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Genghis Khan And The Mongol Invasions

4108 words - 17 pages

“They came, they sapped, they burnt, they slew, they plundered and they departed.” This was an eyewitness account concerning the Mongolian conquests between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya Rivers quoted by the eleventh century Persian historian Ata-Malik Juvaini. It has often been a common misconception that the Mongols were all consumed by savagery and that they followed no morals or ethics. Although the Mongol Conquests brought much devastation, the great economic and social impacts that occurred after should not be disregarded. The Mongol Empire was the largest continuous land empire of all time. At the Empire’s height of power it encompassed an area five times the size of Alexander the Greats Greek Empire, extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Danube River. Astonishingly, most of the empire's accomplishments can be attributed to one man, born as Temujin but later became Chinggis or Genghis Khan. Under his leadership and military innovations, the Mongol Army was nearly unstoppable. In a short period of time, he managed to conquer northern China and then Persia, which created an Empire from the Yellow Sea to the Caspian Sea. Genghis Khan unfortunately died in 1227; however, the Mongol expansion did not end. Under Genghis Khan’s successors, the Mongol hordes rode into Eastern Europe, including areas in and around Russia, Hungary, and Poland. While the Mongolians brutality in their military campaigns was evident, the new information brought over by the Mongols had a far more profound effect on the countries of Eastern Europe. One of the Mongols first conquests in Eastern Europe were the Russian territories, and during their occupations the Mongols managed to connect Russia to its vast trade network and create positive ties with the Russian Orthodox Church. Another Eastern European country the Mongols conquered and occupied was Poland, and while the Mongols were there they created an effective alliance with Casimir III, which saved Poland from annihilation by the surrounding kingdoms. Lastly, the Mongols also had campaigns in Hungary and throughout these conquests the Mongols helped rebuild and fortify major cities and introduced a new culture of religious tolerance. All in all, the Mongolian conquests in Eastern Europe were similar to the British conquests in America because while both used bloody actions to gain control, both also had positive effects as well.
In 1225, William of Rubruck had returned from his travels to Mongolia and wrote a report to the French King Louis IX detailing his attempted conversion of the Mongol peoples to Christianity. William’s travels had only been permitted because of the connections the Mongols created between their empire and the lands of Eastern Europe. William’s reports have given the most detailed and accurate descriptions of the Mongol Empire and they are used in the following. Temujin began his career with only his mother, his brothers, and a servant, barely getting by in the most desolate areas in...

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