Every now and then someone comes along who completely changes the world. Usually, not in a good way. This could definitely be said for Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. Most people know the Mongols had the largest contiguous empire in the world, second only to the British for biggest empire of all. But do you know what the world looked like before Genghis took off on his warpath? Here we present a printable Mongol Empire map you can color of what the world looked like On The Eve Of The Mongol Destruction.
We colored the Christian nations in reds, yellows and oranges. The Muslim nations are in greens. The Buddhist nations are in browns. Pagan or shamanistic people are shown in purples. And the Hindu peoples are in shades of gray. There is some overlap though and never do 100% of any people belong to the predominate religion. Where there were large proportions of multiple religions, such as in Japan we chose the religion of the ruling class.
One interesting thing to notice are the kingdoms of Naimen and the Uyghurs in central Asia. They are the only Christian nations far outside the Christian realms of Europe. Makurra and Ethiopia are also Christian islands in Africa. The people of Naimen had an ancient tradition that they were descended from the wise men who visited the Christ child after his birth. They had always been true to their religion. After Genghis began his conquest there were some Christian unit commanders from Naimen and Uyghurs who spared the lives of the Christians in the lands they conquered out of respect for their religion.
The Mongol invasions were appallingly destructive. Most cities that resisted lost 100% of their population. Most people were put the sword after surrendering, but young women and young men were taken as slaves, and skilled artisans were shipped back to Karakorum to build the capital and run the empire. Millions died, hundreds of thousands were displaced. Entire nations and races disappeared. Libraries were burned. The Mongols raided as far west as Spain and very nearly took the Holy Land which would have left Africa wide open.
So how did a bunch of stone age tribesmen, who had no cities of their own, who herded goats and raised horses, scratching a bare subsistence off the land, come to conquer great empires like Korea, China, Persia, and The Rus, not to mention completely dominate the best knights of Christendom? The answer is one man: Genghis Khan.
Genghis reminds me of what Olivander says of Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, “After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things–terrible, yes, but great.” Only Voldemort is a pansy next to Genghis. Genghis is responsible for the death and sufferings of millions.
- People like Genghis Khan set civilization back hundreds of years. Today if we think of central Asia at all, we think of sparsely populated backwaters. But before Genghis the Silk Road route was littered with large, rich, advanced cities based on agriculture and trade. The region has never recovered in terms of population or in terms of advanced technology of the age. Other major set backs in civilization include the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the conquests of Islam, the Spanish conquest in the New World, the slave trade in Africa, and the Black Death in medieval Europe. It can and almost certainly will happen again.
- The Mongols were a pagan shamanistic tribal people. After they created empires many of them adopted Islam, which spread the religion even further into Asia. Before Islam and before the Mongols most of the areas we think of as Muslim today were actually Christian, including the middle east.
- Look up the history of any one of these nations on the map. They are all interesting, most are not in any of your history books, and because of the Mongols have largely been forgotten. But they are in Wikipedia.
- The Mongols tried to conquer India, but like Alexander before them, they failed. In another couple of hundred years, descendants of the Mongols, now converted to Islam, would conquer northern India as the Mughals.
More From Layers of Learning
This printable map is part of Layers of Learning Unit 2-15. It is typical of the history maps in our units, except it is a bit more detailed than most.