Control over the Stepps was vital in the legitimization of Chinggis Khan. However, he had to overtake Ong-Qan as the primary power in the region. This is because Ong-Qan increased his political power by creating a tribal confederacy. Thus, Chinggis Khan was not the first tribal leader to unify Mongolia. However, Chinggis Khan successfully took control of the Stepps because he did not simply establish a tribal confederacy. Timothy May stated “the tribal society of Mongolia had drastically changed from the time prior to Chinggis Khan accession to dominance.”(14) He understood that he needed to rely on the select few he trusted to unify and rule Mongolia.
Chinggis Khan did not simply conquer and maintain the Mongolian and Turkish tribes but also ensured their incorporation into the Mongol state after conquest. As a result, individual tribes no longer existed after conquest. This occurred through Chinggis Khans ability to incorporate these tribes into the Minqan – the first method of organization used that were loyal to him – which created a new state that eliminated the tribal heritage of Mongolia. This was a vital step to establishing the Mongol Empire because “[t]he social features of the clan and tribe have not been entirely compatible with the requirements of imperial organizations.”(15) Therefore, the needs to transform the political, cultural, religious, and economic aspects were vital to the success of the Mongol Empire. Furthermore, Lawrence Krader stated “in order to have a durable state, a form of citizenship is necessary which is recognizable and comparable throughout the empire; taxation, tribute collection, military organization,…are needed for government of a complex state and social organization.”(16) The Mongol tribal heritage did not suffice these needs. As a result, the implementation of a syncretic process occurred. Chinggis Khan was interested in gaining wealth and power for his family. Thus, his family and political power were intertwined throughout the history of the empire. The new organization of Mongolia linked itself to the Chinggis Khan Family.
The new organization emerged linked to the Chinggis Khans family because all the other elite tribal leaders lost their political power. The tribal leaders lost their political power because they lost geographical control. In short, the ruling individual or group needed to remove the significance to legitimize their dynasty. This control aided geographical position to family ties. A sense of citizenship was fostered as a result Chinggis Khan’s legitimization and the centralization of power. In addition, the process of building a military organization over tribal units enabled there to be basic administrative structures to build upon. Through this period, the formation of a tribal confederation required a rising Mongol figure to control Orkhan Valley to legitimize his power.
The linchpin to geographical control was the Orkhan Valley. The regions significance is understood but the exact reasons why are unclear. However, what is known is that who ever “acquired a political and spiritual focus that gave legitimacy to the tribe [or family] that held it.”(17) The significance of Orkhan Valley is uncertain but it held political significance centered on the fact it provided the ruler with the resources and support necessary to rule the region. In addition, Larry Moses speculated that there are two reasons behind the significance of the Orkhan Valley, which appear to be similar.
In his article, “A Theoretical Approach to the Process of Inner Asian Confederation,” Larry Moses discussed the two plausible explanations that appear to be similar, but there are minor differences. The first reason is that the people from the local tribes would declare their allegiance to the ruler who controlled the region because of the political and religious significance the region garnered from family traditions. Secondly, the surrounding tribes would accept the ruler as the regional leader.(18) The tribal leaders accepted the regional leader but they would not accept a position of lesser standing. Furthermore, for a tribal leader to declare that another held a greater standing is a significant occurrence. The loss of the Orkhan Valley resulted in the invalidation of the ruler’s legitimization. For this reason, throughout Chinggis Khans rise to power, Ong-Qan attempted to gain control of Orkhan Valley. However, in time, Chinggis Khan defeated Ong-Oan putting himself in position as the legitimate authority in the Steppes. The successors of Chinggis Khan benefited from the importance of geography declining.
The kin of Chinggis Khan benefited from the importance of the declining requirement of geography control. Chinggis Khan accomplished this by investing his own bloodline with centralized power and removing other tribal elites. In addition, he possibly removed the Orkhan Valley factor in Steppe politics.(19) Although he increased the importance of family succession, he restricted the power of the Altan Uray, which prevented them from being the linchpin of power and leadership in the region. “In an attempt to counter the importance of his own family, Chinggis Khan created another elite group [noyad] among his military commanders.”(20) In theory, the noyad served the altan uruy but in the end, they obeyed and advised the qayan – particularly Chinggis Khan and his successors.(21) The military is a significant factor in Mongol expansion but the civil administration facilitated further expansion.
