The Mongols' receptiveness to foreigners was a critical factor
in promoting cultural exchange and a truly "global"
history. Their attitude of relative openness toward foreigners
and foreign influence led to an extraordinary interchange
of products, peoples, technology, and science throughout the
So it is no accident that Marco
Polo reached China during this era [also see Key
Figures in Mongol History: Marco Polo]. And also no accident
that Ibn Battuta, the great Islamic traveler from Morocco,
also reached China during this time, and that Rabban Sauma,
a Nestorian Christian from the area around Beijing, reached
Europe and had audiences with the kings of England and France
and the Pope.
From the Mongol period on, then, we can speak about a Eurasian
if not a global history, in which developments
in one part of Europe would have an impact not only in Europe
but also in Asia, with the same being true for Asia. And if
we remember that Christopher Columbus was actually looking
for a new route to Asia when he landed in America and
that one of the few books he had with him was Marco Polo's
account of his travels in Asia we could even say that
global history begins with the Mongols and the bridge they
built between the East and the West.