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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Weatherford thought a different outlook for Genghis Khan’s effort in conquering a larger part of the world, which for him he said larger than the Roman Empire. In his book, he affirmed important events in the life of Khan presenting his positive quality, his innovative leadership as well as his great contributions to mankind and world civilization. Khan’s positive contributions to world civilization are still evident and relevant today, which most of modern day generation do not recognize what he did to the world.

Genghis Khan who rose to power in thirteenth century and began conquering Russia, China, Turkey, India and other parts of Europe remained intact and respected by his family and friends, and soldiers until the end of his life at age seventy. His only distinction with other great conquerors recorded in history was his brilliant and charismatic leadership; yet went back to a simpler life during the last years of his life and required no honor and recognition of him after his death.

The memory of him and his contribution was forgotten centuries after centuries because the Mongols kept his identity to secret for not writing anything about him as he requested. Weatherford mentioned about a book containing the biography of Genghis Khan having kept and guarded from outsiders’ reading (p. xxv). People do not comprehend Khan’s great contribution because in the first place the documents that could lead to understanding of him have disappeared leaving behind his and the Mongols’ brutality.

Just the recent deciphering or code reading made by other scholars on an ancient book provided needed information about Genghis Khan and the Mongols. What were innovative about Genghis Khan’s leadership? Genghis Khan had a profound principle in dealing with enemies. He believed in unifying force of his men with great commitment to triumph in every fight. Weatherford on issue on war puts it, “In peace, it meant the steadfast adherence to a few basic but unwavering principles that created loyalty among the common people” (p. 9).

Khan may be regarded as genius knowing that he was just a herder and illiterate yet he was able to inspire loyalty to his men and made them move according to whatever he wished. Another obvious reason for his success during encounters was his skillful and innovative leadership. According to Weatherford, Khan used psychological war where he escalated fear and panic before they attacked, which he did surprisingly. Mongols under his leadership followed a strategy combining the “traditional fierceness and speed” as well as the use of fire in attacking the walls of the fortress in order to get in.

Khan developed new armaments described as flaming and exploding where the idea of mortars and cannons came from (p. 9). The terrifying attack of this people escalated throughout other cities causing them to surrender before they arrived. How did the Mongols foster trade and commercial development, even in areas where they had no direct control? Before trade and commercial development took place in this large territory comprising of many tribes, Genghis Khan unified them by setting Great Law “in order to maintain in this large and ethnically diverse set of tribes that he forged into one nation” (p.

67). Such law would settle the most troublesome cases in their community. What prompted Khan to mind trade was when the Uighurs visited them and offered them important gifts contrary to Khan’s tribes that offered less significant items. The imbalance in material possessions heightened Khan’s desire to improve the trade among the tribes. In his territorial advances, he even improved the channels of the Silk Route, an important place for barter trades between bigger cities. The relationships of these tribes grew even stronger as they exchange their goods with one another.

In order to give Steppes greater opportunity in the trading, he “had to organize supply lines, maintain production, and coordinate the movement of goods and people on an unprecedented scale” (102). Silk Route became even more important as Genghis Khan triumphed over the Black Khitan for he gained more chances for trade with other nations under his control that includes China, Central Asia and Middle East (p. 105). Khan’s attack against Sultan Khwarizm opened more territory for according to him, it is an attack made to the whole civilization.

In this place Genghis Khan sent professionals in exchange of “merchants, cameleers, and people who spoke multiple languages, as well as craftsmen” (p. 112). Why were Mongol rulers like Kubilai Khan in China more beneficial to the people they conquered than the native rulers who preceded them? Khubilai Khan received recognition by conquering many parts of China without the use of power or army. He used management skills and “public politics” in unifying the whole China (p. 195). As Weatherford noted, Khubilai projected more like a Chinese than Mongolian through which he gained respect and loyalty of the Chinese people (p.

196). He worked out his plan of establishing his own kingdom in China by means of helping these people unite and practicing Chinese beliefs and tradition. And by his good administration and policy, he gained popularity among the highest officials of the country and ordinary people. He further developed many cities in China and improved the commerce of the country. Landowners were given property rights and roads were improved for the farmers. How does Weatherford explain how their system collapsed so quickly in the century after his death? Genghis Khan’s empire gradually lost its power due to many factors.

First, his successors had other interests different from him. Ogodei his immediate successor “did not accompany his army; conquest was not his priority… but real buildings with walls and roofs, windows and doors” (p. 133). Ogodei and other successors lived in prosperity by means of tributes paid to them by many nations (p. 137). And while Odegei, and other men in Genghis Khan were busy in fighting, the women assumed the responsibility in the administration. The influence of these non-Mongolian women gave the empire a different direction (p. 161).

Third, the bubonic plague that threatened the international commerce for fear of bringing the plague home. Most importantly, the awakening of the nations began to rise in power against the empire that weakened it. The defeat of the army by the Egyptian Mamluks led them in the “voluntary abandonment of Poland and Hungary” (p. 214); while the defeat in Japan and Java made Khubilai to engage in “peaceful pursuit of commerce” (p. 224) especially at the opening of new trade routes turning Mongols into shareholders rather than warriors (p. 225). These developments gradually diminished the power of the Mongol empire.

Conclusion Given the many contributions made by the Mongol Empire to the world at large, Weatherford is correct by saying that the Mongols “created the modern world. ” The Mongols conquered many countries of the world ranging from Asia, Middle East and Europe making it the most powerful empire in the history. With a good intention of fair treatment with the colonize, the Khans established international trading at the center of Silk Route; and by killing the aristocrats they brought unity among the people. Reference Weatherford, J. (2004). Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. USA: Three Rivers Press.

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