Joan Of Kent

Posted: March 24, 2012 in history

20120324-121916.jpg
Joan, Countess of Kent (29 September 1328 – 7 August 1385), known to history as The Fair Maid of Kent, was the first English Princess of Wales. The French chronicler Jean Froissart called her “the most beautiful woman in all the realm of England, and the most loving.” The appellation “Fair Maid of Kent” does not appear to be contemporary.

Joan was the daughter of Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent, and Margaret Wake, 3rd Baroness Wake of Liddell, and a granddaughter of King Edward I of England.

Her father Edmund was a younger half-brother of Edward II of England. Edmund’s support of the king placed him in conflict with the queen, Isabella of France, and her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. Edmund was executed after Edward II’s deposition, and Joan’s mother, along with her children, were placed under house arrest in Arundel Castle when Joan was only two years old.
The Earl’s widow, Margaret Wake, was left with four children to care for. Joan’s first cousin, the new King Edward III, took on the responsibility for the family, and looked after them well. His wife, Queen Philippa (who was also Joan’s second cousin), was well known for her tender-heartedness, and Joan grew up at court, where she became friendly with her cousins, including Edward, the Black Prince.

In 1340, at the age of twelve, Joan entered into a clandestine marriage with Thomas Holland of Broughton without first gaining the royal consent necessary for couples of their rank. The following winter (1340 or 1341), while Holland was overseas, her family forced her to marry William Montacute, son and heir of the first Earl of Salisbury. Joan later averred that she did not disclose her existing marriage with Thomas Holland because she had been afraid that disclosing it would lead to Thomas’s execution for treason upon his return. She may also have become convinced that the earlier marriage was invalid.

Joan is often identified as the countess of Salisbury who, legend says, inspired Edward III’s founding the Order of the Garter. It is just as possible, though, that that countess was her mother-in-law, Catherine Montacute, Countess of Salisbury.

Several years later, Thomas Holland returned from the Crusades, having made his fortune, and the full story of his earlier relationship with Joan came out. Thomas appealed to the Pope for the return of his wife and confessed the secret marriage to the king. When the Earl of Salisbury discovered that Joan supported Holland’s case, he kept her a prisoner in her own home.

In 1349, Pope Clement VI annulled Joan’s marriage to the Earl and sent her back to Thomas Holland, with whom she lived for the next eleven years. They had four known children (though some sources list five), before Holland died in 1360.

Their children were:

Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent,
John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter,
Joan Holland (1356-1384), who married John V, Duke of Brittany (1339-1399),
Maud Holland (1359-1391), who married Waleran III of Luxembourg, Count of Ligny (1355-1415),
Edmund (c. 1354), who died young (parentage uncertain)
When the last of Joan’s siblings died in 1352, she became the Countess of Kent and Lady Wake of Liddell.

Evidence of the affection of Edward, the Black Prince (who was her first cousin once removed) for Joan may be found in the record of his presenting her with a silver cup, part of the booty from one of his early military campaigns. Edward’s parents did not, however, favour a marriage between their son and their former ward. Queen Philippa had made a favourite of Joan at first, but both she and the king seem to have been concerned about Joan’s reputation. English law was such that Joan’s living ex-husband, Salisbury, might have claimed any children of her subsequent marriages as his own. In addition, Edward and Joan were within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity.

The secret marriage they are said to have contracted in 1360 would have been invalid because of the consanguinity prohibition. At the King’s request, the Pope granted a dispensation allowing the two to be legally married. The official ceremony occurred on 10 October 1361, at Windsor Castle with the King and Queen in attendance. The Archbishop of Canterbury presided.

In 1362, the Black Prince was invested as Prince of Aquitaine, a region of France which belonged to the English Crown since the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II. He and Joan moved to Bordeaux, the capital of the principality, where they spent the next nine years. Two sons were born in France to the royal couple. The elder son, named Edward (27 January 1365 – 1372) after his father and grandfather, died at the age of six.

Around the time of the birth of their younger son, Richard, the Prince was lured into a war on behalf of King Peter of Castile. The ensuing battle was one of the Black Prince’s greatest victories, but King Peter (Spanish: Pedro) was later killed, and there was no money to pay the troops. In the meantime, the Princess was forced to raise another army, because the Prince’s enemies were threatening Aquitaine in his absence.

By 1371, the Black Prince was no longer able to perform his duties as Prince of Aquitaine, and returned to England, where plague was wreaking havoc. In 1372, he forced himself to attempt one final, abortive campaign in the hope of saving his father’s French possessions. His health was now completely shattered. On 7 June 1376, a week before his forty-sixth birthday, he died in his bed at Westminster.

Joan’s son was next in line to succeed King Edward III. Edward III died on 21 June 1377 and Richard became King. He was crowned Richard II at the age of 10 in the following month. Early in his reign, the young King faced the challenge of the Peasants’ Revolt. The Lollards, religious reformers led by John Wyclif, had enjoyed the protection of Joan of Kent, but the violent climax of the popular movement for reform reduced the feisty Joan to a state of terror, while leaving the King with an improved reputation.

As a power behind the throne, she was well-loved for her influence over the young king – for example, on her return to London (via her Wickhambreaux estate) from a pilgrimage to Becket’s shrine at Canterbury Cathedral in 1381, she found her way barred by Wat Tyler and his mob of rebels on Blackheath but was not only let through unharmed, but saluted with kisses and provided with an escort for the rest of her journey.

In 1385, Sir John Holland, an adult son of her first marriage, was campaigning with the King in the Kingdom of Scotland, when a quarrel broke out between him and Ralph Stafford, son of the 2nd Earl of Stafford, a favourite of the new Queen Anne of Bohemia. Stafford was killed, and John Holland sought sanctuary at the shrine of St John of Beverley. On the King’s return, Holland was condemned to death. Joan pleaded with her son for four days to spare his half-brother. On the fifth day (the exact date in August is not known), she died, at Wallingford Castle. Richard relented, and pardoned Holland (though he was then sent on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land).

Joan was buried, as requested in her will, at the Greyfriars, the site of the present hospital, in Stamford in Lincolnshire, beside her first husband. Her third husband, the Black Prince, had built a chantry for her in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral (where he was to have been buried), with ceiling bosses of her face. (Another boss in the north nave aisle is also said to be of her.

Joan of Kent features in several pieces of fiction. In The Lady Royal, a fictionalized biography by Molly Costain Haycraft, Joan is portrayed as a rival to her cousin, Isabella, for the affections of Enguerrand de Coucy. She is the protagonist of Sweet Passion’s Pain, a novel by Karen Harper, which was republished as The First Princess of Wales. She appears briefly in Katherine by Anya Seton, as well as in The King’s Mistress, by Emma Campion, where she is a friend of the main character, Alice Perrers.

Joan is also a principal character in The Wheel of Fortune by Susan Howatch, a novel that takes the characters of the Plantagenet family and recreates them in a modern dimension of the Godwin family of Oxmoon (the throne), where she appears as Ginevra (Ginette). Her story, retold in the first person, closely mirrors Joan’s story and background.

The last published book of Gordon R. Dickson’s semi-historical Dragon Knight series is titled The Dragon and the Fair Maid of Kent, and concerns Joan’s attempts to reconcile the Black Prince with his father Edward III during the first years of the Black Plague in England.

Madeline Hunter’s first novel, By Arrangement, features Joan of Kent as a secondary character. The novel also mentions her relationships with Thomas Holland and William Montacute. Joan is portrayed as flirtatious and inconstant in her affections to the two men. Virginia Henley’s Desired features Joan of Kent as a secondary character.

Joan of Kent also appears in the novel The Nameless Day (The Crucible, #1) by Sara Douglass. In that novel, she dies when her husband’s death is announced.

Genghis Khan

Posted: March 22, 2012 in history

20120322-130248.jpg
Perhaps no empire in history has risen so spectacularly as that of the Mongols. In less than 80 years, a band of warriors originally comprised of several men grew to an empire that encompassed all from the Pacific Ocean to the Danube River. This story is about one of the most dramatic series conquests in history and how it was the Mongols themselves who shattered their own invincibility.

In the 12th century, various Turkic and Mongol-Tungusic tribes roamed the steppes of Mongolia. One of these tribes was the Mongols. Around the 1130, the Mongols emerged as a powerful tribe, defeating neighboring nomads and forcing the Jin Empire of Northern China to pay tribute. However, the glory was short lived. In 1160, the Mongol Kingdom was shattered, having been defeated by the neighboring Tartars tribe. The Mongol clans (divisions within a tribe) became disunited and fought amongst themselves for what little there was.

Drawing of Genghis Khan
The leader of the Mongol Kiyad Sub-Clan was Yesugei, who happened to be a descendant of a Khan (chieftain) of the former Mongol Kingdom. In 1167, Yesguei and his wife had a son named Temujin, the one who would become Genghis Khan. When Temujin was nine years old, his father was poisoned by Tartar chiefs. Since he was much to young to rule, his clansmen deserted him. Temujin and his family (7 people total) moved to the most desolate areas of the steppes, eating roots and rodents for living. He had many great adventures, ranging from chasing horse thieves to being captured by enemies. When Temujin was 16, the Merkid Tribe attacked his family and captured his wife. With an army of five men, Temujin could not retaliate on his own, so he turned to one of his father’s old friends, Toghrul Khan of the Kereyid Tribe, who in turn, also enlisted a Mongol coalition leader, Jamugha. Together they defeated the Merkids and Temujin recovered his wife. Temujin quickly took advantage of his powerful allies, particularly Jamugha, who was also happened to be a Mongol and a childhood friend of his, and became a notable figure on the steppes. Temujin and Jamugha took control over most of the Mongol Clans, but that was not enough for Temujin.

