Mongol invasions and conquests

Mongol Conquests
Animated map showing growth of the Mongol Empire
Expansion of the Mongol Empire 1206–94
Date1206–1405
Location
Result

The Mongol invasions and conquests took place during the 13th century, creating the vast Mongol Empire which by 1300 covered large parts of Eurasia. Historians regard the Mongol devastation as one of the deadliest episodes in history.[1][2] In addition, Mongol expeditions may have spread the bubonic plague across much of Asia and Europe, helping to spark the Black Death of the 14th century.[3][4][5][6]

The Mongol Empire developed in the course of the 13th century through a series of victorious campaigns throughout Asia, reaching Eastern Europe by the 1240s. In contrast with later "empires of the sea" such as the British, the Mongol Empire was a land power,[7]fueled by the grass-foraging Mongol cavalry and cattle.[8]Thus most Mongol conquest and plundering took place during the warmer seasons, when there was sufficient grazing for the herds.[8]

Though the Mongol Empire began to fragment from 1260, Tartar and Mongol threats to the Russian states continued for centuries. Mongols continued to rule China into the 14th century under the Yuan dynasty, while Mongol rule in Persia persisted into the 15th century under the Timurid Empire. In India, the later Mughal Empire survived into the 19th century.

Central Asia

Battle of Vâliyân against the Khwarazmian dynasty.

Genghis Khan forged the initial Mongol Empire in Central Asia, starting with the unification of the Mongol and Turkic confederations such as Merkits, Tartars, and Mongols. The Uighur Buddhist Qocho Kingdom surrendered and joined the empire. He then continued expansion via conquest of the Qara Khitai[9] and the Khwarazmian dynasty.

Large areas of Islamic Central Asia and northeastern Iran were seriously depopulated,[10] as every city or town that resisted the Mongols was destroyed. Each soldier was given a quota of enemies to execute according to circumstances. For example, after the conquest of Urgench, each Mongol warrior – in an army of perhaps two tumens (20,000 troops) – was required to execute 24 people.[11][better source needed]

Against the Alans and the Cumans (Kipchaks), the Mongols used divide-and-conquer tactics by first warning the Cumans to end their support of the Alans, whom they then defeated.[12] before rounding on the Cumans.[13] Alans were recruited into the Mongol forces with one unit called "Right Alan Guard" which was combined with "recently surrendered" soldiers. Mongols and Chinese soldiers stationed in the area of the former Kingdom of Qocho and in Besh Balikh established a Chinese military colony led by Chinese general Qi Kongzhi (Ch'i Kung-chih).[14]

During the Mongol attack on the Mamluks in the Middle East, most of the Mamluk military was composed of Kipchaks, and the Golden Horde's supply of Kipchak fighters replenished the Mamluk armies and helped them fight off the Mongols.[15]

Hungary became a refuge for fleeing Cumans.[16]

The decentralized, stateless Kipchaks only converted to Islam after the Mongol conquest, unlike the centralized Karakhanid entity comprising the Yaghma, Qarluqs, and Oghuz who converted earlier to world religions.[17]

The Mongol conquest of the Kipchaks led to a merged society with a Mongol ruling class over a Kipchak-speaking populace which came to be known as Tatar, and which eventually absorbed Armenians, Italians, Greeks, and Goths on the Crimean peninsula to form the modern day Crimean Tatar people.[18]