Kublai Khan (23 September 1215 to 18 February 1294), also known as Emperor Shizu of Yuan, was the Mongol Empire's fifth khagan-emperor, ruled from 1260 to 1294 was just a formal status following the empire's split. In China, he established the Yuan dynasty in 1271 and served as the first Yuan emperor until he died in 1294. Kublai was Tolui's fourth son (his second son with Sorghaghtani Beki) and Genghis Khan's grandson. He had replaced his older brother Möngke as Khagan in 1260, after Genghis Khan died, and beat his younger brother Ariq Böke in the Toluid Civil War, which lasted until 1264. This incident signalled the beginning of the empire's disunity. As a result, Kublai's true authority was confined to the Yuan Empire, despite his continued influence as Khagan in the Ilkhanate and, to a lesser extent, the Golden Horde.
If one considers the Mongol Empire as a whole, it spanned the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea and Siberia to Afghanistan. Kublai created the Yuan dynasty in 1271, which reigned over modern-day China, Mongolia, Korea, and several neighbouring countries; as a Khagan, he also gained influence in the Middle East and Europe. Then, finally, he ascended to the throne of China. The Mongols conquered the Song dynasty in 1279, and Kublai became the first non-Han ruler to unite all of China proper. Kublai's royal picture was part of an album of portraits of Yuan emperors and empresses currently housed in Taipei's National Palace Museum. The Yuan dynasty's imperial colour was white, the hue of Kublai's regal attire.
Tolui's fourth son, Kublai Khan, was his second son with Sorghaghtani Beki. Sorghaghtani picked a Buddhist Tangut lady as her son's nanny, as his grandpa Genghis Khan recommended, and Kublai subsequently praised her. Genghis Khan held a ceremony on his grandsons Möngke and Kublai after their first hunt at the Ili River in 1224 on his journey home following the Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia. Kublai was nine years old when he slaughtered a rabbit and an antelope with his older brother. "The words of this kid Kublai are full of wisdom; hear them carefully - heed them all of you," his grandpa remarked after smearing fat from slaughtered animals upon Kublai's middle finger in line with Mongol tradition. Genghis Khan, the elderly Khagan (Mongol ruler), died three years later, in 1227 when Kublai was 12 years old. Kublai's father, Tolui, would act as regents for two years until Kublai's third uncle Ogedei, Genghis' successor, was crowned as Khagan in 1229. Ogedei handed Hebei (connected with 80,000 households) to the family of Tolui, who died in 1232, after the Mongol invasion of the Jin dynasty in 1236. Kublai was given his estate, which contained 10,000 homes. Kublai gave local authorities a wide reign because he was inexperienced. As a result, large numbers of Chinese peasants fled due to corruption among his officials and harsh taxing, resulting in a drop in tax collections. Kublai arrived in Hebei quickly and immediately ordered changes. Sorghaghtani Beki dispatched new officials to assist him, and tax rules were changed. Many of those who had fled returned as a result of such efforts.
Kublai Khan's early life was marked by his study of modern Chinese culture and a deep affinity to it. Kublai summoned Haiyun, North China's most prominent Buddhist monk, to his ordo in Mongolia. Kublai inquired about Buddhist doctrine when he met Haiyun at the Karakorum in 1242. Zhenjin was the name Haiyun gave to Kublai's son, who was born in 1243. Haiyun also introduced Kublai to Liu Bingzhong, a former Daoist (Taoist) and a Buddhist monk. When Haiyun returned to his temple in modern-day Beijing, Liu, a painter, calligrapher, poet, and mathematician, became Kublai's adviser. Zhao Bi, a Shanxi scholar, was quickly recruited to Kublai's company. Kublai used individuals of many nationalities because he wanted to balance local and imperial interests, Mongol and Turkic.
Kublai's elder brother, Möngke, was appointed Khan of the Mongol Empire in 1251, and Khwarizmian Mahmud Yalavach and Kublai were dispatched to China. Kublai was appointed Viceroy of North China and relocated his ordo to central Inner Mongolia. Kublai administered his realm successfully during his years as viceroy, boosting Henan's agricultural production and increasing social welfare spending after gaining Xi'an. The Chinese warlords praised these actions, and they were crucial to the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty. In 1252, Kublai chastised Mahmud Yalavach, who was never well-liked by his Chinese colleagues, for his hasty execution of suspects during a judicial examination. Zhao Bi lambasted him for his arrogant attitude toward the crown. Möngke's dismissal of Mahmud Yalavach was greeted with opposition from Confucian-trained Chinese authorities. Kublai was instructed to attack Yunnan in 1253, and he requested the Dali Kingdom's submission. The governing Gao family murdered Mongol envoys. The Mongols split their army into three groups. One of the wings flew east towards the Sichuan basin. The second column, led by Subutai's son Uryankhadai, negotiated a tough route into western Sichuan's highlands. Kublai crossed the meadows and came face to face with the first column. While Uryankhadai proceeded north along the lakeshore, Kublai conquered Dali and spared the locals despite the assassination of his emissaries. Duan Xingzhi, the Dali monarch, defected to the Mongols, who used his forces to capture the rest of Yunnan. Möngke Khan nominated Duan Xingzhi, the last king of Dali, as the first tusi, or local ruler, and Duan approved the stationing of a pacification commissioner there. Unrest erupted among some factions after Kublai's departure. Duan Xingzhi was presented at court in 1255 and 1256 when he provided Möngke Khan maps of Yunnan and advice on defeating the tribes that had not yet been submitted. The Mongolian army needed guides and vanguards, so Duan commanded a large force to act as guides and vanguards. Uryankhadai had entirely pacified Yunnan by the end of 1256. Tibetan monks' healing skills drew Kublai's attention. Drogön Chögyal of the Sakya was named a part of his entourage in 1253. Kublai and his wife, Chabi (Chabui), received empowerment from Phagpa (initiation ritual).
