Subjects and Masters: Uyghurs in the Mongol Empire

Brose, M. C. (2007). Subjects and Masters: Uyghurs in the Mongol Empire. Center for East Asian Studies, Western Washington University. Link (full text available as PDF)


Subjects and Masters by Michael C. Brose answers the question, “Who really ran the Mongol empire?” The common stereotype of “leadership” during that period of world history most likely consists of a band of savage horse­ mounted nomads, led by the fearless and powerful Chinggis Qan, sweeping down from the steppe to conquer and rule with brutal force over the most powerful Eurasian empires of the time. But while the Mongol tribesmen were certainly effective in conquest and empire building, they could not have succeeded alone. In fact, the rapid conquests of Chinggis and his heirs, and the empire that they constructed across Eurasia, were achieved through the skills and efforts of many different peoples who collaborated (willingly or unwillingly) with the Mongol lords. Not only were the nomadic Mongol tribesmen few in number (especially relative to the large agrarian states they would ultimately conquer, China and Persia), but they also lacked the skills and experience needed to hold power over the long term.


I found a few reviews of this book that could be helpful: Levine, AD, Tackett, NPao, T.


Note: The Uyghurs from this era are not the same as the Uyghurs of present. Uyghurs from this time period (13th-14th century) refer to the Idiqut Uyghurs or Uyghurstan – the Buddhist Uyghur kingdom situated around the Turpan, Beshbalik, Kumul, Kucha area. It was established around 850 (after the fall of the Uyghur Khaganate) and joined the Mongol Empire during the 1200s. After the Uyghur Khaganate fell, two other groups split off – one of them are now the Yughurs and the other joined other Toquz Oghuz tribes and formed the Karakhanid Khanate. The Karakhanids were also integrated into the Mongol empire but eventually they and a few other areas become East Turkestan as the Chaghatai Empire splits. Current Uyghurs are not only the descendants of the Uyghurs in this book, but of all the kingdoms and city states in the area.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: