Posted: November 28th, 2013
History indicates that there has never been an empire as vast as the Mongol empire. This empire had expanded to vast levels at an unbelievable pace unlike any other. The growth of the empire was initiated by a band of warriors who in less than eighty years had enabled the community to grow to an empire that covered the entire land of the Pacific Ocean to the Danube River. The band of warriors engaged in a series of conquests that led to constant growth and the conquering of many nations. However, this is in sharp contrast to what is currently known as Mongolia.
This has one of the uneventful perpetuators of the saying that even good strong empires collapse. The underlying judgment is there are never empires that can be termed as good because of their inherent foundation. Empires are known to arise because of the expansionist policies of conquerors. The Mongol empire is credited for bringing about several changes in the world system. This empire facilitated peace in most of the European and Asian continents leading to peaceful trade over these entire regions. This is usually termed by historians as the making of the modern world.
It was the vision of the Mongol leader to create a new world order comprising of Mongol culture. However, this vision was short lived as the vast empire was headed into imminent downfall. The Mongol empire was plagued by the inherent flaws that plague most of the great empires in history. These flaws are inclusive of the overexpansion strategies and the tragic flaws of the Mongol traditional culture. The world still has contrasting perceptions of the Mongol empire as some view it as an oppressive regime while others as an inclusion of visionaries who facilitated the current level of the modern world.
One of the reasons perpetuated for the fall of the downfall of the Mongol empire is unfortunately its successes. The wealth amassed by this simple yet complex community led them into celebrations that included orgies, drinking and other social demeanors. With time the morals and ethics of the community deteriorated and in the end, the Mongols drunk themselves to their downfall and as an empire. During this time, most of the Mongolian rulers lived to ages below fifty leading to constant successions a fact that led to the nation’s instability.
The empire’s conquests brought about a cultural dilemma to the once simple community. The leaders of the Mongol empire thrived under immense opulence building great palaces in the process, at the same time; the common moguls were not accustomed to living in stone sheltered houses and preferred to living in their yurts in the outskirts of the cities. This is mainly because most of them were herders and hence opted to live with their cattle, horses and sheep in the fields. They therefore refused to become farmers. In the same case, most of the colonized communities continued with their farming practices and refused to take up the Mongol ways. This led to a cultural stagnation and a consequential loss in their thirst for military expansions and invasion. Without further military offensives and expansions, the Mongol empire began to deteriorate due to the loss in its cohesiveness.
The fall of the Mongol empire is also attributed to religious factors affecting the Mongolian communities. The vastness of the Mongol empire and the exponential expansion exposed the Mongol community to different and sometimes contrasting views, cultures and religions. The Mongol communities who spread and settled in the Middle East were mostly converted to Islam while those who settled in china were converted to Buddhism. These religions brought about opposing philosophies to the religious tolerations advocated by Genghis khan (Amitai, & Morgan, 2000).
These religious beliefs led to some of the communities’ abdication to the other belief systems. This also brought about inherent conflict among the Mongol communities. The traditional shaman religion of the Mongol’s was eroded by Islamic beliefs in the Middle Eastern regions. There arose conflicts and persecutions within the Mongol community and as the saying goes, an empire that fights itself cannot last. The Islamic communities purged and persecuted the Buddhists and Christians, while the other Buddhist communities persecuted those affiliated to the confusion ways. These conflicts and persecutions greatly contributed to the ultimate downfall of the Mongol empire.
Some of the Mongol dynasties fell because of natural calamities and disasters. This is in particular to the Mongol dynasty in china. This dynasty was headed by the grandson of Genghis khan, Kublai Khan in 1279 and was known as the Yuan dynasty. On top of oppressing the people with hard labor, stripping off their weapons and heavy taxation, the land was hit by several natural calamities that included earthquakes and floods. This left the army abandoning their calling and adopting survival techniques such as farming. This led to the subsequent weakening of the army leaving the dynasty prone to external attacks.
What is considered to have a deadly blow to the Mongol dynasty is the Black Death. Although the plague is mainly associated with its adverse effects in Europe, it is forgotten that the plague had its source in Asia to the south of china. The vastness of the empire also facilitated the rampant spread of the disease throughout the empire. The plague was believed to be a punishment for the community for abandoning their traditional cultural beliefs and practices. Although the nomadic nature of the Mongol’s rendered them resistant to the disease, the fleas facilitated the spread of the disease throughout the vast nation. The plagued is believed to have killed over ninety percent of the population of Hopei Province. When all the above factors are compounded together, the effect is so immense that it led to the ultimate downfall of the great mogul empire (Greenblatt, 2000).
There are comparisons that could be made to today’s world situation. Nations that lie in areas prone to earthquakes, floods and other natural calamities have stagnant or slow growth. This is because the progress made by the nation is suddenly lost as the natural calamities take their toll. Investors also shun from such places leading to slow or stagnated development in such regions. The nations’ of today have learnt the adverse effects of religion on great empires. This has led most into detaching the state affairs from any religious affiliation. Most of the nations in America and Europe adopt a strict policy of the separation between the church and state; to ensure they escape the inherent problems brought about by religion. Those that still attach state affairs with religion adopt strict adherence to a single religion as a means of evading the conflicts arising from multiple religions.
Amitai, R., & Morgan, D. The Mongol empire & its legacy. Leiden: Brill. 2000, Print.
Greenblatt, M. Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. New York: Marshall Cavendish Corp. 2000, Print.
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