Largest Land Empire At it’s height, the Mongol empire was the largest land empire the world has ever known! Bigger than the Persian Empire! Bigger than Alexander’s Empire! Bigger than Rome! Bigger than Byzantium!
Dividing the Empire When Genghis Khan died his empire was divided among his sons and grandsons: khanates (like separate states or empires) His grandson Kublai Khan gains the khanate of the east including China
Kublai Khan Grandson of Genghis Khan Ruled in China Government: only Mongols and foreigners…no Chinese in high positions-why? But respected and were interested in Chinese culture Got rid of Civil Service Exam Postal/communication system connected Beijing to Vienna using horses; 1400 postal stations; trade flourished; merchants converted their $$ to Chinese paper money
Kublai Khan Continued Marco Polo the great Italian explorer: – From Venice – Served in the Khans court for 17 yrs – Wrote about his travels to China…no one believed him Increased the status of artisans/actors/ merchants
Decline of the Mongols Kublai’s successors were weak – Divided the empire among various generals – by 1350, most of the empire was reconquered by other armies
Pax Mongolia – United large territory for about a century 2 continents were united under one rule; safe trade; etc Cultural diffusion – Gun powder – Trade of food, tools, ideas – $$ for traders (esp. in Venice and Genoa) – Bubonic Plague (AKA Black death) – Killed 1/3 of W. Europe and 50% of the population in other areas Ended feudalism in W Europe Mongol Impact
Summary Began as nomads and challenged the sedentary peoples for control Often portrayed as barbarians; destructive conquerors, but they brought peace, religious toleration, laws and unity to their empire Empire included Central Asia, China, Persia, Tibet, Iraq, Asia Minor, and Southern Russia Bridged gaps between East and West