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Big Era Five: Landscape Unit 5.4

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unit menu Complete Teaching Unit in PDF format

Mongol Empire Builders:
Fiends from Hell or Culture Brokers?
1200 - 1400 CE

Why This Unit?

During the thirteenth century, the Mongols built an empire from scratch by remarkable feats of organization, planning, endurance, courage, slaughter, destruction, and terror. The empire was ruled by a combination of exploiting and protecting subject peoples. The large-scale displacements of population, combined with Mongol peace-keeping and encouragement of long-distance communications, resulted in widespread exchanges of ideas, goods, and techniques, as well as in the spread of disease.

Studying the Mongols' rise to power and its consequences helps students to:

  • grapple with the causes, process, and results of empire-building in the context of the Eurasian steppes.
  • evaluate the impact of Mongol imperial conquest on both Mongol society and the societies they conquered.
  • analyze ways in which the Mongol empire reestablished and intensified contact between various parts of Afroeurasia.
  • develop some empathetic understanding for the Mongols, a people with values and customs very different from students’ own.

Although the Mongol empire’s heyday ended after its first century and it definitively disintegrated at the end of its second, some of its legacy was long lasting. This legacy included:

  • a firm and lasting unification of China.
  • the beginnings of Russian unification and the firming up of Russian identity.
  • the further expansion of Islam.

Unit Objectives

Upon completing this unit, students will be able to:

1. Explain what features of the Mongols’ pastoral nomadic way of life were favorable to their creation of an empire.

2. Analyze the impact of the imperial conquests on both Mongol society and on the societies they conquered.

3. Describe the ways that Mongol actions promoted the exchange of goods and ideas within and beyond their empire.

4. Assess the significance of particular individuals and historical processes.

5. Analyze historical documents for reliability.

Time and Materials

Time:
Lessons 1 and 2 can be accomplished in 180-225 minutes. Actual time taken will vary with circumstances. If time is limited, Lesson 1 can stand alone and be done in about 90 minutes. Parts of Lesson 1 can be adapted to take 45 minutes (for instance, using only the sections on leadership and social organization with their discussion questions.).

Materials:

  • Student Handouts

Table of Contents

Why This Unit?

2

Unit Objectives

2

Time and Materials

3

Author

3

The Historical Context

3

This Unit in the Big Era Timeline

4

Lessons:

 

Lesson 1: From Tent to Palace: A Long, Rocky Road

5

Lesson 2: Tasting the Fruits of Conquest: The Sweet and the Bitter

25

Lesson 3: Looking at the Big Picture: What was significant?

37

This Unit and the Three Essential Questions

42

This Unit and the Seven Key Themes

42

This Unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking

42

Resources

43

Correlations to National and State Standards

45

Conceptual Link to Other Teaching Units

46

Complete Teaching Unit in PDF Format

 

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