The Black Death: Genghis Khan And The Mongols

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With his extraordinary military accomplishments and leadership skills, Genghis Khan was a warrior and ruler who united all the nomadic tribes in the steppe of Mongolia and built the largest land empire in the world in the thirteenth century. He left a great legacy through his innovative ideas and laws whilst also promoting religious freedom, allowing an exchange of the global economy between Asia and Europe (Weatherford). However, with a belief that there should be only one ruler under the sky, Genghis Khan was unlikely to forgive those who refused to join forces with him and vanquished millions who wanted to create empires of their own. This presented an image of him and the Mongols as brutal savages who eliminated entire cultures, devastated …show more content…
Among several theories that attempt to explain this deadly disease, the significance of Genghis Khan and the Mongols have been associated with the cause of the Black Death. Some scholars believe that Genghis Khan and the Mongols played an important role in the spread of the Black Death through their control of the Silk Road. In a book called The Black Death: Natural and Human Disaster in Medieval Europe, William McNeil argues that “by the early fourteenth century, Mongol horsemen and supply trains had picked up the infected insect or rodent hosts of Y. pestis and carried them back to Mongol headquarters at Karakorum, in the Gobi Desert” (Gottfried). While this argument points out that the origin and spread of the plague was more man-involved, other scholars claim that environmental factors played a crucial role rather than human factors. They believe that the climatic change happened during the time contributed to the spread of the plague. According to The Black Death: Natural and Human Disaster in Medieval …show more content…
However, other aspects and new studies about the impact of Genghis Khan and his empire have also been introduced. Some scholars link Genghis Khan and the Mongols with the transmission of the Black Death, which was a virulent disease that wiped out millions of lives. McNeil argues that Mongol horsemen initially transported the infected rodent to Europe through the Silk Road (Gottfried, p. 33). This argument had also been supported by some scholars from the Middle East as they feel the same way (Lockard, p. 292). On the other hand, some scholars point out that the environmental factor was responsible for the cause of the plague (Gottfried, p.34). As desertification took place at the time, they had no choice but moved to east and west in search of better pastureland (Gottfried, p. 34). The rodents did likewise in search of food and water and thus infecting other rodents with Y.pestis (Gottfried, p. 34). While Genghis Khan and the Mongols have been correlated with one of the major events in history, some environmental interpretations with different sides have also emerged as well. With her colleagues at Carnegie Institute, Julia Pongratz argues that Genghis Khan and the Mongols played

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