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Mongolian Empire of death

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August 27, 2015 by wimvincken

Basically, the Mongols wiped out everyone from urban areas, unless they submitted to the Mongols. They had the choice between joining or dieing. In addition to these tactics, their speed of expansion was facilitated by military hardiness, military skill, meritocracy, and discipline. They managed to create the largest contiguous land empire in the known human history and to wipe out more then 50 million people!

Why this article about the Mongols? I see very clear characteristics between the Mongols of 1206 and the rise and strategies of the ISIS. They are even at the same place (Baghdad)!

The Mongolian Horde

The Mongolian empire, which existed from 1206 till 1370 with the death of the last Khan Toghan Temür Khan.  This empire was the largest contiguous land empire in the known human history. The Mongolian wars of conquests were the most bloody wars in history as well, with more then 50-70 million death.

Before 1206 AD, the map of that time was drawn like this:

Map of Eurasia 1206 AD

At 1294 AD, the same map looked like this:

Map of Eurasia 1294 AD

Temujin was crowned as Genghis Khan at 1206, after he destroyed rival tribes in Mongolia from 1203 to 1205 and that was the start of the Mongol Empire.
Genghis Khan innovated his army into units of arbans (10 people), zuuns (100), Mingghans (1000), and tumens (10,000). The Imperial Guard was founded and divided into day and night guards. He forbade the selling of women, theft of other’s properties, fighting between the Mongols, and the hunting of animals during the breeding season. He ordered to keep records of the empire. In addition to laws regarding family, food, and the army, Genghis also decreed religious freedom and supported domestic and international trade. He exempted the poor and the clergy from taxation. Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians from Manchuria, North China, India, and Persia joined Genghis long before his foreign conquests.

Genghis Khan got trouble with the Jin Dynasty and the Western Xia in Northern China and he also had to deal with two powerful powers: Tibet and Khara Khitai.  He went also into Central Asia, devastating Transoxiana and eastern Persia, then raiding into Kievan Rus’ (a predecessor state of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine) and the Caucasus.

Genghis Khan died in 1227, but before his dead he divided his empire from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea into four parts and his third son, the charismatic Ögedei, as his heir.

In 1239 they captured Tibet and large parts of China. In Southern China they went, but retreaded because of the death of a grandson (Ögedei’s son Kochu).

Batu Khan, overran the countries of the Bulgars, the Alans, the Kypchaks, Bashkirs, Mordvins, Chuvash, and other nations of the southern Russian steppe. By 1237, the Mongols began encroaching upon their first Kievan Rus’ principality, Ryazan. After a three-day siege using heavy attacks, the Mongols captured the city and massacred its inhabitants, then proceeded to destroy the army of the Grand principality of Vladimir at the Battle of the Sit River.

By 1240, all Kievan Rus’ had fallen to the Asian invaders except for a few northern cities. Mongol troops under Chormaqan in Persia connected his invasion of Transcaucasia with the invasion of Batu and Subutai, forced the Georgian and Armenian nobles to surrender as well.

Traveling through the country in those times (1246) means that you see everywhere human skulls, bones and parts of the bodies of hundreds of thousands of citizens, which were all murdered in terrible ways. The city Kiev was once very large and thickly populated, but it was then reduced to some lone buildings and the inhabitants are kept in complete slavery.

The almost end of Europe

The Mongols invaded Poland and Hungary. An European alliance between the Poles, the Moravians, and the Christian military orders of the Hospitallers, Teutonic Knights and the Templars assembled enough forces to halt, the Mongol advance at Legnica.
But on April 11, 1241, the Hungarian army, their Croatian allies and the Templar Knights were beaten by Mongols at the banks of Sajo River.Mongol armies quickly advanced across Bohemia, Serbia, Babenberg Austria and into the Holy Roman Empire.
But before the Mongolian armies could continue with their advance into Vienna and Albania, news of Ögedei’s death in December 1241 brought a halt to the invasion. As was customary in Mongol military tradition, all princes of Genghis’s line had to attend the kurultai to elect a successor.

The Fall of Baghdad

The center of the Islamic Empire was Baghdad, which held for 500 years the power, but was in trouble with infighting. Caliph al-Mustasim refused to submit to the approaching Mongolian hordes, Baghdad was besieged and captured by the Mongols in 1258. In that world, the Baghdad was the religious center of the Islam.The Mongols destroyed and killed almost everyone in Baghdad, as it was their custom.

The Mongols advanced further and captured small towns and local states. The sultan Al-Nasir Yusuf of the Ayyubids accepted Mongol supremac. Armenians from Cilicia, the Seljuks from Rum and the Christian realms of Antioch and Tripoli submitted to Mongol authority, joining the Mongols in their assault against the Muslims. While some cities surrendered without resisting, others such as Mayafarriqin fought back; their populations were massacred and the cities were sacked.

Mongol military tactics and organization

In 1206, the Mongols had about 105,000 troops. Those were organized in squads of ten men each, arbans (10 people), zuuns (100), Mingghans (1000) and tumens (10,000). The Mongols were famous for their horse archers and troops armed with lances. Their ponies were extra ordinary; small, tough and fast.

The forces were trained, organized and equipped for mobility and speed. Soldiers were lightly armored, but maneuverable. Each warrior traveled with multiple horses, allowing them to battle multiple times in multiple flanks in a battle. The soldiers of the Mongols functioned independently of supply lines, which considerably increased the speed of the armies.

Maintaining contact with their armies, they used fast couriers to communicating between armies. Flags, burning arrows were also used to communicate, but that was reserved during battle.

One of the strategies the Mongols used to battle with a not mobile force was as follows: Mongol forces would spread out in a line, surround an entire region, and then drive all of the game within that area together. The goal was to let none of the animals escape and to slaughter them all.

Basically, the Mongols wiped out everyone (every man, woman, and child executed) from urban areas, unless they submitted to the Mongols. They had the choice between joining them or dieing. In addition to intimidation tactics, the rapid expansion of the empire was facilitated by military hardiness (especially during bitterly cold winters), military skill, meritocracy, and discipline.

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One thought on “Mongolian Empire of death

  1. wim.vincken says:

    They started with 105,000 warriors and managed to wipe out 50,000,000 people. Not bad, huh?

    Like

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