None of their weapons was as devastating as their powerful short bows.
Range 400 yards.
The old quarrels and vendettas between clans and tribes were overridden by loyalty to the Khagan.
Energies once devoted to infighting were now directed toward conquering and forcible exaction of tribute.
Mongol forces were divided into armies made-up of basic fighting units called tumens, each consisting of 10,000 warriors.
Each tumen was further divided into units of 1000, 100 and 10 warriors.
Commanders at each level were responsible for training, arming, and disciplining the cavalrymen under their charge.
The tumens were also divided into heavy cavalry, which carried lances and wore some metal armor, and light cavalry, which relied primarily on the bow and arrow and leather helmets and body covering.
Even more lightly armed men were the scouting parties that rode ahead of Mongol armies and, using flags and special signal fires, kept the main force informed of the enemy’s movements.
Mongol values, made courage in battle a prerequisite for male self-esteem, was buttressed by a formal code that dictated the immediate execution of a warrior who deserted his unit.
A special unit supplied Mongol armies with excellent maps of the areas they were to invade.
New weapons, including a variety of flaming and exploding arrows, gunpowder projectiles, and later bronze cannons, were also devised for the Mongol forces.
Conquest: The Mongol Empire under Changgis Khan
Temujin’s first campaign humbled the Tangut Kingdom of Xi Xia in northwest China.
His next campaign defeated the more powerful Qin Empire, which the Manchu related Jurchens had established a century earlier in north China.
When they met resistance, the Mongols adopted a policy of terrifying retribution.
First assault on the Islamic World: Conquest in China
Once they had established their empire in the steppes, the Mongol armies moved westward against the Kara Khitai Empire, which had been established by a Mongolian speaking people a century earlier.
Changgis Khan next destroyed the Khwarazm Empire of Muhammad Shah II after he killed Changgis Khan’s envoy and sent the rest back with shaved heads.
By 1227, the year of his death, the Mongols ruled an empire that stretched from eastern Persia to the North China Sea.
Life Under the Mongol Imperium
Changgis Khan established a new capital at Karakorum on the steppes and summoned the wise and clever from all parts of the Empire to the lavish palace of tents with gilded pillars where he lived with his wives and closest advisors.
At Karakorum, Changgis Khan consulted with Confucian scholars about how to rule China, with Muslim engineers about how to build siege weapons and improve trade with the lands farther west, and with Daoist holy men, whom he hoped could give him the elixir that would make him immortal.
All religions were tolerated in his Empire.
An administrative framework that drew on the advice and talents of both Muslim and Chinese bureaucrats was created.
A script was devised for the Mongolian language to facilitate record keeping and the standardization of laws.
In the towns of the Empire, handicraft production and scholarship flourished and artistic creativity was allowed free expression.
Secure trade routes made for prosperous merchants and wealthy, cosmopolitan cities.
The Death Of Chinggis Khan And The Division Of The Empire
After overrunning the kingdom of Xi Xia and capturing the Tangut capital, Chinggis Khan fell ill from an injury he had received in a previous skirmish and died in August of 1227.
Ogedei (Chinggis Khans third son) was elected grand khan or his successor.
He was a crafty diplomat and deft manipulator but not as capable a military leader.
The Mongol Drive To The West
Russia and Europe were added to the Mongol’s agenda for world conquest.
Subjugating these regions became the project of the armies of the Golden Horde, named after the golden tent of the early Khans of the western sector of the Mongol Empire.
The Golden Horde was under the control of Chinggis Khan’s grandson, Batu.
The invasion of Russia began in 1236.
Real prize was Western Europe.
Russians called Mongols, Tartars (meaning people from hell).
Mongols used the winter to their advantage-sure footing for their horses.
Russia in Bondage
The crushing victories of Batu’s armies initiated nearly two and a half centuries of Mongol dominance in Russia.
Russian princes were forced to submit as vassals of the Khan of the Golden Horde and to pay tribute.
Mongol demands fell particularly heavily on the Russian peasantry, who had to give their crops and labor to both their own princes and the Mongol overlords.
The peasants fled to remote areas or became, in effect serfs of Russian ruling class in return for protection.
Some Russian towns made profits on the increased trade made possible by the Mongol links.
No town benefitted from the Mongol presence more than Moscow.
After 1328, Moscow also profited from its status as the tribute collector for the Mongol Khans.
As Moscow grew in strength, the power of the Golden Horde declined.
In alliance with other Russian vassals, Moscow raised an army that defeated the Golden Horde at the Battle of Kulilova in 1380.
The Mongol example may have influenced the desire of Russian princes to centralize their control and reduce the limitations placed on their power by the landed nobility, clergy, and wealthy merchants.
By far the greatest effects of Mongol rule were those resulting from Russia’s isolation from Christian lands farther west.
Mongol Incursions and the Retreat from Europe
The rulers of Europe were slow to realize the magnitude of the threat the Mongols posed to western Christendom.
The death of Khagan Ogedei, in the distant Mongol capital at Karakorum, forced Batu to withdraw in preparation for the struggle for succession.
The campaign for the conquest of Europe was never resumed.
The Mongol Assault on the Islamic Heartland
After the Mongol conquest of the Khwarazan Empire it was only a matter of time before they struck westward against the far wealthier Muslim empires of Mesopotamia and North Africa.
The conquest of these areas became the main project of Hulegu, another grandson of Chinggis Khan and the ruler of the Ilkhan portions of the Mongol Empire.
Hulegu destroys Baghdad in 1258.
Mongols would be defeated in 1260 by Baibars, the commander of a Mamluk (slave) army from Egypt.
Hulegu was not present.
Hulegu stayed in his kingdom he had already settled after this defeat due to internal challenges with his cousin Berke.