fredag 24. september 2021

The Mongol Empire Versus China: The Way of War

Kublai Khan completed the decades-long Mongolian conquest of China in 1279, becoming the first ruler of the Yuan dynasty. Despite a fierce protracted conflict not well-suited for the Mongolian way of war, Kublai Khan still managed to absorb the Song dynasty into his empire, marking the first time in history that the whole of China was conquered and ruled by a foreigner. Perhaps most ironically, the Mongol Empire’s defeat of China was assisted by its acceptance of ideas put forth by China’s most famous military strategist, Sun Tzu.

The Mongol Empire was established in 1206 by the infamous Genghis Khan in the Steppe of Central Asia. At the height of its power, it constituted the largest contiguous land empire in history, covering over 9 million square miles. The conquest of China was the Mongol Empire’s most challenging campaign, spanning decades and several khans. Southern China proved unsuitable for the Mongols’ traditional cavalry warfare because of the prevalence of its mountains and rice fields. To make things more challenging, the Chinese were adept at siege defense and had the advantage of gunpowder.