How was the Mongol Empire divided

Mongol Empire - Mongol Empire

Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries originating in Mongolia

The Mongolian Empire The 13th and 14th centuries was the largest contiguous land empire in history and the second largest land empire after the British Empire. Originating from Mongolia in East Asia, the Mongol Empire eventually stretched from Eastern Europe and parts of Central Europe to the Sea of ​​Japan and extended north into parts of the Arctic. east and south to the Indian subcontinent, the Southeast Asian mainland and the Iranian plateau; and west to the Levant, the Carpathian Mountains and the borders of Northern Europe.

The Mongol empire emerged from the union of several nomadic tribes in the Mongolian homeland under the leadership of Genghis Khan (c. 1162-1227), which a council proclaimed as ruler of all Mongols in 1206. The empire grew rapidly under his rule and that of his descendants, the invading armies sent out in all directions. The vast transcontinental empire linked the east with the west, the Pacific with the Mediterranean in a coercive way Pax Mongolica and enabled the diffusion and exchange of trade, technology, goods and ideologies across Eurasia.

The empire began to split due to wars of succession when Genghis Khan's grandsons argued over whether the royal line should follow from his son and original heir Ögedei or from one of his other sons such as Tolui, Chagatai or Jochi. The Toluids prevailed after a bloody purge of the Ögedeid and Chagatayid factions, but the disputes among Tolui's descendants continued. A major reason for the split was the dispute over whether the Mongolian Empire would become a sedentary, cosmopolitan empire or remain true to the Mongolian nomadic and steppe-based lifestyle. After the death of Möngke Khan (1259) rival Kurultai councilors simultaneously elected various successors, the brothers Ariq Böke and Kublai Khan, who fought against each other in the Toluid civil war (1260-1264) and also dealt with the challenges of the descendants of other sons of Genghis . Kublai successfully took power, but civil war erupted when he tried unsuccessfully to regain control of the Chagatayid and Ögedeid families.

During the reigns of Genghis and Ogedei, the Mongols occasionally suffered defeat when a less experienced general was given command. The Siberian Tumeds defeated the Mongol forces under Borokhula between 1215 and 1217; Jalal al-Din defeated Shigi-Qutugu in the Battle of Parwan in 1221. and the Jin generals Heda and Pu'a defeated Dolqolqu in 1230. In any event, the Mongols soon returned with a much larger army, led by one of their best generals, and invariably victorious. The Battle of Ain Jalut in Galilee in 1260 marked the first time the Mongols returned not immediately to avenge a defeat due to a combination of the death of Möngke Khan in 1259, the Toluid civil war between Ariq Böke and Kublai Khan Berke Khan of the Golden Horde attacks Hulagu Khan in Persia. Although the Mongols launched many more invasions into the Levant after a decisive victory in the Battle of Wadi al-Khaznadar in 1299, briefly occupying it and raiding as far as Gaza, they withdrew due to various geopolitical factors.

At the time of Kublai's death in 1294, the Mongol Empire was divided into four separate khanates or empires, each with its own interests and goals: the Golden Horde in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, the Ilkhanate in the southwest, and the Yuan dynasty in the east based in what is now Beijing.

In 1304 the three western khanates briefly accepted nominal sovereignty of the Yuan dynasty, but in 1368 the Han Chinese Ming dynasty took over the Mongolian capital. The Genghisid rulers of the Yuan withdrew to their Mongolian homeland and continued to rule there as the northern Yuan dynasty. The Ilkhanate disintegrated between 1335 and 1353. The Golden Horde had broken into competing khanates at the end of the 15th century and was defeated by the Grand Duchy of Moscow and expelled from Russia in 1480, while the Chagatai Khanate existed in one form or another until 1687.


The Mongol Empire referred to itself as ᠶᠡᠬᠡ
ᠤᠯᠤᠰ yeke Mongγol ulus (literally "Nation of the Great Mongols" or "Great Mongolian Nation") in Mongolian or kür uluγ ulus (literally "the whole great nation") in Turkish.

After the War of Succession between Kublai Khan and his brother Ariq Böke from 1260 to 1264, Kublai's power was limited to the eastern part of the empire, which was concentrated in China. Kublai officially issued an imperial edict on December 18, 1271 to protect his kingdom, the Great Yuan ( Dai Yuan or Dai Ön Ulus ) and found the Yuan Dynasty. Some sources give the full Mongolian name Dai Ön Yehe Monggul Ulus an .


Context before the empire

The Old World on the Eve of the Mongol Invasions, c. 1200

The area around Mongolia, Manchuria and parts of northern China had been controlled by the Liao dynasty since the 10th century. In 1125, the Jin Dynasty founded by the Jurchens overthrew the Liao Dynasty and tried to gain control of the former Liao area in Mongolia. In the 1130s, the rulers of the Jin Dynasty, known as the Golden Kings, successfully opposed the Mongolian Khamag Confederation, which was ruled at the time by Khabul Khan, the great-grandfather of Genghis Khan.

The Mongolian plateau was mainly formed by five powerful tribal associations ( Khanlig ) occupied: Keraiten, Khamag Mongol, Naiman, Mergid and Tatar. Following a policy of division and rule, the Jin emperors encouraged disputes between the tribes, especially between the Tatars and the Mongols, in order to divert the nomadic tribes from their own battles and thus keep them away from the Jin. Khabul's successor was Ambaghai Khan, who was betrayed by the Tatars, turned over to the Jurchen and executed. The Mongols retaliated by raiding the border, leading to a failed Jurchen counterattack in 1143.

In 1147 the Jin changed their policy somewhat, signed a peace treaty with the Mongols, and withdrew from a number of forts. The Mongols then resumed attacks on the Tatars to avenge the death of their late Khan, which opened a long period of active hostilities. The Jinan and Tatar armies defeated the Mongols in 1161.

During the rise of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, the normally cold, parched steppes of Central Asia had the mildest, wettest conditions in more than a millennium. It is believed that this led to a rapid increase in the number of war horses and other livestock, which greatly increased the Mongols' military strength.

Rise of Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan, known as Temüjin in his childhood, was the son of a Mongol chief. As a young man, he rose very quickly by working with Toghrul Khan from the Kerait. The most powerful Mongolian leader at the time was kurtait; he received the Chinese title "Wang", which means king. Temujin went to war against Kurtait (now Wang Khan). After Temujin defeated Wang Khan, he gave himself the name Genghis Khan. Then he expanded his Mongolian state among himself and his relatives. The term Mongol was used to refer to all Mongolian-speaking tribes under the control of Genghis Khan. His most powerful allies were his father's friend, the Khereid chief Toghrul, and Temujin's childhood and a (i.e. blood brother) Jamukha from the Jadran clan. With their help Temujin defeated the Merkit tribe, saved his wife Börte and then defeated the Naimans and Tatars.

Temujin forbade looting his enemies without permission, and he had a policy of sharing loot with his warriors and their families rather than giving everything to the aristocrats. This policy brought him into conflict with his uncles, who were also legitimate heirs to the throne; They did not see Temujin as a leader, but as an outrageous usurper. This discontent spread to his generals and other collaborators, and some Mongols who had previously been allies broke their loyalty. A war broke out and Temujin and the forces still loyal to him prevailed, defeating the remaining rival tribes between 1203 and 1205 and bringing them under his control. In 1206 Temujin was made khagan (emperor) of the Kurultai (general assembly / council) Yekhe Mongol Ulus (Great Mongolian State) crowned. There he took the title of Genghis Khan (universal leader) instead of one of the old tribal titles such as Gur Khan or Tayang Khan and thus marked the beginning of the Mongol Empire.

Early organization

Genghis Khan introduced many innovative ways of organizing his army: for example, the division into decimal subsections of Arbans (10 soldiers), Zuuns (100), Mingghans (1000) and Tumens (10,000). The kheshig, the imperial guard, was formed and divided into day (khorchin torghuds) and night (khevtuul) guards. Genghis rewarded those who remained loyal to him and placed them in high positions as heads of army units and households, although many of them came from very low-ranking clans.

Compared to the units he gave to his loyal companions, the units assigned to his own family members were relatively few. He proclaimed a new code of laws for the empire, Ikh Zasag or Yassa; he later expanded it to cover much of the nomads' everyday and political affairs. He banned the sale of women, theft, fighting among the Mongols and the hunting of animals during the breeding season.

