Daniel Halliday
Feb 11 · Last update 2 mo. ago.
How did the Mongol Empire become one of the most successful empires in history?
The Mongol Empire became one of the largest empires of history in the 13th century stretching from Far-Eastern Asia to Eastern Europe. The empire fractured following the death of legendary leader Genghis Khan, with the direct 'khanate' descendants of the empire continuing rule over various parts of this expansive empire until the 17th century. How was the empire of the Khans able to grow so massively during the 13th century?
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Adoption of Uyghur script
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A tough nomadic life made formidable leaders
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Encourage religious tolerance and meritocracy
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An authoritarian genocidal ruler
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The Silk Road
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Adoption of Uyghur script

Genghis Khan, being a skilled statesman, addressed the issue to governing such a large collection of disparate people groups, stretched over the largest continuous empire in history, by adopting a writing system to establish legal and administrative norms in the Mongol empire. The organisation of the early Mongol Empire was appointed to Ghengis Khan’s adopted brother Shikhikhutag, who was named grand judge and set with keeping records of the empire. Khan also adopted and adapted the foreign Uyghur writing system and encouraged literacy in his empire, which helped to establish law and a legal system, helping also to facilitate trade in the vast expanse of the Silk Road route, even establishing an early passport system.

mongoliantype.com/tag/uyghur jstor.org/stable/10.13173/centasiaj.56.2013.0087?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

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A tough nomadic life made formidable leaders

Mongolia is one of the harshest climates that people have thrived in, people have adapted to survive the harshest winters over thousands of years, the natural landscape of the steppe giving way to harsh winds and minimal natural shelter. It was the Mongolian pastoral nomadic lifestyle then, and especially Mongolian people’s close relationship with the horse, that made them so tough, quick and successful in acquiring and conquering new territories. This new level of mobility and manoeuvrability gave the Mongol empire a clear advantage, coupled with their resilience and physical and mental toughness were what made them the largest unified land empires of history.

e-mongol.com/mongolia_nomadiclife.htm

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Encourage religious tolerance and meritocracy

From the time of Genghis Khan religious tolerance became the norm in the Mongol Empire, through Genghis Khan’s personal interest in other religions, and through his men intermarrying with women of other religions a state of religious tolerance was created throughout newly conquered Mongol lands. Rather than politically or violently suppressing religious expression the Mongols instead gave religious leader tax exempt status, allowed religious freedom, and set up vassal states allowing local states a large amount of control for ease of governance. This tolerance surprisingly didn’t stop there, for such a violent regime the Mongols were surprisingly forward thinking, employing a meritocratic form of governance where positions of power were allocated based on skill rather than ancestry. Both these seemingly modern ideals helped the Mongol empire in its growth and control of such a large quantity of the globe.

historyonthenet.com/mongol-empire-and-religious-freedom

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An authoritarian genocidal ruler

The growth of the Mongol Empire occurred under one of the worse campaigns of genocide in history, where Genghis Khan and his armies would carry out the large scale slaughter of local populations in order to conquer new regions. This ruthless operation is thought to have caused the deaths of 11% of the global population, a massive 40 million people, far greater than any genocide of the 20th century. A particularly cruel individual, Khan killed his brother as a child, enjoyed watching captives being tortured and carried out what is probably the largest systematic rape campaign of history, with around 8% of modern global population being genetic relatives of his. This brutal ruler used his cruel nature to carry out one of the most fearsome and effective imperial expansions of history. ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/genghis-khan-biography-0010873

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The Silk Road

During the rule of Genghis Khan a large amount of the trade route between Asia, the Middle East and Europe known as the Silk Road came under Mongol control, and it was Khan’s desire to fund military expansion that lead to a continued consolidation of control over the this trade route. What followed was the first and last time a single empire was in charge of this vast area, and this subsequently led to an era of relative peace and stability known to historians as Pax Mongolica. It was the Mongolian’s hospitality and encouragement of foreign travellers that boosted trade enough to fund Mongolian rule and allowed the grandsons of Khan to form four huge stable empires.

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