Mongol Empire

The Mongol Empire (Mongolian: listen Mongol-yn Ezent Güren; Cyrillic: Монголын эзэнт гүрэн) existed during the 13th and 14th centuries A.D., and was the largest contiguous land empire in human history. Beginning in the Central Asian steppes, it eventually stretched from Eastern Europe to the Sea of Japan, covering large parts of Siberia in the north and extending southward into Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Iranian plateau, and the Middle East. At its greatest extent it spanned 9,700 km (6,000 mi), covered an area of 24,000,000 km2 (9,300,000 sq mi), 16% of the Earth's total land area, and held sway over a population of 100 million.

The Mongol Empire emerged from the unification of Mongol and Turkic tribes of historical Mongolia under the leadership of Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan was proclaimed ruler of all Mongols in 1206. The empire grew rapidly under his rule and then under the rule of his descendants, who sent invasions in every direction. The vast transcontinental empire which connected the east with the west with an enforced Pax Mongolica allowed trade, technologies, commodities and ideologies to be disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia.

The empire began to split as a result of wars over succession, as the grandchildren of Genghis Khan disputed whether the royal line should follow from Genghis's son and initial heir Ögedei, or one of his other sons such as Tolui, Chagatai, or Jochi. The Toluids prevailed after a bloody purge of Ögedeid and Chagataid factions, but disputes continued even among the descendants of Tolui. When one Great Khan died, rival kurultai councils would simultaneously elect different successors, such as the brothers Ariq Böke and Kublai, they were both elected and then not only had to defy each other, but also deal with challenges from descendants of other of Genghis's sons. Kublai successfully took power, but civil war ensued, as Kublai sought, unsuccessfully, to regain control of the Chagatayid and Ögedeid families.

By the time of Kublai's death in 1294, the Mongol Empire had fractured into four separate khanates or empires, each pursuing its own separate interests and objectives: the Golden Horde khanate in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate in the west, the Ilkhanate in the southwest, and the Yuan Dynasty based in modern-day Beijing. In 1304, the three western khanates briefly accepted the nominal suzerainty of the Yuan Dynasty, but when it was overthrown by the Han Chinese Ming Dynasty in 1368, the Mongol Empire finally dissolved.

Read more about Mongol EmpireName, Military Setup, Silk Road, Legacy

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