Statue of Genghis Khan, Badain Jaran desert
A little over 800 years ago, an ambitious and forward-thinking warrior named Temujin united the disparate tribes inhabiting the Mongolian steppe into a supra-tribal confederation. In doing so, he became known as Chinggis (Genghis) Khan—the “Oceanic” or “Universal” ruler of a vast world empire.
From a collection of nomadic cultures on the Eurasian steppe, Chinggis Khan and his descendants created the largest contiguous land empire in history. In this day-long program, George Mason University historian Michael Chang traces the historical evolution of the Mongol empire from its emergence on the steppe to the conquest of China.
10–11:15 a.m. Steppe Society and the Rise of Chinggis Khan (1160-1206)
An examination of the historical circumstances and context from which Chinggis Khan emerged to unite the Mongolian steppe and to pave the way for the momentous expansion of the Mongol world empire into Central Asia, the Middle East, Russia, and parts of Europe.
11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m. Forging the Mongol World Empire (1206-1260)
Chinggis Khan and his sons were both feared and respected as conquerors who built an empire that eventually stretched from Beijing to Vienna. But beyond their vaunted military prowess, what other talents, policies, and historical factors shaped the forging of the Mongol world empire in the early 13th-century?
12:45–1:45 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own)
1:45–2:45 p.m. Khubilai Khan and the Conquest of China
Khubilai Khan (1215-1294) was a grandson of Chinggis Khan as well as the first Mongol to rule over all of China proper. What led him to focus his energies on China and to proclaim his own dynasty under the title of Da Yuan or “Great Origin”?
3–4 p.m. Chinese Society Under Mongol Rule (1270-1368)
The Mongols kept what they considered important from their own traditional cultures while also adopting values and political structure from those under their rule. Mongol rule over China was relatively short-lived, yet its impact on China was long lasting. Chang explores some of the most significant historical effects of Mongol rule on Chinese politics, society, and culture.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)