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Jack Leach

Course: ECON 3R03 - The History of Economic Growth Section: CO1 Instructor: J. Leach Date: 31-01-13 Mongols Genghis Khan’s army consisted of horsemen and after uniting the Mongols he started on a quest to expand his empire. He was one of the most brutal emperors ever: his conquest of China resulted in 35 of 115 million Chinese peoples losing their life. Even after his death his son continued his expansion all the way to the gates of Vienna. It is thought they turned back because Europe was a less ideal area for raising and feeding horses so the Mongols felt it wasn’t worth conquering. After Mongke Khan the Mongol Empire was divided among Genghis’ grand- sons. A special note about Hulagu, he captured al-Tusi and became his patron even building him an observatory to work in. Kublai Khan begins the Yuan Dynasty in China. After the conquest he left China mostly alone but employed foreigners in key public positions, including Marco Polo. This was predicated on his fear of Chinese officials who he felt still saw him as the conqueror. Marco Polo originally arrived in China as a trader but Kublai Khan employed him for discovery. Russia The Golden Horde controlled Russia at this time but again like Kublai Khan they largely left society untouched as their main purposes was to drain cash from the economy. The only real change was the implementation of heavy taxes on Russians, mostly shouldered by the peasants. This situation became known as the “Tatar yoke” and it lasted for approximately 2 centuries. Mongols also encouraged trade and policed the major trade routes in the empire, this was the first time that Europeans had a direct trade link to China. Not only were goods exchanged but ideas were also traded between 1 the Far East and Europe. This put Venice at the crossroads of two paths to the East and made many towns & villages in Italy very wealthy. The opening of interior trade routes by the Mongols was a blow to the Islamic world as they lost their monopoly on trade between Europe and the Far East. This caused Islamic trade to fall dramatically and European convoys to the Islamic world decreased massively in number. Europe from 1300 to 1500 During this period of time Europe is repeatedly visited by famine, pestilence and war. This led to a decline in population in the middle of this period and it took almost a hundred years to get back to 1300s population levels. Famine Illustration of Malthusian economics as all arable land was mostly claimed, the age of the frontier was over. More output was required per acre of land than before. Another problem was the Little Ice Age which shortened summers and caused repeated crop failures, these two developments led to numerous famines during the 14th century. Black Death It was presumed to have been brought to Asia and Europe by the Mongols as they moved westward, carrying the plague with them. It would strike repeatedly in the 14th and 15th centuries returning every few years. It was estimated to have killed 1/3 of all Europeans, cumulatively. War This was also a period of continuing wars as nation-states tried to consolidate and expand their borders in all directions. The wars themselves didn’t kill many people, relatively, instead the subsequent looting and destruction of crops led to famine which was responsible for most of the deaths. The
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