The Legacy of the Mongols
The Mongol eruption in the thirteenth century was without question the most significant impact the nomadic peoples of Inner Asia on the sedentary world. Mongol troops reached west all the way to Hungary and Poland and south all the way to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. China and Central Asia, as the Mongols' two nearest neighbors, had greater and longer exposure than other regions to the descendants of Chinggis Khan. The Mongols governed much of Central Asia for about a century, and their Turkic-speaking descendants dominated the region for at least another century and a half. The Mongols' initial encounter with Eastern Turkestan, the closest neighbor in Central Asia, was peaceful. The Mongols recruited reliable Chinese and Khitan advisers to help them develop stable administration. The direct historical links between the Mongols and Central Asia were without question significant, but perhaps the shared patterns of organization, structure, and ideology are vital in identifying the Mongol legacy in Central Asia.