1. Chang'an was not only the capital of the Tang Empire, it was also the eastern terminus of the trade routes from central Asia and the western point of deposit for the Grand Canal. With a population drawn from all over Asia, the city and it suburbs had a population of 1,960,186. Surrounding the city were walls that formed a rectangle of slightly over five by six miles. The city was laid out in broad thoroughfares running east-west and north-south. These formed 110 blocks, each of which was an administrative unit. From the southern gate ran a 500 foot wide thoroughfare to the governmental headquarters at the Imperial City where the Imperial Palace was located. The road divided the city administratively into eastern and western sections, each with its own marketplace operated by the government. (John K. Fairbank, Edwin O. Reischauer, and Albert M. Craig, East Asia Tradition and Transformation, pp. 105-106)
1. How does Chang'an compare as a capital city to that of Rome and Athens?
1. After several centuries of internal division, China was united under the Sui dynasty (581-618). The capital was re-established at Chang'an and expansion began anew. Most significant during this period was the connecting older canals and constructing new ones. First, Chang'an was tied by canal to the union of the Wei and Yellow Rivers one hundred miles away. This was followed by extending the canal to link the Yellow and YangtzeRivers. The Grand Canal, when completed in 610, extended over 1400 miles. The new canal facilitated the movement of grain and commodities from the rice-rich southern provinces to the densely populated north. The canal also served as a means for communication, movement of troops, and inspection of the empire.
2. The Sui collapsed in part due to three failed campaigns to subdue the Korean kingdom of Koguryo. When the Sui emperor was murdered in 618, General Li Yaun founded the new dynasty of the Tang (618-907). Soon they began expansion, securing the heartland by subduing the nomadic tribes beyond the Great Wall. The northwest was pacified and renamed Xinjiang ("new region") while the Tibetan kingdom was brought under Tang control. Tribute also came from rulers beyond the frontier. The southern provinces below the Yangtze were fully assimilated into the TangEmpire.
3. The Sui had divided their country into a uniform system of districts grouped in prefectures. The Tang altered the system by grouping the prefectures into provinces.
4. In the middle of the eighth century, Tang foreign policy collapsed as Chinese armies were defeated in central Asia and the southwest. As the emperor's power disintegrated, generals began to rebel. By 907 the Tang had dissolved and China entered the Era of the Five Dynasties featuring barracks emperors until 960 with the initiation of the Sung dynasty.
1. The Mongols were a nomadic people originating in the southern grasslands of China. They primarily raised horses and herded sheep. Their organization was in clans and related clans to tribes. The unification of the tribes came under Temujin (1206-1227) in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Through the tribe of his wife, Temuchin, Temujin allied with the Ch'in ruling north China. In 1206 a meeting of the tribes in the Gobi Desert elected Temujin their great khan ("ruler"). Genghis Khan was the unquestioned leader. The army, never more than 130,000, was recruited from the Uigher Turks, the Manchus, and other nomadic people divided into myriads of 10,000 with subdivisions of 1,000, 100, and 10. They were superior horsemen possessing a powerful compound bow, needed supplies, and remounts. Tactics utilizing cavalry and siege warfare were less effective in tropical terrain and hilly regions than in the arid Mongol heartland.
2. The empire of Genghis Khan was concentrated on the steppes. He brought under control the lands north of the Great Wall, the western Muslim states on the steppes, and eastern Russia. Genghis (assassinated in 1227) divided the empire among his four sons and eventually the khanates became independent: in central Asia was the Khanate of Chaghadai; in Russia the Khanate of Kipchak (Golden Horde); in Persia the Khanate of Persia (Il-Khans); and in Mongolia to southern China the Khanate of the Great Kahn.
3. The capital of the Khanate of the Great Khan was moved from Karakorum to Khanbaligh (modern Beijing) in 1264 (Beijing was captured in 1227). The summer palace was at Shang-tu.
4. Chosen in 1260 as the great khan was Khubilai (1260-1294) grandson of Ghengis. He adopted the Chinese dynastic name of Yuan. Only about 400,000 Mongols lived in China during the Yaun period.
5. The Mongols conquered Tibet, Korea, Sung China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Persia, Mesopotamia, and Syria. In 1260, they were stopped in Palestine by the Egyptians.The Japanese also halted their expansion in 1274 and 1281. Undeterred, Khubilai Khan in 1281 sent an army of nearly 150,000 to Japan but again failed to subdue it. Critical to the failure was a massive typhoon that destroyed the entire Mongol fleet. In 1293 the Khan's forces failed against Java.
6. Marco Polo accompanied his father and uncle to Asia in 1271. From 1275 to 1292, he served at the court of Khubilai Khan. The Polos were allowed to leave China in 1292, accompanying the bride for the Khan of Persia. They sailed from Hangzhow to India and then to Hormuz where they continued over land to Tabriz and on to Constantinople and Venice, arriving in 1295.
1. How was the military structure of the Mongols conducive to military success? What were the tactics?