Did rainy days spur Genghis Khan's drive to conquer? - Macleans.ca
 

Did rainy days spur Genghis Khan’s drive to conquer?

A new theory explains the origins of the Mongolian empire


 

Genghis' JusticeFor decades historians believed Genghis Khan’s drive to build the largest contiguous land empire in history was based, in part, on a desire to break out of Mongolia’s unpredictable, drought-plagued realm into more fertile areas. Amy Hessl, a geography professor from Eberly College in West Virginia, is turning that theory on its head. And it’s all because of tree rings.

In 2010, when Hessl was in Mongolia, “We walked way out on a lava flow and found some old wood that nobody had collected,” she told National Geographic Radio. The oldest dated back to 658 CE. Further study revealed that, “In the early 1200s, when Genghis Khan came to power, the rings were consistently large for several decades—a period of wet conditions that was unprecedented in almost 2,000 years.” If her analysis is validated with more research, it means Genghis and his horde had the luxury of using Mongolia’s rich grasslands to amass huge numbers of horses for their army and supply trains. Then they rode out of the steppes to conquer the world.


 

Did rainy days spur Genghis Khan’s drive to conquer?

  1. Really, this is an old theory that has been bandied about for some time. Why would a race of herdsmen move their flocks somewhere else at the risk of provoking the people already there if not for their own fields being unable to sustain their flocks? When people are comfortable and well-fed, they soon lose their lust for warfare. Once they settled down, the descendents of Genghis Khan either converted to Islam, were absorbed by the Chinese, or converted to Christianity and became Russian cossacks. However, the climate had something to do with it.