Mongols and Yuan Dynasty
In the 1200s the Mongols emerged as a powerful nomadic people from Central Asia. They created the largest land empire in history, and conquer China in the process. They herded sheep and goats, and which provided meat and milf for food and wool for clothing and shelter. The Mongols were skilled with horses and learned to ride at an early age. For centuries the Mongols were divided into separate clans, each led by a chief. In the late 1100s a powerful chief named Temujin began to conquer his rivals and unite the Mongol clans.
In 1260 Kublai Khan became the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. He created the new Yuan dynasty and declared himself emperor. Kublai Khan adopted many Chinese court ceremonies and tried to rule as a Chinese emperor. Kublai Khan moved his capital form Mongolia to a new city in China. The new capital was located near what is now Beijing. Under Kublai Khan's rule foreign trade increased. Kublai Khan had enormous ships built to improve trade across the seas. Many travelers, merchants, and missionaries came to China. Most were from southwest Asia and India. A few came all the way from Europe. One of the most famous of these Europeans was Marco Polo.