He appointed his adoptive brother Shigi-Khuthugh as Chief Justice (Jarughachi) and ordered him to keep records of the empire. In addition to the laws relating to family, food and the army, Genghis also decreed freedom of religion and supported national and international trade. He exempted the poor and the clergy from taxation. He also promoted literacy by adopting the Uyghur script, which was to form the Uyghur-Mongolian script of the empire, and ordered the Uyghur Tatatunga, who had previously served the Khan of Naimans, to instruct his sons.

Push to Central Asia

Mongol Empire around 1207

Genghis quickly came into conflict with the Jin Dynasty of the Jurchens and the western Xia of the Tanguts in northern China. He also had to deal with two other powers, Tibet and Qara Khitai. Then he moved west and gained claims to parts of Russia, Ukraine and entire countries in Central Asia such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other countries.

Before his death, Genghis Khan divided his empire among his sons and his immediate family and made the Mongol Empire the common property of the entire imperial family, which together with the Mongol aristocracy formed the ruling class.

Religious politics

Before the three Western khanates adopted Islam, Genghis Khan and some of his Yuan successors restricted religious practices that they considered alien. Muslims, including Hui and Jews, were collectively called Huihui referred to . Muslims were banned from Halal or Zabiha slaughter while Jews were similarly forbidden from kashrut or Shehita Butcher . Genghis Khan called the conquered subjects "our slaves" and demanded that they refuse to eat or drink and imposed restrictions on slaughter. Muslims had to secretly slaughter sheep.

Of all foreign peoples, only the Hui-hui say, "We do not eat Mongolian food." [Cinggis Qa'an replied:] "With the help of Heaven we have calmed you; you are our slave. But you do not eat our food or drink. How can that be right?" Then he let her eat. "If you slaughter sheep, you will be found guilty of a crime." He issued a corresponding ordinance ... [1279/1280 under Qubilai] all Muslims say: "If someone else slaughters [the animal], we do not eat". Because the poor people are upset about it from now on, Musuluman [Muslim] Huihui and Zhuhu [Jew] Huihui, whoever kills [the animal], will eat [it] and must stop slaughtering sheep and the rite of circumcision break up.

Genghis Khan induced the Chinese Taoist master Qiu Chuji to visit him in Afghanistan and, despite his own shamanistic beliefs, gave his subjects the right to religious freedom.

Death of Genghis Khan and expansion under Ögedei (1227–1241)

Genghis Khan died on August 18, 1227 when the Mongol Empire ruled from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea, an empire twice the size of the Roman Empire or the Muslim Caliphate at its height. Genghis named his third son, the charismatic Ögedei, as his heir. According to Mongolian tradition, Genghis Khan was buried in a secret place. The reign was originally held by Ögedei's younger brother Tolui until Ögedei's formal election at Kurultai in 1229.

For his first actions, Ögedei sent troops to subdue the Bashkirs, Bulgarians and other nations in the steppes controlled by Kipchak. In the east, Ögedei's armies restored Mongolian authority in Manchuria and crushed the eastern Xia regime and the Water Tatars. In 1230 the great Khan personally led his army in the campaign against the Jin dynasty in China. Ögedeis General Subutai captured the capital of Emperor Wanyan Shouxu during the siege of Kaifeng in 1232. The Jin Dynasty collapsed in 1234 when the Mongols captured Caizhou, the city Wanyan Shouxu fled to. In 1234 three armies, commanded by Ögedei's sons Kochu and Koten and Tangut general Chagan, invaded southern China. With the help of the Song Dynasty, the Mongols ended the Jin in 1234.

Many Han Chinese and Khitan have defected to the Mongols to fight the Jin. Two Han Chinese leaders, Shi Tianze, Liu Heima (劉 黑馬, Liu Ni) and the Khitan Xiao Zhala, attacked and commanded the three Tumens in the Mongolian army. Liu Heima and Shi Tianze served Ogödei Khan. Liu Heima and Shi Tianxiang led armies against West Xia for the Mongols. There were four Han tumens and three Khitan tumens, each tumen consisting of 10,000 soldiers. The Yuan Dynasty created a Han army of Jin defectors and another ex-Song force called the Newly Submitted Army.