In 1254, Kublai selected Lian Xixian of Qocho (1231–1280) as the chairman of his pacification committee. Some officials, envious of Kublai's achievements, said he was getting ahead of himself and dreamed of establishing his empire by competing with Möngke's capital, Karakorum. In 1257, Möngke Khan dispatched two tax inspectors to audit Kublai's officials: Alamdar (close friend and governor of Ariq Böke's in North China) and Liu Taiping. Kublai's new pacification committee was disbanded after discovering the fault, documented 142 violations of regulations, implicated Chinese officials, and killed some of them. Kublai dispatched a two-person embassy with his wives, then personally pleaded to Möngke, who publicly pardoned and reunited with his younger brother. By capturing Buddhist monasteries, the Daoists had amassed riches and status. Möngke frequently asked that the Daoists stop disparaging Buddhism and that Kublai put an end to the ecclesiastical struggle in his domain between Daoists and Buddhists. In early 1258, Kublai convened a meeting of Daoist and Buddhist leaders. The Daoist argument was formally denied during the meeting, and Kublai forcefully converted 237 Daoist temples to Buddhism and burned all Daoist literature. Kublai Khan and the Yuan dynasty preferred Buddhism. However, his Chagatai Khanate, Golden Horde, and Ilkhanate equivalents subsequently converted to Islam at various historical points - Berke of the Golden Horde being the sole Muslim during Kublai's reign (his successor did not convert to Islam). [requires citation] Möngke appointed Kublai as commander of the Eastern Army in 1258, and he called him to help with an invasion on Sichuan. The news of Möngke's death reached Kublai before he arrived in 1259. Kublai chose to keep his brother's death a secret and proceeded the siege on Wuhan near the Yangtze River. Uryankhadai joined Kublai's troops as it besieged Wuchang. Jia Sidao, a Song official, met Kublai in secret to suggest terms. In exchange for Mongol consent to the Yangtze as the state's border, he promised a yearly honour of 200,000 taels of silver and 200,000 bolts of silk. Kublai initially refused but subsequently agreed to a peace treaty with Jia Sidao.
After receiving word from his wife, Kublai returned to the Mongolian grasslands that his younger brother Ariq Böke was gathering troops. Ariq Böke had convened a kurultai (Mongol great council) at the capital the Karakorum, where he was named Great Khan with the support of most of Genghis Khan's descendants before he arrived in Mongolia. This was resisted by Kublai and his fourth brother, the Il-Khan Hulagu. Kublai's Chinese servants pushed him to take the throne, and virtually all of North China's and Manchuria's top rulers backed him. Kublai convened his kurultai when he returned to his lands. Although the limited number of participants comprised representatives of all the Borjigin lines save Jochi's, fewer royal family members backed Kublai's claim. Despite Ariq Böke's ostensibly legal claim to be khan, this kurultai proclaimed Kublai Great Khan on 15 April 1260. This culminated in a battle between Kublai and Ariq Böke, with the Mongolian city of Karakorum being destroyed. Möngke's troops backed Ariq Böke in Shaanxi and Sichuan. Kublai sent Lian Xixian to Shaanxi and Sichuan, where they assassinated Ariq Böke's civil administrator, Liu Taiping, and won over other hesitant generals. Kublai sought a diplomatic solution and dispatched envoys to Hangzhou to protect the southern front, but Jia violated his pledge and imprisoned them. Kublai appointed Abishqa as the Chagatai Khanate's next ruler. Ariq Böke kidnapped Abishqa, two other princes, and 100 soldiers, then anointed his own man, Alghu, khan of Chagatai's domain. Ariq Böke lost the first armed conflict with Kublai, and his leader Alamdar was slain in the battle. Ariq Böke had Abishqa executed as a form of retaliation. With the help of his cousin Kadan, son of ÖGedei Khan, Kublai cut off food supplies to the Karakorum. The Karakorum fell easily to Kublai's huge army, although Ariq Böke briefly retook it in 1261 after Kublai's departure.
In February 1262, Yizhou governor Li Tan rose against Mongol authority, prompting Kublai to dispatch his Chancellor Shi Tianze and Shi Shu to fight Li Tan. Li Tan's insurrection was defeated in months by the two armies, and Li Tan was put to death. Wang Wentong, Li Tan's father-in-law, was appointed Chief Overseer of the Central Secretariat (Zhongshu Sheng) early in Kublai's sovereignty and became one of Kublai's utmost reliable Han Chinese officials also killed by these troops. Kublai developed a dislike for ethnic Hans as a result of the incident. Kublai forbade the awarding of titles and tithes to Han Chinese warlords after becoming Emperor. In 1262, Ariq Böke's designated Chagatayid Khan Alghu pledged his allegiance to Kublai and repelled a punitive expedition dispatched by Ariq Böke. The Ilkhan Hulagu, too, supported Kublai and chastised Ariq Böke. On 21 August 1264, Ariq Böke surrendered to Kublai at Xanadu. The kings of the western khanates recognised Kublai's conquest and authority in Mongolia. Alghu Khan requested acknowledgement of his unlawful status from Kublai when he called them to a new kurultai. Hulagu and Berke, the Golden Horde's khan, first accepted Kublai's offer despite their differences. They quickly declined to attend the kurultai, in any case. Kublai Khan pardoned Tariq Böke, but his major supporters were executed.
