In 2019, many people watched in horror as black smoke poured out of Notre-Dame de Paris, the 12th-century Roman Catholic cathedral. An orange blaze spread across the roof, and it seemed the historic building might be lost.
After the fire went out and experts assessed the water damage, some people may have felt comforted that a restoration plan was in place. But conspiracy theorists who believed in the Tartarian Empire felt otherwise.
To them, it was just another example of Tartarian architecture being demolished.
A Lost Empire?
One confusing aspect of the Tartarian Empire conspiracy is that there was a place and people long referred to as Tartars living in Tartary.
What Was the Tartarian Empire?
Western Europeans and Russians used to refer to a region in Asia as Tartary. This area included Siberia and parts of central Asia, including Mongolia and stretching as far south as Afghanistan. By the 1800s, some Russians saw their country as the world power in the East and entitled to the land and its resources.
What Was a Tartar?
The word tartar meant barbarian. In the mid-1600s, Italian writer Martino Martini wrote De Bello Tartarico about his travels in China. His work was translated into other languages and helped vaguely apply the term to a wide region of people.
Is the Term Tartar Still Used?
Although Tartar or Tartary is rarely used to describe Central Asia or its people, Crimean Tartars refer to a specific ethnic group. Crimean Tartars have lived in Crimea since the 12th century but endured mass deportations starting in the 1700s. After the fall of the Soviet Union, some Crimean Tartars began migrating back to their ancestral homeland.
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Erasing an Empire
People who believe in the Tartarian Empire contend it was once a sophisticated, worldwide civilization with impressive architecture. Because such an empire is not mentioned in history books, conspiracy theorists claim it has been intentionally erased.
What Is the Tartarian Empire Mud Flood Conspiracy?
Most of the empire was supposedly lost in a series of mudslides, typically referred to as “mud floods.” Some buildings remained and still stand today. Famous landmarks, such as the U.S. Capitol Building (built in 1800), are claimed actually to be from the Tartarian Empire and to be thousands of years old.
The conspiracy is that the empire was intentionally erased, and history was rewritten to make buildings seem younger and more modern.
What Famous Landmarks are Part of the Tartarian Empire Conspiracy?
Notre-Dame de Paris is one landmark that conspiracy theorists believe was created by Tartars, not French craftsmen in the 1100s. In online forums, conspiracy theorists have claimed it was used as a sound bath by Tartars.
Conspiracy theories also claim more ornate buildings as Tartarian. This ranges from World Heritage Sites like the Taj Mahal to short-lived buildings like the Chicago Federal Building that only stood for 60 years.
The conspiracy theorists also claim buildings briefly constructed for World Fairs or expositions were part of the Tartarian Empire. In 1915, San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The fair site included The Tower of Jewels, a temporary structure that was demolished soon after the fair ended. Conspiracy theorists claim it’s an example of an ancient Tartarian capital.
A Need to Believe
The Tartarian Empire conspiracy theory is relatively new, particularly when compared to UFO conspiracy theories that date to the 1950s. Interest has increased in the last decade, and believers use social media to share their ideas.
Communication scholars are analyzing how conspiracy theorists interact online and articulate their ideas. They’ve found that by sharing misinformation online, conspiracy theorists bond with each other and develop a sense of belonging.
When conspiracy theorists discussed the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris, for example, believers in the Tartarian Empire shared affirmations as to why they knew the cathedral had once belonged to the Tartars. They pointed out features that indicated the cathedral was designed as a sound bath.
The supposed lost Tartarian Empire might seem like a benign analysis of architecture, but scholars also see concern in the fact that as a conspiracy theory, the empire was an elite, worldwide civilization that was destroyed and then systematically erased.