The Mongol Empire & Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 AD) – Part 4/5

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.

Continue to Part 5 or return to The Yuan Dynasty – Part 3


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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3 Responses to The Mongol Empire & Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368 AD) – Part 4/5

  1. Terry K Chen says:

    Unfortunately, pretty much everyone in the western world seems to believe so. I’m seen many comments on China-related forums which say things like “Less than half of China actually belongs to them!” and “The mongols and Manchurian s should rise up for themselves!”. I’ll never get over the fact that most westerners seem so desperate to see China give up its own land. Are they that scared of China? It’s not like they care about what happens to the ethnic minorities if they do gain independence. If that really did happen, I am sure that the US would build even more military bases on their lands using the excuse that they want to “protect” them from China.

  2. Terry Chen says:

    Many westerners who don’t understand anything about Chinese history don’t consider the yuan and qing dynasties as part of chinese history, but rather as mongoal or manchurian history. The scary thing is that the arguments that are used to justify that tibet is not part of china can be used for all the provinces that contain mainly minority races.

    • Terry,

      If the arguments used to justify Tibet is not part of China are valid, then imagine the mess the world would be in if that same logic were applied to Europe, England, “all” of the Americas, etc. All of the current American (I’m talking about North, central and South America) nations were invaded and occupied by Europeans starting in the 15th century, yet the Yuan (Mongols), Ming (Han Chinese), and Qing (Manchu) all ruled over Tibet since the 13th century.

      The only “rule” that has survived thousands of years of history is “possession is nine points of the law”, and the current Chinese government has ruled over Tibet since 1950. Prior to that China ruled over Tibet from the 13th century to 1913 when the British convinced the Dalai Lama to declare independence from China while China was embroiled in Civil War, unrest, warlords, World War II, etc.

      China’s claim is just as valid as the United States claiming all of the territory it rules over and the United States doesn’t have as much history with Tibet as it did with the American natives that held possession of the current United States for more than fifteen thousand years.

      If you cannot hold onto the land, you lose it, which is a historical fact.

      The fools that claim Tibet is not part of China and never has been will create any kind of excuse to justify what they believe. That is what fanatics do.

      Imagine, if the world managed to force China to allow all 56 minorities and the Han Cantonese to become independent nations, then the United States would have to allow all of the American Indian Tribes it defeated to also form independent nations over the old land they once called their own. If that happened, Hawaii, Alaska and California would break from the union for sure.

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