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The Mongols in the History of Central Asia in the 13-14th centuries.

Mongol Empire

Chaghatay Ulus

Qaydu State


The 13th century marked the beginning of the new era in the development of such regions as China, Central Asia and Russia. Three different areas were greatly affected by the disastrous invasion and rule of the Mongols.


Mongol Empire

In the 10th century Mongolia was the country of nomads, grouped into tribes. The country was more Turkic that Mongolian, especially its western and central parts. However, the eastern part from the Khingan Mountains was occupied by Mongolian-speaking tribes. They called themselves Tatars and Mongols. That was the reason why the Mongols were often called by Chinese and other conquered people as Tatars or Tatars-Mongols. On the other hand, Tatars usually moved in the forefront of the Mongolian army. In the early 12th century the tribal confederation of Tatars and Mongols disintegrated because of some controversies.

The 1162 (1167) became the year when the leader of Mongols have got a son Temujin. Later he was killed by Tatars and Temujin had to go through many obstacles and hardships since the early childhood to survive before he finally became the ruler of Mongols.

In 1206, during the all-Mongolian kurultai he was announced Genghis Khan (Khan-Ocean) by tribal leaders. He could create an absolutely loyal, disciplined and strong army, which could have defeated all neighboring peoples. After he subordinated all Mongolian tribes, he decided to launch campaigns beyond Mongolia.

Three campaigns were initiated; the first to the north against the Yenisei Kyrgyz, the second to the southwest against Tanguts, and to the southeast against the Chin dynasty established by Jurchen dynasty ruled in northern China.

Genghiz khan was a flexible and pragmatic politician. In case of a peaceful surrender he kept an enemy a throne, by this escaping a massacre. Resistance meant extermination and devastation.

In 1207, the Yenisei Kyrgyzs submitted themselves to Genghiz Khan. But in 1218 they rebelled against Mongols. Genghiz Khan sent his eldest son Juchi to subdue the rebels.

The Tanguts, a people of Tibeto-Burman origin also submitted to Genghis Khan in 1209 but later they rebelled and paid for this with extinction.

In 1215 Beijin fell to the Mongols. However, after the conquest of Beijin, the Mongols turned their attention to the west the Central Asian region.

During that period, Central Asia was under the rule of Kuchlug, the ruler of Nayman tribe. He conquered Qarakhitays who subordinated the Qarakhanids in 12th century. In 1218, the Mongols easily defeated Naymans with the help of local dynasties who hated them for being intolerant and imposing on them their religion Buddhism. Therefore, local people met Mongols as liberators. After Genghis Khan conquered Semirechye and Tienshan, he went to the west. All cities of the Chui and Talas valleys were destroyed. The urban culture was replaced by nomadic. As soon as he conquered all of Central Asia by 1223, Genghis Khan returned to Mongolia. Genghis Khan died in 1227.


Genghis Khan had four sons from his main wife: Juchi, Chaghatay, Ugedey and Toluy. They all helped him in conquests (Juchi against Yenisei Kyrgyzs, Chaghatay and Ugedey against Khorezmian Shakh in Urgench, Toluy in Marv). He divided all conquered territories among all of them according to nomadic tradition: Juchi, the eldest son, received the Kipchak steppe (because of his soon death, it was divided among his sons: Ordu White Horde from Irtysh river to Ural River, Batu Golden Horde on Volga River, Sheybani Blue Horde from Tyumen to Aral), Chaghatay, the second son, received Central Asia (Transoxania, Semirechye, Western Sinkiang), Ugedey, the third son, received Central Siberia and Eastern Singkiang, and Toluy, the youngest, received the home territory of Mongolia with the capital - Karakorum. But this did not mean that he also received the title Kagan (Great Khan). Ugedey was designated as Genghis Khan successor.

After Ugedey became the Kagan in 1230, the second wave of military campaigns was initiated, that time against China (Chin dynasty) and Russia. Only in 1238-1240 Batu could conquer Russia and Ukraine and receive his portion of lands where he established the Golden Horde. The Mongol conquest meant the end of Kievan Russia and the rise of Moscow.

After the death of Ugedey and Chaghatay and later the son of Ugedey, Guyuk, the son of Toluy, Mongke, was proclaimed the Kagan. Under Mongke the third final wave of conquests were launched the conquest of Iran and Iraq started by Genghis Khan. Hulagu conquered both as well as Syria but was stopped by Mamluks of Egypt. The myth of the Mongol army as invincible was crashed. On the conquered territory of Iran and Iraq he established the new dynasty of Ilkhans (il - a khan subordinate to the main khan).

A conquest of China was continued by Qubilay, another son of Toluy, who became the new Kagan. He moved his capital to Beijin and in 1271 established a new Chinese dynasty Yuan. He became very interested in Buddhism.


Chaghatay Ulus

Chaghatay received the lands of Transoxania, Semirechye and Western Sinkiang. The capital of the ulus became Almaliq. With the death of Chaghatay a new period in the history of Chaghatay Ulus started the period of Chaghatayid dynasty. Most of Chagatayids lived in steppes retaining their nomadic life style. Their religion was paganism. The political and moral norms remained the Yasa the traditional Mongol code of behavior formulated under Chenghis Khan. The Chaghatayids did not interfere with shariat Islamic law of the Muslim population of the ulus. They were also tolerant or indifferent towards other religions, for example Christianity.

Most of settled territories were occupied by Muslims (Transoxania) whose governors enjoyed considerable autonomy and peace. They became very prosperous. However, that prosperity began to decrease during the time of Qubilay.

About a century after the Mongol invasion, some Chaghatayid khans began to convert to Islam. Islam played a fundamental role in the development of local identity during the Mongol rule thanks to the contribution of Sufi brotherhoods: Kubrawiya and Yasawiya.


Qaydu State

The main rival of Qubilay was Qaydu, a ruler of new established Qaydu State. In 1269, Qaydu, a grandson of Ugedey, could manage to hold a kurultay, where the chieftains of Chaghatay and Ugedey uluses recognized him as Kagan. The new state became independent of the Mongolian State with the center in Karakorum. It stretched from Altai to Amu Darya and included the territories of present-day Kyrgyzstan and Eastern Turkestan. The capital was Tarsakent city (near present-day Bishkek).

Qaydu initiated several military campaigns to Karakorum but were unsuccessful. After the final defeat he died in 1303.

Qaydu was a good and just ruler. He understood that the stability of the state stemmed from its economic development. He undertook a number of measures to improve economy, development of trade and crafts. He also carried out a money reform, introducing golden and silver coins. He provided a strict tax control. It was banned to use agricultural lands as pastures for cattle. Violators were punished.

Qaydu made numerous attempts to help Altai and Yenisei Kyrgyzs rebelling against Mongolian rule. In 1293, he also sent his army but was defeated by Qubilay. Qubilay destroyed the Yenisei Kyrgyz state. However, Qaydu could help Kyrgyzs living in Altai and helped them by moving from Altai to Tienshan. In the 14th century Qaydu territory was divided between two states: Mavarannahr and Mogholistan.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1446

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