The Mongols and Pollution

The Mongols taking over China had an affect on our history as a world. Not only did it affect our history, but it affected our environment. On I found an interesting article that spoke of the Mongols where they state “It is thought to be one of the few examples where pre-industrial period pollution has exceeded modern day levels” speaking of the environmental impact that they had. It was truly shocking because today we hear so much about our impact on the environment and how bad its becoming but the fact that the Mongols, who had no modern technology, were creating as much or possibly even more pollution.

I wanted to then research for an educational source regarding the pre-industrial pollution. I found a website with publications from the Archaeological Institute of America. When I first came across the website I was expecting something about other countries and their pollution but one of the first things they speak about is the pollution from the Mongols. They specify that the Mongols had “established an ambitious silver mining operation near Lake Erhai” then stating that a recent analysis of that lake showed that “lead pollution spiked during the Yuan Dynasty, peaking at three to four times the level caused by modern mining”. This just backs up what the DailyMail article was saying and further shows the importance to us as people who inhabit this planet and even more specifically us Minnesotans.

In Minnesota we have so many beautiful lakes and parks that we often just take for granted. These articles just show us that if we don’t take care of our lakes, there could still be pollution and junk in our lakes for hundreds or thousands of years. We need to appreciate what we have because before we know it, we could strip it of its true beauty.

Website Links:


MailOnline, Richard Gray for. “The Mongols Were Fearsome Warriors… and Big POLLUTERS: Kublai Khan’s Silver Mining Dumped More Heavy Metals into the Environment than Modern Industry.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.

Weiss, Daniel. “The Environmental Cost of Empire – Archaeology Magazine.”The Environmental Cost of Empire – Archaeology Magazine. Archaeological Institute of America, 04 June 2015. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.


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