The Mongols in eastern Europe

Under Ögedei, the Mongol Empire overcame Eastern Europe. Miscellaneous tactical errors and also unexpected cultural and environmental factors stopped the Mongol pressures from moving into Western Europe in 1241.

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Learning Objectives

Recognize the europe territories conquered by Ögedei and also why the Mongols halted their development into western Europe


Key Takeaways

Key PointsÖgedei Khan, Genghis khan ‘s third son, ruled the Mongol realm from 1227 CE-1241 CE.Under Ögedei, the Mongol Empire conquered Eastern Europe through invading Russia and Bulgaria; Poland, in ~ the battle of Legnica; and also Hungary, at the battle of Mohi.Changes in the terrain and resources, which limited their mounties abilities, along with the death of a charismatic leader Ögedei in 1241, lugged these forces to a halt prior to they reached Western Europe.Key TermsRus’: at an early stage Russia; encompassed modern-day Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, and also the Baltic states.steppe: The grasslands of eastern Europe and Asia. Similar to the phibìc American prairie and also the african savannah.
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“Coronation of Ögedei”: “Coronation the Ögedei,” 1229, through Rashid al-Din.


Expansion that the Mongol realm Under Ögedei

Ögedei, Genghis Khan’s third son, took over from his father and ruled the Mongol empire from 1227 CE-1241 CE. Among his most vital contributions to the empire was his occupation of eastern Europe. This conquests affiliated invasions the Russia, Hungary, Volga Bulgaria, Poland, Dalmatia, and Wallachia. Over the course of 4 years (1237–1241), the Mongols conveniently overtook many of the significant eastern europe cities, just sparing Novgorod and also Pskov. As a result of the successful invasions, countless of the dominated territories would certainly become component of the Mongol Empire. This conquered region is occasionally referred to as the golden Horde.

The operations to be masterminded by basic Subutai and also commanded by Batu Khan and Kadan, both grandsons of Genghis Khan. The Mongols had got Chinese gunpowder, which lock deployed in fight during the intrusion of Europe to an excellent success, in the type of bombs hurled via catapults. The Mongols have actually been attributed for introducing gunpowder and associated weapons right into Europe. They were also masters at mounties invasions and siege warfare, i m sorry threatened many of the principalities the Mongols hoped to capture.

Invasion and Conquest that Russian Lands

Ögedei cannes ordered his nephew (and nephew of Genghis Khan) Batu khan to dominate Russia in 1235. (The territory was then called Rus’ and encompassed modern-day Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, and the Baltic states. Territories and also cities were ruled over by princely dynasties, which regularly meant these areas were fragmentised politically.) The main force arrived at Ryazan in December 1237. Ryazan refuse to surrender, and also the Mongols sacked it and also then stormed through various other Russian cities, including Vladimir Suzdal in the north, and Pereyaslav and also Chernihiv in the south. Other significant Russian cities—such together Torzhok, and Kozelsk—were captured in between 1238 and also 1240. Part cities, such together Novgorod in the north, to be not assaulted due to the dense march and forest land bordering it. However, the princes ruling Novgorod plot as tax collectors because that the Mongol empire in the coming decades.

Afterward, the Mongols turn their fist to the steppe, crushing various tribes and also sacking Crimea come the west. They went back to Russia in 1239 and sacked several much more cities and finally took the southern Rus’ capital of Kiev, leave behind their trademark destruction of both the population and city structures. This final assault sealed the Rus’ principalities’ fate, forcing princes come flee their regions or capitulate come Mongol taxation and also rule.

Invasion into main Europe


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The battle of Legnica: A relenten of the fight of Legnica by Matthäus Merian the Elder, painted 1630.


The Mongols ongoing to invade central Europe with 3 armies. One military defeated the fragmented Poland in ~ the battle of Legnica in 1241. 2 days later the armies regrouped and also crushed the Hungarian military at the fight of Mohi, killing up to a 4 minutes 1 of the population and destroying as lot as fifty percent of the habitable dwellings. This decisive win was partially due to the reality that Hungary was unprepared because that an invasion and also did not having actually a standing military ready come fight. It took a number of months because that the Mongol army to subdue various power centers in Hungary. A major battle referred to as the Mongol’s Siege that Esztergom in the funding of Hungary forced human being to flee and also a new capital was moved to Budapest. However, the Mongols had a daunting time catching fortified urban throughout Hungarian territories, which preserved a full takeover native occurring. The Hungarian king Bela IV fled to Croatia throughout the initial strikes on his cities, and fortified frameworks throughout this territory assisted keep the king and also the neighborhood populations safe. However, Zagreb to be sacked and destroyed in quest of the fugitive king and also further territorial gains.

While the Mongol armies were fighting in Hungary and also Croatia, they additionally pushed their forces into Austria, Dalmatia, and also Moravia. Whereby they uncovered local resistance, castle ruthlessly killed the population. Wherein the locale readily available no resistance, they required the men into servitude in the Mongol army. They additionally ransacked Moldavia and also Wallachia, plundering food stores and also leaving the populace in a precarious state.

End of the Mongol Advance

Although the Mongol pressures were well-versed in cavalry and siege attacks, these two strategies likewise served together their weak points as they go farther westward. Many civilization in Hungary, Croatia, and Dalmatia had food shop at the all set for the lengthy siege battles of the Mongol armies. Fortified cities and boggy or like the mountain terrain additionally slowed under the light cavalry of the Mongol forces and also gave European cities an advantage. Although politically fractured, europe powers were uniting; also Hungarians who had actually survived the early stage attack, or never involved in battle, had started a guerilla strike lead by survivors the the Hungarian imperial family.


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The Klis Fortress in Croatia: This form of rocky, fortified city do a serious an obstacle to Mongol forces who were often mounted on horses. This particular city defeated the Mongol army in 1242.


Along with every one of these tactical obstacles the charismatic Mongol leader, Ögedei, died in December 1241. His fatality forced the Mongol armies to halt your westward expansion, especially in the face of mounting difficulties, and also hasten ago the hundreds of miles come Karakorum, their resources in Mongolia, to elect his successor. Return the growth did not expand into western Europe, the Mongol pressures retained strength over many major Eastern European cities for countless decades. However, after ~ Ögedei’s death, power conflicts plagued the Mongol Empire and also eventually weakened their substantial hold ~ above such substantial territories.

Administrative revolutionary in the Mongol Empire

Möngke was typically a famous ruler of the Mongol Empire; the met debts, regulated spending, performed a census, and also protected civilians.


Key Takeaways

Key PointsAfter Ögedei’s death, Genghis cannes ‘s progeny Güyük and Batu khan fought around who would rule until Batu Khan’s death, in ~ which allude Genghis’ nephew Möngke take it control.Möngke was typically a popular ruler. He generously met all Güyük’s superior debts, an unprecedented move.Möngke additionally forbade extravagant spending, enforced taxes (which incited some rebellions), and punished the innocuous plundering the civilians. He created the room of monetary Affairs and standardized a system of measurement.Möngke performed a census the the Mongol Empire and also its land.Key Termsingot: A block of steel, gold, or other steel oblong in shape and also used because that currency.Department of financial Affairs: Möngke created this human body to control the issuance of paper money in order to eliminate the overissue of money that had actually been a problem due to the fact that Ögedei’s reign.

From Ögedei’s death in 1241 CE till 1246 CE the Mongol empire was ruled under the regency that Ögedei’s widow, Töregene Khatun. She collection the stage for the ascension of she son, Güyük, as great Khan, and also he would certainly take manage in 1246. He and Ögedei’s nephew Batu khan (both grandsons of Genghis Khan) dealt with bitterly for power; Güyük passed away in 1248 top top the way to confront Batu.

Another nephew of Ögedei’s (and so a third grandson of Genghis Khan’s), Möngke, climate took the throne in 1251 v Batu’s approval. In 1255, well right into Möngke’s reign, Batu had actually repaired his connection with the an excellent Khan and also so ultimately felt secure enough to prepare invasions westward into Europe. Fortunately for the Europeans, however, that died prior to his plans can be implemented.

The Mongol empire Under Möngke

Möngke’s rule developed some of the most constant monetary and also administrative policies since Genghis Khan. In the mercantile room he:

Forbade extravagant security and restricted gifts to the princes.Made sellers subject come taxes.Prohibited the demanding that goods and services native civilian populaces by merchants.Punished the unauthorized plundering of civilians through generals and princes (including his very own son).

In 1253, Möngke created the room of monetary Affairs to regulate the issuance of file money. This brand-new department contributed to far better econimic stability including:

Limiting the overissue the currency, which had been a problem since Ögedei’s reign.Standardizing a system of measurement based on the silver- ingot.Paying out all debts drawn by high-rank Mongol elites to crucial foreign and local merchants.