Great Khan of the Mongols
The unsolved deaths of three Jochid princes in Hulagu's service, the Siege of Baghdad (1258), and the uneven distribution of war spoils strained the Ilkhanate's ties with the Golden Horde. Hulagu's full cleansing of the Jochid soldiers and his backing for Kublai in his fight with Ariq Böke drove the Golden Horde into open warfare in 1262. To calm the political issues in the Mongol Empire's western territories, Kublai reinforced Hulagu with 30,000 young Mongols. Berke marched to pass near Tbilisi to seize the Ilkhanate after Hulagu died on 8 February 1264 but perished on the route. Alghu Khan of the Chagatai Khanate perished just a few months after these two men died. Because of Berke's backing for Ariq Böke and battles with Hulagu, Kublai refused to include Berke's name as he is considered the khan of the Golden Horde in the new official version of his family's history Jochi's family was completely acknowledged as legitimate family members. Instead, Kublai Khan appointed Abaqa as the next Ilkhan (obedient khan) and Mentemu, Batu's grandson, to the throne of Sarai, the Golden Horde's capital. Thus, the Kublaids ruled the Ilkhans in the east till the end of their reign. Kublai also dispatched his protege Ghiyas-ud-din Baraq to overturn the court of Oirat Orghana, the empress of the Chagatai Khanate. Following her husband's death in 1265, she installed her infant son Mubarak Shah on the throne without Kublai's approval.
Prince Kaidu of the House of OGedei declined to visit Kublai's court in person. So Kublai ordered Baraq to invade Kaidu. After seizing power in 1266, Baraq expanded his dominion northward, fighting Kaidu and the Golden Horde. In the Tarim Basin, he also drove away from the Great Khan's overseer. Baraq formed an alliance with the House of Gedei and the Golden Horde against Kublai in the east and Abagha in the west after Kaidu and Mentemu fought Kublai jointly.
Meanwhile, Mentemu steered clear of any direct military assault on Kublai's domain. Instead, the Golden Horde assured Kublai that they would help him battle Kaidu, whom Mentemu referred to as a renegade. This was reportedly owing to a disagreement between Kaidu and Mentemu over the Talas kurultai accord. In 1269, Mongol Persia's army destroyed Baraq's invading forces. Kaidu regained leadership of the Chagatai Khanate and his alliance with Mentemu after Baraq died the following year. Meanwhile, after enthroning Wonjong of Goryeo (1260 to 1274) on Ganghwado in 1259, Kublai attempted to consolidate his dominance over the Korean Peninsula by preparing another Mongol invasion. Apart from the Golden Horde's interests in the Middle East and the Caucasus, Kublai forced two Golden Horde kings and two Ilkhanate monarchs to declare a truce in 1270.
In the year of1260, Kublai dispatched one of his advisors, Hao-Ching, to the court of Emperor Lizong of Song, offering him autonomy provided he bowed to Kublai and surrendered his empire. Emperor Lizong refused to accept Kublai's requests and imprisoned Hao-Ching; when Kublai dispatched a mission to free Hao-Ching, Emperor Lizong turned them back. To destroy Song China's strongholds, Kublai summoned two Iraqi siege engineers from the Ilkhanate. Kublai's commanders, Aju and Liu Zheng advocated a last expedition against the Song Dynasty after the loss of Xiangyang in 1273, and Kublai appointed Bayan of the Baarin as supreme commander. To supply resources and troops for his invasion of China, Kublai ordered Möngke Temür to modify the Golden Horde's second census. In 1274–75, a census was held in all areas of the Golden Horde, including Smolensk and Vitebsk. The Khans also dispatched Nogai Khan to the Balkans to bolster Mongol authority.
In 1271, Kublai Khan called the Mongol rule in China Dai Yuan and attempted to sinicise his image as Emperor of China to control millions of Han Chinese. When he relocated his headquarters to Khanbaliq, also known as Dadu, in modern-day Beijing, an insurrection in the ancient capital the Karakorum erupted, which he barely suppressed. Traditionalists denounced Kublai's conduct, and his detractors continued to accuse him of being overly connected to Han Chinese culture. They gave him a telegram that read: "Our Empire's traditional customs are not the same as the Han Chinese regulations. What will become of the ancient traditions?" Kaidu drew the attention of the Mongol Khanates' other elites by declaring himself the true heir to the throne in place of Kublai, who had drifted away from Genghis Khan's customs. Defections from Kublai's Dynasty bolstered the troops of the gedeids. The Mongols became the first non-Han Chinese nation to conquer China when the Song royal family submitted to the Yuan in 1276. Three years later, the remnants of the Song loyalists were defeated by Yuan marines. The Music Empress Dowager and her grandson, Emperor Gong of Song, were later sent to Khanbaliq, given tax-free territory. Kublai's wife Chabi was particularly concerned for their safety. Kublai, on the other hand, had Emperor Gong banished to Zhangye to become a monk. Kublai succeeded in establishing a formidable empire, establishing an academy, offices, trading ports, and canals, and supporting science and the arts. During Kublai's reign, the Mongols built 20,166 public schools, according to the Mongol chronicle.
Kublai was able to explore beyond China after gaining actual or nominal dominance over most of Eurasia and effectively conquering China. Kublai's expensive conquests of Vietnam (1258), Sakhalin (1264), Burma (1277), Champa (1282), and Vietnam (1285) merely cemented the nations' vassal position. Mongol invasions of Japan (1274 and 1280), Vietnam's third invasion (1287–1288), and Java (1293) all failed. At that time, Kublai's nephew Ilkhan Abagha attempted to establish a great alliance of Mongols and Western European nations to combat the Mamluks in Syria and North Africa, who were continually invading Mongol lands. Abagha and Kublai primarily concentrated on forging foreign alliances and establishing trade routes. Every day, Khagan Kublai ate with a huge court and visited with several diplomats and foreign merchants. From 1266 to 1276, Kublai's son Nomukhan and his generals held Almaliq. A group of Genghisid princes led by Möngke's son Shiregi revolted in 1277, kidnapping Kublai's two sons and his general Antong and handing them over to Kaidu and Möngke Temür. Although Möngke Temür had pledged Kublai his military assistance to defend him against the gedeids, the latter was still aligned with Kaidu, who allied with him in 1269. The revolt was put down by Kublai's troops, who also expanded Yuan garrisons in Mongolia and the Ili River valley. Kaidu, on the other hand, assumed command of Almaliq. In 1279–80, Kublai Khan ordered the death penalty for individuals who violated Mongolian tradition by killing livestock according to Islamic (dhabihah) or Jewish (kashrut) legal standards. Abaqa's ancient Mongols, commanded by prince Arghun, appealed to Kublai after Tekuder took the throne of the Ilkhanate in 1282, trying to make peace with the Mamluks. Kublai recognised Arghun's coronation and gave his commander in chief Buqa the title of chancellor after the execution of Ahmad Fanakati. Kelmish, Kublai's niece, who married a Khongirad commander of the Golden Horde, was strong enough to secure the return of Kublai's sons Nomuqan and Kokhchu. Tode Mongke, Köchü, and Nogai, three Jochid chiefs, agreed to free two princes. As a peace offer to the Yuan Dynasty in 1282, the Golden Horde's court restored the princes and persuaded Kaidu to release Kublai's general. As a result of his cordial connections with the Yuan and the Ilkhanate, Konchi, khan of the White Horde, received luxury gifts and food from Kublai. The economic and commercial structure survived despite political differences between competing branches of the dynasty for the post of Khagan.
Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty
Kublai Khan believed China to be his primary centre of operations, understanding within a decade of his enthronement as Great Khan that he needed to focus his efforts there. He followed Chinese political and cultural norms from the start of his rule. He attempted to reduce the authority of provincial lords, who had wielded enormous power before and throughout the Song Dynasty. Until around 1276, Kublai depended largely on his Chinese counsel. He had several Han Chinese consultants, such as Liu Bingzhong and Xu Heng, and hired numerous Buddhist Uyghurs, some of whom were resident officials overseeing Chinese areas. Kublai also named Drogön Chögyal Phagpa ("the Phags pa Lama"), a Sakya lama, as his Imperial Preceptor, giving him authority over all of the empire's Buddhist monks. The Phags pa Lama was elevated to the imperial preceptor in 1270 after creating the 'Phags-pa script. To govern the affairs of Tibetan and Chinese monks, Kublai formed the Supreme Control Commission, which was headed by the Phags pa Lama. The Tibetan monk Sangha ascended to high rank during Phagspa's absence in Tibet, and the office was renamed the Commission for Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs. Sangha was appointed as the dynasty's top revenue official in 1286. However, their corruption enraged Kublai, and he eventually had to rely only on younger Mongol nobility.
From 1265, Antong of the Jalairs and Bayan of the Baarin served as grand councillors, with Oz-temur of the Arulad presiding over the censored. Ochicher, a descendant of Borokhula, was in charge of the palace provision commission and a kheshig (Mongolian royal guard). Kublai established the Yuan dynasty in the ninth year of Zhiyuan (1271) and declared Dadu ('Grand Capital,' also known as Khanbaliq or Daidu to the Mongols, and located in modern-day Beijing) the next year. Shangdu ('Upper Capital,' also known as Xanadu, in what is now Dolon Nor) was his summer capital. To reunite China, Kublai launched a huge attack against the Southern Song remnants in 1274, ultimately defeating the Song in 1279 at the Battle of Yamen, when the last Song Emperor Zhao Bing committed suicide by plunging into the sea, thereby ending the Song dynasty. The provinces, also known as the "Branch Secretariat," were responsible for administering the Yuan territories. Each province had a governor and vice-governor. Mongolia, China proper, Manchuria, and a superior Zhendong branch Secretariat that covered the Korean Peninsula were all included.
The Central Region, which included much of modern-day North China, was distinct from the rest. It was the dynasty's most important area, and the Zhongshu Sheng at Dadu was in charge of it directly. Tibet was controlled by the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, which was a top-level administrative department. By restoring the Grand Canal, rehabilitating public buildings, and expanding roadways, Kublai aided economic progress. However, some parts of old Mongol living customs were incorporated into his domestic policies. As his reign progressed, these traditions clashed more frequently with traditional Chinese economic and social culture. In 1262, Kublai ordered the Mongol partner merchants to be taxed, and in 1268, he established the Office of Market Taxes to oversee them. The Uighur, Muslim and Chinese merchants expanded their activities to the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean after the Mongol invasion of the Song. Maritime commerce was placed under the Office of Market Taxes in 1286. The government's major source of revenue was the monopoly on salt production. From 1227 onwards, the Mongol authority printed paper money. Kublai introduced the first unified paper money, the Jiaochao, in August 1260; the notes were distributed across the Yuan territory and had no expiration date. The coinage was adaptable with silver and gold to prevent depreciation, and the government accepted tax payments in paper currency. To fund his conquest of the Song, Kublai issued a new series of state-sponsored banknotes in 1273. Still, a lack of fiscal discipline and inflation eventually turned this initiative into an economic calamity. Only paper money may be used to make payments. Kublai's administration seized gold and silver from private individuals and foreign merchants to secure its usage, but in exchange, traders got government-issued notes. Kublai Khan is credited with creating the first fiat currency. The paper banknotes made tax collection and empire administration easier and lowered the expense of transporting coinage.
