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The Social And Economic Characteristics Of The Mongol Empires And The Islamic Caliphates

1152 words - 5 pages


Both the Mongols and the Muslim Caliphates had similar beginnings. Each of these cultures rose from unexpected origins. The Muslim Caliphates and the Mongols share certain characteristics unexpected of such different cultures. The Caliphates relied on the Persians to govern their territories while Genghis Khan demanded complete and undisputed loyalty to himself from his followers. Yet, under both of these cultures trade flourished and people were organized into very specific groups with certain rights.
The unexpected origins of these two civilizations are like two branches of the same tree. Mohammed united some Arabic clans under Islam and fought to unite the rest under Islam. After the death of Mohammed, there were caliphs chosen to rule over the empire. At first, it was only certain people but, eventually, it became ruled by dynasties. These dynasties went on to rule much of the Middle East. A very similar thing happened under Genghis Khan and the Mongols. Genghis Khan united the tribes of Mongolia and began military invasions all around Mongolia. Another similarity of these empires was the divisions in them. The Caliphates had the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, and the Fatimid Caliphates. The Mongols had the Yuan Empire in China, the Jagadai in Central Asia, the Golden Horde in Russia, and the Il-khan Empire in Iran. Without definite successors, these empires were divided among the many heirs.
A stark difference between these two political entities is how these governments fell. The Mongol Empires split as the heirs of Genghis Khan fought over whom should rule and ultimately fell after years of ruling many peoples and being at the maximum size it could rule. The Yuan Empire in China fell when rebellions began and Zhu Yuanzhang, a Chinese leader, overthrew them and Mongol rule everywhere else began to dissipate. The Black Death devastated the Mongol Khanates and gave local peoples the chance they needed to reclaim their territories and they did. The Muslim Caliphates was not as a clear and defined fall like the Mongols, the Caliphates fell for numerous reasons. One reason for the decline of Caliphate was that there was not the binding fear that they might be overthrown when Muslims were the minority. This absence of fear coupled with the problems that arose with ruling such a vast empire, the Caliphate did not have as much power as it had before. This led to the use of Turkic slaves as a standing army. They were expensive and gained power over the caliphs and the Abbasid Caliphate slipped away under rule from the Buyid princes then the Seljuk Turks.
The Caliphates never gained that sort of power again and mingled in with the ruling countries. The Mongols faced a very similar demise to the Muslim Caliphates. Yet, the routes each of these empires took while in power were very different. The Mongols were much more militarized and independent than the Caliphates. The Caliphates relied heavily on Persian bureaucrats as shown by the proximity of...

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