Mongol leader Genghis Khan (1162-1227) rose from humble beginnings to establish the largest land empire in history. After uniting the nomadic tribes of the Mongolian plateau, he conquered huge chunks of central Asia and China.
His descendants expanded the empire even further, advancing to such far-off places as Poland, Vietnam, Syria and Korea. At their peak, the Mongols controlled between 11 and 12 million contiguous square miles, an area about the size of Africa. Many people were slaughtered in the course of Genghis Khan’s invasions, but he also granted religious freedom to his subjects, abolished torture, encouraged trade and created the first international postal system.
Genghis Khan died in 1227 during a military campaign against the Chinese kingdom of Xi Xia. His final resting place remains unknown. He has been branded the ‘greenest invader’ in history as his murderous invasion actually helped scrub about 700million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.
But didn’t the Mongols invade Africa?
There’s a lot of reasons for this, and it may take days and several very intense research papers. For the sake of the fact that I’m a physicist, not a historian, I’ll keep this brief.
History teaches us that the Mongol Empire was the largest land empire the earth had ever seen. What history doesn’t tell you at first is the Empire’s stability. As a matter of fact, the key indicator of an empires instability and downfall is fracturing: the process by which the territory and conquered lands are divided by political infighting. The Macedonian Empire devolved into the realms of the Diadochi. The Roman Empire literally split into a crappy production of West Side Story. Ancient Chinese history literally revolves around political fracturing; it’s called a dynasty system. And most recently, the greatest Empire to have ever existed was sliced up by ideals of freedom and democracy. It’s almost as certain as death and taxes.
The second most famous Mongolian after Ghengis, Kublai, founded the Yuan dynasty in China. This, combined with several wars between his family, divided the Empire into khanates, which were autonomous “kingdoms” ruled by distinct Mongolians who were nominally allied with each other. For example, Kublai Khan was proclaimed as Khan of Khans in a Kurultai he held, but he still experienced difficulty in receiving recognition from other Horde rulers, as his brother Ariq also held a kurultai where he too was elected Khan of Khans.
This infuriating disability to the Empire, combined with a devastating military loss to the Mamlukes near Jerusalem in ancient Syria, effectively put a permanent hold on the Mongolian Empire’s desire to expand into Africa. They recognized that for the first time in their history, another strong land based state possessed a sense of soldiery, tactics, and strategy that mirrored, and in many ways, surprassed their own. So instead, Kublai turned his eyes to the South and the East, towards Korea and Japan. The Korean campaign is still hotly debated with regards to the amount of Mongol subjugation, and Kublai lost not one, but two invasion fleets to storms off the coast of Japan. Those two miracles of nature led to the death of at least 115,000 men at sea, with another 20,000 captured when they made it the the Japanese shoreline. By the way (from what I understand), those are the conservative estimates.
The attempt was made though according to another Quora user Ahmed Abotaleb, EECE Graduate, and an Egyptian accoring to his profile, They were stopped by the Mamluks of Egypt.
Before The Mongols came near Egypt, Egypt was attacked by a Crusade, had its rulers assassinated ( Aybak, Shajar et El-Durr ), later ruled by a boy (youth?) ( Al-Mansur Ali ) and the different factions had a lot of differences and wanted to rule, In my opinion it was pretty unstable and wouldn’t have lasted against The Mongols who destroyed The Caliphate, sacked Baghdad just earlier and pretty much had a big fat chunk of The Old World under their control.
Then came Saif El-din Qutuz, seized power, brought the different factions together and brought up an army to challenge The Mongols who had just sent him a lovely introduction letter :
From the King of Kings of the East and West, the Great Khan. To Qutuz the Mamluk, who fled to escape our swords. You should think of what happened to other countries and submit to us. You have heard how we have conquered a vast empire and have purified the earth of the disorders that tainted it. We have conquered vast areas, massacring all the people. You cannot escape from the terror of our armies. Where can you flee? What road will you use to escape us? Our horses are swift, our arrows sharp, our swords like thunderbolts, our hearts as hard as the mountains, our soldiers as numerous as the sand. Fortresses will not detain us, nor armies stop us. Your prayers to God will not avail against us. We are not moved by tears nor touched by lamentations. Only those who beg our protection will be safe. Hasten your reply before the fire of war is kindled. Resist and you will suffer the most terrible catastrophes. We will shatter your mosques and reveal the weakness of your God and then will kill your children and your old men together. At present you are the only enemy against whom we have to march.
The Mongol army was stationed in Palestine, having conquered all those who opposed it, By the time that the Mongols reached Baghdad, their army included Cilician Armenians, and even some Frankish forces from the submitted Principality of Antioch. The Hashshashin in Persia fell, the 500-year-old Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad was destroyed , and so too fell the Ayyubid dynasty in Damascus. The plan was to then proceed southwards through the Kingdom of Jerusalem towards the Mamluk Sultanate, to confront the major Islamic power. luckily The Great Khan Mongke died, Hulagu ( who was responsible for the campaign) and other senior Mongols, had to return home to decide upon a successor. A potential Great Khan, Hulagu took the majority of his army with him, Qutuz seizing the opportunity decided to attack and met The Mongol Army at Ain Jalut ,
The battle was so fierce and intense, strategy and bravery blended with blood and bones in the battlefield, Legends were created and destroyed, fates of entire nations were laid that same day. The Mongols lost, and for the first time, a Mongol advance was actually permanently beaten back in direct combat on the battlefield, the Mamluk heavy cavalrymen had accomplished what had never been done before, beating the Mongols in close combat. Almost the whole Mongol army that had remained in the region was destroyed, It was also the first battle that had witnessed explosive hand cannons, used primarily to frighten enemy horses. Battle of Ain Jalut
The battle had ended and with it the life of Qutuz! yes, Qutuz died but not in battle, or by hands of enemies, but in celebration and by hands of dear friends, you see, Qutuz had promised Baibars, a dear friend and prominent commander, a certain fief, but when Qutuz gave other emirs and generals their fiefs, he didn’t give Baibars what he had promised, Baibars then plotted to assassinate Qutuz just as they were returning to Egypt after the victory! Qutuz ruled Egypt for one year. He had no children. He was remembered by Muslim historians as a virtuous and an extremely courageous Sultan. A mosque that commemorates the name of Qutuz stands at the district of Heliopolis in Cairo. Baibars then became Sultan and led campaigns against The Crusaders and The Mongols. Qutuz Baibars
After the Mongol succession was finally settled, Hulagu returned to his lands , and massed his armies to attack the Mamluks and avenge Ain Jalut. However, Berke Khan ( a Mongol Muslim Convert of The Golden Horde ) initiated a series of raids in force which preoccupied Hulagu, He would not avenge Ain Jalut. Golden Horde Berke.
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