In the general west Ögedei Chormaqan destroyed Jalal ad-Din, the last Shah of the Khwarizmian Empire. The small kingdoms in southern Persia voluntarily accepted Mongol supremacy. In East Asia there were a number of Mongol campaigns after Goryeo Korea, but Ögedei's attempt to annex the Korean peninsula was unsuccessful. Gojong, the king of Goryeo, surrendered, but later revolted and massacred Mongolians Darughachis (Overseer); He then moved his imperial court from Gaeseong to Ganghwa Island.

Invasions of Kievan Rus and Central China

Meanwhile, Mongolian armies conquered Siyang-Yang, the Yangtze and Sichuan in an offensive action against the Song Dynasty, but did not secure control of the conquered areas. The Song generals were able to recapture Siyang-yang from the Mongols in 1239. After the sudden death of Ögedei's son Kochu on Chinese territory, the Mongols withdrew from southern China, although Kochu's brother Prince Koten invaded Tibet immediately after their retreat.

Batu Khan, another grandson of Genghis Khan, overran the territories of the Bulgarians, Alans, Kypchaks, Bashkirs, Mordwins, Chuvashes and other nations of the southern Russian steppe. In 1237 the Mongols invaded Ryazan, the first Kievan Rus principality to attack. After a three-day siege with fierce fighting, the Mongols captured the city and massacred its residents. They then destroyed the army of the Grand Duchy of Vladimir in the Battle of the Sit River.

In 1238 the Mongols conquered the Alania capital Maghas. By 1240 all Kievan Rus except for a few northern cities had fallen victim to the Asian invaders. Mongolian forces under Khormaqan in Persia, who combined his invasion of Transcaucasia with the invasion of Batu and Subutai, forced the Georgian and Armenian nobles to surrender as well.

Giovanni de Plano Carpini, the Pope's envoy to the Mongolian Great Khan, traveled through Kiev in February 1246 and wrote:

They attacked Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, where they wreaked havoc, destroyed cities and fortresses, and slaughtered men. and they besieged Kiev, the capital of Ukraine; After they had besieged the city for a long time, they took it and killed the inhabitants. As we traveled through this country, we came across countless skulls and bones of the dead lying on the ground. Kiev had been a very large and densely populated city, but now it has been reduced to almost nothing, as there are barely two hundred houses there at the moment and the people are kept in utter slavery.

Despite the military successes, the dispute continued within the Mongol ranks. Batu's relations with Güyük, Ögedei's eldest son, and Buri, Chagatai Khan's beloved grandson, remained strained and deteriorated during Batu's victory banquet in southern Kievan Rus. Even so, Güyük and Buri could not do anything to harm Batu's position while his uncle Ögedei was still alive. Ögedei continued his offensives on the Indian subcontinent, temporarily investing Uchch, Lahore and Multan from the Delhi Sultanate and stationing a Mongol overseer in Kashmir, although the invasions in India eventually failed and were forced to withdraw. In Northeast Asia, Ögedei agreed to end the conflict with Goryeo by making it a client state, and sent Mongolian princesses to marry Goryeo princes. He then reinforced his kheshig with the Koreans through both diplomacy and military force.

Press to Central Europe

The advance into Europe continued with Mongol invasions in Poland and Hungary. When the western flank of the Mongols sacked Polish cities, a European alliance between Poland, Moravia and the Christian military orders of hospitalists, German knights and Templars gathered to stop the Mongol advance in Legnica, if only briefly. The Hungarian army, its Croatian allies and the Knights Templar were defeated on April 11, 1241 by the Mongols on the banks of the Sajo. Before Batu's armed forces could move on to Vienna and northern Albania, news of Ögedei's death in December 1241 was stopped for the purpose of the invasion. As was customary in Mongolian military tradition, all princes of the Genghis line had to attend the Kurultai in order to choose a successor. Batu and his West Mongolian army withdrew from Central Europe the next year. Today researchers doubt that Ögedei's death was the sole reason the Mongols withdrew. Batu did not return to Mongolia, so a new Khan was not elected until 1246. Climate and environmental factors, as well as Europe's strong fortifications and castles, played an important role in the Mongols' decision to withdraw.

