Mongol Yuan Dynasty Defeats Song: Part 3 of 3

May 18, 2018

Now that China was unified under the new Yung Dynasty, Kublai improved communications between the north and south. To accomplish this, three million laborers extended the Grand Canal to carry grain north to his new capital of Dadu, modern Beijing.  He also 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. Since most of the kingdoms of Asia paid tribute to Kublai Khan so he would leave them alone, there was nothing for his massive Mongol empire and army to fight.

However, Kublai did not control one country, Japan.  He sent emissaries to Japan to demand that they accept him as their emperor and every time his demand was met with the execution of his envoys.

He enlisted Koreans to crew his navy to carry his army to an island off Japan’s coast where the Japanese forces stationed there were defeated. However, a storm destroyed Kublai’s fleet.

This did not stop Kublai and in 1281, a second invasion was launched. This time the Japanese were better prepared and for two months the armies fought. Then another storm hit and destroyed Kublai’s second fleet.

Kublai Khan wanted another invasion force, but his advisors talked him out of it. That was when he abandoned his military campaigns and turned to court life.

A few years after that, his beloved wife died followed by then his son and heir. This broke his heart and he became depressed. All of his trusted advisors died and were replaced with corrupt officials while Kublai Khan becomes more isolated from the public and his government.

He died alone in his palace at 80. Soon after his death, rebellions broke out in China leading to the Ming Dynasty replacing the Yung in 1368. Kublai Khan’s dynasty survived from 1271 to 1368.

Return to Part 2 or start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Mongol Yuan Dynasty Defeats Song: Part 2 of 3

May 17, 2018

To decide who the next khan would be while Kublai was still in China, a secret council was held in Mongolia’s capital Karakorum, and a rebellion was plotted by Kublai’s rivals.

After his mother warned him of the plot, he had no choice, and 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 at the age of 44.

Deciding he wanted a new capital, construction was started on the site where Beijing stands today. It would take 30,000 men five years to complete the new city. This is the city Marco Polo reached in 1266.

Kublai received Marco and his brother with hospitality and asked them many questions regarding the European legal and political system. He also inquired about the Pope and Church in Rome. After the brothers answered his questions, he tasked them with delivering a letter to the Pope, requesting 100 Christians acquainted with the Seven Arts (grammar, rhetoric, logic, geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy).

Kublai Khan was now ready to wage war with the Song Dynasty again. At first, he tried diplomacy but the Song Dynasty refused to surrender. To fight the Song, Kublai Khan knew he had to build a navy and learn naval warfare. The Mongols had never been a seafaring race but this didn’t stop him.

Kublai’s army was now up against the great fortress city of Xiangyang.  On the other side of this city was the Yangtze River and on the other side of the river was the heart of the Song Empire. He had to take the city before he crossed the river.

The siege lasted for five years before taking the city of Xiangyang and then Kublai’s army crossed the Yangtze.

At the time, the Song emperor was only four years old, and his aging mother handled affairs of state ruling China as the Empress Dowager. In 1276, she admitted defeat and the Song Dynasty surrendered.

Continued in Part 3 on May 18, 2018, or return to Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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Mongol Yuan Dynasty Defeats Song: Part 1 of 3

May 16, 2018

Kublai Khan was the first significant non-Chinese to rule China and like his grandfather, Genghis Khan, he defeated and crushed his enemies with brutal force. Once Kublai defeated the Song Dynasty, he founded the Yuan Dynasty.

But one of the greatest influences over Kublai, while he was a child, was his mother.  Unlike most Mongol women that often fought beside their men and ruled tribes and territories, she insisted that her son be educated in Chinese culture and the teaching of Confucius. That may have saved China’s civilization for a few more decades before the beginning of its decline.

The defeat of the Song Dynasty did not happen overnight. It was a long process that spanned decades. The start of this war was in 1235 when at the age of twenty-one, Kublai was given an area in northern China by his uncle, who was the great khan.

When his older brother Mongke became the great khan in 1251 after his uncle’s death, he gave Kublai more land to rule in northeastern China, and Kublai soon decided to wage war against the powerful Song Dynasty.

Kublai made his first major move against the Song in 1252. After he won those battles, but not the war, he returned to Northern China with plans to build a new city to rival his brother’s capital. First, he had to select a site. Kublai’s war with China’s Song Dynasty would last until 1279.

Then Kublai Khan’s older brother became sick and died and Kublai’s armies were recalled from the war during the time period it took to decide who the next great khan would be.

Continued in Part 2 on May 17, 2018

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China