A synthesis of paleoclimatic, archaeological, and literary evidence from Central Asia (Transoxiana and the Tarim Basin) during the tenth through twelfth centuries suggests that the Qarakhanid state adapted its hybrid economy to a unique climate regime characterized by drought created by the Medieval Climate Anomaly. To adapt, the Qarakhanids expanded the agricultural and pastoral sections of their economy into foothill and highland ecologies and used diplomacy to support a transregional trade network that helped to stimulate drought-stressed oasis economies on both sides of the Tian Shan. New methodological conclusions relevant for the study of interdisciplinary environmental history in general and for the historiography of premodern mobile pastoralist states in particular provide frameworks for future study.

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