The Mongol Empire & Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 AD) – Part 3/5

While Mongol nobles gathered in the capital of Karakorum to decide who the next great khan would be, Kublai decided to stay and conquer the Song Dynasty before going north.

Messengers started to arrive from his mother urging him to return north. Kublai had two rivals who wanted to be the great khan.

A secret council was held in Karakorum, a rebellion was plotted, and his rival’s army marched on Shang-Tu and Chung-Tu, both important cities in Kublai’s area of northern China.

With no choice, Kublai broke off the war with the Song Dynasty and led his army north to Shang-Tu. where he gathered supporters and was elected the great khan of the Mongols.

He was forty-four years old.

However, his younger brother, one of the rivals, did not give up his claim to be the great khan. In 1261, the two armies met in battle on the Chinese border.

Kublai Khan won and his younger brother surrendered.

Deciding he wanted a new capital, construction was started in 1266 on the site where Beijing stands today.

It would take 30,000 men five years to complete the new city.

Kublai Khan was now ready to conquer the Song Dynasty. At first, he tried diplomacy but the Song Dynasty refused to surrender. The Song Dynasty held about 50 million people and the terrain was rugged and humid.

To fight the Song Dynasty, Kublai Khan knew they had to learn naval warfare and build a navy. The Mongols had never been a sea faring race but this did not stop him.

Continue to Part 4 or return to The Yuan Dynasty – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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