To deal with a financial shortage in 1287, Kublai's minister Sangha devised the Zhiyuan Chao, a new currency. It was non-convertible and had a copper monetary value. Gaykhatu of the Ilkhanate sought to implement the system across Iran and the Middle East, but it was a complete failure, and he was killed shortly after. Sangha was a Tibetan who lived in India. Abu Ali, a wealthy trader from the Madurai Sultanate, was close to the royal family. He travelled to Yuan China after falling out with them and was given a Korean lady as his bride and a position by the Mongol Emperor. The woman was originally Sangha's wife, and her father had the title of Chaesongnyeon under the reign of Chungnyeol of Goryeo. Kublai supported Asian arts and was a religious tolerationist. Kublai honoured the Daoist master and named Zhang Liushan as the patriarch of the Daoist Xuánjiào, despite his anti-Daoist edicts. Daoist temples were placed under the Academy of Scholarly Worthies on Zhang's recommendation. Several Europeans visited the empire, including Marco Polo in the 1270s, who may have seen Shangdu, the kingdom's summer capital. During the Southern Song, Duke Yansheng Kong Duanyou, a descendant of Confucius in Qufu, fled south with the Song Emperor to Quzhou. At the same time, Kong Duanyou's brother Kong Duancao, who stayed in Qufu, was made Duke Yansheng by the newly founded Jin dynasty (1115–1234) in the north. There were two Duke Yanshengs from that time until the Yuan dynasty, one in the north part in Qufu and the other in the south part in Quzhou. Emperor Kublai Khan of the Yuan dynasty sent an invitation to the southern Duke Yansheng Kong Zhu to return to Qufu. After Kong Zhu declined the invitation, the title was taken away from the southern branch of the family, while the northern branch maintained the title of Duke Yansheng. The southern branch of the family has stayed in Quzhou to this day. Confucius' descendant is number 30,000 in Quzhou alone.
Scientific Developments and Relations with Minorities
Thirty Muslims worked as prominent officials in Kublai Khan's court. Kublai Khan assigned Muslim governors to eight of the dynasty's twelve administrative regions. Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar, the administrator of Yunnan, was one of the Muslim rulers. He was a scholar in the Confucian and Daoist traditions who is credited with spreading Islam in China. Nasr al-Din (Yunnan) and Mahmud Yalavach were the other administrators (mayor of the Yuan capital). Kublai Khan supported Muslim academics and scientists, and Muslim astronomers helped build the Shaanxi Observatory. Astronomers like Jamal ad-Din developed seven new equipment and concepts that allowed the Chinese calendar to be corrected. Muslim cartographers created precise maps of all the countries along the Silk Road, influencing Yuan dynasty emperors and merchants considerably. In Beijing and Shangdu, Muslim physicians established hospitals and medical colleges. The famous Guang Hui Si "Department of Extensive Mercy" in Beijing was where Hui medicine and surgery were taught. During this time, Avicenna's books were also published in China. Euclidean geometry, spherical trigonometry, and Arabic numerals were all introduced to China by Muslim mathematicians. Kublai Khan introduced to China the siege engineers Ismail and Al al-Din, who created the "Muslim trebuchet" (or Huihui Pao), which Kublai Khan used during the Battle of Xiangyang.
Persistence of the Restriction upon some Abrahamic Ritual Practices
Other stringent decrees remained under Yuan Emperors like Kublai Khan, who banned behaviours like slaughtering according to Jewish (kashrut) or Muslim (dhabihah) legal standards. Circumcision was prohibited as well.
Although Kublai limited the kheshig's responsibilities, he formed a new imperial bodyguard, mainly Chinese but bolstered with Kipchak, Alan (Asud), and Russian soldiers. Kublai put three of the unique kheshigs under the command of the descendants of Genghis Khan's aides, Borokhula, Boorchu, and Muqali, after forming his kheshig in 1263. The four great aristocrats in Kublai's kheshig began signing jarligs (decrees), a tradition that spread to all subsequent Mongol khanates. The Mongol and Chinese armies were structured in the same decimal system as Genghis Khan. The Mongols enthusiastically embraced new armaments and technology. In South China, Kublai and his generals conducted complex, moderate military operations. As a result, the Yuan army rapidly conquered the Song by effectively assimilating Chinese naval skills.
Tibet and Xinjiang
The Drikung Kagyu sect revolted in 1285, destroying Sakya monasteries. Duwa, the Chagatayid khan, aided the insurgents by besieging Gaochang and destroying Kublai's garrisons in the Tarim Basin. At Beshbalik, Kaidu defeated an army and seized the city the next year. As a result, many Uyghurs fled Kashgar for safer havens in the Yuan dynasty's eastern provinces. Tibet was finally pacified after Kublai's grandson Buqa-Temür defeated the Drikung Kagyu rebellion in 1291, killing 10,000 Tibetans.
Kublai's Annexation of Goryeo
In 1260, Kublai Khan conquered Goryeo (the Korean Peninsula kingdom) and made it a subordinate vassal state. Goryeo came under even stricter Yuan rule after another Mongol incursion in 1273. Goryeo was transformed into a Mongol military base, with numerous myriarchy commands establishing themselves there. For the Mongol wars, the Goryeo court sent Korean infantry and an ocean-going naval force.
Further Naval Expansion
Following the advice of some of his Mongol officials, Kublai chose to attack Japan, Burma, Vietnam, and Java over the resistance of some of his Confucian-trained advisers. After Kublai died in 1308, he sought to subdue outlying areas such as Sakhalin, whose indigenous people finally surrendered to the Mongols. Inflation was induced by these costly wars and conquests, as well as the introduction of paper currency. The war between the Song Dynasty and Japan caused the issuance of paper currency to increase from 110,000 dings to 1,420,000 dings from 1273 to 1276.
Invasions of Japan
Mongols, Semu, Koreans, Hui, and Chinese people were among Kublai's most trusted governors and counsellors selected by meritocracy and embodied diversity. Kublai Khan launched invasions of Japan when the Wokou offered support to the Song dynasty, which was on the verge of collapse. Kublai Khan tried to attack Japan twice. Both efforts are said to have been foiled in part by poor weather or a fault in the construction of riverboats without keels, and his fleets were destroyed. With a fleet of 900 ships, the first attempt was made in 1274. The second invasion took place in 1281 when the Mongols dispatched two distinct forces: 900 ships with 40,000 Korean, Chinese, and Mongol warriors sailed from Masan, while a force of 100,000 cruised from southern China in 3,500 ships measuring over 240 feet (73 meters) in length. The fleet was thrown together in a hurry and was ill-equipped to handle the seas. They sailed into the dangerous waters that separate Korea and Japan by 180 kilometres in November (110 miles). Tsushima Island, roughly halfway across the strait, and Iki Island, closer to Kyushu, were readily conquered by the Mongols.
