Kublai (/ˈkuːblaɪ/; Mongolian: Хубилай, Hubilai) was the
Khagan (Great Khan) of the
Mongol Empire (Ikh Mongol Uls),
reigning from 1260 to 1294 (although due to the division of the empire
this was a nominal position). He also founded the
Yuan dynasty in
China as a conquest dynasty in 1271, and ruled as the first Yuan
emperor until his death in 1294.
Kublai was the fourth son of
Tolui (his second son with Sorghaghtani
Beki) and a grandson of Genghis Khan. He succeeded his older brother
Khagan in 1260, but had to defeat his younger brother Ariq
Böke in the
Toluid Civil War
Toluid Civil War lasting until 1264. This episode marked
the beginning of disunity in the empire. Kublai's real power was
China and Mongolia, though as
Khagan he still had influence
Ilkhanate and, to a significantly lesser degree, in the Golden
Horde. If one counts the
Mongol Empire at that time as a
whole, his realm reached from the
Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea, from
Siberia to what is now Afghanistan 
Kublai established the Yuan dynasty, which ruled over
present-day Mongolia, China, Korea, and some adjacent areas, and
assumed the role of Emperor of China. By 1279, the Mongol conquest of
Song dynasty was completed and
Kublai became the first non-Han
emperor to conquer all of China.
1 Early years
2 Victory in North China
3 Enthronement and civil war
Great Khan of the Mongols
4.2 Emperor of the Yuan dynasty
4.2.1 Scientific developments and relations with minorities
4.2.2 Continuation of the restriction upon some Abrahamic ritual
5 Warfare and foreign relations
5.1 Kublai's annexation of Goryeo
5.2 Further naval expansion
5.3 Invasions of Japan
5.4 Invasions of Vietnam
5.5 Southeast Asia and South Seas
6 The Capital City of the Emperor
7 Nayan's rebellion
8 Later years
11.1 In popular culture
12 See also
15 External links
Kublai Khan was the fourth son of Tolui, and his second son with
Sorghaghtani Beki. As his grandfather
Genghis Khan advised,
Sorghaghtani chose a Buddhist Tangut woman as her son's nurse, whom
Kublai later honored highly. On his way home after the Mongol conquest
Genghis Khan performed a ceremony on his grandsons
Kublai after their first hunt in 1224 near the Ili
Kublai was nine years old and with his eldest brother killed
a rabbit and an antelope. After his grandfather smeared fat from
killed animals onto Kublai's middle finger in accordance with a Mongol
tradition, he said "The words of this boy
Kublai are full of wisdom,
heed them well - heed them all of you."
After the Mongol conquest of the Jin dynasty, in 1236, Ögedei gave
Hebei (attached with 80,000 households) to the family of Tolui, who
died in 1232.
Kublai received an estate of his own, which included
10,000 households. Because he was inexperienced,
Kublai allowed local
officials free rein. Corruption amongst his officials and aggressive
taxation caused large numbers of Chinese peasants to flee, which led
to a decline in tax revenues.
Kublai quickly came to his appanage in
Hebei and ordered reforms. Sorghaghtani sent new officials to help him
and tax laws were revised. Thanks to those efforts, many of the people
who fled returned.
The most prominent, and arguably most influential, component of Kublai
Khan's early life was his study and strong attraction to contemporary
Kublai invited Haiyun, the leading Buddhist monk in
North China, to his ordo in Mongolia. When he met Haiyun in Karakorum
Kublai asked him about the philosophy of Buddhism. Haiyun
named Kublai's son, who was born in 1243,
Zhenjin (Chinese: True
Gold). Haiyun also introduced
Kublai to the formerly Daoist and now
Buddhist monk, Liu Bingzhong. Liu was a painter, calligrapher, poet,
and mathematician, and he became Kublai's advisor when Haiyun returned
to his temple in modern Beijing.
Kublai soon added the Shanxi
scholar Zhao Bi to his entourage.
Kublai employed people of other
nationalities as well, for he was keen to balance local and imperial
interests, Mongol and Turk.
Victory in North China
Portrait of young
Kublai by Anige, a Nepali artist in Kublai's court
In 1251, Kublai's eldest brother Möngke became Khan of the Mongol
Empire, and Khwarizmian
Mahmud Yalavach and
Kublai were sent to China.
Kublai received the viceroyalty over North
China and moved his ordo to
central Inner Mongolia. During his years as viceroy,
his territory well, boosted the agricultural output of Henan, and
increased social welfare spendings after receiving Xi'an. These acts
received great acclaim from the Chinese warlords and were essential to
the building of the Yuan Dynasty. In 1252,
Kublai criticized Mahmud
Yalavach, who was never highly valued by his Chinese associates, over
his cavalier execution of suspects during a judicial review, and Zhao
Bi attacked him for his presumptuous attitude toward the throne.
Möngke dismissed Mahmud Yalavach, which met with resistance from
Chinese Confucian-trained officials.
Kublai was ordered to attack
Yunnan and he asked the Dali
Kingdom to submit. The ruling Gao family resisted and killed Mongol
envoys. The Mongols divided their forces into three. One wing rode
eastward into the
Sichuan basin. The second column under Subutai's son
Uryankhadai took a difficult route into the mountains of western
Kublai went south over the grasslands and met up with the
first column. While Uryankhadai travelled along the lakeside from the
Kublai took the capital city of Dali and spared the residents
despite the slaying of his ambassadors. The Dali King Duan Xingzhi
(段興智) himself defected to the Mongols, who used his troops to
conquer the rest of Yunnan. Duan Xingzhi, the last king of Dali, was
Möngke Khan as the first tusi or local ruler; Duan
accepted the stationing of a pacification commissioner there.
After Kublai's departure, unrest broke out among certain factions. In
1255 and 1256, Duan Xingzhi was presented at court, where he offered
Möngke Khan maps of
Yunnan and counsels about the vanquishing of the
tribes who had not yet surrendered. Duan then led a considerable army
to serve as guides and vanguards for the Mongolian army. By the end of
1256, Uryankhadai had completely pacified Yunnan.
Kublai was attracted by the abilities of Tibetan monks as healers. In
1253 he made
Drogön Chögyal Phagpa
Drogön Chögyal Phagpa of the
Sakya school, a member of
his entourage. Phagpa bestowed on
Kublai and his wife,
an empowerment (initiation ritual).
Kublai appointed Lian Xixian of
Kingdom of Qocho
Kingdom of Qocho (1231–1280) the head of his pacification
commission in 1254. Some officials, who were jealous of Kublai's
success, said that he was getting above himself and dreaming of having
his own empire by competing with Möngke's capital Karakorum. Möngke
Khan sent two tax inspectors, Alamdar (Ariq Böke's close friend and
governor in North China) and Liu Taiping, to audit Kublai's officials
in 1257. They found fault, listed 142 breaches of regulations, accused
Chinese officials and executed some of them, and Kublai's new
pacification commission was abolished.
