Academic journal article Asian Culture and History

A Study on the Effects of Ghazan Khan's Reformative Measures for the Settlement of the Nomadic Mongols (1295-1304)

Academic journal article Asian Culture and History

A Study on the Effects of Ghazan Khan's Reformative Measures for the Settlement of the Nomadic Mongols (1295-1304)

Article excerpt

Abstract This article aims to elaborate the effects of Ghazan Khan's reformative measures for changing Mongol lifestyle. They migrated from one place to another to make a living but after his reforms, they were settled. Mongols were among the people who lived in the Central Asia usually made raids on the neighboring nations. They had taken to a life of vagrancy and never wanted to be settled in a particular place. When they entered the civilized Persia, the Mongolian government became highly polarized. On the one hand, the Mongols habitually destroyed the government's sources of income (agriculture and trade), and on the other, they were its military force, whose existence was a necessity. As this polarization continued, political and economic crises emerged, too. Then, Ghazan Khan, by some actions, hindered the collapse of the Ilkhanate. As a result, the Mongols underwent a self-imposed settled life but it was against the great Yasa code of Genghis Khan.

Keywords: Mongols, the Ilkhanate, Ghazan Khan, Oljaytu, settlement

1. Introduction

During its different historical eras, a period of several thousand years, Iran's peoples and social structures have suffered many changes due to a variety of factors. In the past, Iran connected the old west and east worlds because of its vastness and its strategic position. As a result, different peoples had to move across the land of Iran, and some chose it as their ultimate settlements. The Greeks, Arabs, Turks and finally the Mongols profited from such a situation. Some of these peoples, having achieved their goals, preferred staying permanently than immigrating to other places, bringing about thorough changes in Iran's social system, habits and customs, lifestyles, etc. The Mongols were the most important and the last people who invaded and stayed in Iran. They changed Iran's social system and, naturally, theirs had to change, too.

The Ilkhanid's sovereignty in Iran was part of the great empire under the command of Genghis Khan and his successors. It extended broadly from Korea to Eastern Europe and China to Iran and Syria. Such conquest originated from Mongolia (Middle Asia), which was the original land of these homeless nomadic people. They lived by shepherding, hunting and sometimes looting nearby tribes or civilized centers. Roving lands was what they had been doing for centuries, and considered it the best lifestyle. The Mongolian tribes, who lived such a lifestyle, were the enemies of the villagers and townspeople. They were always on the move and had no intension of settlement. When they reached a town, they destroyed it. Genghis Khan wanted the conquered places just for livestock's pasture and his tribe's hunting ground. He didn't have the imagination of a life based on agriculture and settlement in large cities. He denied the civilization and its luxuries, even after conquering largest cities of china. He preferred staying at the tent to living in palaces. It is known that the Mongols obeyed the order of Genghis Khan on refraining from settlement. And there were some leaders, who, abiding by this rule, refrained from permanent settlement after their conquests. Inconformity of the Mongols with the style of life in conquered places made the Mongol's rulers confused in making a clear decision on the settlement issue. The nomadic lifestyle of the Mongols, then the dominant power in Iran, scared away the Persian peasant subjects, an important source of income for the Mongol government, from their homes and lands, thus rendering them poorer. Moreover, curbing their own nomadic lifestyle meant weakening the military structure of their government, the strengthening of which was an essential affair at that time of history. And as a result of frequently being in tight political, social and economical situations, it didn't take long for the nomadic Mongols and their leaders to give up their old lifestyle and take to the settled urban life that their Persian subjects lived. …

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