Weird History

Facts We Just Learned About The Mongol Empire That Made Us Say 'Really?'

List Rules
Vote up the facts about Mongols you're happy you finally learned.

When the Mongol Empire is mentioned, most people's minds go directly to Genghis Khan. Indeed, he's a huge reason the Mongols had such an impact on the world. But what else is there to know about their empire? Taking into account what other cultures said about them, were they really as understanding when it came to other religions? And were they truly as smelly as their opponents claimed? There's so much more about the rulers of the Mongol Empire than Genghis Khan, including a number details about their civilization not quite mainstream enough to make it into our history curriculum.

Check out these interesting Mongol Empire facts, and vote up the new bits of knowledge you're most excited to have learned.

  • 1
    682 VOTES

    Genghis Khan Was Highly Progressive

    From Redditor u/secron7:

    TIL Ghengis Khan forbade the selling of women, theft of others' properties, decreed religious freedom, outlawed hunting during breeding seasons, and exempted the poor from taxation.

    Context: After Genghis Khan united about 1 million people under his rule, he made some changes in the society's rules. One of those rule changes was that no one was allowed to capture or sell women. Genghis Khan also banned enslavement and allowed religious freedom.

  • 2
    382 VOTES

    There Was A Female Mongol Leader

    From Redditor u/doc_daneeka:

    TIL that the Mongol empire had a female Great Khan (Khatun) for several years, probably the most powerful woman in history.

    Context: Genghis Khan's son was appointed to rule in 1229. However, after the son slowly fell into drunken binges, Genghis Khan's most competent wife essentially took over. Toregene even stayed in power after her husband's passing.

  • 3
    284 VOTES

    Two Mongol Strikes On Japan Were Stopped By Storms

    From Redditor u/ajchann123:

    TIL Japan was invaded by the strong Mongol army TWICE, and both times were saved by harsh storms that crippled the Mongols. They called these storms "Kamikaze" or "Divine Winds."

    Context: The Mongol armies of 1274 and 1281 were both overcome by kamikaze storms during their incursion, effectively saving Japan from being overthrown. The storms were categorized as kamikaze, which translates to "divine wind," honoring the belief that the storms were summoned by God to save the Japanese in their time of need.

  • 4
    486 VOTES

    Mongol Khan Organized A Religious Debate

    From Redditor u/jmayne:

    TIL that in 1254 the Mongol Khan organized a formal religious debate between teams of Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists. The debate went on for multiple rounds on a variety of theological topics until the participants became so drunk that it concluded without any clear winner.

    Context: Genghis Khan was known for supporting religious freedom. There is documentation that Genghis Khan did invite religious leaders to debate their beliefs with leaders of other religions to enhance understanding of different belief systems.