Were the Mongols good or bad?

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drawing of a city with soldiers

The Mongols besiege a city in West Asia

Sometimes we see Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire and they’re really bad – they attack defenseless cities and kill thousands of people and make piles of their skulls. They destroyed the whole irrigation system of Central Asia and left it a desert.

miniature painting of men sitting in a tent

The Mongol court (1200s AD)

Other times, the Mongols seem like they were good – the Mongol Empire made Eurasia safe to travel around in, and helped spread the use of paper and glass and steel and sugar and cotton and other important inventions from China to West Asia and from West Asia to China. Christian crusaders sent ambassadors to make alliances with the Mongol rulers. In China, Kublai Khan ran a totally multicultural empire, with freedom of religion.

Which is true? Can they both be true at the same time?

Central Asia projects:

Archery
Felt-making
Yogurt-making
Horse race (or bicycle race)

More about Central Asia
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By | 2017-06-08T21:58:44+00:00 June 8th, 2017|Central Asia|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Were the Mongols good or bad?. Quatr.us Study Guides, June 8, 2017. Web. December 13, 2017.

About the Author:

Karen Carr

Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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