On 23 June 1281, the Korean fleet arrived at Hakata Bay and disembarked its men and animals, but the Chinese ships were nowhere to be seen. Following that, Mongolian landing troops were destroyed at the Battles of Akasaka and Torikai-Gata. The Mongolian army was assaulted and battled by Takezaki Suenaga's Samurai until reinforcements commanded by Shiraishi Michiyasu came and destroyed the Mongolians, who lost about 3500 casualties. The samurai soldiers rode out counter to the Mongol army for individual battles, as was their tradition, but the Mongols kept their formation. The Mongols attacked the Samurai as a unit, not as individuals, and blasted them with bursting rockets and arrows. The surviving Japanese eventually retreated inland to a fortification from the coastal zone. The Mongol soldiers did not pursue the retreating Japanese into a region where they had no credible information. The Mongol forces were forced back to their ships by the Samurai in a series of battles known as the Kan Campaign or the "Second Battle of Hakata Bay." The Japanese army was outmanned, but it had built the coastline line with two-meter-high walls and easily repelled the Mongolian forces that attacked it. The debris of the second invasion fleet was discovered off the western shore of Takashima District, Shiga, by maritime archaeologist Kenzo Hayashida. His research findings suggest that Kublai raced into Japan and attempted to build his massive fleet in a year, a job that should have required five years. As a result, the Chinese were obliged to utilise whatever ships they could find, even riverboats.
Under Kublai's command, the Chinese built many ships swiftly to contribute to the fleets in both invasions. Hayashida speculates that if Kublai had employed conventional, well-built ocean-going ships with bent keels to avoid capsizing, his navy might have survived the trip to and from Japan and conquered it as planned. Instead, a wreck, probably one of Kublai's invasion boats, was discovered off the coast of Nagasaki in October 2011. "Huge losses had also been sustained in terms of deaths and sheer expenditure," David Nicolle writes in The Mongol Warlords, "while the illusion of Mongol invincibility had been destroyed throughout eastern Asia." Kublai was likewise resolved to undertake a third invasion, despite the terrible cost to the economy and his and Mongol reputation from the previous two losses. According to him, only his death and the unanimous decision of his advisers not to invade stopped the third effort.
Invasions of Vietnam
Kublai Khan attempted three invasions to Đại Việt (now Vietnam), all of which were repulsed by the reigning Trần dynasty. The first incursion occurred in 1257, but the Trần dynasty was able to repel the invasion and, in the twelfth lunar month of 1257, re-established the peace pact between the Mongols and the Đại Việt. The Trần dynasty gave tribute every three years and got a darughachi after Kublai Khan became the Great Khan in 1260. Their monarchs, on the other hand, quickly refused to join the Mongol court in person. The Great Khan dispatched envoys to the Trần king, requesting that he release his realm so that the Yuan army might conquer the kingdom of Champa, but the Đại Việt court refused. Kublai dispatched another ambassador to the Đại Việt to demand that the Trần monarch relinquish his throne and territories. The Trần monarch gathered all of his people and asked them to vote on whether they wanted to submit to the Yuan or fight for their nation. The choice to stand and resist the invaders was unanimous. After his initial failure, Kublai planned to appoint Nhân Tông's brother Trần Ích Tắc, a Mongol defector, as king of Annam. Still, difficulties with the Yuan's supply base in Hunan and Kaidu's invasion led him to abandon his plans. After the successful battle of Omar in Vạn Kiếp, the second Mongol invasion of Đại Việt started late in 1284, when Mongol Yuan soldiers under the direction of Toghan, the prince of Kublai Khan, crossed the frontier and swiftly captured Thăng Long (now Hanoi) in January 1285. (northeast of Hanoi). At the same time, Sogetu, the Yuan army's second-in-command, marched north from Champa to Nghe An in Vietnam's north-central area, where the Trần dynasty's army under general Trần Kien was beaten and surrendered to him. The Trần monarch and commander-in-chief Trần Hưng Đạo, on the other hand, switched from defence to offensive and attacked the Mongols. General Trần Quang Khải beat Sogetu in Chương Dương in April, and the Trần king conquered Sogetu in Tây Kết in May. General Trn Nht Dut won a fight in Hàm T (now Hng Yên) shortly after, and General Trần Nhật Duật defeated Toghan. Kublai's initial effort to conquer Đại Việt was thus a failure. To avoid being murdered by the Đại Việt archers, Toghan concealed himself inside a bronze pipe; this act humiliated both the Mongol Empire and Toghan himself. In 1287, the third Mongol invasion began. It was more well-organised than the last operation, with a huge fleet and ample food supplies. Toghan's Mongol Yuan forces proceeded from the northwest to Vạn Kiếp, where they easily defeated Kublai's Kipchak commander Omar's infantry and cavalry (who had come via another route down the Red River). The naval fleet quickly won the battle of Vân Đồn near Hạ Long Bay.
The large, fully packed cargo ships, filled with food and supplies for Toghan's army, were intercepted and captured by the Đại Việt General Trần Khánh Dư. As a result, the Mongolian troops at Thăng Long had a severe food scarcity. Toghan ordered his men to retire to Vạn Kiếp after receiving no news about the supply fleet. Instead, the Đại Việt army launched a broad attack and reclaimed several Mongol-held territories. In Vạn Kiếp, groups of Đại Việt soldiers were commanded to assault the Mongols. In 1288, Toghan was forced to split his army in half and withdraw. Headed by Omar and troops, the naval fleet retreated home down the Bạch Đằng river in early April 1288.
