The Economic History Of The Silk Road Under The Mongols

The Silk Road have significant role in ecenomic history of World and it can be described as the first big economic market of the World because it connected so many continents. People have been in constant dialogue and interaction with each other to meet their needs. Communities have tried to obtain the materials they need from the Antiquity and have resorted to various ways in doing so. Thanks to trade, which is one of these ways, different civilizations have met each other and discovered new products. The Silk Road, which has a history of about 2000 years and is the result of commercial activities between East and West, has been the busiest trade route of the time. The Silk Road is not a single road but is divided into several branches. These branches cover different geographies because of, various states in the historical process for the domination of the Silk Road have fought with each other. The Mongols dominated most of the Silk Road. They established postal-station system and set-up places every 20 miles to supply merchants and their animals. New cities were established and trade was supported and Mongolian cities became centers of attraction. With the merchant organization supported by the dynasties and state officials, Mongolian lands were made available for trade. In addition, the insurance system applied to the merchandise's property and the fact that trade caravans are not damaged even in times of war clearly show the value of the Mongols for trade. Furthermore, Mongols were first people who use paper money in their trades efficiently under Kublai Han control. Therefore, since most of the Silk Road was not dominated by a single political authority before the Mongols, commercial activities were limited. The Mongols, which changed the political boundaries of Asia, Europe and the Middle East, made commercial leaps of unprecedented wealth in the Silk Road trade, using the accumulations that existed before them.

The Mongols are one of the nations that influence world history. Almost all of the peoples under the Mongol rule accepted Mongol rule. This situation led to the concept of ax Pax Mongolorum. They established a brilliant civilization on the principles of tolerance to religions, equality for all, absolute integration and order. The Mongols united much of Eurasia, ensured peace despite long and devastating wars, and attached importance to transport routes. When Temuçin was declared as “Khan ip in 1206 and named after Genghis Khan, the Mongols were gathered under one roof. The information about the Mongols' commercial activities before the establishment of the Mongol Empire was limited, but Cengiz Khan was traded from 1162 to 1227 it is a known fact that he attaches great importance to the traders. He has sent certain guards to the areas he invaded, their duty is to ensure the safety of the passers-by merchants and to take what is worthy of Han and take it to him from the goods they sell. In order to provide intelligence, and to protect goods and goods passing from west to east and from east to west, mail ranges have been established. and not showing a place to stay overnight is a crime. The purpose of postal services, which are used effectively by Turks, Byzantines, Sassanians and Islamic states, is to control the safety of transportation routes and to ensure that the communication network in the country continues without interruption. Communication activities were provided with this organization immediately, intelligence activities were carried out and trade routes were made functional. The Mongol Khan gave great importance to the postal system in order to stimulate trade and ensure the safety of roads. In addition, Cities are important settlements where economic, cultural and social accumulations are formed that reflect social life in its entirety. Since ancient times, many cities have developed and become rich in commercial activities. For example, ancient cities such as Egypt, Babylon, Petra and Necran became the centers of attraction of the era through trade. Similarly, with the decrease in commercial activities, the functions of cities decreased and fell into disrepair. Therefore, there is a close connection between trade and urbanization. Although the Mongols burned down the cities, they tried to establish new cities and towns and made great efforts for the development of the cities under which they were dominated. They also contributed to the development of Eurasian urbanism by establishing new cities. During the Golden Horde period, 8 new cities were established in Tver Knezlik and 12 new cities in Moscow Knezlik. Kublai Khan (1260-1294) had the roads repaired in China and built caravansaries at regular intervals. He developed transport systems and planted willow and various trees on both sides to shade the road. Kublai Khan, merchants in order to be able to trade in a comfortable way, the merchants according to their nationalities and each nation has built a variety of accommodation. In 1266, Kublai Khan ordered the construction of a capital near Beijing. The Chinese first called the city Congdu (central capital). Later, after 1272, it was called Tatu (the great capital) by the Chinese, Hanbalık by the Turks, and Daydu by the Mongols. When choosing the capital, Kublai Khan paid attention to the fact that its natural defenses are strong and that it is a crossroads of communication, transportation and trade for the entire territory. In addition, it has built channels to meet the water and food needs of the capital.

