Climate fluctuation not only may have paved the way for Genghis Khan’s conquests of Asia in the 13th century, sudden climatic change may also have halted the Mongol invasion of Europe, according to new research.
Two scholars − one skilled in historical documents and another in interpreting tree rings to deliver weather reports through history − say that cold and heavy snowfalls may have blighted the pastureland of the Great Hungarian Plain in 1242.
This would have produced marshy conditions that would have made it difficult or impossible for 130,000 horsemen to campaign or even survive so far from home.
Genghis Khan’s vast but fleeting empire began in 1206, when the leader united the Mongol tribes, and by 1279 one hitherto impoverished group of nomads had swept across China, Russia, central Asia and Iran. Genghis died in 1227, but by 1242 an army of 130,000 Mongol cavalry had entered Hungary.