet was signed. Mongolian agents and Bogd Khan disrupted Soviet secret operations in Tibet to change its regime in the 1920s.

On October 27, 1961, the United Nations recognized Mongolian independence and granted the nation full membership in the organization.

The Tsardom of Russia, Russian Empire, Soviet Union, capitalist and communist China performed many genocide actions against the Mongols (assimilate, reduce the population, extinguish the language, culture, tradition, history, religion and ethnic identity). Peter the Great said: "The headwaters of the Yenisei River must be Russian land". [46] Russian Empire sent the Kalmyks and Buryats to war to reduce the populations (World War I and other wars). Soviet scientists attempted to convince the Kalmyks and Buryats that they're not the Mongols during the 20th century (demongolization policy). 35,000 Buryats were killed during the rebellion of 1927 and around one-third of Buryat population in Russia died in the 1900s–1950s. [47] [48] 10,000 Buryats of the Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic were massacred by Stalin's order in the 1930s. [49] In 1919 the Buryats established a small theocratic Balagad state in Kizhinginsky District of Russia and the Buryat's state fell in 1926. In 1958, the name "Mongol" was removed from the name of the Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.

On 22 January 1922 Mongolia proposed to migrate the Kalmyks during the Kalmykian Famine but bolshevik Russia refused.71–72,000 (93,000? around half of the population) Kalmyks died during the Russian famine of 1921–22. [50] The Kalmyks revolted against Soviet Union in 1926, 1930 and 1942–1943 (see Kalmykian Cavalry Corps). In 1913, Nicholas II, tsar of Russia, said: "We need to prevent from Volga Tatars. But the Kalmyks are more dangerous than them because they are the Mongols so send them to war to reduce the population". [51] On 23 April 1923 Joseph Stalin, communist leader of Russia, said: "We are carrying out wrong policy on the Kalmyks who related to the Mongols.Our policy is too peaceful". [51] In March 1927, Soviet deported 20,000 Kalmyks to Siberia, tundra and Karelia.The Kalmyks founded sovereign Republic of Oirat-Kalmyk on 22 March 1930. [51] The Oirat's state had a small army and 200 Kalmyk soldiers defeated 1,700 Soviet soldiers in Durvud province of Kalmykia but the Oirat's state destroyed by the Soviet Army in 1930. Kalmykian nationalists and Pan-Mongolists attempted to migrate Kalmyks to Mongolia in the 1920s. Mongolia suggested to migrate the Soviet Union's Mongols to Mongolia in the 1920s but Russia refused the suggest.

Stalin deported all Kalmyks to Siberia in 1943 and around half of (97–98,000) Kalmyk people deported to Siberia died before being allowed to return home in 1957. [52] The government of the Soviet Union forbade teaching Kalmyk language during the deportation. The Kalmyks' main purpose was to migrate to Mongolia and many Kalmyks joined the German Army.Marshal Khorloogiin Choibalsan attempted to migrate the deportees to Mongolia and he met with them in Siberia during his visit to Russia. Under the Law of the Russian Federation of April 26, 1991 "On Rehabilitation of Exiled Peoples" repressions against Kalmyks and other peoples were qualified as an act of genocide.

After the end of World War II, the Chinese Civil War resumed between the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang), led by Chiang Kai-shek, and the Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong. In December 1949, Chiang evacuated his government to Taiwan. Hundred thousands Inner Mongols were massacred during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and China forbade Mongol traditions, celebrations and the teaching of Mongolic languages during the revolution. In Inner Mongolia, some 790,000 people were persecuted. Approximately 1,000,000 Inner Mongols were killed during the 20th century. [53] [ citation needed ] In 1960 Chinese newspaper wrote that "Han Chinese ethnic identity must be Chinese minorities ethnic identity". [ citation needed ] China-Mongolia relations were tense from the 1960s to the 1980s as a result of Sino-Soviet split, and there were several border conflicts during the period. [54] Cross-border movement of Mongols was therefore hindered.

On 3 October 2002 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Taiwan recognizes Mongolia as an independent country, [55] although no legislative actions were taken to address concerns over its constitutional claims to Mongolia. [56] Offices established to support Taipei's claims over Outer Mongolia, such as the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, [57] lie dormant.