According to the Secret History of the Yuan Dynasty, one day while Temujin and Jamugha were riding at the front of the Mongols, Temujin decided to “keep going” while Jamugha stopped to pitch tent. Temujin broke up with Jamugha and the Mongols were split into two groups. Hostilities soon broke out between the two parties. In a clash over a minor event, Temujin was defeated and was forced into exile. However, Temujin returned ten years later and reestablished his position. From there, he embarked on a conquest of the Mongolia that lasted several years. Unfortunately, the details are too great to be perused in this article. In short, by 1204 Temujin had subjugated all that opposed him. He defeated the Tartars, the Kereyids tribe under Toghrul Khan (who eventually betrayed him), the Naimans the Merkids, and Jamugha’s Mongol clans

The Empire by 1204

The Empire by 1204
In 1206, Temujin held a great Khuriltai (assembly) on the banks of the Onon River. There, he took the title Chingis Khan. The name Chingis Khan is commonly referred to as Genghis Khan. However, “Genghis” is actually a corrupted variation, and thus for accuracy reason, he will be referred to as “Chingis” Khan. During the Khuriltai of 1206, Chingis Khan decreed the structure and laws for his new Empire. To ensure stability and cooperation between people of the tribes that he united, Chingis Khan installed a military superstructure to integrate all the peoples of his Empire. The population was divided into units responsible for maintaining a certain amount of warriors ready at any given time, thus overriding previous tribal organizations. Furthermore, he decreed many specific laws and created an efficient administrative hierarchy. Chingis Khan created the most advanced government of any steppe nation up to that time. His horde would soon prove to be the most disciplined, the most powerful and the most feared army to ride from the steppes.

20120322-130406.jpg
The War in Northern China

Mongol horsemen battle Jin
Warriors in the Mountains
Chingis Khan became emperor of “all who lived in felt tents,” but his dreams was to conquer the world. First, he led his men in a series of campaigns against the Xi Xia Empire in western China. In 1209, the Xi Xia capital was threatened, but the Mongols were satisfied with tribute after their camp was unexpectedly flooded. It must be understood that the Mongols were still more interested in and tribute plunder rather than to capture cities. However, as the Empires in China discontinued to pay tribute once the Mongols withdraw, the raids soon turned into conquest.

In 1211, Chingis Khan took 65,000 men and marched against the Jin Empire of Northern China. With the help of the Ongguts, a people who lived on the Jin’s northern border, Chingis Khan easily passed through the defenses and marched into Jin territory. He continued a trail of plunder until he met a large force of around 150,000 men, which he defeated. Chingis split his army and launched a multiple pronged attack on the Jin. He and his generals dealt several blows against the Jin, including capturing the strategic Juyong pass. Unfortunately, Chingis was wounded during a siege and withdrew to Mongolia. Subsequently, Jin forces began to recapture territories loss to the Mongols.
In 1213, the Mongols returned after learning that the Jin had refortified their locations. Chingis divided his army into three parts, one under command by himself and the other two, under his sons. The three Mongol armies devastated the Jin Empire, and by 1214, most of the area north of the Huang He (Yellow river) was in Mongol hands. One exception was the city of Chungdu, capital of the Jin Empire. Like other nomadic armies, Chingis Khan’s Mongol hordes were entirely cavalry, and the weakness of cavalry forces was the lack of ability to capture fortifications. Chingis realized this weakness and was quick to capture Chinese siege engineers to learn siege tactics. Despite so, Chungdu withstood the Mongols’ assaults. Chingis’s men became short on supplies and were ravaged by plague, but he tenaciously continued the siege. Accounts describe that every tenth man was sacrificed to be fed to the others. But the siege went on for so long that Chingis had to personally abandon the campaign. He then placed his general Mukali in charge. The Mongols finally entered the city in 1215, but by then, the Jin capital had already been moved south to Kai-feng.

The Empire at 1218

The First Move West – the Conquest of the Kwarazm-Shah Empire
Chingis lost interest in the war in China and instead, turned his attention towards the west. In 1218, he sent his general Chepe westward and conquered the Kara Khitai Empire. But the real issue was with the huge Kwarazmian Empire in Perisa. Hostilities broke out when the Kwarazm Shah attacked a Mongol caravan and humiliated Chingis’s ambassadors by burning their beards. Since Chingis sent the ambassadors for the purpose of making peace, he was outraged. Chingis prepared for the largest operation he had yet performed and assembled a force that totaled around 90-110,000 men. The total numerical strength of the Kwarazm shah was two to three times greater, but Chingis’ army was better disciplined, and most of all, better led.

In 1219, Chingis’s sons Chaghadai and Ogedei set out to attack the city of Utar located east of the Aral Sea. Meanwhile, Chingis’ general, Chepe, marched southwestward to protect the left flank during the operation. The main attack, however, was led by Chingis Khan himself, who along with general Subedei, marched through the Kizil Kum desert and outflanked the Kwarazmiam forces. The plan was that the Kizil Kum desert was considered impractical to cross, which made it a great opportunity to surprise the enemy. Chingis and his army disappeared into the desert and suddenly, out of nowhere, he appeared at the city of Bokhara. The city garrison was stunned, and was quickly defeated. Next, Chingis marched towards Samarkand, capital of the Kwarazmian Empire. The magnificent city was heavily fortified and had a garrison of 110,000 men, which vastly outnumbered Chingis’ besieging army. The city was expected to be able to hold out for months, but on March 19, 1220 its walls were breached in just ten days. After the fall of Samarkand, the Mongols overran much of the Empire. The destruction was profound. Cities were leveled and populations were massacred. At the city of Merv, accounts described an execution of 700,000. At Samarkand, women were raped and sold into slavery. Devastation was so great that the Kwarazmian Empire itself was nearly wiped away from history. The conquest of the Kwarazm also created another remarkable event. After his defeat, the Kwarazm Shah fled west and Subedei followed in pursue with a force of 20,000 men. The Kwarazm Shah died, however, but Subedei went further. He brought his army north and defeated a heavily outnumbering Russian and Cuman army at the Khalka River. He went further and attack the Volga Bulgars before returning back. As said by the famed history Gibbons, Subedei’s expedition was one of the most daring expeditions in history, unlikely to be repeated ever again.

The Campaign in Northern China and
the Conquest of the Kwarazmian Empire.
During the entire campaign, the Kwarazm Shah failed to assemble an army to fight the Mongols on the battlefield. The Kwarazm strategy relied on its extensive city garrisons that outnumbered the besieging Mongol armies. This of course, failed in every way. The only well organized resistance against the Mongols came from Jalal ad-Din, who after the fall of Samarkand, organized a resistance force in modern day Afghanistan. At Parwan, he defeated a Mongol force led by one of Chingis’ adopted son, making it the only Mongol defeat in the entire campaign. Chingis chases after Jalal ad-Din and destroyed his army at the Indus River. The defeat of Jalal ad-Din meant the consolidation of rule of Transoxania. However, the southern parts of the Kwarazmian Empire were left unconquered and later turned into a collection of Independent states. It is said that the Mongols decided not to advance when the sight of a unicorn demoralized their vanguard.

At the age approaching sixty, Chingis’ health was at a decline. He sought the legendary Daoist monk Changchun for the exilir to Immortality. His wish did not come true, as Changchun had no magical exilir, but Chingis praised his wisdom and the two became good friends. Following the meeting with the Daoist monk, Chingis returned to the administration side of his objectives. Unlike Attila the Hun and Alexander the Great, Chingis Khan realized the importance of a smooth succession after his death. Before he completed his conquest of the Kwarazmian Empire, he had already carefully chosen his son Ogedei to be his successor. After Chingis returned to Mongolia to finish establish the administration structure of his empire, all the matters were in good order, except for the Tanguts. The Tangut Xi Xia Empire had long been defeated by the Mongols, but became more of a tributary rather than being annexed. However, the Tanguts had stopped complying with terms while Chingis was away. In 1226, Chingis Khan led his army against Xi Xia and captured its capital.

20120322-130631.jpg

20120322-130838.jpg

The Death of Chingis Khan

Chingis Khan
The campaign against the Xi Xia was his last campaign Shortly later in August 1227, Chingis Khan died at the age of 60. The reason remains unsolved, with theories ranging from internal injuries after a hunting accident, to malaria, to prophecies of the Tanguts.
At his death, the Mongol Empire stretched from the Yellow Sea to the Caspian Sea. No other empire in history has seen such an extraordinary expansion in the lifetime of one man. Although Chingis Khan brought much destruction in his conquests, it is clear that he did not intend to commit mass genocide like that of Hitler, even though the death tolls far exceeded anything in history. Chingis’s dream was conquest, and whenever surrender was seen, bloodshed was avoided. He was exceptionally respectful to those who supported him, and it was not uncommon for him to befriend defected enemies. In any case, Chingis was a brilliant military strategiest and an exceptionally gifted leader, making him one of the most intriguing figures in history.

