The Mongols are known for their conquests across the continents of Asia and Europe. But every great empire must shrink eventually, and the Mongols are no exception. In the mid 1241, the Mongols invaded Hungary. A year later, the Mongols abruptly left the region, and the reason was unknown until recently. Research done by a historian at Princeton University looking at the tree rings in the region show that the winter of 1241 was cold and snowy, which led to a wet spring. This turned the grasslands that the Mongols were using for farming turned into marshes, which made farming and traveling by horse extremely difficult. These conditions were unsuitable for the Mongols, so they retreated. A map of the Mongol empire drawn in 1246 shows the entirety of the empire, but Hungary was no longer a part of the map.
These two sources are related because they provide reasoning and illustration to the Mongol empire. The two sources bring up the issue of using nature to understand history. There are plenty of unexplained events in history that could potentially be explained by nature. This story should be interesting to Minnesotans, and anyone really, because we could use tree rings to understand our own history.
News Story: Mystery of Mongol Retreat from Hungary Solved
Image: Map of Mongol Empire (1246)