In addition to the Mongols, the Yuan dynasty will also be covered.

The Mongols were one of many nomadic tribes to invade China. They succeeded in taking over most of Central Asia, and went on to build the largest land empire in history. The Mongols, like the Huns and the Turks, emerged from the Central Asian steppes, or grasslands. The land was good for farming and made a great place to live. The Mongols would go down to China and take whatever they wanted from the locals, things they didn't have where they lived. After taking over China, Genghis Khan became their leader. Under his rule, the empire conquered more land than any before it. Mongols utilized the art of siege warfare in their fights, and learned how to use gunpowder. By the time of Khan's death, they had conquered much of Northern and Central Asia. He told his sons "With Heaven's aid I have conquered for you a huge empire. But my life was too short to achieve the conquest of the world. The task is left to you." His sons and grandsons divided up the land their father/grandfather had conquered into four khantates, or reigons, with an hier ruling one of the regions. The rulers of the regions continued to conquer more land, and in turn millions of people suffered because of their conquest. To learn more, click here.

After the rule of Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan took over. Although he only really had control of Khanate, he was determine to fulfill his grandfather's wish and complete the conquest of China. The Mongols most of Northern and Central China, but the Song stilled ruled in the South. In 1279, the Song ruler was defeated, and Kublai created the Yuan dynasty. Kublai wanted his new subjects to be loyal to him, so adopted many of their customs, instead of forcing the Chinese to be like the Mongols. At the same time, he took care to see that the Mongols were not absorbed with Chinese culture. After moving the capital from Mongolia to China, he began to rule as emperor. With his rule, he made many new, not so friendly rules. Friendships between Chinese and Mongols were highly discouraged and Mongols were not allowed to marry the Chinese. He even prevented the Chinese from serving in the military, and raised their taxes heavily to pay for all the public works of his reign. They used Chinese laborers to build new roads and extend the Grand Canal to the new capital city. To keep rebellions from happening, the Mongols posted soldiers in cities in the South especially, where many Chinese still remained loyal to the fallen Song dynasty. Under Kublai's rule, foreign trade increased. The Pax Mongolia made traveling much safer, and traders came from as far as Europe to trade. One commonly referenced European trader was Marco Polo. The dynasty then began to weaken toward the end of Kublai's reign. This is partly because of the huge military loses the Mongols suffered in Japan and Southeast Asia. After Kublai's death in 1294, power struggles over who would take the throne with a combination of Chinese rebellions ended the Yuan dynasty. The Mongols fled back to Manchuria, and foreign reign in China was over. To read more, click here.

A mongol archer
The Yuan dynasty at its peak


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