The Great Khan Ogedei
After the death of Chingis, the Mongol Empire was divided into four ulus, each given to his four “main” sons. Although these ulus (inheritances) were politically united in the same empire, they would later serve as the basis of future khanates. As said before, Ogedei had already been chosen by Chingis to be his successor. Two years after Chingis’ death, Ogedei was officially proclaimed as the ruler of the Mongol Empire. Ogedei took the title of Khakhan (“Great Khan” or “Khan of Khans”), a title used by rulers of the greatest steppe Empires. Chingis however, never officially used this title. Nonetheless, Ogedei ascended with a smooth transition.With the fall of Kiev, the Mongols were victorious in Russia, pulling off the only successful winter invasion of Russia in history. As the result of the Mongols’ sweep into Russia, many groups fled across the border and sought refugee in Hungary. Among these were the Cumans and Kipchaks, who were also nomadic cavalrymen like the Mongols. When Batu Khan learned of this he was furious, because they were “his subjects” and thus were not allowed to escape. Whether or not this was the case, Subedei quickly planned a campaign against Europe. The plan was a two-pronged invasion: A flanking force of 20,000 men would be sent into Poland, while he himself (and Batu) will lead the main force of 50,000 men. On March 1241, Subedei and Batu’s force dissolved into the Carpathian Mountains, appearing out of nowhere on the other side. But instead of advancing further into Hungary, the Mongols withdrew. Upon seeing this, the Hungarians became somewhat arrogant, and even dismissed the Cumans and Kipchaks, who were also nomadic cavalrymen much like the Mongols. Meanwhile, the northern army stormed into Poland, laid waste to the countryside, and sacked Cracow. On April 9, a European force led by Duke Henry of Silesia crossed into Poland and challenged the 20,000 strong Mongols. The heavily armored European knights were no match for the quickness of the Mongol horsemen, and consequently were defeated. Meanwhile, King Bela of Hungary realized that the Mongol retreat was feigned, and were now actually closing in. King Bela rode out with a force numbering 60-80,000 men and met the army of Batu and Subedei’s at the opposing side of the Sajo River. After an indecisive clash at the bridge of the river,

The “Devil’s Horsemen”

The Empire at the ascension of Ogedei Khan

The first thing one Ogedei’s mind was to subjugate the remaining fragments Kwarazem Empire, which was earlier destroyed by Chingis Khan in 1221, but had been later restored in modern day Azerbaijan. This objected was completed in 1231. The next goal was to complete the conquest of the Jin Empire. The Jin Empire had already lost a great deal of territory to Chingis Khan, and later to Mukali, who was assigned by Chingis to take over as commander in the Northern China theatre. But after Mukali’s death in 1223, the Jin began to fiercely fight back. In 1231 a large Mongol army led by Ogedei, the renowned general Subedei, and Tolui (Ogedei’s brother) set off against the Jin. After a series of setbacks, the Mongols finally stormed the Jin capital of Kai Feng in 1234 with the aid of 20,000 Song Chinese auxilleries, thus ending the great sedentary Empire that oversaw the steppes for over a century.

While the Ogedei was campaigning in the Jin Empire, he had already ordered the construction of an Imperial capital for the Empire. When the city, named Karakorum, was completed in 1235, it stood as the grandest site in Mongolia. (Karakorum had already been founded long ago by Chingis, but was more of an outpost back then rather than a capital.) Although the city did not grow to an impressive size like the cities of China, the city was impressively diverse and multi-cultural flourished with professional craftsmen, as later remarked by the European traveler Rubruck. Ogedei also made several reforms in the government, of them begin an improvement of the postal system (the Yam).

20120322-131134.jpg
The Invasion of Russia

Although the Mongols had already made contacts with the Russians a decade earlier in 1222, during Subedei’s legendary expedition, the Mongols did not establish any permanent government in those lands. When Chingis Khan died, the northwestern territories of the empire were given to his son, Jochi. One of Jochi’s sons was Batu Khan, who inherited the westernmost territories of Jochi’s ulus. But Batu’s land was small and a great part of the land he was “given,” was not yet under Mongol control. In the Khuriltai of 1235, Batu showed his intension to bring these lands under Mongol control. This decision would create an extraordinary conquest that in the end, Batu’s army would have traveled five thousand miles! Subedei agreed to go with Batu; and in 1237, the two gathered a force that numbered 120,000 men ready to cross the frozen Volga into Russia.

During winter, the Mongols crossed the Volga River, and afterwards, ridding north into the forests to hide their presence. The first major city they came to was Riazan, which fell after a five-day catapult assault. Then they rode north and captured Kolumna, Moscow, and defeated the Grand Duke of Suzdal, the most powerful force in the northern half of Russia. From there the Mongols advanced towards Novgorod. However, the siege was abandoned after the marshes proved too frustrating to travel through. Although Novgorod became one of the only major cities in Russia to avoid the Mongol conquest, they would keep a friendly relation with the Mongols by paying tribute. After the frustration at Novgorod, Batu and Subedei rode south and attacked the city of Kozelsk, which valiantly held off the Mongols and even successfully ambushed a Mongol vanguard – a feat rarely ever been done. Kozelsk held off for seven weeks, and after it finally fell, the entire population was slaughtered in a way so great that the Mongols named it the City of Woe. The last obstacle in Russia was the great city of Kiev, often called the “Mother of all Russian cities”. Because Kiev was so important in Eastern Europe, the Mongols even tried to take it undamaged. Prince Michael of Kiev did indeed realize the inevitable capture of Kiev. Unfortunately, he fled, and his second in command was a tenacious officer and decided to resist. When the Mongols did storm the city, the only major structure that was not destroyed was the Cathedral St Sophia.

The Invasion of Europe

The Mongol Invasion of Europe

With the fall of Kiev, the Mongols were victorious in Russia. Interestingly, this was the only successful large-scale winter invasion of Russia in history. As the result of the Mongols’ incursion into Russia, many groups fled across the border and sought refugee in Hungary. Among these were the Cumans and Kipchaks, who were also nomadic cavalrymen like the Mongols. When Batu Khan learned of this he was furious, because they were “his subjects” and thus were not allowed to escape. Whether or not this was the case, Subedei quickly planned a campaign against Europe. The plan was a two-pronged invasion: A flanking force of 20,000 men would be sent into Poland, while he himself (and Batu) would lead the main force of 50,000 men. On March 1241, Subedei and Batu’s force dissolved into the Carpathian Mountains, appearing out of nowhere on the other side. But instead of advancing further into Hungary, the Mongols withdrew. Upon seeing this, the Hungarians became somewhat arrogant, and even dismissed the Cumans and Kipchaks, who could’ve provided valuable cavalry support. Meanwhile, the northern army stormed into Poland, laid waste to the countryside, and sacked Cracow. On April 9, a European force led by Duke Henry of Silesia crossed into Poland and challenged the 20,000 strong Mongols. The heavily armored European knights were no match for the quickness of the Mongol horsemen, and consequently were defeated. Meanwhile, King Bela of Hungary realized that the Mongol retreat was feigned, and were now actually closing in. King Bela rode out with a force numbering 60-80,000 men and met the army of Batu and Subedei’s at the opposing side of the Sajo River. After an indecisive clash at the bridge of the river, Subedei brought a contingent south and crossed the river without the Hungarians noticing. When Subedei appeared on the other side, the Hungarians were dumbstruck. Soon Batu broke across the bridge and the Hungarian army was surrounded.

The two major victories by two separate Mongol armies in a period of mere days apart show the brilliancy of Subedei’s generalship. In one month, Poland and Hungary were defeated. Days after the victory at Sajo River, (the name of the battle is also known as Mohi) the two Mongol forces joined and laid waste to the remaining Hungarian forces, capturing cities such as Pest. The grand and splendid city of Gran was captured on Christmas day.

By early 1242, when Batu considered to go even farther into Europe, he suddenly received news from Mongolia that the Great Khan Ogedei had died. This news was significant. Batu’s concern was the possibility of his personally disfavored Guyuk Khan receiving the title of Great Khan. Since Batu had conquered so much land, the political instability in Mongolia would provide trouble. He decided to return to Russia and politically establish his domains to avoid any trouble. As a result, the Mongol army entirely withdrew from Poland and Hungary.

Europe was abandoned and Batu returned to the north of the Caspian Sea. There, he established his capital at Sarai Batu (Old Sarai), and transformed his “inherited lands” into a kingdom, or Khanate. Batu’s Khanate became known as the Blue Horde. Batu’s two brothers, Orda and Shiban, who also participated in the campaign also formed their Khanates. Orda’s Khanate became known as the White Horde, located east to Batu’s Blue Horde. Because Batu and Orda were both member of the Golden Clan, the two Khanates were in reality, depencencies of one another, and became known together under the name of “The Golden Horde”. Shiban’s Khanate, however, is obscurely known. Although the Khans of the Golden Horde would continue to recognize the superiority of the Great Khan and “remain” as part of the Mongol Empire for four more decades, in reality the Golden Horde (and all the other Khanates that would eventually form), had political independence at will.

