Why Were the Mongols Called Tartars?

Mongols and Tartars were bitter rivals, so why are the two synonymous?

Prateek Dasgupta
Teatime History
Published in
9 min readFeb 27, 2024

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A 1947 version of the Secret History of the Mongols, the official Mongol history. The book popularized the term “Mongol.” Image source: Wikimedia

In older literature, you’ll often see Genghis Khan and his Mongols called “Tartars” or “Tatars.” We no longer label the Mongols as Tatars. Today, Tartar refers to Turkic-speaking people of Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia, such as the Crimean Tartars. They aren’t related to…

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Prateek Dasgupta
Teatime History

Top writer in History, Science, Art, Food, and Culture. Interested in lost civilizations and human evolution. Contact: prateekdasgupta@gmail.com