The Mongols 1206-1259: From divided chiefdoms to unified state

The Mongols 1206-1259: From divided chiefdoms to unified state

By Alistair Bright

Profiel: Archeologisch studenten tijdschrift, Vol.10:2-3 (2003)

Abstract: The year 1206 was to prove one of ill portent to the many inhabitants of the landmass stretching from the eastern coast of China all the way to the western coast of Europe. Up until then, few were aware that the Mongol territory existed, and even fewer had any knowledge of the countless warring tribes that inhabited it. Unbeknown to these ignorant souls, the chiefs or princes had ceased their constant in-fighting and had gathered at a kuriltai (assembly of princes) to elect a primus inter pares, a Great Khan to rule all. A certain Temuchin took the position and with it a new name: Genghis Khan. Under his rule, the united Mongol people would wield a power never seen before or matched since either in scale or terror. Seven years later, Genghis Khan breached the Great Wall, erected by the Chinese in the third century B.C. as a barrier against that ancient invader Attila and his Huns. With an army of 100.000 soldiers he crushed and subdued a nation of 100 million. After Peking had been sacked and pillaged in the spring of 1214 he turned his army westwards and advanced upon Eurasia. In the words of Marco Polo: “He made up his mind to conquer a great part of the world”.

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