Power struggles according to Ögedei (1241–1251)

After the death of the Great Khan Ögedei in 1241 and before the next Kurultai, Ögedei's widow Töregene took over the empire. She persecuted her husband's Khitan and Muslim officials and gave high positions to her own allies. She built palaces, cathedrals and social structures on an imperial scale and supported religion and education. She was able to win most of the Mongolian aristocrats for Ögedei's son Güyük. But Batu, the ruler of the Golden Horde, refused to come to the Kurultai, claiming that he was sick and that the Mongolian climate was too harsh for him. The resulting stalemate lasted more than four years and further destabilized the unity of the empire.

When Genghis Khan's youngest brother Temugt threatened to ascend the throne, Güyük came to Karakoram to secure his position. Batu finally agreed to send his brothers and generals to the Kurultai, called up by Töregene in 1246. Güyük was sick and alcoholic at the time, but his campaigns in Manchuria and Europe gave him the kind of stature necessary to be a great Khan. He was duly elected at a ceremony attended by Mongolians and foreign dignitaries from home and abroad - leaders of vassals, representatives from Rome, and other organizations who came to the Kurultai to show their respect and conduct diplomacy.

Güyük took steps to reduce corruption and announced that he would continue the policies of his father Ögedei, not Töregene's. He punished Töregenes followers with the exception of Governor Arghun the Elder. He also replaced the young Qara Hülëgü, the Khan of the Chagatai Khanate, with his favorite cousin Yesü Möngke to exercise his newly transferred powers. He restored his father's officials to their previous positions and was surrounded by Uighur, Naiman and Central Asian officials who preferred Han Chinese commanders who had helped his father conquer northern China. He continued his military operations in Korea, advanced to Song China in the south and Iraq in the west, and ordered a nationwide census. Güyük also divided the Sultanate of Rum between Izz-ad-Din Kaykawus and Rukn ad-Din Kilij Arslan, although Kaykawus did not agree to this decision.

Not all parts of the empire respected Güyük's choice. The Hashshashins, former Mongol allies whose grand master Hasan Jalalud-Din had offered his submission to Genghis Khan in 1221, angered Güyük by refusing to submit. Instead, he murdered the Mongolian generals in Persia. Güyük appointed the father of his best friend Eljigidei as commander in chief of the troops in Persia and gave them the task of both dismantling the strongholds of the Nizari Ismailis and conquering the Abbasids in the center of the Islamic world, Iran and Iraq.

Death of Güyük (1248)

In 1248 Güyük raised more troops and suddenly marched west from the Mongolian capital Karakorum. The reason was unclear. Some sources wrote that he was trying to recover from his personal property, Emyl; others suggested that he had joined Eljigidei in order to carry out a full conquest of the Middle East or possibly carry out a surprise attack on his rival cousin Batu Khan in Russia.

Sorghaghtani Beki, the widow of Genghis' son Tolui, was suspicious of Güyük's motives and secretly warned her nephew Batu of Güyük's actions. Batu had traveled east himself at the time, possibly to pay homage, or perhaps with other plans. Before the armed forces of Batu and Güyük met, Güyük, sick and exhausted from traveling, died en route in Qum-Senggir (Hong-siang-yi-eulh) in Xinjiang, possibly a victim of poison.

Güyük's widow, Oghul Qaimish, stepped forward to take control of the empire, but lacked the skills of her mother-in-law Töregene, and her young sons Khoja and Naku and other princes challenged her authority. To decide on a new great Khan, Batu called a Kurultai on his own territory in 1250. As it was far from the Mongolian heartland, members of the Ögedeid and Chagataid families refused to attend. The Kurultai offered Batu the throne, but refused, claiming he was not interested in the position. Instead, Batu nominated Möngke, a grandson of Genghis from the line of his son Tolui. Möngke led a Mongol army in Russia, the North Caucasus and Hungary. The Pro-Tolui faction supported Batu's election, and Möngke was elected. Although the Kurultai were limited in attendance and on the spot, it was of questionable validity.