Agin-Buryat Okrug and Ust-Orda Buryat Okrugs merged with Irkutsk Oblast and Chita Oblast in 2008 despite Buryats' resistance. Small scale protests occurred in Inner Mongolia in 2011. The Inner Mongolian People's Party is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization [58] and its leaders are attempting to establish sovereign state or merge Inner Mongolia with Mongolia.

Religion in the Mongol Empire

The Mongol Empire (1206-1368 CE) covered Asia from the Black Sea to the Korean peninsula and so naturally included all manner of religions within its borders, but the Mongols themselves had their own particular religious beliefs and rituals, even if there were no priesthoods, no sacred texts, and no public services, except funerals. Mongol religion included a strong element of shamanism mixed with ancestor worship and a belief in natural spirits such as might be found in the elements of fire, earth, and water. Following the conquest of China and conversion of Kublai Khan (r. 1260-1294 CE) many Mongols there adopted Tibetan Buddhism which became the official religion of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 CE).

Gods & Spirits

The Mongols believed in the spiritual powers of divine beings and sacred locations. Supreme amongst the gods, although they were likely not envisaged as having any human-like form, were the powers of Heaven and Earth. The Earth or Mother Earth goddess, known as Etugen (aka Itugen), represented fertility. The main cult, though, was to Tengri (aka Gok Monggke Tenggeri), the 'Blue Sky' or 'Eternal Heaven.' This protector god was thought to have given the Mongols their right to rule the entire world, and he was often referenced in the opening lines of Mongol edits and other official documents with the phrase Mongke Tenggiri-yin Kucun-dur or 'By the Power of Eternal Heaven.' Prayers were offered to these gods, but in a simple way, without the buildings and ceremonies seen in other religions. Although mountaintops, hill peaks, or simple stone cairns (ovoo) were regarded as an especially favourable spot, simply standing in the open air and removing one's hat and belt before prayer were sufficient acts to demonstrate one's submission to the all-powerful.


Directions, places, and natural features were held important by the Mongols because they were considered as contact points with spirits. For example, the doorway of a yurt tent was traditionally made to face the south. Natural phenomena, especially thunder and lightning which is particularly impressive on the wide plains of the Asian steppe, were held in awe as the work of the gods. Earth and waters spirits, in particular, acted as protectors for example, it was thought that moving water such as rivers were capable of blocking and even nullifying evil.

In order to ensure the gods and spirits had a favourable influence on human affairs, certain rituals and taboos were observed. Taboos, designed not to offend any spirits, included not shedding royal blood (considered along with a person's bones to contain the soul), not urinating or washing objects or one's person in rivers, not stepping on the threshold of a yurt tent, and not putting a knife anywhere near a fire. The conventions were taken seriously, and anyone caught breaking them risked severe punishments, even death in some cases. Offenders had to be purified, usually, by walking between two fires, a strategy also used with visiting ambassadors to the Mongol court to ensure that their intentions were honourable and they harboured no evil to the khan rulers.



Shamans were the nearest thing the Mongols had to a priesthood, and they could be both men (bo'e) or, more rarely, women (iduqan). It was quite common for shamans to pass on their position and skills to their children although one might also become a shaman following a near-death experience or by displaying a particular sensitivity to the spirit world. Essentially, they acted as a tribe's intermediary between this world and the spirit world. The white robes worn by shamans often carried symbols such as a drum and hobby horse, representing the guardian and protector spirit of the Mongol people. Riding a white horse, a shaman might carry an actual drum, wear a mirror around his or her neck or, when walking, use a staff, another symbol of their office.

Shamans went into trances while singing special songs, and it was in this state that they could contact the spirit world. Shamans were believed capable of reading signs such as the cracks which appeared in sheep's shoulder blades and other bones after they had been ritually burnt, allowing them to divine future events (tolgeci). Shamans sometimes called on certain animal spirits - particularly powerful animals like the bear and wolf - to help them as they spiritually travelled between the layers of the universe in order to find the location of lost or stolen property or even lost souls. Shamans were often called on to perform rites of exorcism, releasing a troubled or trapped soul into the next life. Mongol warfare was another area where shamans could help by identifying auspicious dates to begin campaigns, and they gave their views on which strategies of attack might bring the best results.