The success of the Mongol military enabled the quick conquest of regions but the effective civil administration allowed further expansion. The development of the administrative structures evolved similarly to everything else in the empire. This is vital because the Mongols would not have been able to maintain expansion without it to keep the empire from collapsing under mismanagement. The redeeming feature is the empire not ceasing to share responsibilities with the military. However, this relationship enabled the military civil administrative organization known as the tamma to control the newly conquered regions. Unfortunately, the tamma military was not effective at governing a region efficiently. Consequently, there was a need for an effective and efficient civil administration because the tamma’s attempt to operate a government withheld it from moving to new conquests. It is the implementation of a civil administration that allowed the tamma military to advance to conquer new regions and allowed them to become integrated into the empire. This required a new ruling establishment.
The Minqan became the Mongols first ruling establishment but the government became more complex as the empire expanded. This development led to the tamma, which was the most important institution the Mongols used to rule.(22) In the early stage of the Mongol Administration, they were only concerned with the deployment of military units and obtaining wares to reward the individuals who partook in the raids and wars. The tamma were stationed on the fringes of the Mongol Empire.
The tamma were always on the borders of the Mongol Empire between the nomadic and sedentary cultures.(23) The stabilization of the regions led to the transformation of the empires structure.(24) Consequently, governors and their secretaries were sent and an administrator would replace the tamma commander. The administrative apparatus was a logical choice through the initial phase of conquest. However, the evolution of the empire and its goals required the administrative structure to evolve more. The developing civil administration was not to only be concerned with the military, but with the governance of the conquered regions as well. The keshik emerged from the administrative institution as head of their own office.
The keshik emerged from the administrative institution, as warlords became heads of administrative offices.(25) The keshik not only served as security but also was also responsible for the royal household and administration duties. The keshik were “initially comprised of nokod, or the companions and followers of Chinggis Khan, even after his death [they] still served as a training ground for not only generals but administrators as well.”(26) The important factor is they demonstrated their loyalty to the gayen when they served in the prior keshik. A member of the keshik would serve a term as an officer or administrator to maintain the good standing of the relationship. The keshik returned to their duties once the term was completed.(27) It is under Mongke that the Mongol administrative system underwent numerous reforms.
The Mongol Empires administration system undertook significant reforms under Mongke.(28) The reforms purpose was to lessen the burden the Mongol empire placed on the sedentary population. The Mongol empire undertook these reforms to help the sedentary population to seek, which benefited them in the end because of the opportunity of trade and agriculture. In addition, Mongke aspired to restore the imperial authority over the Chinggisids. As a result, damage to property decreased while people within war zones maintained and safeguarded economic growth, and the long-term possibility of conquered regions.(29) In terms of taxation, Mongke insisted that the Mongols would benefit in the long term in terms of taxation if they kept damage to a minimum. The Mongol Empires policy not to gain through plunder and preying resulted in the Mongols need to obtain fiscal resources by other means. As a result, the Mongol Empire created fiscal territories.
The division of territories into separate fiscal regions occurred to obtain and maintain control over the fiscal resources within the Mongol empire. During the reign of Guyuk the Mongol revenue districts were consolidated into three regions. However, Turkistan cannot be viewed like other regions – as a nomadic reservoir – because the populations across the Silk Road provided an abundant amount of wealth. Prior to the implementation of the tax system the Mongols regularly plundered wealth from the sedentary population. Furthermore, the implementation of the tax system resulted in the plundering of sedentary subjects to decrease. In the infancy of Mongol Society, tributes were a regular occurrence to illustrate the loyalty an individual had for a ruler, unlike a levy that was used to meet a particular need.(30) In time, the Mongol empire set a fixed rate tribute based upon possessions. However, when on conquest, it was common practice for the Mongols to demand goods or enforce levies to obtain what they needed from recent conquered regions. Nevertheless, the Mongols saw the benefits of converting to a regularized tax system.