The Mongols! - Mr. Gillette

(Before we get into the Mongols, let's get some historical context)

The Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE)

  • Fell due primarily to peasant rebellions and other internal weaknesses. China would fall into a period of political and social instability for the next several hundred years.

“Period of Disunity” (220-589 CE)

  • China faces nomadic invasion in the North, and the south is plagued by vies for power

The Sui Dynasty (581–617 CE)

  • Sui reunified China after a period of instability and expands its infrastructure and defense.

The Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE)

  • Could be called China’s “golden age” ---similar to that of the Gupta in India, and that of Ancient Greece --- due to it’s height of artistic and literary achievements, many of which we have come to recognize today as staples of Chinese culture (like porcelain). (Fun Fact: the first Chinese Empress, Empress Wu, ruled during this time. )

The Song Dynasty (907–1276 CE)

  • The Chinese Renaissance; characterized by many technological innovations (steel, magnetic compass, moveable type, paper money, numerous naval improvements, and gunpowder) which revitalized Chinese commerce. The Song Dynasty ended in the Northern Song (aka Jin Dynasty) in 1125, and ended in the Southern Song with a 1279 invasion by...wait for it...the Mongols.  

To sum all that this 1 minute recap

Now on to the Mongols!

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Why are Mongols the exception ?

Think about what you have learned about classical empires so far. What generalizations can you make about those empires? Now think about the Mongols. They broke the mold when it comes to empire building. Below is a video that highlights some specific ways in which the Mongols were "the exception". Watch the video, and then click on the button below for the next step.