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THE DEMISE OF THE MONGOLS The Mongols were nomads people who depended mainly on livestock for their livelihood They were constantly on the move in response to seasons and searching for better grazing for their herds This moving about also created opportunities and channels for trade with the different peoples and cultures with whom the Mongols came in contact The Mongols themselves traded for commodities that they did not produce but needed iron being a good example They also traded with agricultural people to obtain grain vegetables cotton and silk This simple economic structure of the Mongols was inadequate to support the vast empire that the Great Khans had created during the 13th century As the Mongols united nomadic tribes and expanded across the steppes of Asia and into the Middle East Russia and China they relied on resources taken from the acquired lands and societies to sustain their armies infrastructure and other needs Basically they took the wealth from others and used a system of harsh taxation to meet the rising costs of the empire On the one hand the Mongols promoted economic development by opening up trade routes and permitting a freer flow of goods from one region to another while on the other hand they were an economic burden to the societies they controlled The Mongols were also inclusive bringing captured people at least those they did not kill or enslave into their empire This practice let them magnify their success by acquiring more people and armies but also stretched their Mongol leaders very thinly over a huge territory So while the Mongols created unprecedented commercial integration and controlled a huge land area they financed their empire by imposing heavy taxes and plundering they were wealth takers not builders Similarly while they brought together many peoples they had no common system for administration as had the Romans or the Greeks Their empire was diverse and
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