In 1206, Genghis Khan, a fierce tribal chieftain from northern Mongolia, began to take over the world. The khan’s ruthless tactics and loyal horde swept across Asia.
One territory after another fell under the overwhelming force of the Mongol Empire, which would eventually stretch from the eastern shores of China. A series of successful forays in Hungary and Poland made even Europe seem within reach of conquering.
But this unstoppable wave of victories in Europe suddenly ended. Almost as soon as the Mongols set their sights set on Austria, they abruptly returned to Asia.
Historians could only guess why until now, since written accounts from the point of view of Mongol military leaders are sparse. But a new study in the journal Scientific Reports looked at a different kind of record to solve the mystery of the horde’s abrupt exit from central Europe: tree rings.
This wooden chronicle revealed that a cold and wet period set in for years, leading “to reduced pastureland and decreased mobility, as well as hampering the military effectiveness of the Mongol cavalry”, according to a press release. Source: Scientists finally know what stopped Mongol hordes from conquering Europe