Weird History
742 voters

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

August 31, 2020 4.1k votes 742 voters 69.3k views12 items

List RulesVote 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

    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.

    Cool to know?
  • 2

    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.

    Cool to know?
  • 3

    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.

    Cool to know?
  • 4

    Mongols Were Once Defeated By Their Own Tactics

    From Redditor u/Alaskwatro:

    TIL a 10,000-man Mongol army was destroyed by Egyptian Mamluks after being fooled by a feigned retreat and getting surrounded, a tactic often used by the Mongols themselves.

    Context: A common Mongol army tactic was to fake a retreat, which lured the enemy troops right into being surrounded. In the 13th century, as the Mongols sought to expand toward the southeast, they ran into the Egyptian Mamluks - an army made up of freed slaves. The Mamluks feigned retreat, drawing the Mongols in. The Mongols lost many men in the onslaught and were essentially overcome by strategies they themselves had employed for years.

    Cool to know?