The Great Khan Guyuk

The Empire c. 1246
Guyuk succeeded as Khakhan (or Kha’an – Great Khan) in 1246. Tensions between Batu and Karakorum soared into heights. Fortunately, Guyuk’s died in 1248, just two years after his enthronement. Guyuk’s early death prevented a major civil war, but the weakness of the Mongol Empire had been foreshadowed. It would be civil disunity that would ultimately bring the Mongol Empire down. The reign of Guyuk achieved little; let alone the disunity in the Empire that it caused.

20120322-131406.jpg

The Mongol Crusaders – The Great khan Mongke
The next Khakhan, Mongke, was elected in 1251. Upon begin crowned Khakhan, Mognke announced his ambitions to continue the line of conquests that was halted during Guyuk’s reign. The first was to conquer the Song (Sung) Empire, the last of the three pre Chingis Empires in “China” free from Mongol control. This and the long series of campaigns against the Song will be examined later. His other motive was to destroy the presence of the Assasins (Ismailis), who have been threatening the governors of the western provinces, and bring the Abbasid Caliph into submission. Thus, this campaign would travel through Persia and into Mesopotamia and towards the Middle East.

The Mongols had seen a limited incursion into the Middle East when Baiju conquered the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum in 1243. However, further campaigns into Baghdad were canceled at that time due to the instability of the newly acquired Asia Minor and the political troubles in Karakorum. Mongke’s proposed expedition, however, was planned to be a great one, and indeed it would live up to its name. While Mongke Khan was to personally lead the attack against the Song, he entrusted his brother, Hulegu, to lead the Mongol “Crusade.”

Hulegu’s “Crusade”

Hulegu’s campiagn
In 1253, Hulegu departed from Mongolia to begin the largest operation since Batu’s invasion of Russia. It was also the most advanced Mongol army yet to campaign, with the latest in world siege weapon technology, and a group of experienced lieutenants. Hulegu’s expedition attracted great enthusiasm among Christian communities, including a number of Georgian and Alan volunteers. Hulegu’s army marched slowly compared to Mongol standards, taking three years to finally reach Persia. He made his way into Khurasan (region in Persia), annexing the local dynasty in the area. The first of the primary objectives was completed with the capture of the Assassins’ (the Hashashins) fortress of Gerdkuh on the south side of the Caspian Sea. Hulegu then advanced west and captured Alamut, forcing the Assassins’ Grand Master to surrender.

Mongols Besiege a city in the Middle East
After the capture of Alamut, Hulegu marched toward the grand prize of Baghdad. The Caliph of Baghdad happened to be an incompetent military commander, one foolishly ignorant of the Mongol threat. When the Caliph decided to prepare for a siege, Hulegu was already closing in. Upon his arrival, a force of 20,000 cavalrymen rode out to confront the Mongols. This force was easily defeated, making the siege inevitable. Baghdad held out for a week until its east walls were breached. On February 13, 1258, the city surrendered and a devastating slaughtered ensued. The treasure was looted, the magnificent mosques were destroyed, and the populated was massacred. (An interesting thing is that all the Christian inhabitants in the city were spared.) Accounts claim a slaughter of 800,000 men. This may have been an exaggeration, as the city was later revitalized to an extent. However, there is no doubt that the greatest city in the Middle East had forever lost its glory and that there is no doubt the fall of Baghdad was one of the greatest blows to Islam.

Egypt is saved
Hulegu then withdrew almost his entire army except a minor force of 15,000 men to his general Kedburka to keep an eye on the horizon. Meanwhile, the Mameluks were expecting the full fury of the Mongols, and gathered a large force of 120,000 men. But Hulegu had already withdrawn. Thus, the Mameluks only met Kedburka’s 25,000 (15,000 Mongols and 10,000 allies) men at Ain Jalut. The heavily outnumbered Mongols lost in a battle that has traditionally been exaggerated symbolize the dramatic halt of Mongol expansion. In truth, it was the death of Mongke Khan that really saved Egypt, much like how the death of Ogedei Khan saved Europe.

Mongke’s death, Civil war and Kublai Khan
The death of Mongke Khan in 1259 was a significant turning point in the history of the empire. In the West, it meant that Hulegu’s campaign was at an end. The political envoironment in the East became unstable, and thus, Hulegu had to settle down to claim his land. Hulegu Khanate in Persia became known as the Il-Khanate. However, there was even more problems. Hulegu’s campaing agaisnt the Caliph bitterly angered the Muslim Khan Berke of the Golden Horde. With throne of the Great Khan in vacancy, unable to regulate peace, civil war erupted between Berke and Hulegu. Interestingly, this civil war also forced Berke to abandon his plans to ravage Europe once more.

In the East, two brothers competed fiercely for the throne of the Great Khan. One year after Mongke Khan’s death in 1259, Kubilai Khan was elected Khakhan in a Khuriltai. Shortly later, his brother, Ariq Boke, was also elected Khakhan at a rivaling Khuriltai. The civil war lasted until 1264 (parallel to the civil war in the west), when Kubilai was victorious over Ariq Boke, thus becoming the undisputed Khakhan. This civil war had an implied meaning. During the war, Kublai Khan based himself in China while Ariq Boke based himself in Karakorum. Kublai Khan’s victory implied that China was becoming more over important to the Empire than Mongolia, symbolizing the sinification of the Mongols in the East.

To the Empire as a whole, these years of the civil war meant an end to cohesion. A bitter divide now existed in the west, and the in the East, the Great Khan became only interested in China. Thus, one may argue that the death of Mongke Khan in 1259 meant the end of the “Mongol Empire”, (although the Mongol Empires would continue to thrive invidually). However, because Kublai Khan later became so great of a ruler, some prefer to have the timeframe of the “Mongol Empire” inclusive until the end of Kublai’s Reign, who did hold nominal power over the other Khanatse.

Kublai Khan The Conquest of the Song
The conquest of the Song Empire, sometimes called the “true” Chinese dynasty as opposed to the Jurchen-established Jin Dynasty, began during Mongke Khan’s reign. The Song Empire was the most formidable and most geographical challenging Empire to conquer due to its tough infastructure and mountainous terrain. While Mongke Khan fought in the north, Kublai Khan (who then had not yet become Khan) took a well-sized force, marched through Tibet, and attacked the Song Empire from the south. His men were eventually depleted, however, and he had to withdraw. However, Mongke Khan was able to pull off a series of success until he fell to disease contacted during war. The death of Mongke Khan and the subsequent civil war between Kublai and Ariq Boke caused a stall in campaigning for four years. In 1268, the Mongols were ready for another major assault. Kublai Khan assembled a large naval force and defeated a Song force of 3000 ships. Following the naval victory was the successful capture of Xiang Yang in 1271, which gave confidence in the war. However, the war could not accelerate to the speed of the previous conquest. Finally in 1272, a Mongol army led by Bayan, a general who served under Hulegu, crossed the Yangtze River and defeated a large Song army. The tide began to clearly favor the Mongols as Bayan then continued a line of victories cumulating in the capturing of the Song capital of Hangzhou after an exhausting siege. The Song royal family, however, was able to escape. The final defeat came in 1279 in the form of a naval battle near Guangzhou, where the last Song Emperor was killed. 1279 marked the date of the Song Dynasty’s end.

Kublai Khan
Victory in China was complete and the “Mongol Empire” enjoyed its time of zenith. However, a lot had changed by now in the lifestyles of the Great Khans. Unlike his grandfather, Kubilai Khan retreated from the harsh life of being a nomad and adopted the confortable life of a Chinese Emperor. As Kublai Khan became more into the Chinese way of life, the Mongol government followed as well. In 1272, seven years before the defeat of the Song, Kublai adopted the Chinese dynastic title of Yuan – taking the traditional path of legitimizing oneself as the rightful ruler of China. Being both the Yuan emperor of China and the Great Khan of the Mongols, the Yuan dynasty and the Mongol Empire are often counted as the same during the reign of Kublai. Besides making his empire Chinese, Kublai moved the Mongol Imperial capital from Karakorum to modern day Beijing. The new capital at Beijing was named Ta-tu. The Mongol Empire experienced another dramatic change – although in a different way. Defying the style of pervious conquests, Kublai launched two naval invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281. Both of these were ill fated and were destroyed by the “Kamikaze” typhoons. Kublai also launched a series of campaigns into southern Asia. In Burma, the Mongols were victorious, but eventually abandoned the campaign. In Vietnam, a temporary Mongol victory was turned around into defeat. A naval expedition to Java was unsuccessful as well, being forced to withdraw. Far more serious was the insurrection of Kaidu, decendent of the Ogedeites, who formed a rebel Khanate in Western Mongolia. Kublai’s reign would not see the end of this civil war

The Mongol Empires c. 1280

Final Collapse of Unity
Despite the few military fiascos taken by Kublai, there is no doubt that Kublai Khan’s reign was the zenith of Mongol rule as a whole. The dominion stretched from China to Mesopotamia to the Danube to the Persian gulf – a size five times that of Alexander’s Empire. Although much of the land suffered great destruction during the conquests, the superior organized Mongol government that followed gradually made this up. Economic activity flourished and trade spread throughout the gigantic empire. Despite the formation of the Khanates in the other sections of the Empire, the authorities of the Great Khan Kublai were recognized in all corners of the Empire. Kublai enjoyed his position as one of the powerful rulers of all time, being Emperor of an Empire that ruled most of the known world. The famed Italian traveler Marco Polo described Kublai as the “greatest lord there will ever be”.