Kublai sent a two-man
embassy with his wives and then appealed in person to Möngke, who
publicly forgave his younger brother and reconciled with him.
The Daoists had obtained their wealth and status by seizing Buddhist
temples. Möngke repeatedly demanded that the Daoists cease their
Buddhism and ordered
Kublai to end the clerical strife
between the Taoists and Buddhists in his territory.
a conference of Daoist and Buddhist leaders in early 1258. At the
conference, the Taoist claim was officially refuted, and Kublai
forcibly converted 237 Daoist temples to
Buddhism and destroyed all
copies of the Daoist texts.
Kublai Khan and the Yuan
dynasty clearly favored Buddhism, while his counterparts in the
Chagatai Khanate, the Golden Horde, and the
Ilkhanate later converted
Islam at various times in history –
Berke of the Golden Horde
being the only
Muslim during Kublai's era (his successor did not
convert to Islam).
In 1258, Möngke put
Kublai in command of the Eastern Army and
summoned him to assist with an attack on Sichuan. As he was suffering
Kublai was allowed to stay home, but he moved to assist
Möngke anyway. Before
Kublai arrived in 1259, word reached him that
Möngke had died.
Kublai decided to keep the death of his brother
secret and continued the attack on Wuhan, near the Yangtze. While
Kublai's force besieged Wuchang, Uryankhadai joined him.[citation
needed] The Song minister
Jia Sidao secretly approached
propose terms. He offered an annual tribute of 200,000 taels of silver
and 200,000 bolts of silk, in exchange for Mongol agreement to the
Yangtze as the frontier between the states.
Kublai declined at
first but later reached a peace agreement with Jia Sidao.
Enthronement and civil war
Main article: Toluid Civil War
Kublai received a message from his wife that his younger brother Ariq
Böke had been raising troops, so he returned north to the Mongolian
plains. Before he reached Mongolia, he learned that
Ariq Böke had
held a kurultai (Mongol great council) at the capital Karakorum, which
had named him
Great Khan with the support of most of Genghis Khan's
Kublai and the fourth brother, the Il-Khan Hulagu,
opposed this. Kublai's Chinese staff encouraged
Kublai to ascend the
throne, and almost all the senior princes in North
China and Manchuria
supported his candidacy. Upon returning to his own territories,
Kublai summoned his own kurultai. Few members of the royal family
supported Kublai's claims to the title, though the small number of
attendees included representatives of all the
Borjigin lines except
that of Jochi. This kurultai proclaimed
Kublai Great Khan, on April
15, 1260, despite Ariq Böke's apparently legal claim.
Kublai Khan was chosen by his many supporters to become the next Great
Khan at the Grand
Kurultai in the year 1260.
Kublai Khan and His
Empress Enthroned, from a Jami al-Twarikh (or Chingiznama). Mughal
dynasty, Reign of Akbar, 1596. Mughal Court. Opaque watercolor, ink
and gold on paper. India. Freer Gallery of Art. F1954.31 
This led to warfare between
Kublai and Ariq Böke, which resulted in
the destruction of the Mongolian capital at Karakorum. In
Sichuan, Möngke's army supported Ariq Böke.
Kublai dispatched Lian
Shaanxi and Sichuan, where they executed Ariq Böke's civil
administrator Liu Taiping and won over several wavering generals.
To secure the southern front,
Kublai attempted a diplomatic resolution
and sent envoys to Hangzhou, but Jia broke his promise and arrested
Kublai sent Abishqa as new khan to the Chagatai Khanate.
Ariq Böke captured Abishqa, two other princes, and 100 men, and he
had his own man, Alghu, crowned khan of Chagatai's territory. In the
first armed clash between
Ariq Böke and Kublai,
Ariq Böke lost and
his commander Alamdar was killed at the battle. In revenge, Ariq Böke
had Abishqa executed.
Kublai cut off supplies of food to Karakorum
with the support of his cousin Kadan, son of Ögedei Khan. Karakorum
quickly fell to Kublai's large army, but following Kublai's departure
it was temporarily re-taken by
Ariq Böke in 1261. Yizhou governor Li
Tan revolted against Mongol rule in February 1262, and
Shi Tianze and Shi Shu to attack Li Tan. The two armies
crushed Li Tan's revolt in just a few months and Li Tan was executed.
These armies also executed Wang Wentong, Li Tan's father-in-law, who
had been appointed the Chief Administrator of the Central Secretariat
(Zhongshu Sheng) early in Kublai's reign and became one of Kublai's
most trusted Han Chinese officials. The incident instilled in
distrust of ethnic Hans. After becoming emperor,
granting the titles of and tithes to Han Chinese warlords.[citation
Chagatayid Khan Alghu, who had been appointed by Ariq Böke, declared
his allegiance to
Kublai and defeated a punitive expedition sent by
Ariq Böke in 1262. The Ilkhan Hulagu also sided with
criticized Ariq Böke.
Ariq Böke surrendered to
Kublai at Xanadu on
August 21, 1264. The rulers of the western khanates acknowledged
Kublai's victory and rule in Mongolia. When
Kublai summoned them
to a new kurultai,
Alghu Khan demanded recognition of his illegal
Kublai in return. Despite tensions between them, both
Hulagu and Berke, khan of the Golden Horde, at first accepted Kublai's
invitation. However, they soon declined to attend the
Kublai pardoned Ariq Böke, although he executed Ariq
Böke's chief supporters.
Great Khan of the Mongols
Mongol invasions and
Volga Bulgaria (Samara Bend, Bilär)
Bulgaria and Serbia
Anatolia (Köse Dağ)
Palestine (Ain Jalut)
The mysterious deaths of three Jochid princes in Hulagu's service, the
Siege of Baghdad (1258), and unequal distribution of war spoils
strained the Ilkhanate's relations with the Golden Horde. In 1262,
Hulagu's complete purge of the Jochid troops and support for
his conflict with
Ariq Böke brought open war with the Golden Horde.
Kublai reinforced Hulagu with 30,000 young Mongols in order to
stabilize the political crises in the western regions of the Mongol
Empire. When Hulagu died on February 8, 1264,
Berke marched to
Tbilisi to conquer the
Ilkhanate but died on the way.
Within a few months of these deaths,
Alghu Khan of the Chagatai
Khanate also died. In the new official version of his family's
Kublai refused to write Berke's name as the khan of the
Golden Horde because of Berke's support for
Ariq Böke and wars with
Hulagu; however, Jochi's family was fully recognized as legitimate
Kublai Khan named Abaqa as the new Ilkhan (obedient khan) and
nominated Batu's grandson
Mentemu for the throne of Sarai, the capital
of the Golden Horde. The Kublaids in the east retained
suzerainty over the Ilkhans until the end of their regime.
Kublai also sent his protege
Ghiyas-ud-din Baraq to overthrow the
court of the Oirat Orghana, the empress of the Chagatai Khanate, who
put her young son Mubarak Shah on the throne in 1265, without Kublai's
permission after her husband's death.