Möngke well-known that if he did not satisfy his predecessor’s, Güyük’s, jae won obligations, it would make vendors reluctant to continue business with the Mongols. Like numerous other rules roughly the world at this time, his hope was to take advantage of the budding commercial revolution in Europe and also the center East. Ata-Malik Juvaini, a 13th-century Persian historian, commented on the virtue the this move, saying, “And native what publication of history has that been check out or heard…that a king paid the debt of an additional king? ”

The Mongol Empire’s management followed a tendency that was occurring in the western Europe, in which kings and also emperors were finding efficient ways to control their administrative and legals systems and fund crusades, conquests, and also wars. Native 1252–1259, Möngke performed a census the the Mongol realm including Iran, Afghanistan, Georgia, Armenia, Russia, main Asia and North China. The new census counted not only households but additionally the variety of men age 15–60 and the number of fields, livestock, vineyards, and orchards.

Möngke additionally tried to develop a solved poll tax gathered by royal agents, which might be forwarded to the needy units. He taxed the wealthiest world most severely. But the census and also taxation sparked popular riots and resistance in the west districts and in the an ext independent regions under the Mongol umbrella. This rebellions were at some point put down, and Möngke would continue to rule.

Expansion and Khanates

At the death of Genghis khan in 1226, the realm was already big enough that one ruler might not oversee the administrative elements of every region. Genghis realized this and created appanages, or khanates, for his sons, daughters, and also grandsons to dominance over in order to keep a constant rule the law. Möngke’s administrative policies extended to these regions during his reign, regularly causing regional unrest as result of Mongol occupation and also taxation. Some khanates were an ext closely linked to central Mongol policies than others, depending on their location, who looked after them, and the amount of resistance in each region.


Painting that the battle of Mohi in 1241: Möngke could have been current at this battle, i beg your pardon took location in the kingdom that Hungary, during one that the numerous Mongol invasions and also attacks that expanded the Mongol Empire.


It should likewise be noted that the vast religious and social traditions of these khanates, including Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Orthodoxy, and also Buddhism, were often at odds through the khanate rulers and also their demands. Some of the most important khanates come exist under Möngke’s governmental years included:

The gold Horde, which had the Rus’ principalities and huge chunks of modern-day Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Belarus, and also Romania. Countless Russian princes capitulated v Mongol rule and a reasonably stable alliance exist in the 1250s in some principalities.Chagatai Khanate was a Turkic region which was ruled over by Chagatai, Odegei’s 2nd son, until 1242 at his death. This an ar was clearly Islamic and functioned together an outlying an ar of the central Mongol federal government until 1259, once Möngke died.Ilkhanate to be the significant southwestern khanate that the Mongol Empire and also encompassed parts of contemporary Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and also Turkey and the heartland the Persian culture. Möngke’s brother, Hulagu, ruled over this region and his descendants ongoing to oversee this khanate into the 14th century.

Möngke’s Death

Möngke passed away while conducting battle in China on respectable 11, 1259. That was perhaps a victim the cholera or dysentery, but there is no shown record the the reason of his death. His child Asutai performed him back to Mongolia to it is in buried. The ruler’s death sparked the four-year Toluid civil War in between his two younger brothers, Kublai and also Ariq Böke, and additionally spurred on the division of the Mongol Empire.

Kublai Khan

Kublai Khan concerned power in 1260. By 1271 he had renamed the realm the Yuan Dynasty and also conquered the song dynasty and also with it, all of China. However, Chinese forces ultimately overthrew the Mongols to type the Ming Dynasty.


Key Takeaways

Key PointsMöngke’s death led come civil battle (or Toluid polite War) in between his two younger brothers; ultimately, Kublai Khan arised victorious and also renamed the empire as the Yuan dynasty in 1271.Kublai additionally renamed self Emperor that China in bespeak to win over numerous Chinese subjects.Ultimately, under Kublai Khan, the Mongols to be the very first non-Chinese civilization to conquer every one of China. However, their occupations of Japan and Java failed.At the moment of Kublai’s death, the Mongol Empire broken into 4 separate empires; this make it straightforward for the Han Chinese to fall them in 1368 and also establish the Ming Dynasty.
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Kublai Khan: A portrait that a young Kublai khan by Anige, a Nepali artist in Kublai’s court.


