The Chaghatai Khanate and the Microbian Common Market 1300–1370
Under the Chaghatai khanate, the Mongol successor state ruled by the descendants of Chinggis’ second son Chaghadai (the change from d to t signifies the transition from Mongolian to Turkish), Central Asia enjoyed a rare period of political unity. It was not an unqualified unity. State, society and culture were all deeply divided. Expected to be the strongest of the successor states, because of its centrality, the Chaghatai khanate turned out to be the weakest. Yet it survived longer than any of them only dying in 1930 with the abolition of the vestigial khanate of Hami.1 The strength was not illusory. Between the end of the Mongolian explosion and the rise of Tamerlane, it made a major contribution to the formation of a second, modern, world institution: the microbian common market.2 This unification of disease patterns; by the generalization of bacteria and viruses previously isolated, intensified pathological pressure on humankind. It was an ecological disaster unparalleled since the neolithic revolution. It killed far more people over a longer period than the Mongolian explosion. Yet in the end, its effect, too, was positive.
KeywordsFifteenth Century Fourteenth Century Yersinia Pestis Yuan Dynasty Neolithic Revolution
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