Kaidu of the
House of Ögedei
House of Ögedei declined to personally attend the
court of Kublai.
Kublai instigated Baraq to attack Kaidu. Baraq began
to expand his realm northward; he seized power in 1266 and fought
Kaidu and the Golden Horde. He also pushed out Great Khan's overseer
from the Tarim Basin. When
Mentemu together defeated Kublai,
Baraq joined an alliance with the
House of Ögedei
House of Ögedei and the Golden
Kublai in the east and Abagha in the west. Meanwhile,
Mentemu avoided any direct military expedition against Kublai's realm.
Golden Horde promised
Kublai their assistance to defeat
Mentemu called the rebel. This was apparently due to the conflict
Mentemu over the agreement they made at the Talas
kurultai. The armies of Mongol
Persia defeated Baraq's invading forces
in 1269. When Baraq died the next year,
Kaidu took control of the
Chagatai Khanate and recovered his alliance with Mentemu.
Kublai tried to stabilize his control over the Korean
Peninsula by mobilizing another Mongol invasion after he enthroned
Wonjong of Goryeo (r. 1260–1274) in 1259 on Ganghwado.
forced two rulers of the
Golden Horde and the
Ilkhanate to call a
truce with each other in 1270 despite the Golden Horde's interests in
the Middle East and the Caucasus.
Kublai called two Iraqi siege
engineers from the
Ilkhanate in order to destroy the fortresses of
Song China. After the fall of Xiangyang in 1273, Kublai's commanders,
Aju and Liu Zheng, proposed a final campaign against the Song Dynasty,
Bayan of the Baarin the supreme commander. Kublai
ordered Möngke Temür to revise the second census of the Golden Horde
to provide resources and men for his conquest of China. The census
took place in all parts of the Golden Horde, including
Vitebsk in 1274–75. The Khans also sent
Nogai Khan to the
strengthen Mongol influence there.
Kublai renamed the Mongol regime in
China Dai Yuan in 1271, and sought
to sinicize his image as
Emperor of China
Emperor of China in order to win control of
millions of Chinese people. When he moved his headquarters to
Khanbaliq, also called Dadu, at modern-day Beijing, there was an
uprising in the old capital
Karakorum that he barely contained.
Kublai's actions were condemned by traditionalists and his critics
still accused him of being too closely tied to Chinese culture. They
sent a message to him: "The old customs of our Empire are not those of
the Chinese laws ... What will happen to the old
Kaidu attracted the other elites of Mongol Khanates,
declaring himself to be a legitimate heir to the throne instead of
Kublai, who had turned away from the ways of Genghis Khan.
Defections from Kublai's
Dynasty swelled the Ögedeids' forces.
Kublai Khan on a hunting expedition, by Chinese court
artist Liu Guandao, c. 1280.
The Song imperial family surrendered to the Yuan in 1276, making the
Mongols the first non-Chinese peoples to conquer all of China. Three
years later, Yuan marines crushed the last of the Song loyalists. The
Song Empress Dowager and her grandson, Emperor Gong of Song, were then
Khanbaliq where they were given tax-free property, and
Chabi took a personal interest in their well-being.
Kublai later had Emperor Gong sent away to become a monk to
Kublai succeeded in building a powerful empire, created an academy,
offices, trade ports and canals and sponsored science and the arts.
The record of the Mongols lists 20,166 public schools created during
Kublai's reign. Having achieved real or nominal dominion over much
of Eurasia, and having successfully conquered China,
Kublai was in a
position to look beyond China. However, Kublai's costly invasions
of Vietnam (1258),
Sakhalin (1264), Burma (1277),
Champa (1282), and
Vietnam again (1285) secured only the vassal status of those
Mongol invasions of Japan
Mongol invasions of Japan (1274 and 1280), the third
invasion of Vietnam (1287–8), and the invasion of Java (1293)
At the same time, Kublai's nephew Ilkhan Abagha tried to form a grand
alliance of the Mongols and the Western European powers to defeat the
Mamluks in Syria and North Africa that constantly invaded the Mongol
dominions. Abagha and
Kublai focused mostly on foreign alliances, and
opened trade routes.
Kublai dined with a large court every day,
and met with many ambassadors and foreign merchants.
Kublai's son Nomukhan and his generals occupied Almaliq from 1266 to
1276. In 1277, a group of Genghisid princes under Möngke's son
Shiregi rebelled, kidnapped Kublai's two sons and his general Antong
and handed them over to
Kaidu and Möngke Temür. The latter was still
Kaidu who fashioned an alliance with him in 1269, although
Möngke Temür had promised
Kublai his military support to protect
Kublai from the Ögedeids. Kublai's armies suppressed the
rebellion and strengthened the Yuan garrisons in
Mongolia and the Ili
River basin. However,
Kaidu took control over Almaliq.
Extract of the letter of
Arghun to Philip IV of France, in the
Mongolian script, dated 1289. French National Archives.
Kublai decreed death for those who performed
slaughtering of cattle according to the legal codes of Islam
Judaism (kashrut), which offended Mongolian custom.
Tekuder seized the throne of the
Ilkhanate in 1282, attempting to
make peace with the Mamluks, Abaqa's old Mongols under prince Arghun
appealed to Kublai. After the execution of Ahmad Fanakati, Kublai
confirmed Arghun's coronation and awarded his commander in chief Buqa
the title of chancellor.
Kublai's niece, Kelmish, who married a
Khongirad general of the Golden
Horde, was powerful enough to have Kublai's sons Nomuqan and Kokhchu
returned. Three leaders of the Jochids, Tode Mongke, Köchü, and
Nogai, agreed to release two princes. The court of the Golden
Horde returned the princes as a peace overture to the Yuan
1282 and induced
Kaidu to release Kublai's general. Konchi, khan of
the White Horde, established friendly relations with the Yuan and the
Ilkhanate, and as a reward received luxury gifts and grain from
Kublai. Despite political disagreement between contending branches
of the family over the office of Khagan, the economic and commercial
Emperor of the Yuan dynasty
See also: Timeline of the Yuan dynasty
Dynasty of China, c. 1294
Kublai Khan considered
China as his main base, realizing within a
decade of his enthronement as
Great Khan that he needed to concentrate
on governing there. From the beginning of his reign, he adopted
Chinese political and cultural models and worked to minimize the
influences of regional lords, who had held immense power before and
during the Song Dynasty.
Kublai heavily relied on his Chinese advisers
until about 1276. He had many Han Chinese advisers, such as Liu
Bingzhong and Xu Heng, and employed many Buddhist Uyghurs, some of
whom were resident commissioners running Chinese districts.
