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Impacts of Weather on World History



Impacts of Weather on World History

Amidst all the turmoil and chaos in the world, one of the most reassuring and comforting belief that people hold dear is that they control their own fate or destinies. They believe that the decisions they make guide them towards achieving a certain goal, for instance, choosing to go to school so as to widen one’s scope of employment opportunities, dropping out of school to concentrate on a prospective business idea, training hard on a daily basis to become an Olympic champion or saving to make your post-retirement life comfortable. To a large extent, the trajectory of the people’s lives reflects the decisions they make. However, there are things that people cannot control. For example, people cannot control certain environmental forces. Instead, people normally find themselves caught in the middle of these forces whose aftermaths spell devastating effects. The subject of weather is often talked about in the context of the most suitable apparel for the day based on the weather forecast. Notwithstanding, the weather has played a critical role in impacting world history in a magnitude that can still be felt even today.

Various studies document the long-term impacts of weather in the formulation of countries, continents and cultures. For instance, Khubilai Khan was the undisputed ruler of the large Mongol empire in the thirteenth century. The Mongol empire stretched form the Black sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. Today, the Mongol empire would have occupied the area covered by Siberia and Afghanistan. In his quest for more power, Khubilai Khan invaded Japan twice. However, the presence of two monsoons caused him to bring the attack on Japan to an end. The two monsoons caused massive destruction of the ships ferrying Mongol warriors with casualties and death of more than one hundred people in Khan’s final invasion attempt (Delgado, 4). Following the disaster caused by the monsoons, Kahn decided to lead a third invasion attempt to conquer Japan. However, he died before fulfilling this mission. It is vital to note that the Mongols could have defeated the Japanese and the country would have lost its unique culture and identity if it were not for the two monstrous monsoons.Impacts of Weather on World History

Another leader who was keen on conquering the world was Napoleon Bonaparte. His astute physique and burning ambition led him to believe that he could attain world dominion. In the nineteenth century, Napoleon Bonaparte led an invasion of Russia. The initial phases of the invasion were quite successful with his solders capturing Moscow and causing immense destruction in the city. Following the success of Moscow invasion, Napoleon Bonaparte began to see his desire for world domain as probable and this further encouraged him to order more military campaigns. However, his over ambitious reasoning made him fail to realize that winters in Russia are extremely cold. In his research, Wyk (1) narrates how Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers and their horses died in the brutally cold weather when the temperatures fell below freezing point. The soldiers were powerless against the devastatingly cold weather and their deaths signaled the eventual diminution of Napoleon’s power and the end of his rule. While the cold Russian winter led to Napoleon’s massive defeat it also fostered the reorganization of power in European countries to better counter invasion attempts from rulers bent on achieving world domination and the rise of Russia as a significant world power.

During the early years of the American Revolutionary War, it seemed that the British not only had the upper hand in terms of soldiers and weapons but also had a disciplined and well-trained army that elicited fear amongst various nations in the world. On the other hand, there were no kind words or dignified epithets for the American troops who were contemplated to be poorly organized and lacking in proper training and fighting resources. The culmination of British’s quest to incorporate America back into its empire would have been the defeat of General George Washington in the Battle of Long Island as Seymour and Watson (13) denotes. However, an intervention in the weather in the form of a heavy fog provided the needed cover for American troops to retreat and live to fight another after regrouping. America’s pursuit for freedom and its determination to fight for that freedom despite the presence of a bigger Britain with more resources and soldiers would have ended with the defeat of its troops at Long Island. However, this was not to be as America gained an unlikely helper in the form of fog. The outcome of this weather intervention is the present day free and strong United States which would have otherwise been part of the United Kingdom lone Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Moreover, the United States is only affiliated to Britain by its colonial past and not by being a commonwealth nation such as Australia and Canada.Impacts of Weather on World History

These three historical accounts evince how the weather was crucial in causing vast and prominent changes in world history, as well as, in culture and power balances in countries. Without the opportune appearance of the heavy fog, the United States could have been part of the United Kingdom today. Also, without the two devastating monsoons, the Mongol empire would have captured Japan and the country would have been part of present Mongolia. Finally, without the brutal Russia winters, Russians could be a francophone nation today. In as much advancement in technology has made it easier for people to predict the weather with high accuracy today, for instance, warning people about the possibility of hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms and tsunamis, they cannot isolate major shifts in world history from the impact of weather.Impacts of Weather on World History


















Delgado, James P. Khubilai Khan’s Lost Fleet. University Of California Press, 2008.

Seymour, William, and W. F. N Watson. The Price Of Folly. Brassey’s, 1995.

Wyk, Claire. “5 Ways Weather Has Changed History”. Csag.Uct.Ac.Za, 2013, . Accessed 16 Feb 2019.