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Old January 16th, 2013, 12:52 AM   #1
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When did nomadic tribes no longer pose a threat to agricultural civilization


It seems to me that nomadic tribes are always a threat to settled, agricultural civilization throughout the age in Europe, East Asia and elsewhere. From the Huns to Mongols, once-powerful great civilizations like Rome and Song China were ruined by so-called "barbaric" nomads. As late as 15th, 16th centuries nomads were still considered real and probable threat to civilizations. However in nowadays probably no one would consider nomads as a slightest threat anymore. When did the balance tipped toward civilization? Did the industrial revolution gave civilization the technological capability and productiveness and hence the "upper hand", which allowed their military ability to eclipse the archer-Cavalry warriors?
Let's discuss.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 01:06 AM   #2

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Though its not the only cause, the development of modern type firearms and more centralized states greatly helped reduce their threat.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 01:11 AM   #3

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The Russian Steppes would be a good test case for this excellent question. All that fertile land left fallow due to nomadic tribes using it as a highway for raids on Persia, India, China and Europe.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 01:21 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Stick View Post
The Russian Steppes would be a good test case for this excellent question. All that fertile land left fallow due to nomadic tribes using it as a highway for raids on Persia, India, China and Europe.
Very good point.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 03:12 AM   #5
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Arounnd the 16 th century. Improvement in weapon technology (arbequs, cannons) and tactics offset the nomads traditional advantages. You saw a huge expanse of Russian territory in the 16th century under Ivan the Terrible, and the remains of the Golden Horde were swept away.

The Mongols stopped being a major threat to China around the same time. When the Manchu conquered China, they were fighting pretty much the same way as the Chinese, not as nomads, and the corruption of the Ming helped bring their downfall.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 04:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart Dale View Post
Arounnd the 16 th century. Improvement in weapon technology (arbequs, cannons) and tactics offset the nomads traditional advantages. You saw a huge expanse of Russian territory in the 16th century under Ivan the Terrible, and the remains of the Golden Horde were swept away.

The Mongols stopped being a major threat to China around the same time. When the Manchu conquered China, they were fighting pretty much the same way as the Chinese, not as nomads, and the corruption of the Ming helped bring their downfall.
Interesting! In fact in the early days of mongol expansion they actually adapted to and adopted gunpowder weaponry, it is quite ironic that the very gunpowder they introduced to the world might have brought their ultimate downfall. It also worth mentioning that the role of European firearm in the Manchu-Ming war is quite significant.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 09:53 AM   #7
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Very interesting topic, it is amazing how nomads could impact-destroy civilizations practically at will for literally thousands of years, and yet urban-agricultural civilizations were able to defeat nomad marauders effectively and once and for all just a few hundred years ago.
Thanks for pointing out the Russian connection, will have to read into the Russian expansion across the Asian steppes.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 12:12 PM   #8

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Great post, I think the answer would be the 1500s. I also think that the agricultural civilization would still have the military advantage even before that.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 06:40 PM   #9

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I would say until 1500. The West did not have any plains and the East were too powerful.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 07:57 PM   #10

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Suppose it depends on what continent we're looking at. Nomadic horse cultures persisted in Russia and on the American plains a lot longer than they did, say, in the Middle East or eastern/central Europe.
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