Kublai also appointed the
Drogön Chögyal Phagpa
Drogön Chögyal Phagpa ("the
Phags pa Lama") his Imperial Preceptor, giving him power over all the
empire's Buddhist monks. In 1270, after the Phags pa Lama created the
'Phags-pa script, he was promoted to imperial preceptor. Kublai
established the Supreme Control Commission under the Phags pa Lama to
administer affairs of Tibetan and Chinese monks. During Phagspa's
absence in Tibet, the Tibetan monk Sangha rose to high office and had
the office renamed the Commission for Buddhist and Tibetan
Affairs. In 1286, Sangha became the dynasty's chief fiscal
officer. However, their[who?] corruption later embittered Kublai, and
he later relied wholly on younger Mongol aristocrats.
Antong of the
Bayan of the Baarin served as grand councillors from 1265,
and Oz-temur of the Arulad headed the censorate. Borokhula's
descendant, Ochicher, headed a kheshig (Mongolian imperial guard) and
the palace provision commission.
In the eighth year of Zhiyuan (1271),
Kublai officially created the
Yuan dynasty and proclaimed the capital as Dadu (Chinese: 大都;
Wade–Giles: Ta-tu, lit. "Great Capital", known as
Khanbaliq or Daidu
to the Mongols, at modern-day Beijing) the following year. His summer
capital was in
Shangdu (Chinese: 上都, "Upper Capital", also called
Xanadu, near what today is Dolon Nor). To unify China, Kublai
began a massive offensive against the remnants of the Southern Song in
1274 and finally destroyed the Song in 1279, unifying the country at
Chinese opera flourished during Yuan China.
Most of the Yuan domains were administered as provinces, also
translated as the "Branch Secretariat", each with a governor and
vice-governor. This included
China proper, Manchuria, Mongolia,
and a special Zhendong branch Secretariat that extended into the
Korean Peninsula. The Central Region (Chinese: 腹裏) was
separate from the rest, consisting of much of present-day North China.
It was considered the most important region of the dynasty and was
directly governed by the
Zhongshu Sheng at Dadu.
Tibet was governed by
another top-level administrative department called the Bureau of
Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs.
Kublai promoted economic growth by rebuilding the Grand Canal,
repairing public buildings, and extending highways. However, his
domestic policy included some aspects of the old Mongol living
traditions, and as his reign continued, these traditions would clash
increasingly frequently with traditional Chinese economic and social
Kublai decreed that partner merchants of the Mongols should
be subject to taxes in 1263 and set up the Office of Market Taxes to
supervise them in 1268. After the Mongol conquest of the Song, the
merchants expanded their operations to the South
China Sea and the
Indian Ocean. In 1286, maritime trade was put under the Office of
Market Taxes. The main source of revenue of the government was the
monopoly of salt production.
The Mongol administration had issued paper currencies from 1227
on. In August 1260,
Kublai created the first unified paper
currency called Chao; bills were circulated throughout the Yuan domain
with no expiration date. To guard against devaluation, the currency
was convertible with silver and gold, and the government accepted tax
payments in paper currency. In 1273,
Kublai issued a new series of
state sponsored bills to finance his conquest of the Song, although
eventually a lack of fiscal discipline and inflation turned this move
into an economic disaster. It was required to pay only in the form of
paper money. To ensure its use, Kublai's government confiscated gold
and silver from private citizens and foreign merchants, but traders
received government-issued notes in exchange.
Kublai Khan is
considered to be the first fiat money maker. The paper bills made
collecting taxes and administering the empire much easier and reduced
the cost of transporting coins. In 1287, Kublai's minister Sangha
created a new currency, Zhiyuan Chao, to deal with a budget
shortfall. It was non-convertible and denominated in copper cash.
Gaykhatu of the
Ilkhanate attempted to adopt the system in Iran
and the Middle East, which was a complete failure, and shortly
afterwards he was assassinated.
桑哥 Sangha was a Tibetan. A rich merchant from the Madurai
Sultanate, Abu Ali (in Chinese, 孛哈里 Bèihālǐ or 布哈爾
Bùhār), was associated closely with its royal family. After falling
out with them, he moved to Yuan
China and received a Korean woman as
his wife and a job from the Mongol Emperor, the woman was formerly
Sangha's wife and her father held the title of 채송년 Chaesongnyeon
during the reign of
Chungnyeol of Goryeo according to the Dongguk
Goryeosa and Liu Mengyan's Zhōng'ānjí (中俺集).
Kublai encouraged Asian arts and demonstrated religious tolerance.
Despite his anti-Daoist edicts,
Kublai respected the Daoist master and
appointed Zhang Liushan as the patriarch of the Daoist Xuánjiào
(玄教, "Mysterious Order"). Under Zhang's advice, Daoist temples
were put under the Academy of Scholarly Worthies. Several Europeans
visited the empire, notably
Marco Polo in the 1270s, who may have seen
the summer capital Shangdu.
During the Southern Song, the descendant of
Confucius at Qufu, Duke
Yansheng Kong Duanyou fled south with the Song Emperor to Quzhou,
while the newly established
Jin dynasty (1115–1234)
Jin dynasty (1115–1234) in the north
appointed Kong Duanyou's brother Kong Duancao who remained in
Duke Yansheng. From that time up until the Yuan dynasty, there were
two Duke Yanshengs, once in the north in
Qufu and the other in the
south at Quzhou. An invitation to come back to
Qufu was extended to
Duke Yansheng Kong Zhu by the
Yuan dynasty Emperor Kublai
Khan. The title was taken away from the southern branch after Kong Zhu
rejected the invitation, so the northern branch of the family kept the
title of Duke Yansheng. The southern
branch still remained in
Quzhou where they lived to this day.
Confucius's descendants in
Quzhou alone number 30,000.
Scientific developments and relations with minorities
Muslim trebuchet" (Hui-Hui Pao) used to breach the walls of
Fancheng and Xiangyang.
Thirty Muslims served as high officials in the court of
Eight of the dynasty's twelve administrative districts had Muslim
governors appointed by
Kublai Khan. Among the
Muslim governors was
Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, who became administrator of Yunnan. He
was a well learned man in the
Confucian and Daoist traditions and is
believed to have propagated
Islam in China. Other administrators were
Nasr al-Din (Yunnan) and
Mahmud Yalavach (mayor of the Yuan capitol).
Kublai Khan patronized
Muslim scholars and scientists, and Muslim
astronomers contributed to the construction of the observatory in
Shaanxi. Astronomers such as Jamal ad-Din introduced 7 new
instruments and concepts that allowed the correction of the Chinese
Muslim cartographers made accurate maps of all the nations along the
Silk Road and greatly influenced the knowledge of
Yuan dynasty rulers
Muslim physicians organized hospitals and had their own institutes of
Beijing and Shangdu. In
Beijing was the renown Guang Hui
Si "Department of extensive mercy", where Hui medicine and surgery
were taught. Avicenna's works were also published in
China during that
Muslim mathematicians introduced Euclidean Geometry, Spherical
Arabic numerals in China.
Kublai brought siege engineers Ismail and
Al al-Din to China, and
together they invented the "
Muslim trebuchet" (Hui-Hui Pao), which was
Kublai Khan during the Battle of Xiangyang.