While Kublai Khan was still recognized as the ruler of the Mongols, he himself did not seem to bother with the rest of the Empire outside of his personal dominions. The other Khanates, as well, began to develop a better sense of self-governance. The Mongols lost unity and no longer did they act as a unified government. Of course, this disunity had a long buildup, but once Kublai Khan died, the potentials for disunity finally broke loose. When Kublai Khan died in 1294, his successor would continue to hold the title of “Yuan Emperor”, but there would be no more “Great Khan of the Mongols.” The Mongols discontinued to have a universal ruler and thus, one could say the death of Kublai Khan meant the end of the Mongol Empire. This is somewhat ironic, as the Mongol Empire ended immediately after its golden age. Although the Mongol Empire had eased to exist as a whole, Mongol power remained in the form of the various independent Khanates:

The Five Khanates

The Empires
The Yuan Dynasty in the Far East (also the Khanate of the Great Khan Kublai) continued their rule in China. However, after Kublai, there were no skilled rulers. A series of internal strife followed by natural disasters triggered a major rebellion. In 1368, the Yuan dynasty overthrown and was replaced by the Ming Dynasty under the rule of Ming Hong-wu.

20120322-131902.jpg
The Il-Khanate of Persia (founded by Hulagu in 1260) did not fare so well at start, struggling with the economy and another embarrassing defeats by the Mameluks. However, under Ghaza Il-Khan, the Il-Khanate regained military superiority and began an economical surge that continued until the reign of Abu Sa’id, where during his rule, Persia enjoyed a great deal of Prosperity. However, Abu Sa’id did not have a successor, in 1335, the Il-Khanate received the same irony as the Mongol Empire -collapsing immediately after its golden age. The lands of the Il-Khanate were eventually reunited under Timer Lenk (Tamerlane) into the “Timurid” Empire.

The Blue Horde in Russia enjoyed a period of fairly good economic activity. The Khanate allied with the Mameluks and officially turned Muslim during the reign of Ozbeg Khan. But similar to the Il-Khanate, the line of Blue Horde Khans eventually came to a no successor situation in the mid 14th century. The Blue Horde collapse and fell into anarchy. It was later reunited as the Golden Horde but fell once again became fractured. This story, however, is too complex to pursue here. It should be noted that this area of the Mongol Empire is commonly a source of confusion. Often times, the entire western quarter of the Mongol Empires is named “Golden Horde.” In actuality, while the western sections, including the “White Horde” did have some type of coalition with one another, they were really separate entities until the later unification by Toktamish Khan. There are also more than one names that refer to this region of the Mongol dominion, with the “Kipchak” Khanate another name. The term “Golden Horde” appears in contemporary sources such as the account of Carpini, who uses the term “Aurea Orda” (Golden Horde).

The Chaghadai Khanate grew directly out of the ulus inherited by Chingis’s son Chaghadai. The Chaghadai grew steadily until the rise of Tamerlane, which destroyed its power. After Tamerlane’s death, the Khanate remained as a minor state until the Qing Dynasty of China annexed it in the 18th century.

Legacy of the Mongol Conquests
One may see the Mongol Empire as a gigantic political force, bringing almost the entire continent of Asia under the control of one Great Khan. The Mongol government was a superior one, and thus the whole continent became interconnected. During the Mongol Empire, one was guaranteed safety in travel throughout the entire empire. Thus, the Empire created a huge economical boom and a great exchange of culture and knowledge throughout the entire world. As a result of the Mongol conquests, the Silk Road was reopened and the route from Europe to Asia was no longer thought to be impassable. A great deal of knowledge reached Europe, including art, science, and gunpowder; which greatly contributed in bringing Western Europe out of the dark ages. Likewise, in Asia, we saw an exchange of ideas between Persia and China.

The Mongols obviously had a direct on the political situation of the world. China was once again united under a single ruler. Russia was separated from the rest of Europe, but was no longer a disunited feudalistic society. The Mongols ended the short-lived Kwarezmian Empire, and brought the fall of the Abbasid Caliph and dealt a great blow to Islamic culture. Although the Mongols did indeed bring a huge list of deaths and destruction, the economical boom that followed is obviously something not to be overlooked. One of the only ones that clearly did not benefit from Mongol conquest was Poland and Hungary, and that was because the Mongols withdrew and did not set up a revitalizing government. In conclusion, the Mongol Empire is one of great significance; for the better or worse of the world, it is not one that is to be forgotten.

Today the Mongols and their great leaders are sometimes remembered in two different: as valiant heroes who conquered vast lands against all odds to build a mighty empire or as ruthless conquerors who destroyed everything in their path. The latter is particularly interesting because it is probably more of a natural consequence of the sheer extent of the Mongol conquests rather than the actual creulty of the Mongols since conquerors like Caesar or Alexander the Great were just as cruel as Chingis Khan. Furthermore, the Mongols did not destroy everything in their path. In the end, civilization was rebuilt and benefited greatly from the newly established global economy. In any case, the Mongols should be remembered as a significant player in world history. The significance of their conquests surpasses what any history article can describe…

20120322-131956.jpgMongke’s death, Civil war and Kublai Khan
The death of Mongke Khan in 1259 was a significant turning point in the history of the empire. In the West, it meant that Hulegu’s campaign was at an end. The political envoironment in the East became unstable, and thus, Hulegu had to settle down to claim his land. Hulegu Khanate in Persia became known as the Il-Khanate. However, there was even more problems. Hulegu’s campaing agaisnt the Caliph bitterly angered the Muslim Khan Berke of the Golden Horde. With throne of the Great Khan in vacancy, unable to regulate peace, civil war erupted between Berke and Hulegu. Interestingly, this civil war also forced Berke to abandon his plans to ravage Europe once more.

In the East, two brothers competed fiercely for the throne of the Great Khan. One year after Mongke Khan’s death in 1259, Kubilai Khan was elected Khakhan in a Khuriltai. Shortly later, his brother, Ariq Boke, was also elected Khakhan at a rivaling Khuriltai. The civil war lasted until 1264 (parallel to the civil war in the west), when Kubilai was victorious over Ariq Boke, thus becoming the undisputed Khakhan. This civil war had an implied meaning. During the war, Kublai Khan based himself in China while Ariq Boke based himself in Karakorum. Kublai Khan’s victory implied that China was becoming more over important to the Empire than Mongolia, symbolizing the sinification of the Mongols in the East.

To the Empire as a whole, these years of the civil war meant an end to cohesion. A bitter divide now existed in the west, and the in the East, the Great Khan became only interested in China. Thus, one may argue that the death of Mongke Khan in 1259 meant the end of the “Mongol Empire”, (although the Mongol Empires would continue to thrive invidually). However, because Kublai Khan later became so great of a ruler, some prefer to have the timeframe of the “Mongol Empire” inclusive until the end of Kublai’s Reign, who did hold nominal power over the other Khanatse.

Kublai Khan The Conquest of the Song
The conquest of the Song Empire, sometimes called the “true” Chinese dynasty as opposed to the Jurchen-established Jin Dynasty, began during Mongke Khan’s reign. The Song Empire was the most formidable and most geographical challenging Empire to conquer due to its tough infastructure and mountainous terrain. While Mongke Khan fought in the north, Kublai Khan (who then had not yet become Khan) took a well-sized force, marched through Tibet, and attacked the Song Empire from the south. His men were eventually depleted, however, and he had to withdraw. However, Mongke Khan was able to pull off a series of success until he fell to disease contacted during war. The death of Mongke Khan and the subsequent civil war between Kublai and Ariq Boke caused a stall in campaigning for four years. In 1268, the Mongols were ready for another major assault. Kublai Khan assembled a large naval force and defeated a Song force of 3000 ships. Following the naval victory was the successful capture of Xiang Yang in 1271, which gave confidence in the war. However, the war could not accelerate to the speed of the previous conquest. Finally in 1272, a Mongol army led by Bayan, a general who served under Hulegu, crossed the Yangtze River and defeated a large Song army. The tide began to clearly favor the Mongols as Bayan then continued a line of victories cumulating in the capturing of the Song capital of Hangzhou after an exhausting siege. The Song royal family, however, was able to escape. The final defeat came in 1279 in the form of a naval battle near Guangzhou, where the last Song Emperor was killed. 1279 marked the date of the Song Dynasty’s end.