Batu, under the protection of his brothers Berke and Tukhtemur and his son Sartaq, sent Möngke to assemble a more formal Kurultai in Kodoe Aral in the heartland. The followers of Möngke repeatedly invited Oghul Qaimish and the other great princes of Ögedeid and Chagataid to participate in the Kurultai, but refused each time. The princes of Ögedeid and Chagataid refused to accept a descendant of Genghis 'son Tolui as leader, demanding that only descendants of Genghis' son Ögedei could be a great khan.

Rule of Möngke Khan (1251–1259)

The Mongol Empire during the reign of Möngke Khan

When Möngke's mother Sorghaghtani and her cousin Berke organized a second Kurultai on July 1, 1251, the assembled crowd proclaimed Möngke the great Khan of the Mongol Empire. This marked a significant change in the governance of the empire as power was passed from the descendants of Genghis 'son Ogedei to the descendants of Genghis' son Tolui. The decision was recognized by some of the Ögedeid and Chagataid princes, such as Möngke's cousin Kadan and the deposed Khan Qara Hülëgü, but one of the other legitimate heirs, Ögedei's grandson Shiremun, tried to overthrow Möngke.

Shiremun advanced on his own with a plan for an armed attack on the emperor's nomad palace, but Möngke was informed of the plan by his falconer. Möngke ordered an investigation into the conspiracy, which led to a number of major lawsuits across the empire. Many members of the Mongolian elite were found guilty and killed, with estimates between 77 and 300, although princes of the Genghis royal line were often exiled and not executed.

Möngke confiscated the estates of the Ögedeid and Chagatai families and shared the western part of the empire with his ally Batu Khan. After the bloody purge, Möngke ordered a general amnesty for prisoners and prisoners, but after that the power of the throne of the great Khan remained firmly with the descendants of Tolui.

Administrative reforms

Möngke was a serious man who followed the laws of his ancestors and avoided alcoholism. It was tolerant of outer religions and artistic styles and led to the construction of foreign merchant quarters, Buddhist monasteries, mosques and Christian churches in the Mongolian capital. As construction projects continued, Karakoram was adorned with Chinese, European, and Persian architecture. A famous example was a large silver tree with cleverly designed pipes that served various drinks. The tree, which was crowned by a triumphant angel, was made by Guillaume Boucher, a Parisian goldsmith.

Hulagu, Genghis Khan's grandson and founder of the Il Khanate. From a medieval Persian manuscript.

Despite having a strong Chinese contingent, Möngke relied heavily on Muslim and Mongolian administrators and launched a series of economic reforms to make government spending more predictable. His court restricted government spending and prohibited nobles and troops from abusing civilians or issuing edicts without permission. He converted the contribution system into a fixed electoral tax levied by imperial agents and passed on to needy units. His court also tried to reduce the tax burden on citizens by lowering tax rates. He also centralized the control of money affairs and reinforced the guards at the post office relays. Möngke ordered a nationwide census in 1252, which lasted several years and was only completed when Novgorod in the far northwest was counted in 1258.

In a further step to consolidate his power, Möngke commissioned his brothers Hulagu and Kublai to rule Persia and the Mongol-held China. In the southern part of the empire he continued the struggle of his predecessors against the Song dynasty. In order to surpass the song from three directions, Möngke sent Mongol armies under his brother Kublai to Yunnan and under his uncle Iyeku to subdue Korea and put the song under pressure from this direction as well.

Kublai conquered the Dali Kingdom in 1253 after Dali King Duan Xingzhi moved to the Mongols and helped them conquer the rest of Yunnan. Möngke's General Qoridai stabilized his control over Tibet and prompted leading monasteries to submit to Mongol rule. Subutai's son Uryankhadai reduced the neighboring peoples of Yunnan to submission and went to war against the Kingdom of Đại Việt in North Vietnam under the Trần Dynasty in 1258, but they were forced to withdraw. The Mongol Empire tried again to invade Vi Vi87t in 1285 and 1287, but was defeated both times.

New invasions in the Middle East and southern China

Mongol invasion of Baghdad

After Möngke had stabilized the finances of the empire, he tried again to expand his borders. In Kurultais in Karakoram, he approved new invasions in the Middle East and southern China in 1253 and 1258. Möngke put Hulagu in charge of overall responsibility for military and civil affairs in Persia and appointed Chagataids and Yochids to join Hulagu's army.

The Qazvin Muslims denounced the threat posed by the Nizari Ismailis