Continuation of the restriction upon some Abrahamic ritual
Yuan Emperors like
Kublai Khan forbade Islamic practices such as
butchering according to Jewish (kashrut) or
Muslim (dhabihah) legal
codes and other restrictive decrees continued.
Circumcision was also
Warfare and foreign relations
Mongol military tactics and organization
Mongol military tactics and organization and Mongol conquest
of the Song dynasty
Yuan dynasty hand cannon
Kublai restricted the functions of the kheshig, he created a
new imperial bodyguard, at first entirely Chinese in composition but
later strengthened with Kipchak, Alan (Asud), and Russian
units. Once his own kheshig was organized in 1263, Kublai
put three of the original kheshigs under the charge of the descendants
of Genghis Khan's assistants, Borokhula, Boorchu, and Muqali. Kublai
began the practice of having the four great aristocrats in his kheshig
sign jarligs (decrees), a practice that spread to all other Mongol
khanates. Mongol and Chinese units were organized using the same
decimal organization that
Genghis Khan used. The Mongols eagerly
adopted new artillery and technologies.
Kublai and his generals
adopted an elaborate, moderate style of military campaigns in South
China. Effective assimilation of Chinese naval techniques allowed the
Yuan army to quickly conquer the Song.
Kublai's annexation of Goryeo
Korea under Yuan rule
Two dragons chasing a flaming pearl was a symbol associated with
Goryeo and later influenced Yuan dynasty's preferences for dragons.
B. Sumiyabaatar/ Б. Сумьяабаатар, "Хубилай Их
Хааны үеийн Монгол - Сонгосын
харилцаа", "Relationship between
Kubilai Khan rule", 439p, 2015, ISBN 978-99973-302-5-3
Kublai Khan invaded
Goryeo (the state on the Korean Peninsula) and
made it a tributary vassal state in 1260. After another Mongol
intervention in 1273,
Goryeo came under even tighter control of the
Goryeo became a Mongol military base, and
several myriarchy commands were established there. The court of the
Goryeo supplied Korean troops and an ocean-going naval force for the
Further naval expansion
Gangnido reflects the Chinese geographical knowledge during the
Mongol Empire about countries in the West.
Kublai decided to invade Japan, Burma, Vietnam, and Java following the
suggestions of some of his Mongol officials. He also attempted to
subjugate peripheral lands such as Sakhalin, where its indigenous
people eventually submitted to the Mongols by 1308, after Kublai's
death. These costly invasions and conquests and the introduction of
paper currency caused inflation. From 1273 to 1276, war against the
Dynasty and Japan made the issue of paper currency expand from
110,000 ding to 1,420,000 ding.
Invasions of Japan
Main article: Mongol invasions of Japan
The samurai Suenaga facing Mongol arrows and bombs. Mōko Shūrai
Ekotoba (蒙古襲来絵詞), circa 1293.
Within Kublai's court his most trusted governors and advisers
appointed by meritocracy with the essence of multiculturalism were
Mongols, Semu, Koreans, Hui and Chinese people. Because the
Wokou extended support to the crumbling Song dynasty,
initiated invasions of Japan.
The court of
Goryeo supplied Korean troops and an ocean-going naval
force for the Mongol campaigns. Despite the opposition of some of his
Kublai decided to invade Japan, Burma,
Vietnam, and Java, following the suggestions of some of his Mongol
officials. He also attempted to subjugate peripheral lands such as
Sakhalin, where its indigenous people eventually submitted to the
Mongols by 1308 after Kublai's death.
Kublai Khan twice attempted to invade Japan. It is believed that both
attempts were thwarted by bad weather or a flaw in the design of ships
that were based on river boats without keels, and his fleets were
destroyed. The first attempt took place in 1274, with a fleet of 900
The second invasion occurred in 1281 when Mongols sent two separate
forces: 900 ships containing 40,000 Korean, Chinese, and Mongol troops
were sent from Masan, while a force of 100,000 sailed from southern
China in 3,500 ships, each close to 240 feet (73 m) long. The
fleet was hastily assembled and ill-equipped to cope with maritime
conditions. In November, they sailed into the treacherous waters that
Korea and Japan by 110 miles. The Mongols easily took over
Tsushima Island about halfway across the strait and then Iki Island
closer to Kyushu. The Korean fleet reached
Hakata Bay on June 23, 1281
and landed its troops and animals, but the ships from
nowhere to be seen.
The samurai warriors, following their custom, rode out against the
Mongol forces for individual combat but the Mongols held their
formation. The Mongols fought as a united force, not as individuals,
and bombarded the samurai with exploding missiles and showered them
with arrows. Eventually, the remaining Japanese withdrew from the
coastal zone inland to a fortress. The Mongol forces did not chase the
fleeing Japanese into an area about which they lacked reliable
Japanese samurai boarding Yuan ships in 1281.
Maritime archaeologist Kenzo Hayashida led the investigation that
discovered the wreckage of the second invasion fleet off the western
coast of Takashima District, Shiga. His team's findings strongly
Kublai rushed to invade Japan and attempted to construct
his enormous fleet in one year, a task that should have taken up to
five years. This forced the Chinese to use any available ships,
including river boats. Most importantly, the Chinese, under Kublai's
control, built many ships quickly in order to contribute to the fleets
in both of the invasions. Hayashida theorizes that, had
standard, well-constructed ocean-going ships with curved keels to
prevent capsizing, his navy might have survived the journey to and
from Japan and might have conquered it as intended. In October 2011, a
wreck, possibly one of Kublai's invasion craft, was found off the
coast of Nagasaki. David Nicolle wrote in The Mongol Warlords,
"Huge losses had also been suffered in terms of casualties and sheer
expense, while the myth of Mongol invincibility had been shattered
throughout eastern Asia." He also wrote that
Kublai was determined to
mount a third invasion, despite the horrendous cost to the economy and
to his and Mongol prestige of the first two defeats, and only his
death and the unanimous agreement of his advisers not to invade
prevented a third attempt.
Mongol soldiers, second version
Mongol ships, second version
Painting of a 14th-century prized
Yuan dynasty junk
Invasions of Vietnam
Main article: Mongol invasions of Vietnam
Kublai Khan invaded
Đại Việt (now Vietnam) three times, each
repelled by the ruling Trần dynasty. The ancestors of the Trần
clan originated from the province of
Fujian and migrated to Đại
Việt under Trần Kinh 陳京 (Chén Jīng), where their
mixed-blooded descendants later established the
Trần dynasty and
came to rule Đại Việt; despite many intermarriages between the
Trần and several royal members of the Lý dynasty alongside members
of their royal court as in the case of Trần Lý and Trần
Thừa, some of the mixed-blood descendants of the clan could
still speak Chinese, as evidenced when a
Yuan dynasty envoy had a
meeting with the Chinese-speaking Trần prince Trần Quốc Tuấn
(later Supreme Commander Trần Hưng Đạo) in
The first incursion was in 1257, but the
Trần dynasty was able to
repel the invasion and ultimately re-established the peace treaty
between the Mongols and
Đại Việt in the twelfth lunar month of
Kublai became the
Great Khan in 1260, the Trần dynasty
sent tribute every three years and received a darughachi.