Kublai Khan
Victory in China was complete and the “Mongol Empire” enjoyed its time of zenith. However, a lot had changed by now in the lifestyles of the Great Khans. Unlike his grandfather, Kubilai Khan retreated from the harsh life of being a nomad and adopted the confortable life of a Chinese Emperor. As Kublai Khan became more into the Chinese way of life, the Mongol government followed as well. In 1272, seven years before the defeat of the Song, Kublai adopted the Chinese dynastic title of Yuan – taking the traditional path of legitimizing oneself as the rightful ruler of China. Being both the Yuan emperor of China and the Great Khan of the Mongols, the Yuan dynasty and the Mongol Empire are often counted as the same during the reign of Kublai. Besides making his empire Chinese, Kublai moved the Mongol Imperial capital from Karakorum to modern day Beijing. The new capital at Beijing was named Ta-tu. The Mongol Empire experienced another dramatic change – although in a different way. Defying the style of pervious conquests, Kublai launched two naval invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281. Both of these were ill fated and were destroyed by the “Kamikaze” typhoons. Kublai also launched a series of campaigns into southern Asia. In Burma, the Mongols were victorious, but eventually abandoned the campaign. In Vietnam, a temporary Mongol victory was turned around into defeat. A naval expedition to Java was unsuccessful as well, being forced to withdraw. Far more serious was the insurrection of Kaidu, decendent of the Ogedeites, who formed a rebel Khanate in Western Mongolia. Kublai’s reign would not see the end of this civil war

The Mongol Empires c. 1280

Final Collapse of Unity
Despite the few military fiascos taken by Kublai, there is no doubt that Kublai Khan’s reign was the zenith of Mongol rule as a whole. The dominion stretched from China to Mesopotamia to the Danube to the Persian gulf – a size five times that of Alexander’s Empire. Although much of the land suffered great destruction during the conquests, the superior organized Mongol government that followed gradually made this up. Economic activity flourished and trade spread throughout the gigantic empire. Despite the formation of the Khanates in the other sections of the Empire, the authorities of the Great Khan Kublai were recognized in all corners of the Empire. Kublai enjoyed his position as one of the powerful rulers of all time, being Emperor of an Empire that ruled most of the known world. The famed Italian traveler Marco Polo described Kublai as the “greatest lord there will ever be”.

While Kublai Khan was still recognized as the ruler of the Mongols, he himself did not seem to bother with the rest of the Empire outside of his personal dominions. The other Khanates, as well, began to develop a better sense of self-governance. The Mongols lost unity and no longer did they act as a unified government. Of course, this disunity had a long buildup, but once Kublai Khan died, the potentials for disunity finally broke loose. When Kublai Khan died in 1294, his successor would continue to hold the title of “Yuan Emperor”, but there would be no more “Great Khan of the Mongols.” The Mongols discontinued to have a universal ruler and thus, one could say the death of Kublai Khan meant the end of the Mongol Empire. This is somewhat ironic, as the Mongol Empire ended immediately after its golden age. Although the Mongol Empire had eased to exist as a whole, Mongol power remained in the form of the various independent Khanates:

The Five Khanates

The Empires
The Yuan Dynasty in the Far East (also the Khanate of the Great Khan Kublai) continued their rule in China. However, after Kublai, there were no skilled rulers. A series of internal strife followed by natural disasters triggered a major rebellion. In 1368, the Yuan dynasty overthrown and was replaced by the Ming Dynasty under the rule of Ming Hong-wu.

The Il-Khanate of Persia (founded by Hulagu in 1260) did not fare so well at start, struggling with the economy and another embarrassing defeats by the Mameluks. However, under Ghaza Il-Khan, the Il-Khanate regained military superiority and began an economical surge that continued until the reign of Abu Sa’id, where during his rule, Persia enjoyed a great deal of Prosperity. However, Abu Sa’id did not have a successor, in 1335, the Il-Khanate received the same irony as the Mongol Empire -collapsing immediately after its golden age. The lands of the Il-Khanate were eventually reunited under Timer Lenk (Tamerlane) into the “Timurid” Empire.

The Blue Horde in Russia enjoyed a period of fairly good economic activity. The Khanate allied with the Mameluks and officially turned Muslim during the reign of Ozbeg Khan. But similar to the Il-Khanate, the line of Blue Horde Khans eventually came to a no successor situation in the mid 14th century. The Blue Horde collapse and fell into anarchy. It was later reunited as the Golden Horde but fell once again became fractured. This story, however, is too complex to pursue here. It should be noted that this area of the Mongol Empire is commonly a source of confusion. Often times, the entire western quarter of the Mongol Empires is named “Golden Horde.” In actuality, while the western sections, including the “White Horde” did have some type of coalition with one another, they were really separate entities until the later unification by Toktamish Khan. There are also more than one names that refer to this region of the Mongol dominion, with the “Kipchak” Khanate another name. The term “Golden Horde” appears in contemporary sources such as the account of Carpini, who uses the term “Aurea Orda” (Golden Horde).

The Chaghadai Khanate grew directly out of the ulus inherited by Chingis’s son Chaghadai. The Chaghadai grew steadily until the rise of Tamerlane, which destroyed its power. After Tamerlane’s death, the Khanate remained as a minor state until the Qing Dynasty of China annexed it in the 18th century.

Legacy of the Mongol Conquests
One may see the Mongol Empire as a gigantic political force, bringing almost the entire continent of Asia under the control of one Great Khan. The Mongol government was a superior one, and thus the whole continent became interconnected. During the Mongol Empire, one was guaranteed safety in travel throughout the entire empire. Thus, the Empire created a huge economical boom and a great exchange of culture and knowledge throughout the entire world. As a result of the Mongol conquests, the Silk Road was reopened and the route from Europe to Asia was no longer thought to be impassable. A great deal of knowledge reached Europe, including art, science, and gunpowder; which greatly contributed in bringing Western Europe out of the dark ages. Likewise, in Asia, we saw an exchange of ideas between Persia and China.

The Mongols obviously had a direct on the political situation of the world. China was once again united under a single ruler. Russia was separated from the rest of Europe, but was no longer a disunited feudalistic society. The Mongols ended the short-lived Kwarezmian Empire, and brought the fall of the Abbasid Caliph and dealt a great blow to Islamic culture. Although the Mongols did indeed bring a huge list of deaths and destruction, the economical boom that followed is obviously something not to be overlooked. One of the only ones that clearly did not benefit from Mongol conquest was Poland and Hungary, and that was because the Mongols withdrew and did not set up a revitalizing government. In conclusion, the Mongol Empire is one of great significance; for the better or worse of the world, it is not one that is to be forgotten.

Today the Mongols and their great leaders are sometimes remembered in two different: as valiant heroes who conquered vast lands against all odds to build a mighty empire or as ruthless conquerors who destroyed everything in their path. The latter is particularly interesting because it is probably more of a natural consequence of the sheer extent of the Mongol conquests rather than the actual creulty of the Mongols since conquerors like Caesar or Alexander the Great were just as cruel as Chingis Khan. Furthermore, the Mongols did not destroy everything in their path. In the end, civilization was rebuilt and benefited greatly from the newly established global economy. In any case, the Mongols should be remembered as a significant player in world history. The significance of their conquests surpasses what any history article can describe…

List of Great Khans

1206-1227 Chingis / Genghis Khan
1229-1241Ogedei Khan (Khakhan) – Son of Chingis
1246-1248 Guyuk Khan (Khakhan) – Son of Ogedei
1251-1259 Mongke / Mengku Khan (Khakhan) – Cousin of Ogedei

After the death of Mongke, in 1260, two Khakhans were elected by rivaling Khuriltais (assemblies): Ariq-Boke (brother of Kubiliai), who ruled from Karakorum, and Kubilai, who ruled from China. Kubilai defeated Ariq-Boke in 1264 to secure sole leadership.

1264-1294 Kubilai Khan (Khakhan) – Brother of Kubilai

No ruler was elected after Kubilai
*Khakhan (also Kaghan, Haqan, meaning “Khan of Khans”): Title used by Khans of the greatest steppe Empires, including the Mongol Empire. This title was officially used by all Khans of the Mongol Empire except for Chingis Khan.

Regents (Temporary rulers) during the election interludes

1227-1229 Tolui – Son of Chingis, Father of Kubilai and Mongke
1241-1246 Toregene Khatun – Wife of Ogedei, mother of Guyuk
1248-1251 Oghul Ghaymish

