Nomadic Empires NCERT Textbook With Solution PDF

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Chapter 5: Nomadic Empires

In the early decades of the thirteenth century the great empires of the Euro-Asian continent realised the dangers posed to them by the arrival of a new political power in the steppes of Central Asia: Genghis Khan (d. 1227) had united the Mongol people.

Genghis Khan’s political vision, however, went far beyond the creation of a confederacy of Mongol tribes in the steppes of Central Asia: he had a mandate from God to rule the world.

Even though his own lifetime was spent consolidating his hold over the Mongol tribes, leading and directing campaigns into adjoining areas in north China, Transoxiana, Afghanistan, eastern Iran and the Russian steppes, his descendants travelled further afield to fulfil Genghis Khan’s vision and create the largest empire the world had ever seen.

It was in the spirit of Genghis Khan’s ideals that his grandson Mongke (1251-60) warned the French ruler, Louis IX (1226-70): ‘In Heaven there is only one Eternal Sky, on Earth there is only one Lord, Genghis Khan, the Son of Heaven…

When by the power of the Eternal Heaven the whole world from the rising of the sun to its setting shall be at one in joy and peace, then it will be made clear what we are going to do: if when you have understood the decree of the Eternal Heaven, you are unwilling to pay attention and believe it, saying,

“Our country is far away, our mountains are mighty, our sea is vast”, and in this confidence you bring an army against us, we know what we can do.

He who made easy what was difficult and near what was far off, the Eternal Heaven knows.’ These were not empty threats and the 1236-41 campaigns of Batu, another grandson of Genghis Khan, devastated Russian lands up to Moscow, seized Poland and Hungary and camped outside Vienna.

In the thirteenth century it did seem that the Eternal Sky was on the side of the Mongols and many parts of China, the Middle East and Europe saw in Genghis Khan’s conquests of the inhabited world the ‘wrath of God’,

the beginning of the Day of Judgement.  poor technological communications, what skills were deployed by the Mongols to administer and control such a vast dominion?

For someone so self-confidently aware of his moral, divinely-dispensed right to rule, how did Genghis Khan relate to the diverse social and religious groups that comprised his dominion? In the making of his imperium what happened to this plurality?

We need to start our discussion, however, with a humbler set of questions to better comprehend the social and political background of the Mongols and Genghis Khan: who were the Mongols?

Where did they live? Who did they interact with and how do we know about their society and politics?

The Mongols were a diverse body of people, linked by similarities of language to the Tatars, Khitan and Manchus to the east, and the Turkic tribes to the west. Some of the Mongols were pastoralists while others were hunter-gatherers.

 The pastoralists tended horses, sheep and, to a lesser extent, cattle, goats and camels. They nomadised in the steppes of Central Asia in a tract of land in the area of the modern state of Mongolia.

This was (and still is) a majestic landscape with wide horizons, rolling plains, ringed by the snow-capped Altai mountains to the west, the arid Gobi desert in the south and drained by the Onon and Selenga rivers and myriad springs from the melting snows of the hills in the north and the west.

Lush, luxuriant grasses for pasture and considerable small game were available in a good season.

Language English
No. of Pages19
PDF Size2.3 MB

NCERT Solutions Class 11 History Chapter 5 Nomadic Empires

Question 1.
Why was trade so significant to the Mongols?

The region which was occupied by Mongols lacked natural resources. The steppe region of Central Asia had extreme climate. Cultivation of food was not possible there, only trade could help their survival.

The Mongols were forced to trade as the scanty resources of the steppes did not help cultivation. So the Mongols traded with neighboring countries and it was beneficial for both the countries.

Question 2.
Why did Genghis Khan feel the need to fragment the Mongol tribes into new social and military groupings?
The following reasons forced Genghis Khan to fragment the Mongol tribes into new social and military groupings:

  • Mongols were the inhabitants of the steppe region. They had their own separate identities. So in order to bring them in touch with other tribes, Genghis Khan took this step.
  • Mongols were courageous people. Because of this nature, Genghis Khan organized them into military groups and established a formidable army. A sound military organization could be very helpful in trade also .
  • Childhood experiences of Genghis Khan were also responsible for the fragmentation of Mongol tribes. Genghis Khan himself had to suffer a lot during his childhood.

Question 3.
How do later Mongol reflections on the Yasa bring out the uneasy relationship they had with the memory of Genghis Khan?


Yasa were the rules and regulations. These were approved by Quritali during Genghis Khan’s reign. These rules were mainly concerned with Mongol army, hunting, postage system, social ladder, etc. They were compilation of traditions and customs that prevailed in Mongol tribal society itself.

NCERT Class 11 History Textbook Chapter 5 Nomadic Empires With Answer PDF Free Download

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