The Mongol Empire, established by Chinggiz Khan at 1206 B.C., was the largest continuous empire in human history hitherto. It occupied an extensive territory across the Eurasia and established a platform for the communication between China, central Asia, Islamic world, and eastern Europe. Scholars defined the Mongol period as “Pax Mongolica” which was characterized by relatively peaceful social environment and frequent flow of people, commodities, and ideas. This webpage will investigate different impacts Mongols created on the transcontinental connection across the Eurasian continent through the following five aspects: The transcontinental trade, the travel of gunpowder, the spread of plague, the transcontinental religion, and the exchange of textile art.

The Mongol Empire made important contributions to the transcontinental connection because all the countries that Mongol Empire conquered are connected. The exchange of culture and commercial goods between East and West are substantially facilitated. Mongol Empire attached great importance to trading and incorporated diverse cultural backgrounds, enlarging trade and exchange of culture from regional to inter-continental. The Mongols also created complicated transport system to sustain the high efficiency of transportation. Moreover, the transcontinental trade also contributed to the rapid development of several cities and their economies. Although not all the decisions made by Mongol Empire stimulated the development of transcontinental trade, it is undeniable that Mongol Empire elevate the international trade to an whole new level. As stated in the article “Pax Mongolica And a Transcontinental Traffic”, Pax Mongolia represented flourished commodities exchange in the Mongol Empire. In this article, the positive impact of Pax Mongolia to trade will be discussed.

During the 13 and 14th century, trade and transcultural connections prospered across the Eurasia continent under the Mongol rule. Using the secure and vast trading networks, different cultures, ethnicities, communities, and religion diffused across the empire. Religion can be noted as one of the most important aspects upon evaluating the Mongol influence on the Eurasian trans-continental connections, as religions represent communal beliefs, values, practices, and cultures. Various religions came under the rule of the Mongol empire. The Mongol Empire covered most of the Eurasia continent, and most of the religions used the vast and safe trade routes of the Mongol empire to spread their religious beliefs further. Even though Christianity had failed to achieve a great deal of influence of the Eurasia continent, the religions of Islam and Buddhism were officially promoted, and it spread throughout the Eurasia continent. The eased communications and commences under the unified administration helped to create and the period of relative peace, the Pax Mongolica, hence the diffusion of religions on a trans-continental basis were common. Unlike other colonial empires, the Mongols’ tolerant attitudes towards most of the religions promoted the trans-continental diffusions even more.

In the 13th and 14th century, the Mongol Empire gradually showed its fangs to the world and integrated the whole of Asia and part of Europe into their territory. Although the Mongol Empire had far fewer soldiers than the kingdoms it conquered, it utilized ingenious tactics and advanced technologies – gunpowder – to close up the army gap. Obtained the gunpowder experts in Jin and Song, the Mongols adopted the usage of gunpowder into their armies and used this new adapted technique to initiate the westward expansion, which ended up in eastern Europe. This expansion spread the gunpowder technology along its way, leading to the emergence of gunpowder weapons in Europe. The advent of firearms laid down the necessary base for the Europeans to overturn the ingrained feudal regime in European society. Without the induction of gunpowder, nowadays Europe may still hold a feudal society, then none of the modern technological innovation would happen. Later in the middle of the 19th century, the UK declared the First Opium War toward Da Qing, transferred the gunpowder technology to where it originated. Cross-century technical communication finally finished. The Mongol Empire’s expansion enhanced the innovations of gunpowder and firearms and the technical communication between Europe and Asia, which created a solid foundation for modern firearms.

Plague is considered as one of the deadliest pandemics in world history. Although it has been properly copied with in modern societies by human beings, looking back to medieval Europe, the Black Death, one of those many waves of plague, brought tremendous casualties there. As many scholars believed, plague originated from Asia and was brought to Europe by Mongolians who were striving for expansions of the Mongol Empire’s geographical extent and influence circle in the 13th century. These expansions not only spread plague through Mongolians and their animals as “intermediates” of the disease but also contributed to the increase of transcontinental connections inside the Mongol Empire afterwards which again helped to spread plague through increasing trades and movements of skilled personnel. This pandemic that eventually led to millions of people’s deaths and societal, economic, cultural upheavals evidenced the strong transcontinental connections in the Mongol Empire.

The textiles from the Mongol Empire often exhibited a synthesis of motifs and weaving techniques from different parts of and even beyond the empire. The route connecting China, central Asia, and the Islamic world enabled the flow of artisans as well as artistic technologies and styles. On these textiles, the animal figures from western Asia—griffins, lions, djeirens (central Asian antelopes)—can coexist with traditional Chinese designs. Mongol rulers and the mythical figures they appreciated were woven by Chinese artisans invoking the elaborate design characterized by the central Asian art. The art prosperity could be attributed to the Mongols’ creation of a relatively peaceful environment and establishment of connection between territories through moving personnel, trading, and paying tribute. As textiles were highly demanded, Mongol rulers hired or forced the migration of artisans in different territories to weave together. Mongol officials in China also set up agencies to oversee the textile productions and introduced western motifs to Chinese craftsman to boost their sale. They also commissioned Chinese artists to weave textiles of religious figures in Tibet Buddhism. These behaviors facilitated the integration of the artistic motifs from China, central Asia, and Iran. And most of these textiles could not be described within the context of a single artistic culture. Mongols, despite not creating art by themselves, enhanced the transcontinental connection by encouraging the exchange of art in their territories.

In conclusion, the transcontinental connection was enhanced and entered a new stage during the Mongols’ governance. Though marching westward, Mongols probably brought the gunpowder and the plague to Europe. And the movement of merchants and skilled personnel after Mongols stopped their expansion facilitated the further spread of the plague. The flow of merchants and their commodities during Mongol empire can be attributed to the relatively peaceful environment and Mongols’ commitment in encouraging transcontinental trade. Their religious tolerance enabled the coexistence and distribution of different religions within their empire. And a large-scale exchange of artistic motifs and techniques in textiles took place through the flow of artisans and textile goods along the trade route. You can click on the following link to read a detailed research about the Mongols’ influences on these specific aspects.

 

 
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