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Change Over Time Essay

The interaction between nomadic and settled peoples has always influenced world history. However, even given this fact, it would be extremely hard for one to imagine that a small nomadic tribe from Mongolia could establish the largest empire ever. Dominating throughout almost the whole region of Eurasia, the Mongols influenced their territories on all levels. Even though the Mongolian Empire constantly expanded conquering all kinds of different territories in a frame from 1206 to1368, it had many more significant political and cultural continuations than changes, continuations lasting even till this day.

The cultural and political aspects of the Mongolian Empire underwent a few changes. Mongolians began as nomadic horseman, who travelled light and quick. Over time, however, the Mongols began settling in their conquered lands and abandoning their kinsmen. Mongols lived under localism by accepting local culture and identity, local production and consumption of goods, and local control of the government. For instance, the Yuan dynasty was established by the Mongols. Kublai Khan (grandson of Genghis Khan) became the first Yuan emperor in 1271. The Mongol followers progressively adopted Chinese culture and customs; in the middle of the dynasty (in the 1250s), they were already indistinguishable from Chinese in terms of cultural behaviour.

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Mongols brought some political changes into the territories their conquered. For example, the Mongols swept through Russia all the way to Kyiv (at the time one of the most important cities in Russia). They viciously destroyed many important cities such as Novgorod and ruled over a split Russia (3 parts). Mongols kept Russia isolated for over 3 centuries, and this significantly delayed Russian development. Nowadays, Mongolian culture can still be sensed in Russia. There is barely any museum in Russia that wouldn’t contain a piece of Mongolian art. The most famous Russian museum, Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow, contains a famous portrait of a common Mongolian man drawn by an unknown artist. The clothes that many tsars wore were patterned in Mongol style. Even Peter the Great’s most famous portrait in the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts displays him in a dress of this sort of style.

Perhaps if Mongols’ fleets were not mostly destroyed, they would have brought changes to Japan as well. The Mongols would have eventually done a lot of damage to large areas of Japan causing the delay in progress but would have also shared their culture. A huge part of the cultural and political aspects of the Mongolian Empire stayed the same throughout its rule. The process of trade and political rule were some of the continuities. The Mongol expansion throughout the Asian continent from around 700 to 1200 helped in bringing political stability and re-establishing the Silk Road trade. With rare exceptions such as Marco Polo or Christian missionaries such as William of Rubruck, few Europeans travelled the entire length of the Silk Road prior to the Mongol rule. Quite a number of merchants did not make it through the Silk Road because of bandit groups or lack of needed materials. Thus traders moved products much like a bucket brigade, with luxury goods being traded from one middleman to another, from China to the West, and resulting in high prices for the goods.

For instance, Chinese medical bamboo species were worth more than the family’s monthly income in Persia. However, with the Mongols in power, trade through the Silk Road became much safer and more feasible. To achieve this, Mongols established merchant associations, known as Orton. Merchants travelled in groups of 70 to 100 men on each mission, scaring away the bandits and having all the necessary supplies (including camels, horses, and so on) for a lengthy period of time. Thus the Mongols specifically promoted the caravan trade over long distances and encouraged cultural diffusion that came with it. Orton associations became a cultural part of the Mongolian Empire, lasting as long as the Empire itself, and beyond. Politically, the Mongols were always bad at running a large, civilized, country or territory. They significantly lacked organization. The Khans were great leaders but unfortunately only in the military sense of the term.

Genghis Khan had been a pastoral nomad his entire life. When he became a ruler of a thriving empire he had no idea about how to run things and probably didn’t realize the importance of a strong government. The future Khans also created a mess in the government. In China, the Mongols didn’t trust the Chinese, so they got a lot of foreign peoples to come and do the governing. They also dismantled the Chinese traditional Confucian way of government. In Persia, the Mongols took the highest positions of government but still gave the lower government positions to Persians. In general, the Mongols in Persia didn’t care what their subjects did as long as they maintained order and delivered taxes. The chances are that if the Mongols stayed in Persia for even longer, they would have transformed Persian culture completely. If this was the case, Persia would have stayed in its dark ages for much longer, slowly losing its ability to govern itself. However, the Mongolian Empire was never strong and centralized politically, and this state of government led to its ultimate demise.

The Mongol Empire had more continuities than changes for various reasons. The Ortogh merchant associations lasted because they were simply very beneficial, and as we know good ideas tend to stay. As the Mongols got out of their original habitats, they got to see the beauty of the world. No doubt that many of them gave up on expanding and decided to settle in more progressive civilizations. Perhaps this is the reason why Mongols failed to produce a huge change – they got busy with their own lives. The Mongols never built a centralized government because they lacked significant experience. They always lived in Nomadic tribes and had no idea of what it meant to rule over a vast territory. It is interesting to notice that once Russia was completely under Mongolian rule, depending on its every aspect of life. Nowadays, however, the situation literally flipped around. Mongolia is extremely poor and undeveloped, while Russia is one of the world’s leading countries. Now Mongolia has to ask Russia for help, such as lower gas prices, and the reason for all this is that the Mongols didn’t learn how to govern themselves throughout all these years.

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Change Over Time Essay. (2021, Apr 17). Retrieved May 9, 2021, from https://essayscollector.com/essays/change-over-time-essay/