The Mongols arrived in Bạch Đằng without an infantry escort because bridges and roads were damaged and Đại Việt soldiers started attacks. Đại Việt's tiny fleet was fighting and pretending to withdraw. The Mongols chased the Đại Việt soldiers with zeal, only to find themselves in their pre-planned battleground. Thousands of tiny Đại Việt boats arrived immediately from both sides and started a furious attack, breaking the Mongols' fighting formation. When confronted with such a quick and powerful onslaught, the Mongols panicked and attempted to flee to the sea. The Mongols' boats came to a standstill, and many of them were damaged or sunk. At that moment, several fire rafts surged at the Mongols, who were terrified and leapt down to reach the banks, where an army headed by the Trần king and Trần Hưng Đạo dealt them a terrible blow. Omar was taken after the Mongol naval fleet was annihilated. At the similar time, Đại Việt's army continued to attack and stomp on Toghan's army as it retreated via Lạng Sơn. Toghan put his life on the line to escape home by taking a detour through dense woodland. Kublai Khan, the crown prince's father, exiled him to Yangzhou for the rest of his life. Nonetheless, the Trần ruler acknowledged Kublai Khan's sovereignty as the Great Khan to prevent more confrontations. In 1292, Kublai Khan's successor, Temür Khan, released all jailed envoys and agreed to a tributary arrangement with the Trần monarch, which lasted until the Yuan dynasty's collapse.
Southeast Asia and South Seas
In three campaigns against Burma, in 1277, 1283, and 1287, Mongol armies arrived in the Irrawaddy Delta, where they conquered Bagan, the Pagan Kingdom's capital, and founded their rule. Kublai had to settle for legal suzerainty, but Pagan eventually became a tributary state, paying tribute to the Yuan government until the Mongols were driven from China in the 1360s. Commercial and tributary connections were Mongol concerns in these areas. Kublai Khan maintained close ties with Siam, particularly with Chiangmai's prince Mangrai and Sukhothai's monarch Ram Khamheng. After the Thais were forced southwards from Nanchao, Kublai urged them to attack the Khmers. After the Khmer Empire's monarch, Jayavarman VIII, refused to pay tribute to the Mongols. Jayavarman VIII was so adamant about not having to pay Kublai tribute that he imprisoned Mongol envoys. The Khmer Empire was finally devastated by the Siamese invasions. In 1283, the Mongols planned to travel south into Cambodia by land from Champa. By 1284, they had conquered Cambodia. By 1285, when Jayavarman VIII was ultimately obliged to pay tribute to Kublai Khan, Cambodia had practically become a vassal kingdom. Kublai launched a punitive maritime expedition of 20–30,000 soldiers against Singhasari in Java (1293), but Majapahit forced the invading Mongol forces to leave after suffering significant casualties of more than 3000 warriors. Nonetheless, the Thai kingdoms of Sukhothai and Chiang Mai had become tributary states of the Yuan dynasty by 1294, the year Kublai died.
Under Kublai, face to face direct contact between East Asia and Europe was created, aided by the development of efficient postal networks and enabled by Mongol control over central Asian trade routes. In the 13th century, European and Central Asian merchants, traders, and missionaries of various orders came to China. In addition, due to Mongol authority, large numbers of Chinese were able to go to other parts of the Mongol Empire, such as Rus, Persia, and Mesopotamia, for war or trade.
The Sultanate of Mogadishu gained enough clout in Asia in the 13th century due to its commerce with medieval China to draw Kublai Khan's attention. According to Marco Polo, the Mongol Emperor despatched an ambassador to Mogadishu to spy on the Sultanate, but the mission was kidnapped and imprisoned. Kublai Khan then dispatched another envoy to negotiate the release of the Mongol group sent to Africa previously.
Kublai Khan began organizing the kingdom after being proclaimed Khagan on 5 May 1260 at his palace in Xanadu. In 1260, Kublai dispatched Zhang Wenqian, a central government official, to Daming, where discontent had been reported among the local populace. Guo Shoujing, a friend of Zhang's, accompanied him on this expedition. Guo was engaged in engineering, an excellent astronomer, and a skilful instrument manufacturer, and he recognised the importance of well-made equipment in astronomical studies. Guo began to make astronomical devices, such as precise water clocks and armillary spheres that depicted the celestial globe. The structures of the Khagan's metropolis, Khanbaliq, were constructed by Turkestani architect Ikhtiyar al-Din, commonly known as "Igder" (Chinese Dadu). Kublai also hired foreign artists to help him create his new city; one of them, a Newar named Araniko, designed the White Stupa, which was Khanbaliq/biggest Dadu's monument. Guo was a top specialist in hydraulic engineering, according to Zhang. Kublai recognised the importance of water management for agriculture, grain transportation, and flood control, so he requested Guo to investigate these issues between Dadu (now Beijing) and the Yellow River. To offer a new water source for Dadu, Guo discovered the Baifu spring on Mount Shen and had a 30 km channel constructed to transport water to Dadu. He suggested linking water supplies across river basins, built new canals with sluices to manage water levels, and had tremendous success with the modifications he made. This delighted Kublai, and Guo was tasked with carrying out similar initiatives around the country. In 1264, he was dispatched to Gansu to restore the damage done to the irrigation systems during the Mongol advance across the province during the years of war. Guo and his buddy Zhang travelled widely, collecting notes on the work that needed to be done to unblock damaged portions of the system and enhance its performance. Kublai Khan received his report directly from him.