Chronology
1167? Brith of Temujin (Genghis/Chingis Khan)
1206. The great Khuriltai (assembly) of
1206. Temujin takes the title of “Chingis Khan”
1209-10. Campaign against the Xi Xia.
1211, 1213, 1215. Campaigns against the Jin Empire.
1214. Mongols lay siege to the Jin capital of Zhongdu (modern day Beijing), which falls in
1215. Areas north of the Huang He becomes under Mongol control. Jin capital is moved south to Kai-feng.
1218. Conquest of the Kara Kitai. Mongols raid Korea.
1220. Mongol caravan and ambassadors are murdered by the Khwarazmians. War against Khwarazm (Persia) begins. Capture of Bokhara and Samarkand.
1221. Subedei begins expedition around the Caspian Sea and into Russia.Jalal ad-Din rises in Persia and challenges the Mongols. Jalal ad-Din defeated at the battle of Indus. War with the Kwarazmian Empire concludes.
1226. Final campaign against the Xia Xia.
1227. Genghis Khan dies. War with the Xi Xia concludes.
1228. Ogedei Khan ascends throne and becomes Khakhan (Great Khan)
1235. First serious invasion of Korea.
1234. War against the Jin Empire concludes.
1235. Construction of Karakorum, Mongol imperial capital
1237. Batu Khan and Subedei begin the conquest of Russia.
1241. War in Korea concludes
1241. Batu Khan and Subedei invades and conquers Poland and Hungary. Defeat of the Europeans at Liegnitz and Sajo River. Death of Ogedei Khan
1242. Upon hearing the death of Ogedei Khan, Batu khan withdraws from Europe to secure his conquests in Russia. Political establishment of the Golden Horde Khanate, with Batu as its first Khan.
1246-8. Reign of Guyuk Khan
1251. Election of Mongke Khan as Khakhan.
1252. Invasion of the Sung Empire of south China begins.
1253. Hulegu begins his campaign into the Middle East.
1258. Hulegu captures Baghdad. Death of the last Abassid Caliph.
1259. Death of Mongke Khan.
1260. Hulegu withdraws from Syria upon hearing the death of Mongke, saving the Muslims from further invasion. A minor force left behind is defeated by the Mameluks at Ain Jalut. Hulegu settles in Persia and creates the Il-Khanate, with him becoming the first Il-Khan.
1260. Disagreement on succession of the Mongol throne leads to civil war between the two candidates, Kubilai and Ariq-boke.
1264. Kubilai is victorious over Ariq-boke, becomes Khakhan.
1266. Kubilai builds a new imperial capital at Tatu (modern day Beijing)
1271. Journey of Marco Polo begins.
1272. Kubilai adopts the Chinese dynastic title of Yuan. Kubilai becomes both the Khakhan of the Mongol Empire and the “Yuan Emperor” of China.
1274. First invasion of Japan. The fleet is destroyed in a storm.
1276. Hangzhou, capital of the Sung Empire, falls to the Mongols.
1277-8. Mongols invade Burma, installs a puppet government.
1279. Death of the last Sung emperor during a naval battle.
1294. Death of Kubilai. The Yuan dynasty continues but the Mongol Empire ceased to have a Khakhan. In name, the Mongol Empire ends, as it fractures into four clearly distinct kingdoms.
1335. Death of Abu Sa’id. The Il-khanate failed to produce a successor and becomes fractured. The Il-khanate ends.
1359. As with the Il-khanate, the line of rules of the Golden Horde ended and the khanate failed to produce a successor. The Golden Horde becomes more of a puppet government.
1330. Timur Lenk (Tamerlane) is born in Samarkand. Reunites Persia and defeats both the Russians and the Golden Horde. Builds the so-called Timurid Empire.
1368. Yuan rule in China ends.
1370. Death in Karakorum of Toghon Temur, last Yuan emperor.
1405. Timur Lenk (Tamerlane) dies. The Timurid Empire, referred to as the last great nomadic power, ends. Persia and the Golden Horde are again without a clear ruler. The Golden Horde fractures and becomes separate states.
1502. The Russians overthrow Mongol rule in Russia

The Mongol War Machine – an Overview

The Mongol (or Turkish-Mongol, actually) army was probably the most disciplined, well led, and effective fighting force ever until well into the age of gunpowder. Being “hunters all their lives,” steppe nomads were masters of the horsemanship and were deadly with their composite bow. Unlike Roman Legionnaires or hoplites who had to be trained in camps or academies, nomadic warriors were already skilled warriors. Nomadic warriors were well renown for their horse archers, being able to hit targets accurately while galloping on the horse. But the “Mongol” army was not merely a steppe army.

When Chingis Khan rose to power, he set a standard of organization, discipline, equipment, and most all the mentality to fight as a group. Chingis organized his army into a decimal system, with a commander for every series of 10 units elected by the troops. Military tactics were rehearsed well in preparation and each warrior was expected to know precisely what to do from the signals of the commanders, which took form in flaming arrows, drums, and banners. The Mongol horde had extremely high discipline. Failure to maintain equipment, and desertion in battle were punishable by death. The combination of skill, discipline, tactics, and some of the most brilliant commanders in history shocked all who fought against them. When the western knights fought the Mongol horsemen, they were utterly destroyed, unable to match the Mongol horde in any category. On the battlefield, the Mongols were capable of a wide array of tricks. Being an army of entirely cavalry, the Mongols could easily dictate the positional flow of the battle, particularly feigned retreats, which could easily fool an enemy into a foolish charge, and encirclement, which is difficult for the enemy to uphold due to the speed and cavalry strength of the Mongols.

Siege machines and gunpowder learned from the Chinese and Persians played an important role in the horde. Besides their use in sieges, siege weapons were widely deployed on the battlefield. The Mongols mastered the use of quick assemble catapults that could be transported on horseback and assembled on the battlefield. Learned from the Chinese, the Mongols developed gunpowder weapons such as smoke grenades (used to hide movement) and firebombs. Both of these contributed to the Mongol success in the invasion of Europe. The Mongol’s acceptance and adaptations to such new methods meant that they were not only an army of the most traditionally skilled warriors, but also an army with the best technology the world has to offer.

20120322-132307.jpg
Mongol Trebuchet. The Mongols originally had no knowlege of Siege warfare, but later became masters of it through careful acceptance of new technologies

20120322-132427.jpg

20120320-014944.jpg
You might hear all kind of stories but this is the real truth story …The shoalin founder was Bodhi dharm an Indian ,the historical progress of VEDIC civilization the creation of a methodical strategy for the art of self-defense evolved in to a systematic form and was religiously nourished by the warriors of the ancient India – the mother land of Martial Arts. The ‘Kshatriyas’ lead the way to the sparkling rays of the golden heritage of oldest of all arts, the art of self-defence and survival. Basically Martial Arts transforms human basic instinct to a science and that happened in every culture since antiquity and still taking place even today all over the world – but in different changed scale. Literally in the all field of knowledge and culture, even in the vital field like education India (*present sub-continent) pointed the finger to the rest of the world by establishing World’s first two Universities named NALANDA and TAKSASHILA.

20120320-015124.jpg
To confirm the history as an educated civilization developed many a unique blessings like mathematical term ZERO, Yoga, Chess etc for the mankind. Bodhi dharma was born on Oct. 5th. (Chinese Lunar Calendar) in Southern India, A member of the Kshatriya or warrior caste, Bodhidharma, the third prince of King Sugandha in the Conjeeveram, also known as Kanchipuram province, south of Madras and capital of the Southern Indian kingdom of Pallava, played a pioneer role in the root and history of Martial Arts. He had his childhood in Kanchipuram and became one of the most brilliant students of the Vedas, Siddha medicine, meditation and philosophy. When he reached the age of twenty-three as a prince he could directly access different experts and perfected the art of unarmed combat from his Gurus as well. He was also instructed by the 27th patriarch of Buddhism, Prajnatara from Magadha. As he absorbed the truth of Buddhism he decided to become a monk.

20120320-015314.jpg
Bodhidharma spontaneously progressed in his Buddhist studies and soon became enlightened. Later according to his master‘s wish he started his journey to china …Not only that is was learn to special power to control people mind too….After years pass… … Without knowing what is the purpose to there (china) so he prepare while he is leaving .. he gave his parents a book of his which explain about medicine and science on human bodies… So he traveled to eastern part of China in 1600years By horse to Nan’an (Fujian).

Before he reach there to nan’an village… There were 3 wise men in village …who is something like a fortune teller who predict a danger is coming a head for their people and village…

It takes 3years for Bodhi dharma to reach there after passing those jungle and rivers… he finally reach to the Nan’an… The villagers in Nan’an look at him one kind… He is different kind of them and he look like a monk… they think he might be a evil force and the danger that they predicted might come by him … so they chase him from the village … So he just smiled and went off to the nearest mountain where a cave is … So he live there …

After few months … A unknown disease came to the china … Which a virus that spread all around the body and kills … The first victim was a small girl … So villager decide to keep her away from spreading others ..So they tie the small girl up and wrap around her body with cloths like a mummy …the girl mother cried not to damp her but ,the whole village is very strong with their decision .. so she had no choice … They damp the girl in a cave where bodhi dharma lived …

Bodhi dharma took the girl to his care and he know the cure for it.. he went out to collect and search for some herbs … And he apply them on the small girl.
After few days the girl fully recovered … But the villagers already infected by the virus … One by one were dying …. Than Bodhi dharma bring the girl to her mother … She feel so happy she fall on bodhi dharma’s legs … The whole village was cured by bodhi dharma …every one loved him and ask him to stay in their village but bodhi dharman prefer to stay in the cave …
after the disease cleared.
Another danger came by the form of humans… Another kingdom troops sudden attack the village … Many of them were killed … Bodhi dharma came on time …to save the villagers..
The villagers only know him as herbs doctor but they never seen him get angry before and his other skills … The troop start to fire arrows at him. he block all the arrows by his long wood stick … And the troops attack him by knifes and axe he use his kung Fu to defense and attack … But too many of them … So he use his special power of wind attack …. The troop scared can’t attack him easily, one of the troops member, take a small boy threaten to kill him and ask him to turn back but he use his last resort skill the mind control… He look into the leader of the troops eyes … Than he chop his own man at the back who was holding the boy by an axe … Than Bodhi dharma look into another guys eyes that guy chop the leader … Than All the troops chop each other … And some run away to save their life from each other …

20120320-015922.jpg
The whole village never seen such a powerful and martial art skill in a person before, all of them thank him and request to learn his skills …this is where the shoalin became famous the whole village were trained by bodhi dharma …
Bodhi dharma were given another name by chinese “dhar-mo”

After he teach the Chinese the kung Fu
He when back the cave for meditation for 9 years infront of him a patch take shape of him … Some people believe him as second reborn of Buddha.

