The Mongol and Yuan Dynasties

     Throughout the vast history of China, they have been attacked by Nomadic people countless times, although mostly during the Song Dynasty. These nomads were the Mongols from Central Asia. The Mongolian Empire was an elective monarchy with its capitals being Avarga, Karakorum, then Dadu. They would eventually become a powerful nomadic people and create the largest land empire ever.

     The Mongols were people from the steppes located in the north-central part of Asia (Eurasia). Since the steppes were not good for farming, the nomadic people relied on their herds and took them around wherever they could find good land for them to graze. Whatever supplies they lacked, they traded with settled people or just invaded them, taking whatever they needed.

     The Mongols were divided into many clans, each led by a khan or a ruler. One such khan was Temujin, also referred to as Genghis Khan. One by one, he gained control over different clans and united them though politics and military strength. After the betrayal by some of his allies, they once again started to fight, but Genghis Khan and the forces still loyal to him prevailed. Now he had control over all of the Mongols. It was now that he officially assumed the title "Genghis Khan" and marking the beginning of the Mongol Empire.

     Genghis Khan expanded the empire for about 20 years, making innovations in his army along the way. Ten arabans (10 people) made a zunn, ten zunns (100 people) made a mingghan. Ten mingghans (1,000 people) made a tumen (10,000 people). He rewarded those loyal to him by giving them high ranks in the government. He also made many reforms too. He forbade the selling of women, fighting between Mongols, stealing someone else's property, or hunting animals during mating season.

     The Mongols government system was kind of like a parliamentary in which Mongol chiefs met with Genghis Khan to discuss domestic and foreign policies along with other official government decisions.  Genghis Khan also had religious tolerance of other people, although he would not allow them to marry Mongols or high government positions. Trade routes and postal routes were also created to help make traveling across the empire easier and safer.

     Even after the death of Genghis Khan, his empire continues to expand under the reign of his son Ogedei Khan, but it had already began to fall apart. Turmoil arose between his grandchildren on who would become the next Great Khan. Kublai Khan was eventually chosen but he couldn't keep his brothers from fighting and after his death, there was never to be another accepted Great Khan again and eventually, even the Great Mongol Dynasty fell.

The Pax Mongolia (peace during the Mongolian Empire) occurred during the 13th and 14th century and was when it reached its peek, resulting in many achievements. With the empire at peace and a booming economy, the Mongol Empire flourished. They are the ones generally credited with uniting all of China. They also increased trade routes throughout the empire such and made them much safer by implementing more laws. They conquered the Silk road and used it to their advantage. It was said that a woman with a sack full of gold could cross the empire safely. They also developed military tactics that relied heavily on the element of surprise, which we still often use today.

The Yuan Dynasty

     The Yuan Dynasty was was established by Kublai Khan of the Mongol Dynasty. It is considered to be the successor of the Mongol Dynasty officially as a Chinese Dynasty. The Yuan dynasty also had a monarchy government with its capital being the city of Khanbaliq.

     The Yuan Dynasty ultimately reaches its peak during the reign of Kublai Khan. Although the Mongols ruled the north, the Song still ruled the southern parts of China. Kubai Khan takes over the Song, founding the Yuan Dynasty. He promotes foreign trade and boosts the economy. As a result of his foreign trade policies, traders from all over the world came. One such trader was the famous Marco Polo.

     The Chinese say the Mongols as ruthless and uncivilized, so to strengthen his control he moved his capital to a city in China. At his new capital, Kublai Khan built Chinese structures, adopted many Chinese ceremonies, and he tried to rule as a Chinese emperors.

     Although he tried to appeal to the Chinese, he blend the made sure not to Mongols with the Chinese. He made them live apart from each other. Any sort of relationship between them was discouraged. He also didn't trust the Chinese, so he didn't let them hold high government positions. He also imposed very heavy taxes on the Chinese and used them as laborers for big projects such as expanding the Great Canal. To ensure the peace, the Mongols posted soldiers everywhere.

     The Yuan Dynasty eventually did begin to decline toward the end of Kublai Khans reign, mostly because of military defeats. Khan had sent a lot of his forces to Central Asia to try and conquer more land. Meanwhile, he was also trying to conquer the island of Japan. He never was successful in that endeavor. The military losses weakened his military, compromising his defenses. Also, the large public-works projects had weakened the economy. By the time Kubai Khan died, the Mongolian empire had weakened and the power struggle ultimately brought down the Mongol Empire.