Standards Database Logo
Home | Browse | Search | Purpose | History | Process | Acknowledgment| Reference



McREL Standards Activity

The Golden Horde

Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will understand ways the "Golden Horde" affected the development of Eastern Europe and ways it could have affected the development of Western Europe.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
World History
 Standard 21.Understands the rise of the Mongol Empire and its consequences for Eurasian peoples from 1200 to 1350
   Level III [Grade 7-8]
   Benchmark 2. Understands the influence of the "Golden Horde" in various regions (e.g., the impact of the "Golden Horde" rule on the peoples of Eastern Europe and Russia, the major accomplishments of Batu)
Student Product:Small-group discussion, lists and maps (possibly individual lists, short essays, or maps of the Golden Horde conquests if the instructor is concerned about individual evaluation)
Material & Resources:No special resources required for this activity.
Teacher's Note:Students should engage in this activity only after studying how the Golden Horde actually altered the history of Eastern Europe. They can then build upon and solidify their knowledge of the topic by considering how Western Europe would be different today if the Tartars had advanced further. If the instructor finds that the topic is too broad, he/she may consider giving each group a different aspect of influence to consider, i.e., religious, cultural, or political and limit the students to focus on one European country they have studied, rather than all of Western Europe.
The Golden Horde, an army of Tartars led by Batu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, conquered Russia, Hungary, and Poland and invaded Germany in the 13th century. Many historians say that Batu’s recall to Mongolia to participate in the election of a new supreme ruler saved Western Europe from Tartar invasions. What might Western Europe be like today if Batu had not returned to Karakorum? In groups of about four or five, students should address this question by considering the Golden Horde’s effects on those countries it did invade. For example, since the Mongol Empire accepted Islam as its official religion, thereby increasing the Muslim population of Russia, would the Muslim population of Western European countries be greater? Would the languages spoken in Western Europe be different than they are today? Would the British monarchy still be in place? How would the cultural history of the Western countries be different? Each group should make a list of at least five ways they believe Western Europe would be different today had the Mongol invasion continued. Students should consider cultural, religious, and political changes. For example, what foods or holidays might be more common? While there are no right or wrong answers for this activity, students should make reasonable assertions; as such, in addition to simply providing a list of five potential effects of a more extensive invasion, they should provide the rationale behind their assertions (e.g., explain why they think England and France would be 30 percent Muslim). When the groups have completed their lists, the whole class might come together to discuss how the groups agreed and differed on the effects of a Mongol invasion of Western Europe; if that is not possible, their teacher could simply collect the lists and rationales. Also the creation of colorful maps comparing the actual extent of Golden Horde conquests with the imagined extent of Golden Horde conquest might augment the lists and add some spice to the activity. If the teacher wants an essay on the impact of the Golden Horde it may be helpful to have them write from the perspective of a conquered people--what is life like under Golden Horde rule?