Genghis Khan's younger brothers earned huge appanages in Manchuria during the Jin conquest. Their ancestors backed Kublai's coronation in 1260, but the younger generation wanted more autonomy. Kublai upheld Gedei Khan's laws allowing Mongol noblemen to select overseers and the Great Khan's special officials in their appanages, but he did not respect appanage privileges in general. In 1272, Kublai's son Manggala took direct control of Chang'an and Shanxi. Kublai assigned Lian Xixian to investigate power abuses by Mongol appanage holders in Manchuria in 1274. In 1284, the Khagan seized control of the Lia-tung area, thereby ending the autonomy of the Mongol nobility there. In 1287, Nayan, a fourth-generation descendant of Genghis Khan's siblings, perhaps Temüge or Belgutei, organised an uprising against Kublai's bureaucratisation. (There was more than one prince called Nayan, and their identities are unknown.) In Central Asia, Nayan attempted to join forces with Kublai's rival Kaidu. The local Jurchens and Water Tatars of Manchuria, who had experienced a famine, backed Nayan. Almost all of the fraternal lines under Hadaan, a descendant of Hachiun, and Shihtur, a grandson of Qasar, supported Nayan's revolt, and since Nayan was a admired prince, Ebugen, a grandson of Khulgen, and the family of Khuden, Güyük Khan's younger brother, supplied soldiers. However, early discovery and hesitant leadership suffocated the insurrection. While Kublai commanded another army against the rebels in Manchuria, Bayan was dispatched to keep Nayan and Kaidu apart by capturing the Karakorum. On 14 June, Kublai's Mongol force under Oz Temür assaulted Nayan's 60,000 untrained men, while Chinese and Alan protectors under Li Ting defended Kublai. The Goryeo army of Chungnyeol aided Kublai in battle. After a hard struggle, Nayan's forces retired behind their wagons, and Li Ting bombarded and assaulted Nayan's camp that night. Kublai's army followed Nayan, who was finally apprehended and killed without bloodshed by suffocating under felt rugs, as is customary for princes.
Meanwhile, the Chinese region of Liaoning was attacked by the rebel ruler Shikqtur, who was subdued within a month. To avoid a fight, Kaidu retreated westward. Kaidu, on the other hand, destroyed a large Yuan force in the Khangai Mountains in 1289 and temporarily captured the Karakorum. Before Kublai could gather a bigger force, Kaidu had galloped away. Uprisings by Nayan's followers were widespread but disorganised until 1289, when they were brutally suppressed. The forces of the dissident princes were captured and dispersed among the royal family. Kublai dealt brutally with the darughachi chosen by Mongolian and Manchurian rebels. Finally, on 4 December 1287, Kublai was obliged to accept the establishment of the Liaoyang Branch Secretariat while paying loyal fraternal princes.
In 1291, Kublai Khan dispatched his grandson Gammala to Burkhan Khaldun to secure his claim to Ikh Khorig, the holy site where Genghis Khan was buried, which the Kublaids fiercely guarded. In 1293, Bayan had re-established authority over the Karakorum and the surrounding territories; thus, Kublai's adversary Kaidu did not undertake any large-scale military action for the following three years. Kublai's army drove Kaidu's troops off of the Central Siberian Plateau starting in 1293. Kublai began to distance himself from his counsellors after his wife Chabi died in 1281, and he sent orders through one of his other queens, Nambui. Only the names of two of Kublai's daughters are known; he may have had more. Unlike the strong ladies of his grandfather's day, Kublai's wife and daughters were practically indistinguishable. Kublai's first option for a successor was his son Zhenjin, who became the Zhongshu Sheng's leader and aggressively managed the empire in the Confucian way. After his release from the Golden Horde, Nomukhan expressed his displeasure that Zhenjin had been appointed heir apparent, but he was deported to the north. In 1285, an official suggested that Kublai resign in favour of Zhenjin, which enraged Kublai, who refused to see Zhenjin. Soon after, in 1286, Zhenjin died, eight years before his father. Kublai resented this and remained close to Bairam, his wife (also known as Kokejin). After the deaths of his favourite wife and his intended successor Zhenjin, Kublai grew increasingly depressed. He was also troubled by the failures of the military wars in Vietnam and Japan. Kublai relied on food and alcohol for consolation, gaining weight, and developing gout and diabetes. The Emperor may have developed gout due to his excessive use of wine and the typical meat-heavy Mongol diet. Due to his family's loss, bad health, and advanced age, Kublai fell into melancholy. Kublai tried everything from Korean shamans to Vietnamese physicians and cures and medications, but no effect. The monarch declined to partake in the usual New Year's ritual at the end of 1293. Kublai gave Zhenjin's son Temür the seal of Crown Prince before his death, and Temür would become the next Khagan of the Mongol Empire and the second monarch of the Yuan dynasty. The royal staff could only pick Bayan, who was more than 30 years his junior, as an old comrade to console him in his terminal sickness. Kublai's health deteriorated progressively, and he died on 18 February 1294, at the age of 78. The funeral cortège carried his remains to the khans' burial ground in Mongolia two days later.
Wives and Sons
Kublai had twenty-nine primary consorts, five thousand eight hundred wives, and over 36,000 main concubines, according to Marco Polo in the 13th century. Kublai married Tegulen initially, but she died young. After that, he wedded Chabi of the Khongirad, his favourite empress. Kublai married Chabi's young cousin Nambui after Chabi's death in 1281, probably in line with Chabi's wishes.
Wives of major figures (first and second ordos):
Wives of the 3rd ordo:
Wives of the 4th ordo:
Kublai was a prolific Chinese poet; however, the majority of his writings have perished. One of his Chinese poems, titled 'Inspiration captured while enjoying the trek to Spring Mountain,' is featured in the Selection of Yuan Poetry. B.Buyan, an Inner Mongolian scholar, translated it into Mongolian in classical Mongolian poetry and Ya. Ganbaatar copied it into Cyrillic. Kublai Khan is supposed to have visited a Buddhist monastery at the Summer Palace in western Khanbaliq (Beijing) in the spring and ascended Longevity Hill (Tumen Nast Uul in Mongolian) on his way back, where he was inspired and penned this poem.
The Mongol Empire was pushed in a new direction by Kublai Khan's takeover of power in 1260. Despite his contentious election, which exacerbated Mongol division, Kublai's desire to codify the Mongol realm's symbiotic relationship with China elevated the Mongol Empire to international prominence. The victories of Kublai and his forefathers were mainly important for the re-creation of a united, militarily potent China. The Qing dynasty's Inner Asian Empire followed in the footsteps of the Mongols, who ruled Tibet, Manchuria, and the Mongolian steppe from the capital in modern-day Beijing.