In the I-Ching, The Book of Changes, “Yuan” appears and means the origins of the universe.
In the war against the Song Dynasty, his army was up against the great fortress city of Xiangyang. Beyond was the Yangtze River and the heart of the Song Empire.
It would take five years to take Xiangyang.
Once Kublai’s army was across the Yangtze, Song generals and armies switched sides.
In the Song capital of Hangzhou, the emperor was only four years old. His aging mother handled affairs of state.
In 1276, the Empress Dowager admitted defeat and surrendered.
Now that China was unified, Kublai decided to improve communications between the north and south.
To accomplish this, three million laborers extended the Grand Canal to carry grain north to his new capital.
Kublai Khan worked to improve the economy and reform agriculture and treated the Song nobility well.
Under Kublai, China became a world-trading center and the merchants’ status and prosperity improved.
He ruled justly showing that he was a wise leader who loved his subjects—not what most would expect from someone who grew up in a nomadic, warrior culture.
Instead, he became more of a Confucian style ruler. However, he was still a Mongol at heart and he craved new conquests.
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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