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Climate change drove the rise and expansion of Mongolia’s equestrian empires – study

Genghis Khan enters Beijing. Image: Sayf al-Vâhidî. Hérât. Afghanistan, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The onset of humid conditions around 1200 BCE in the area of modern-day Mongolia appears to have been a key driver in the expansion of the great equestrian empires of the Eastern Steppes, researchers report.

The repeated expansion of East Asian steppe cultures has been a key driver of Eurasian history.

The rise of transcontinental, pastoral empires linking eastern and western Eurasia across the steppes had a tremendous transformative effect on human societies, facilitating the spread of people, goods, and ideas — as well as domestic animals, plants, and catastrophic disease.

The Mongolian steppe was first occupied by pastoral people around 3000 BCE, when early herders appear to have migrated to the region from western Asia.

Around 1200 BCE, domestic horses were used first for transport by mobile herders and other Bronze…

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