Möngke’s fatality in 1259 led to civil war (often described as the Toluid polite War) in between his two younger brothers, Kublai Khan and also Ariq Böke. Kublai Khan arised victorious and also established the Yuan dynasty in China in 1271, perhaps the Mongols’ greatest triumph, despite it would at some point be toppled in 1368 by the indigenous Han Chinese, who would beginning their own Ming Dynasty.

Establishment that the Yuan Dynasty

After Kublai took over manage of the Chinese areas with the blessing of Möngke Khan approximately 1251, he sought to establish a firmer organize on these large regions. Rivaling empires loomed transparent the Chinese territories making because that a contentious political background come Kublai’s rule. His biggest obstacle to be the an effective Song empire in the south. The stabilized the north regions by put a hostage puppet leader in Korea called Wonjong in 1259. After the death of Möngke in that exact same year, and also the adhering to civil war, Kublai was named the great Khan and follower of Möngke. This new powerful position enabled Kublai come oversee uprisings and also wars between the west khanates and also assist rulers (often family members members) come oversee these regions. However, his tenuous organize in the east occupied most of his resources.

In 1271, together he continued to consolidate his strength over the substantial and differing Chinese subjects and outlying regions, Kublai khan renamed his khanate the Yuan Dynasty. His newly named dynasty showed up to be successful after the autumn of the significant southern center Xiangyang in 1273 come Mongol forces after five years the struggle. The last piece that the puzzle because that Kublai was the occupation of the Song dynasty in southern China. He ultimately garnered this sought-after southern an ar in 1276 and the last track emperor died in 1279 after years of costly battles. V this success, the Mongols ended up being the an initial non-Chinese people to conquer every one of the Chinese territories. Kublai moved his headquarters to Dadu, what later came to be the contemporary city of Beijing. His facility of a resources there was a controversial relocate to numerous Mongols that accused the of being too very closely tied to Chinese culture. However, the Yuan empire often operated as an independent khanate native the rest of the west Mongol-dominated regions.


Yuan dynasty circa 1292: The sheer range of this khanate required extensive military support and often strained the Mongol treasury in order come keep populaces under that is influence.


Extended Invasions

Kublai Khan’s costly invasions of plenty of territories in the eastern did not go smoothly and also some went on for many years, draining the Mongol treasury and also utilizing valuable resources. Although the intrusions of Burma in 1277, 1283, and also 1287 compelled the populace to eventually capitulate, they to be never more than a vassal state. Similarly, the Yuan pressures invaded Sakhalin Island off the shore of modern Russia lot of times in between 1264 and also 1308, and the various tribal groups likewise eventually came to be a vassals after lengthy years that turmoil. Southern oriental regions regularly agreed to Yuan rule and also taxation only in the confront of an ext bloodshed and also terror. Vice versa, Mongol intrusions of Japan (1274 and also 1280) and Java (1293) under Kublai Khan at some point failed and also illustrated the costly impacts of continuous invasive armed forces tactics.

Yuan dynasty Administration

Kublai khan made far-ranging reforms come existing organizations under the Yuan Dynasty. He divided the Dynasty’s territory into a main region and also peripheral regions that to be under the manage of assorted officials. He created an academy, offices, profession ports and canals, and sponsored arts and science. Mongol records also list 20,166 windy schools produced during his reign. That also, in addition to engineers, created the Muslim trebuchet (hui-hui pao), a counterweight-based weapon that was extremely successful in battle.

He additionally continued to welcome trade and travel transparent his empire. Marco Polo, Marco Polo’s father (an Italian merchant), and also his father’s trade companion traveled to China during this time. They met Kublai Khan and lived amongst his court to develop trade relations. Polo usually praised the wealth and extravagance that Khan and also the Mongol Empire. Some historians additionally speculate that trade was so easily accessible between the empire and Europe, that it might have contributed to the circulation of disease, especially the black plague in the mid-1300s.


Trebuchet: The system of the “Muslim trebuchet” (hui-hui pao), invented during Kublai Khan’s rule.

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By the moment of Kublai’s death in 1294, the Mongol empire had fractured into 4 separate empires, i m sorry were based on administrative area Genghis had created. The four empires were well-known as khanates, each pursuing its very own separate interests and also objectives: the gold Horde Khanate in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate in the west, the Ilkhanate in the southwest, and also the Yuan Dynasty, based in modern-day Beijing. In 1304, the three western khanates briefly welcomed the rule of the Yuan dynasty in name, however when the empire was toppled by the Han Chinese Ming dynasty in 1368, and with raising local unrest in the gold Horde, the Mongol empire finally dissolved.