However, their kings soon declined to attend the Mongol court in
Great Khan sent his envoys to order the Trần king to
open his land to allow the Yuan army to pass through to invade the
kingdom of Champa, but the
Đại Việt court refused.
another envoy to the
Đại Việt to demand that the Trần king
surrender his land and his kingship. The Trần king assembled all his
citizens, allowing all to vote on whether to surrender to the Yuan or
to stand and fight for their homeland. The vote was a unanimous
decision to stand and fight the invaders.
The second Mongol invasion of
Đại Việt began late in 1284, when
the Mongol Yuan forces under the command of Toghan, the prince of
Kublai Khan, crossed the border and quickly occupied Thăng Long (now
Hanoi) in January 1285, after the victorious battle of Omar in Vạn
Kiếp (north east of Hanoi). At the same time Sogetu, second in
command of the Yuan army, moved from
Champa northward and rapidly
marched to Nghe An in the north central region of Vietnam, where the
army of the
Trần dynasty under general Trần Kien was defeated and
surrendered to him. However, the Trần king and the
Trần Hưng Đạo
Trần Hưng Đạo changed their tactics from
defence to attack and struck against the Mongols. In April, General
Trần Quang Khải defeated Sogetu in Chương Dương and the Trần
king won a battle in Tây Kết, where Sogetu died. Soon after,
Trần Nhật Duật also won a battle in Hàm Tử (now Hưng
Yên) and Toghan was defeated by General Trần Hưng Đạo. Thus
Kublai failed in his first attempt to invade Đại Việt. Toghan hid
himself inside a bronze pipe to avoid being killed by the Đại
Việt archers; this act brought humiliation upon the Mongol Empire
and Toghan himself.
After his first failure,
Kublai wanted to install Nhân Tông's
brother Trần Ích Tắc – who had defected to the Mongols – as
king of Annam, but hardship in the Yuan's supply base in
Kaidu's invasion forced
Kublai to abandon his plans. In 1285 the
Drikung Kagyu sect revolted, attacking
Sakya monasteries. The
Chagatayid khan, Duwa, helped the rebels, laying siege to
defeating Kublai's garrisons in the Tarim Basin.
an army at Beshbalik and occupied the city the following year. Many
Kashgar for safer bases back in the eastern part of
the Yuan dynasty. After Kublai's grandson Buqa-Temür crushed the
resistance of the Drikung Kagyu, killing 10,000 Tibetans in 1291,
Tibet was fully pacified.
The third Mongol invasion began in 1287. It was better organized than
the previous effort; a large fleet and plentiful stocks of food were
used. The Mongol Yuan forces, under the command of Toghan, moved to
Vạn Kiếp from the north west and met the infantry and cavalry of
Kublai's Kipchak commander Omar (coming by another way along the Red
River) and quickly won the battle. The naval fleet rapidly attained
victory in Vân Đồn near Hạ Long Bay. However, the Đại Việt
Trần Khánh Dư managed to intercept and captured the heavy,
fully stocked cargo ships, filled with food and supplies for Toghan's
army. As a result, the Mongolian army in Thăng Long suffered an acute
shortage of food. With no news about the supply fleet, Toghan ordered
his army to retreat to Vạn Kiếp. The
Đại Việt army began
their general offensive and recaptured a number of locations occupied
by the Mongols. Groups of
Đại Việt infantry were ordered to
attack the Mongols in Vạn Kiếp. Toghan had to split his army into
two and retreated in 1288.
In early April 1288 the naval fleet, led by Omar and escorted by
infantry, fled home along the Bạch Đằng river. As bridges and
roads were destroyed and attacks were launched by Đại Việt
troops, the Mongols reached Bạch Đằng without an infantry escort.
Đại Việt's small flotilla engaged in battle and pretended to
retreat. The Mongols eagerly pursued the
Đại Việt troops only to
fall into their pre-arranged battlefield. Thousands of small Đại
Việt boats quickly appeared from both banks, launched a fierce
attack that broke the Mongols' combat formation. The Mongols, meeting
such a sudden and strong attack, in panic tried to withdraw to the
sea. The Mongols' boats were halted, and many were damaged and sank.
At that time, a number of fire rafts quickly rushed toward the
Mongols, who were frightened and jumped down to reach the banks where
they were dealt a heavy blow by an army led by the Trần king and
Trần Hưng Đạo.
The Mongol naval fleet was totally destroyed and Omar was captured. At
the same time, Đại Việt's army continuously attacked and smashed
to pieces Toghan's army on its withdrawal through Lạng Sơn. Toghan
risked his life to take a shortcut through thick forest in order to
flee home. The crown prince was banished to
Yangzhou for life by his
Kublai Khan. Nevertheless, the Trần king accepted Kublai
Khan's supremacy as the
Great Khan in order to avoid more conflicts.
In 1292, Temür Khan,
Kublai Khan's successor, returned all detained
envoys and settled for a tributary relationship with the Trần king,
which continued to the end of the Yuan dynasty.
Southeast Asia and South Seas
First Mongol invasion of Burma
First Mongol invasion of Burma and Mongol invasion of
Three expeditions against Burma, in 1277, 1283, and 1287, brought the
Mongol forces to the Irrawaddy Delta, whereupon they captured Bagan,
the capital of the
Pagan Kingdom and established their
Kublai had to be content with establishing a formal
suzerainty, but Pagan finally became a tributary state, sending
tributes to the Yuan court until the Mongols were expelled from China
in the 1360s. Mongol interests in these areas were commercial and
During the last years of his reign,
Kublai launched a naval punitive
expedition of 20–30,000 men against
Singhasari on Java (1293), but
the invading Mongol forces were forced to withdraw by
considerable losses of more than 3000 troops. Nevertheless, by 1294,
the year that
Kublai died, the Thai kingdoms of Sukhothai and Chiang
Mai had become vassal states of the Yuan dynasty.
Marco Polo and Rabban Bar Sauma
Further information: Europeans in Medieval China
Kublai gives financial support to the Polo family.
Under Kublai, direct contact between East Asia and Europe was
established, made possible by Mongol control of the central Asian
trade routes and facilitated by the presence of efficient postal
services. In the beginning of the 13th century, Europeans and Central
Asians – merchants, travelers, and missionaries of different
orders – made their way to China. The presence of Mongol power
allowed large numbers of Chinese, intent on warfare or trade, to
travel to other parts of the Mongol Empire, all the way to Russia,
Persia, and Mesopotamia.
Rabban Bar Sauma, ambassador of
Kublai and Ilkhan Arghun,
travelled from Dadu to Rome, Paris, and
Bordeaux to meet with European
rulers in 1287–88.