One of the factors affecting the foreign trade of the Mongol Empire was geopolitical stability and balance policy. The Mongol Khan's application of customs and trade taxes in a balanced way contributed to the development of trade. The rate of customs duties on the territory of the Golden Horde remained between 3-5%. The Golden Horde Khans facilitated the travels of the merchants and gave caravans access to the caravans from the front even during the war. They released the traders who were taken captive, regardless of their nationality. Paper money was extensively used during the Kublai Khan period and brought great convenience to the commercial life of the Turkish-Mongolian states on the Silk Road and revived the commercial life. Trade has gained momentum thanks to Mongolian peace and Greek maritime activities. The volume of exchanges with Southeast Asia has steadily increased and relations between Iran and China have reached an unreachable level. Also Kublai Khan’s era paper money is generally accepted by others because of fear and its’ value between traders. Furthermore, the Mongol Khan not only laid the groundwork for the trade environment, but also gave great importance to the spread of the exchange between the Mongols by dealing with the trade itself. In almost every seized area cities were repaired, new cities and neighborhoods were established, inns, market places and various structures were built, and monarchs were also involved in these activities. Communication was provided between all Mongolian nations with the Yam system, necessary information was transferred and trade agreements were signed with foreign countries and the security of merchants was guaranteed by the state. Even during wartime, the state did not intervene in the trade caravans and prevented the deterioration of commercial peace by weighing, measuring and price controls. In this period, the existing partnership has brought a new dimension to the commercial activities, It was supported and protected by the Mongol Khan himself. With this system of protection, the common traders benefiting from many opportunities of the state contributed to the spread of trade by giving credits to other groups of merchants. Mongolian Khan's trade policies and the peace environment in the region The Silk Road increased the trade volume. When we look at the other side of the coin, the regional wars, the fights of the throne, the fight against the external enemies, the border problems between the Mongolian Khan and the Silk Road and the caravan trade had a big blow. The Mongol period is a period in which the understanding of trade from the ancient times reached its peak. They united a large part of Eurasia, and discussed the centers of civilization of the period. The Mongols synthesized the cultural, social and political accumulations of the regions they dominated with the nomadic lifestyle and enabled the emergence of the concept of the Mongol Civilization. The Mongol civilization was adopted by the states established after it and was seen as a model in economic, social, cultural and political terms. Perhaps their greatest achievement is the opening of the East to the West through the Silk Road trade, leading to the transfer of great knowledge, science and culture to the West. The Mongols' conquest of a large part of the Silk Road trade was not welcome by some states. These states sought alternative trade routes and tried to transform their cities into a center of attraction and attraction against the Mongolian cities where commercial activities were intense.

Between XIII-XIV partnership in the Mongol states gained a special meaning and was used in the sense of the personal commercial producers of the inns. They have often been involved in the trade of inns. It is thought that the Mongols took this system from the Uighurs. The association is a trading company and the member merchants have received low interest loans from the state treasury and have been particularly engaged in large-scale and international trade. Furthermore, this organization was exempted from many obligations and taxes and had a privileged position for other local merchants. The fact that the Empire was open to trade with this system and gave great assurance to merchants and craftsmen attracted merchants from all over Eurasia. Italian merchants, such as the Polo family, have concluded very lucrative business contracts with the Mongols. For the Mongolians, the common merchants were not only those who knew the trade, but also a kind of bureaucrat who protected the necessary interests, knew the managers and understood the financial affairs. Because of these characteristics, common traders have benefited from all kinds of government services. The Mongols assigned common merchants in China the duty of collecting taxes with tax farming, and collected the taxes of the mansions allocated to the Mongolian aristocracy. Thus, the Mongol nobles supported these merchants by lending to them. The first information about common traders in China can be seen in the records of 1253. Supervisory institutions were established for the common merchants during the Kublai Khan era. Founded in this period (1267), the common department and common merchants, came under the control of the state. The joint office in question controlled the activities of the joint traders on one hand, and on the other hand ensured that some commercial activities were carried out only through the joint traders. In their joint companies, which consist mainly of traders of Central Asian Muslim and Uighur origin, traders received loans from the dynasty at a very low interest rate and not only used them in trade, but also lent them with interest. The Golden Horde Khans did not only support trade and traders as Genghis Khan did, but they themselves participated in commercial activities. Borrowing from the state treasury, trading partners were obliged to repay their debts in the specified term.

Markets were established in almost every settlement in the territory of Golden Horde and there were separate departments and stalls for the sale of all kinds of products in these markets. Another feature of the Golden Horde markets is that the industrial and handicraft products sold here are produced and sold there by the manufacturers themselves. Therefore, in these markets, there was a trade reaching from the producer to the consumer without using too many intermediaries. Golden Horde traders also participated in international trade fairs in various countries, selling their products and buying goods from merchants from different countries. Trade fairs were of great importance for international trade. Even if the frequency of the fairs was not high, they were providing intermediate services for a long time. These types of fairs, assets XX. century they move. The most important benefit of international trade fairs is undoubtedly the transfer of new technologies. As a result of the positive policies followed by the Mongols, especially the Golden Horde Khans, the trade which was interrupted due to the Mongol raids was revived.

To sum up, it can be seen that the Silk Road had most valuable days under Mongols control because they gave so much important to merchants and people from different countries. They built so much places for merchants to meet their needs and protect them from any kind of risk. In addition, Mongols gave flexible taxes to merchants and they did special contracts with merchants based on their products. During Golden Horde era conditions of merchants and economic relationships with foreigns developed significantly and Mongols were first people who use paper money for trade. Also they built new cities to improve new routes for the Silk Road and they did so many partnership to develop trade worldwide. Some people can see Mongols as a barbarian nation in the history but they did so many important operations to improve the Silk Road and they have significant role in the economic history of the Silk Road. 

16 August 2021
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