Did You Know?: The Silk Routes of the Mongols

Mongolian Eagle Hunter©Chanwet Whanset/Shutterstock.com

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The grandeur of the Silk Roads, as well as the increase in trade and exchange among diverse populations and cultures between the 12th and 14th centuries, is a reflection of Mongolian influence. As a result, those who lived along the regions along the Silk Roads encountered various cultures that travelled throughout the region.

At the end of the 12th century, by linking the trade routes from China to the Mediterranean regions, Mongolian influence was at the epicentre of global communications. Its advantageous location, situated in the heart of Central Asia, allowed eastern and western Asia to be easily connected. As a result, Mongols took control over other vast areas.

Genghis Khan (1155-1227) and his followers were at the forefront of the Mongolian movement. Due to their governance, the Mongols reached Beijing, moving toward the Pamir Mountains before arriving in Central Asia. These significant cultural interactions between different peoples led to the displacement of many artisans, scholars and craftsmen. These individuals subsequently found employment in other areas of the immense, new territory.

Consequently, the territories along the Silk Roads stretched throughout China and Afghanistan. This vast area spread through a large portion of the Middle East before reaching Europe, extending as far as Poland.

These commercial routes, now known as the Silk Roads functioned as efficient channels of communication for trade, which prospered during this time. Thus, cultural interactions and trade amongst diverse populations increased.

Mongolian presence throughout this territory led to the re-emergence of some cities that had previously been destroyed, including Samarkand, in Central Asia or Baghdad in modern Iraq. Moreover, a large number of the regions along the Silk Roads were governed by a single administration during this time. These routes were able to flourish, due to peace treaties such as the Pax Mongolica, which helped to promote peace and stability throughout those territories during an era when Mongols were very active. Under the protection of these laws, the commercial routes were safe from external threats.

As a result, explorers such as  Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta or Jean de Plan Carpin (Giovanni dal Piano dei Carpini), were pioneers of epic journeys. This ultimately led to significant cultural exchanges and pluralistic identities that are a part of our common cultural heritage of the Silk Roads. 


See also:

The Southern Silk Roads

The Great Silk Roads

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