The Capital City of the Emperor
Stupa of Dadu (or Khanbaliq; now Beijing)
Kublai Khan was proclaimed
Khagan at his residence in Xanadu on
May 5, 1260, he began to organize the country. Zhang Wenqian, a
central government official, was sent by
Kublai in 1260 to Daming
where unrest had been reported in the local population. A friend of
Zhang's, Guo Shoujing, accompanied him on this mission. Guo was
interested in engineering, was an expert astronomer and skilled
instrument maker, and he understood that good astronomical
observations depended on expertly made instruments. Guo began to
construct astronomical instruments, including water clocks for
accurate timing and armillary spheres that represented the celestial
globe. Turkestani architect Ikhtiyar al-Din, also known as "Igder",
designed the buildings of the city of the Khagan,
Kublai also employed foreign artists to build his new
capital; one of them, a Newar named Araniko, built the White Stupa
that was the largest structure in Khanbaliq/Dadu.
Kublai that Guo was a leading expert in hydraulic
Kublai knew the importance of water management for
irrigation, transport of grain, and flood control, and he asked Guo to
look at these aspects in the area between Dadu (now Beijing) and the
Yellow River. To provide Dadu with a new supply of water, Guo found
the Baifu spring in Mount Shen and had a 30 km (19 mi)
channel built to move water to Dadu. He proposed connecting the water
supply across different river basins, built new canals with sluices to
control the water level, and achieved great success with the
improvements he made. This pleased
Kublai and Guo was asked to
undertake similar projects in other parts of the country. In 1264 he
was asked to go to
Gansu to repair the damage that had been caused to
the irrigation systems by the years of war during the Mongol advance
through the region. Guo travelled extensively along with his friend
Zhang taking notes of the work needed to be done to unblock damaged
parts of the system and to make improvements to its efficiency. He
sent his report directly to
Kublai Khan.
During the conquest of the Jin, Genghis Khan's younger brothers
received large appanages in Manchuria. Their descendants strongly
supported Kublai's coronation in 1260, but the younger generation
desired more independence.
Kublai enforced Ögedei Khan's regulations
that the Mongol noblemen could appoint overseers and the Great Khan's
special officials, in their appanages, but otherwise respected
appanage rights. Kublai's son Manggala established direct control over
Shanxi in 1272. In 1274,
Kublai appointed Lian Xixian to
investigate abuses of power by Mongol appanage holders in
Manchuria. The region called Lia-tung was immediately brought
under the Khagan's control, in 1284, eliminating autonomy of the
Mongol nobles there.
Yuan dynasty jade belt plaque featuring carved designs of the Azure
Dragon, highly regarded as a symbol of
Yuan dynasty China's maritime
Threatened by the advance of Kublai's bureaucratization, Nayan a
fourth generation descendant of one of Genghis Khan's brothers, either
Temüge or Belgutei, instigated a revolt in 1287. (More than one
prince named Nayan existed and their identity is confused.) Nayan
tried to join forces with Kublai's competitor
Kaidu in Central
Asia. Manchuria's native Jurchens and Water Tatars, who had
suffered a famine, supported Nayan. Virtually all the fraternal lines
under Hadaan, a descendant of Hachiun, and Shihtur, a grandson of
Qasar, joined Nayan's rebellion, and because Nayan was a popular
prince, Ebugen, a grandson of Genghis Khan's son Khulgen, and the
family of Khuden, a younger brother of Güyük Khan, contributed
troops for this rebellion.
The rebellion was crippled by early detection and timid leadership.
Kublai sent Bayan to keep Nayan and
Kaidu apart by occupying
Kublai led another army against the rebels in
Manchuria. Kublai's commander Oz Temür's Mongol force attacked
Nayan's 60,000 inexperienced soldiers on June 14, while Chinese and
Alan guards under Li Ting protected Kublai. The army of Chungnyeol of
Kublai in battle. After a hard fight, Nayan's troops
withdrew behind their carts, and Li Ting began bombardment and
attacked Nayan's camp that night. Kublai's force pursued Nayan, who
was eventually captured and executed without bloodshed, by being
smothered under felt carpets, a traditional way of executing
princes. Meanwhile, the rebel prince Shikqtur invaded the Chinese
Liaoning but was defeated within a month.
westward to avoid a battle. However,
Kaidu defeated a major Yuan army
Khangai Mountains and briefly occupied
Karakorum in 1289. Kaidu
had ridden away before
Kublai could mobilize a larger army.
Widespread but uncoordinated uprisings of Nayan's supporters continued
until 1289; these were ruthlessly repressed. The rebel princes' troops
were taken from them and redistributed among the imperial family.
Kublai harshly punished the darughachi appointed by the rebels in
Mongolia and Manchuria. This rebellion forced
Kublai to approve
the creation of the
Liaoyang Branch Secretariat
Liaoyang Branch Secretariat on December 4, 1287,
while rewarding loyal fraternal princes.
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Ghazan converted to
Islam and recognized Kublai
Khan as his suzerain.
Kublai Khan dispatched his grandson Gammala to
Burkhan Khaldun in 1291
to ensure his claim to Ikh Khorig, where Genghis was buried, a sacred
place strongly protected by the Kublaids. Bayan was in control of
Karakorum and was re-establishing control over surrounding areas in
1293, so Kublai's rival
Kaidu did not attempt any large-scale military
action for the next three years. From 1293 on, Kublai's army cleared
Kaidu's forces from the Central Siberian Plateau.
After his wife
Chabi died in 1281,
Kublai began to withdraw from
direct contact with his advisers, and he issued instructions through
one of his other queens, Nambui. Only two of Kublai's daughters are
known by name; he may have had others. Unlike the formidable women of
his grandfather's day, Kublai's wives and daughters were an almost
invisible presence. Kublai's original choice of successor was his son
Zhenjin, who became the head of the
Zhongshu Sheng and actively
administered the dynasty according to
Confucian fashion. Nomukhan,
after returning from captivity in the Golden Horde, expressed
Zhenjin had been made heir apparent, but he was
banished to the north. An official proposed that
abdicate in favor of
Zhenjin in 1285, a suggestion that angered
Kublai, who refused to see Zhenjin.
Zhenjin died soon afterwards in
1286, eight years before his father.
Kublai regretted this and
remained very close to his wife, Bairam (also known as Kokejin).
Kublai became increasingly despondent after the deaths of his favorite
wife and his chosen heir Zhenjin. The failure of the military
campaigns in Vietnam and Japan also haunted him.
Kublai turned to food
and drink for comfort, became grossly overweight, and suffered gout
and diabetes. The emperor overindulged in alcohol and the traditional
meat-rich Mongol diet, which may have contributed to his gout. Kublai
sank into depression due to the loss of his family, his poor health
and advancing age.
Kublai tried every medical treatment available,
from Korean shamans to Vietnamese doctors, and remedies and medicines,
but to no avail. At the end of 1293, the emperor refused to
participate in the traditional New Years' ceremony. Before his death,
Kublai passed the seal of Crown Prince to Zhenjin's son Temür, who
would become the next
Khagan of the
Mongol Empire and the second ruler
of the Yuan dynasty. Seeking an old companion to comfort him in his
final illness, the palace staff could choose only Bayan, more than 30
years his junior.