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An ability to alter the weather was another shaman skill, particularly as a bringer of rain to the often arid steppe. Shamans, it was believed, could help with medical problems by returning a troubled spirit back to its rightful body, and they blessed babies, herds, and hunting parties. Shamans were even consulted when electing a new Great Khan or 'universal ruler.' Those shamans who had success in their various predictions achieved a position of great prestige in the local community, sometimes rivalling the tribal chief, a position they sometimes held themselves. On the other hand, a powerful shaman might be seen as rather too influential for some rulers. This was the case with the troublesome shaman Kokchu whom Genghis Khan ordered executed, the method being to break his back and so avoid spilling his blood which might then seep into the ground and entrap his spirit where it would haunt this world and not the next.

The Afterlife

The Mongols concern to bury their dead with the deceased's weapons and personal possessions indicates some sort of belief in an afterlife. Further support for this belief is the fact that leaders were placed in grandiose tombs, usually of a secret location but somewhere near a sacred mountain like Burkan Kuldun in Mongolia, along with a quantity of riches and slaves. Genghis Khan was given just such a treatment and even had 40 of his concubines and 40 horses sacrificed to accompany him in his tomb. This would suggest that the Mongols considered the afterlife some sort of continuation of this one and so one's social status and even profession continued as before. In addition, physical requirements had to be met, at least for the initial journey there. Curiously, a Mongol tradition was to disembowel a horse and impale it above the gravesite, presumably this was to honour Tengri whose symbol was that animal.


At the same time as sending them on their way, Mongols believed that ancestors (ongghot) were not unreachable in a remote afterlife but were capable of overseeing the well-being of their descendants. In gratitude for protection, ancestors were regularly offered small food and drink offerings at mealtimes. In addition, the interior of yurts often displayed pictures or finely dressed effigies representing the family's ancestors. When moving camp, all the group's effigies were placed in the same wagon and then supervised by a shaman.

Mongol rulers had the added bonus that they were considered to have passed on to some sort of divine status, which meant that the laws they had passed and the policies they had pursued had to be respected by their successors. Another peculiarity was the taboo of not using a deceased person's name lest one disturb their spirit. Again, this was particularly so for powerful rulers who were, after their deaths, most often referred to with such simple names as 'The Good', 'Late Khan' or 'Great Lord.'


Buddhism & Other Religions

As the Mongols expanded their impressive empire so more peoples and more religions came under their control. Missionaries, too, came from China, Tibet, Persia, and Europe to peddle their faiths in the world's largest empire. Nestorian Christianity, Western Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism), Taoism, and Confucianism were all practised in Mongol-controlled territories. These religions and their converts were largely left to pursue their path of faith (with the exception of the Muslim-dominated Ilkhanate in the western part of the empire) provided that the state was never threatened by them. Even Karakorum, the Mongol capital during the 13th century CE, for example, had dedicated places of worship for all the major religions then practised in Asia.

In addition to observing their own faith, all subjects within the empire were expected to pray to whichever god they believed in for the well-being of the khan. In return, most priests and religious institutions were made exempt from taxation, either in kind or in the form of labour, and when the Mongols laid siege to cities, often clerics were permitted to leave before the onslaught began.

Some missionaries even made converts among the Mongols themselves and sometimes rulers and their consorts, too. Kublai Khan converted to Tibetan Buddhism, probably thanks to the Tibetan monk Phags-pa Lama (1235-1280 CE). This form of Buddhism no doubt appealed because of its shamanistic-like elements such as tantric chanting and its mystical references. Tibetan Buddhism was made the official religion of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China. The adoption of Lamaism in China led, for a brief period, to the persecution of Taoists and the destruction of their sacred texts from the 1250s CE. However, recognising the long history and widespread popularity of Taoism and Confucianism amongst the Chinese, Yuan emperors abandoned such attacks as detrimental to the economic and political stability of the country. In contrast, Khans, emperors, and imperial women could be generous patrons of certain religions they personally favoured and their institutions, especially Buddhist temples.


The general tolerance for other religions and the Mongol's adoption of some of them and adaptation of others while still keeping some of their nomadic and shamanistic roots is a particular feature of religion within their empire as it evolved. As the historian, D. Morgan notes, "The Mongols believed in taking as much celestial insurance as possible" (40).

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