Under Mongol rule, merchants had a higher status than they had in traditional China. During their travels they could rest and secure supplies through a postal-station system that the Mongols had established.

The postal-station system was, of course, originally devised to facilitate the transmission of official mail from one part of the empire to another. Set up approximately every 20 miles along the major trade routes and stocked with supplies of food, horses, and lodging, the stations were an incredible boon to all travelers, whether they were traveling for business or otherwise.

Under the Mongols, merchants also had the benefit of not being faced with confiscatory taxation, as was the case during the rule of the traditional Chinese dynasties.

Support for trade characterized not only Mongol policy in China but their policy throughout their domains. In Persia the Mongols granted higher tax breaks and benefits to traders in an effort to promote commerce. The Mongols even tried to introduce paper money into Persia — though this would become merely a failed experiment. Nonetheless, the attempt indicates the desire of the Mongols to provide additional assistance to traders.


 
 
© 2004 Asia for Educators, Columbia University
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