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The Mongol Empire’s Adoption of the Uyghur Script

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Dec 27, 2023

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The Mongol Empire’s Adoption of the Uyghur script is an illustrative example in AP World History. Read the passage below to learn all about how the Mongol adoption of the Uyghur script is an example of the Mongol’s unique way of integrating with the people they conquered.


Mongols Hunting
Mongols Hunting/public domain


The vast and diverse Mongol Empire, spanning from the 13th to the 14th centuries, is renowned for its remarkable ability to integrate various cultures within its expansive realm. Among the notable examples of this multicultural approach was the adoption of the Uyghur script for written communication within the administration of the empire. This move demonstrated the Mongols’ pragmatic and inclusive governance strategies, fostering unity amidst linguistic diversity.


The Uyghur script, derived from the Sogdian script, had been developed in the Uyghur Khaganate in Central Asia during the 8th century. Originally used to write Old Uyghur, a Turkic language, the script evolved to accommodate other languages spoken in the region, such as Mongolian.


The vast expanse of the Mongol Empire encompassed a multitude of linguistic groups, including Mongolic, Turkic, Persian, Chinese, and more. Recognizing the need for effective communication in such a linguistically diverse environment, the Mongol rulers, particularly under the leadership of Chinggis Khan and Kublai Khan, opted for a multilingual approach in their administration.


The pragmatic rulers of the Mongol Empire chose the Uyghur script as a standardized writing system for official use. This script was adaptable and well-suited to represent the various languages spoken across the empire. The Mongols recognized the Uyghur script’s flexibility and efficiency, enabling them to administer their vast and culturally diverse territories effectively.


The adoption of the Uyghur script played a crucial role in administrative and diplomatic communication. Official decrees, legal documents, and diplomatic correspondence were written in the Uyghur script, allowing for consistent communication and understanding among the diverse linguistic groups within the empire.


The Mongol Empire’s embrace of the Uyghur script not only served practical governance needs but also fostered cultural exchange. It facilitated the transmission of knowledge, literature, and administrative practices across different linguistic communities, contributing to a shared administrative culture within the empire.


The Mongol Empire’s adoption of the Uyghur script reflects a unique historical instance of multicultural governance, showcasing the empire’s adaptability in the face of linguistic diversity. This pragmatic approach not only facilitated effective administration but also contributed to a cross-cultural exchange that influenced the subsequent development of the regions under Mongol rule.



Free Printable Reading Passage on the Mongol's Adoption of the Uyghur Script

The Mongol Empire's Adoption of the Uyghur Empire Free Reading Passage




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The Mongol Empire


Unit 2: Networks of Exchange


AP World History






The Mongol Adoption of the Uyghur Script




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Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Dec 27, 2023

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