In Big Era 5, which is between 300 CE and 1500 CE, the Mongols had great impacts to the world and built the largest empire in human history. The Mongolian cavalries destroyed Song Dynasty in China, conquered the Islamic caliphates in Middle East, and crushed the European kingdoms in the west. Their great success was a miracle in our history and continuously confused people for centuries. How did those uncivilized and barbaric defeated other highly developed civilizations and created the amazing Pax Mongolica, a stable and prosperous period of time? Stirrups, the equipments for riders to keep balance on horses' backs, were fundamental in BE 5, because they helped the Mongols to build large empires, made land trading easier, and increased cultural exchange between the west and the east.
Now, it is pretty unclear about when and who developed the stirrups. But, we can still assume that the stirrup was invented before BE 5 in some parts of Asia. In BE 5, it became a universal equipment of Mongolian cavalries and greatly changed the destiny of those people. Their army equipped with stirrups helped them to expand their empire and unified the large area in Afroeuroasia. With stirrups, the Mongolian riders became able to be more balanced on horses' backs, because the efforts of their legs could also help them stabilize their bodies on saddles. The Mongolian riders were allowed to use their arms and have more complex movements when they are riding, because the stirrups can work along with their legs to keep balance. As a result, the utilization of stirrups made shooting arrows at same of as riding possible for Mongols. The riders who are able to shoot arrows became a combination of the mobility and the ability to attack enemies from a long distance. Those great objects made Mongolian army super strong and helped them to gain military advantages over the Chinese, the Muslims, and the Europeans. On battle fields, the valiant Mongolian warriors were able to launch arrows with their compound bows to kill massive amount of enemies. When their enemies tried to approach them, they could retreat rapidly with their horses and fire at their unprotected enemies because of their stirrups. Their military triumphs eventually helped them to build a unified and large empire.
Besides its contribution to Mongols' empire building process, the trading and the communication between civilizations also relied the stirrups and became more frequent. As I mentioned, the stirrups help riders to have a easier time on horses' backs and feel more comfortable when their are traveling by horses. As a result, people who were not used at riding could perfect this skill in a really short time and became able to travel faster by horses. After the Mongols took control of the Silk Road and maintained peace at that area, economic activities and long-distance trading became much easier and more prevalent than before. During Pax Mongolica, the Silk Road was reused and protected by the Mongols. More caravans formed by horses and camels appeared on the road. Europeans, Muslims, and Chinese people could all trade through the Silk Road by horses which were equipped with stirrups. European traders, like Marco Polo, all traveled to China because of stirrups. Manufactured goods, such as silks and chinas, were all traded through the Silk Road and was transported by horses equipped with stirrups. This helped different civilizations to recover from the invasion of the Mongols and to gain economic growth.
Since riding horses became easier after the utilization of stirrups, the Mongols established the postal system called Yam which helped people to send messages to each other. This postal system was operated by horse riders who carried messages from one station to another station. The horse riders who relied on stirrups could carry messages to every corners of the Mongolian empire in a short period of time and build connections between people. Those frequent connections between people eventually caused the cultural exchange and the spreading of knowledge. Religions, such as Islam, Christianity, and Eastern Orthodox could be spread through both the Yam system and the Silk Road. Advanced technologies also became available for all civilizations, because travelers and traders brought the technologies from one civilization to another. With the invention of stirrups and better transportation, both of the powerful Mongolian military weapons and Chinese technics, such as paper making, were adopted by different peoples.
From the evidences I collected, stirrups provided the Mongols with military advantages, created more efficient transportation which stimulated trading and cultural exchange. They explained about the unbelievable achievements of the Mongols and helped us to depict the human web between the civilizations. Through the research on the stirrups, we also learned more about the advanced military technologies in this time period and how did international trade work. In conclusion, the stirrups were influential in BE 5 and had great effects on the historical process.