Kublai weakened steadily, and on February 18, 1294,
he died at the age of 78. Two days later, the funeral cortège took
his body to the burial place of the khans in Mongolia.[citation
Longevity Hill in Beijing, where
Kublai Khan wrote his poem.
Kublai was a prolific writer of Chinese poetry, though most of his
works have not survived. Only one Chinese poem written by him is
included in the Selection of Yuan Poetry (元詩選), titled
'Inspiration recorded while enjoying the ascent to Spring Mountain'.
It was translated into Mongolian by the Inner Mongolian scholar
B.Buyan in the same style as classical Mongolian poetry and
transcribed into Cyrillic by Ya.Ganbaatar. It is said that once in
Kublai Khan went to worship at a
Buddhist temple at the Summer
Palace in western
Khanbaliq (Beijing) and on his way back ascended
Longevity Hill (Tumen Nast Uul in Mongolian), where he was filled with
inspiration and wrote this poem.
Inspiration recorded while enjoying the ascent to Spring Mountain
Shí yīng sháo jǐng zhì lán fēng;
Bú dàn jī pān yè cuì róng;
Huā sè yìng xiá xiáng cǎi hùn;
Lú yān fú wù ruì guāng chóng;
Yǔ zhān qióng gàn yán biān zhú;
Fēng xí qín shēng lǐng jì sōng;
Jìng chà yù háo zhān lǐ bà;
Huí chéng xiān jià yù cāng lóng.
This is translated:
Buyan's Mongolian translation
Havar tsagiin nairamduu uliral dor anhilam uulnaa avirlaa
Halshralgui orgil deer garaad Altan Nüür dor baraalhchuhui
Hüis tsetseg tuyaaran myaralzaad ölziit öngö solongormui
Hülisiin utaa hüdenten tunaraad belegt gerel tsatsarmui
Hadan deerh has hulsnaa huriin dusal bömbölzönhön
Halil davaanii nogoon narsnaa serchigneh salhi högjimdmüi
Buddiin süm dor burhnii ömnö hüj örgön ayaarlaad
Butsah zamd süih teregnee höh luu hölöglöjühüi
English translation of Buyan's Mongolian version
I ascended on Fragrant Hill in the friendly season of spring
Not discouraged I climbed to the peak and met the Golden Face
Flowers shone bright rays and auspicious colors gleamed like a rainbow
Incense smoke wafted like mist and a blessed light emanated
Raindrops were like bubbles on jade bamboos at the edge of the big
The blowing wind played a song among the green pines at the mountain
In front of the Buddha in the temple I conducted the incense ceremony
And on the way back I rode a Blue Dragon in the royal carriage.
See also: Family tree of Genghis Khan
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Chabi, Khatun of
Kublai and Empress of the Mongol Empire
Kublai first married Tegulen but she died very early. Then he married
Chabi of the Khongirad, who was his most beloved empress. After
Chabi's death in 1281,
Kublai married Chabi's young cousin, Nambui,
presumably in accordance with Chabi's wish.
Kublai and his wives' children included:
Dorji, the director of the Secretariat and head of the Bureau of
Military Affairs from 1263, but was sickly and died young.
Zhenjin, father of Temür Khan, Kublai's successor.
Manggala, King of Anxi. Has a son Ananda.
Toghan led Mongol armies into Burma and Vietnam.
Qutlugh Kelmysh Beki married the king
Chungnyeol of Goryeo and became
empress of the Goryeo.
and a further son and two daughters; names unknown.
Kublai Khan in Sükhbaatar Square, Ulaanbaatar. Together
with Ögedei Khan's, and the much larger Genghis Khan's statues, it
forms a statue complex dedicated to the Mongol Empire.
Further information: Religion in the Mongol Empire
Kublai's seizure of power in 1260 pushed the
Mongol Empire into a new
direction. Despite his controversial election, which accelerated the
disunity of the Mongols, Kublai's willingness to formalize the Mongol
realm's symbiotic relation with
China brought the
Mongol Empire to
Kublai and his predecessors' conquests were
largely responsible for re-creating a unified, militarily powerful
China. The Mongol rule of Tibet, Manchuria, and the
Mongolian steppe from a capital at modern
Beijing were the precedents
for the Qing dynasty's Inner Asian Empire.
In popular culture
Shangdu or Xanadu are the subject of various later
artworks, including the English Romantic Samuel Taylor Coleridge's
poem "Kubla Khan", in which Coleridge makes Xanadu a symbol of mystery
and splendor (written in October 1797 while under the influence of
Kublai Khan is referenced in the Rush song Xanadu, on their 1977 album
A Farewell To Kings.
Kublai Khan is portrayed by
Ying Ruocheng in the 1982 miniseries Marco
Kublai Khan plays a significant role in the 2014
Marco Polo, in which he is depicted by Benedict Wong.
The Government of
Kublai Khan's 800th birthday on
15 September 2015 to honour and value his contribution to Mongolian
history and promote research works related to Mongolian
Kublai Khan is portrayed by
Hu Jun in the 2013 Chinese television
series The Legend of
Kublai Khan plays a role in Jin Yong's work The Return of the Condor
Division of the Mongol Empire
History of Beijing
List of emperors of the Yuan dynasty
List of Mongol rulers
List of rulers of China
Toluid Civil War
General note: Dates given here are in the Julian calendar. They are
not in the proleptic Gregorian calendar.
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^ Rossabi 1988, p. 76
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Inflation under Kublai
Relics of the Kamikaze (Archaeological Institute of America)
House of Borjigin
Born: 1215 Died: 1294
Great Khan of the Mongol Empire
(Nominal due to the empire's division)
Temür Khan, Emperor Chengzong
Emperor of the Yuan dynasty
Emperor Bing of Song
Emperor Bing of Song dynasty
Emperor of China
Khagans of the Mongol Empire
Early Great Khans
Tolui Khan (as Regent)
Töregene Khatun (as Regent)
Oghul Qaimish (as Regent)
Kublai Khan / Ariq Böke
Yuan (Kublaid) Great Khans
Yesün Temür Khan
List of emperors of the
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Early Mongol rulers posthumously promoted by
Kublai Khan as Yuan
Kublai Khan in 1260 as Khagan, officially assuming the
Emperor of China
Emperor of China as Yuan Shizu starting in 1271
Following conquest of Southern
Song dynasty in 1279 ruled all of China
Huizong (Emperor Shun)
Xia → Shang → Zhou → Qin → Han → 3 Kingdoms → Jìn / 16
Kingdoms → S. Dynasties / N. Dynasties → Sui → Tang → 5
Dynasties & 10 Kingdoms → Liao / Song / W. Xia / Jīn → Yuan
→ Ming → Qing → ROC / PRC
ISNI: 0000 0001 2212 3878