Bodhi dharma felt the whole village is now out of danger so he decide to return to his motherland (India) . But the villagers again ..did a mistake … By poisoning Bodhi dharma’s food … When he hold the bowl he knows what is mixed in his food.. so he ask them why ?… They replied if he died in their land , their country will be free from disease .. And his sole will protect upcoming generations… So Bodhi dharma accept their request and eat the poisoned food … After he died… They buried him… And build temple for him and pray him as god …

20120320-020024.jpg

20120320-020057.jpg

Posted: March 19, 2012 in fact, history

Satay burger

Posted: February 26, 2012 in sharing

20120226-210309.jpg

I went to Blk 929 tampines st 81 coffee shop….the whole coffee shop sell halal foods… I came a cross the food store, call D.fizz Western Delight … They were selling Satay burger..for $3.00. So I order it since it’s unique …. But not bad for the taste out of 5 stars ,I give 3.5 stars … Ok lah worthy….

20120226-210356.jpg

Chikilidae

Posted: February 26, 2012 in sharing

Chikilidae is the family of Indian caecilians, and the 10th and most recent (2012) caecilian family to be identified, though the single included nominal species, Chikila fulleri, was first described in 1904.[1] The discovery that this was a separate lineage resulted from genetic analyses of specimens collected during about 250 soil-digging expeditions over five years that covered every Northeast Indian state.[2] They grow to about 4 inches (10 cm).[3]

Chikilidae eggs hatch into adult caecilians, with no larval stage in between. The females incubate their young for several months without eating; the mothers stay wrapped around their developing eggs for 2-3 months at a time, apparently not eating at all during this period. Their eyesight is very limited and their skulls adapted for burrowing.[2]

Until this discovery, there were only nine known families of legless amphibians, also called caecilians, found across the wet tropical regions of Southeast Asia, India, Sri Lanka, parts of East and West Africa, the Seychelles, and northern and eastern parts of South America. From morphological and DNA analyses, the researchers concluded that the new family had evolved independent of other species of caecilians starting from the time of the dinosaurs. Its presumed closest relatives now live in Africa.

A team of biologists led by University of Delhi herpetologist Sathyabhama Das Biju described the family from species in northeastern India, apparently endemic to the region but originating from prehistoric Africa.[4]

20120226-180916.jpg

Fact on Pluto

Posted: February 18, 2012 in fact, sharing

Pluto isn’t a planet any more, but it’s still a very interesting “dwarf planet” in the Solar System, worthy of our fascination and interest. Here are 10 interesting facts on Pluto. Some you might already know, and others will be completely new.

1. Pluto has an atmosphere
Even though Pluto’s average temperature averages a mere 44 degrees above absolute zero, the dwarf planet has an atmosphere. Not an atmosphere as we know it, but an atmosphere, none the less.

It was first discovered back in 1985, when astronomers watched as Pluto passed in front of a star. They were able to calculate a slight dimming as its atmosphere passed in front of the star, before Pluto itself blocked the star entirely. From those observations, they were able to calculate that it has a thin envelope of nitrogen, methane and carbon dioxide.

As Pluto moves away from the Sun, this atmosphere gets so cold that it freezes onto the surface. And then as the dwarf planet warms again, the atmosphere evaporates again, forming a gas around it.

20120218-232054.jpg
2. Pluto has 3 moons
You might have heard that Pluto has a large moon called Charon (more on that later), but did you know that it actually has 3 moons in total. Charon is the large one, with a mass of roughly half that of Pluto’s.

Two additional moons, Nix and Hydra, were discovered by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope on May 15, 2005. They were originally called S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2, and then given their final names on June 21, 2006.

They took a long time to discover because they’re so tiny. Nix is only 46 km across, while Hydra is 61 km across.

3. Pluto hasn’t cleared out its orbit
Although Pluto orbits the Sun and it’s round, it’s not a planet. And that’s because Pluto hasn’t cleared out its orbit of material. This was the reason that the International Astronomical Union chose to demote it from planet to dwarf planet in 2006.

Just to give you an idea, if you added up the mass of all the other objects in Pluto’s orbit, Pluto’s mass would only be a tiny fraction of that total. In fact, it would only be 0.07 times as massive as everything else. For comparison, if you did the same thing with all the other material in the Earth’s orbit, our planet would be 1.5 million times as massive.

And that’s why Pluto’s not a planet.

4. Pluto is actually a binary system
You’d think that Charon orbits Pluto, but actually, Pluto and Charon orbit a common point in space. In the case of the Earth and the Moon, we actually orbit a common point, but that spot exists inside the Earth. In the case of Pluto and Charon, however, that common point is above the surface of Pluto.

Before Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet, astronomers were thinking of classifying it as a binary planet system. And then as a binary dwarf planet system. Perhaps that will help it recover some of its lost glory.

20120218-232149.jpg
5. Pluto is named after a god, not a dog
If you think Pluto is named after a Disney character, you’re wrong. It’s actually named after the Roman god of the underworld. And Charon is the ferryman who carries souls across the river Styx.

When it was first discovered, Pluto was just given the name Planet X, but then the discoverers needed to come up with something better and more permanent. The name Pluto was suggested by Venetia Burney, an 11-year old school girl in oxford, England. She thought it was a good name for such a cold, dark world.It was passed along to the discoverers and they liked it enough to make it official.

6. Pluto can be closer than Neptune.
For most of its orbit, Pluto is more distant than Neptune, reaching out as far as 49 astronomical units (49 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun). But it has such an eccentric, elliptical orbit that it gets much closer, reaching a mere 29 AU. And during that time, it’s actually orbiting within the orbit of Neptune. The last time Pluto and Neptune made this switch was between February 7, 1979 and February 11, 1999. And give it another couple of hundred years and it’ll happen again.

7. Pluto is smaller than any planet, and even 7 moons
Pluto is small. How small? Astronomers recently calculated that its mass is 1.31 x 1022 kg (less than 0.24% the mass of Earth). And its diameter is only 2,390 km across.

At this point, it’s smaller than Mercury, and seven other moons including: Ganymede, Titan, Callisto, Io, Earth’s Moon, Europa, and Triton.

And now astronomers know that it’s even smaller than the recently discovered dwarf planet Eris. Here’s more information about how big Pluto is.

20120218-232338.jpg
8. If it were closer to the Sun, Pluto would be a comet
Although this isn’t officially a reason for losing its planet status, Pluto wouldn’t last long if it got much closer to the Sun. It’s comprised of about half rock and half ice. This is a similar ratio to many rocky comets in the Solar System.

If you could somehow bring Pluto closer to the Sun, it would sprout a tail, becoming a spectacular comet. And over millions of years, the solar wind would blast away its icy structure, causing it to lose mass.

It’s lucky Pluto lives in such a cold, dark part of the Solar System.

9. Charon might have geysers
In the last few years, astronomers have discovered that several objects in the Solar System have ice geysers, including Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and maybe several others as well. But Pluto’s moon Charon could have this happening too.

Astronomers using the Gemini Observatory in Mauna Kea in Hawaii recently turned up evidence that geysers on Charon are spreading ammonia hydrates and water crystals across the surface of the moon.

Is this really happening? We’ll know soon, because… here’s the last Pluto fact.

10. There’s a spacecraft going to Pluto right now
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is making its way to Pluto right now. The spacecraft launched in 2005, and its expected to reach the dwarf planet in 2015. It will pass right through the system, imaging the surface of Pluto and its moons, and finally answering questions that have puzzled astronomers for nearly a hundred years.

20120218-233407.jpg

20120218-233438.jpg

Wolf Spiders biologically known as Lycosa godeffroyi is the most common spider found easily in the gardens and homes. The wolf spiders got they from wolf because they catch the pray the same way. They do not make a web for themselves and live on the ground.

The common characteristics of the wolf spider are that they are of about one to two inches of length. They are quite brisk and rush quickly on the ground. When it comes to the color of the wolf spider the males are found to be darker than females that have distinguished marks. The wolf spiders have eight legs; males have an extra pair near the mouth to hold sperms. They have eight pairs of eyes; four pairs of small eyes to help them see in the night, two pairs of big eyes to look in front and two pairs of medium sized eyes placed on the top to see upwards. At the back of their eyes a disc is located that enables them to see at night.

When it comes to hunting the wolf spiders either stalk their prey or attack them suddenly. They learn of their prey through their movement on the ground or the buzzing of their wings. They eat varieties of insects but are fond of crickets, cockroaches, grasshoppers and houseflies.

Female spider carries almost hundred of eggs in a sac and exposes them to sunlight also. When the eggs hatch the spider lings catch a hair on the mother’s body and stay this way for a week and then disperse.

The wolf spiders do not attack unless provoked. Their bites are not dangerous but at times it causes swellings, irritations, nausea and headache

20120218-225342.jpg

Posted: February 18, 2012 in sharing