How do you defend against the Mongols?

Sep 2016
Did anyone try economic warfare on the Mongols? Destroy their ability to wage war by destroying their economy? It might be useful to understand economy as the process by which a society turns natural resources into food, clothing, shelter, and everything else the society needs or wants. How similar were the Mongols to Native Americans? By killing off the buffalo, the US destroyed the Indian means of waging war or of doing anything else for that matter. Did similar opportunities exist vs the Mongols?
Mongols, and generally nomads of Europeasian steppe, weren't reliant on hunting one species. They focused primarily on pastoralism and horse breeding. Those were activites that already demanded high mobility to move between pastures and so Mongols were ready to move both their stock and people quite efficiently in case of danger. It didn't always work, but unless a settled state was able to completely cut off any migration routes, it was quite impossible to completely cripple the nomadic economy beyond recovery.


Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
1. Be born in the western hemisphere and stay there.

2. Die before AD 1200.

3. Be born after 1400.

4. Live in Africa south of the Sahara.

5. Live in Australia & Oceania.

6. Live in western Europe.

A number of the answers give sound strategic and tactical advice, but the best way to avoid being massacred and devastated by Mongols was to live somewhere and/or sometime the Mongols would never reach.
Jun 2012
Gengis had a standing policy of asking for submission first , mongol rule was actually pretty light ,moderate taxes , support for trade , no religious bigotry ,law and order to the Nth degree
of course a refusal was treated with utter devastation and the enslavement of a few valuable artisans ,
....word got around
The request for submission was more like a kind of subtly disguised provocation. What decent ruler worth his salt, when an unfamiliar looking envoy from a foreign land thousands of miles away turns up in his court one day, all out of the blue, accompanied by a dozen or so escorts only, entertain any audacious request (more like a demand, quite likely) for submission?

Not only wud he very likely not entertain such request. The tendency wud also be for you to feel rudeness & disrespect coming from a total stranger, which wud hv been likely to elicit some quite harsh response from some guys. In which case, big mistake.

Well, not a few got fooled by the deception, and resorted to shows of violent resentment, like disfiguring an envoy's face along with those of some of his escorts.
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Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Mongols followed procedure , I doubt if they cared either way
some might have got wise , but as you point out most would have simply rejected the offer
Apr 2018
It sort of depends on whether you're talking about defending against raids or defending against an entire invading mongol army. The latter tended to mean you were in trouble.

We know gunpowder was generally considered extremely useful against the mongols. Despite the loss of their northern territories, the Southern Song managed to continue resisting the Mongols for multiple decades after Genghis Kahn's death, and while it was far from the first time that gunpowder was used in combat, this period did see a dramatic increase in the role that gunpowder weapons played in chinese warfare, particularly cannons and handguns.

Long-term, one of the historically preferred solutions for dealing with a hostile neighbor that has far superior cavalry to your own was to build lots of strong, defensive forts along the frontier which small garrisons of your own, inferior cavalry can then use as a staging point to intercept enemy raids, launch raids of their own, or harass the rear of an enemy army. If the approaching enemy force is ever strong enough to put your parties of garrison cavalry in danger then they can always retreat back to the safety of the nearby fort and hopefully hold out against the enemy army long enough for word to get back to the capital and an army is raised to come rescue them.
Oct 2018
Alauddin Khilji of Delhi Sultanate wud be your man. His forces beat the the Mongols at their own game. Not once, but five times. Matched them for fierceness, ferocity & brutality every step of the way. Outfoxed them, outfought them, outmanoeuvred them, outbrutalised them. Crushed them & tore them apart completely.

Other than that, the Vietnamese lured them up a river planted with spikes, just before the tide turned, and trapped & destroyed their attack boats as the water level went down. The Javanese first allied with them to whup a rival Javanese kingdom, then plied them with rice & coconut wine during the victory celebrations, next pounced on them unexpectedly as they became stone drunk.
Your idea is very interesting and I am very surprised.:think::D:D:D