On this Day:
In 1271, Kublai Khan renamed his empire “Yuan” (元 yuán), marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of China.
The Yuan dynasty, officially the Great Yuan, was a successor state to the Mongol Empire after its division and a ruling dynasty of China established by Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongol Borjigin clan, lasting from 1271 to 1368. In Chinese historiography, this dynasty followed the Song dynasty and preceded the Ming dynasty.
Although Genghis Khan had been enthroned with the Chinese title of Emperor in 1206 and the Mongol Empire had ruled territories including modern-day northern China for decades, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan officially proclaimed the dynasty in the traditional Chinese style, and the conquest was not complete until 1279 when the Southern Song dynasty was defeated in the Battle of Yamen. His realm was, by this point, isolated from the other Mongol khanates and controlled most of modern-day China and its surrounding areas, including modern Mongolia. It was the first non-Han dynasty to rule all of China proper and lasted until 1368 when the Ming dynasty defeated the Yuan forces. Following that, the rebuked Genghisid rulers retreated to the Mongolian Plateau and continued to rule as the Northern Yuan dynasty.
Some of the Yuan emperors mastered the Chinese language, while others only used their native Mongolian language and the ‘Phags-pa script.
After the division of the Mongol Empire, the Yuan dynasty was the khanate ruled by the successors of Möngke Khan. In official Chinese histories, the Yuan dynasty bore the Mandate of Heaven. The dynasty was established by Kublai Khan, yet he placed his grandfather Genghis Khan on the imperial records as the official founder of the dynasty and accorded him the temple name Taizu. In the edict titled Proclamation of the Dynastic Name, Kublai announced the name of the new dynasty as Great Yuan and claimed the succession of former Chinese dynasties from the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors to the Tang dynasty.
In addition to Emperor of China, Kublai Khan also claimed the title of Great Khan, supreme over the other successor khanates: the Chagatai, the Golden Horde, and the Ilkhanate. As such, the Yuan was also sometimes referred to as the Empire of the Great Khan. However, while the claim of supremacy by the Yuan emperors was at times recognized by the western khans, their subservience was nominal and each continued its own separate development.
First, a Story:
It’s a little known fact that Kublai Khan had a brother. Unfortunately his brother also had a terrible skin condition and as a result, was banished from his people. Eventually he ended up in Ireland where he was known as Leper Kahn.
Second, a Song:
TED Conferences LLC (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an American media organization that posts talks online for free distribution under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”. TED was conceived by Richard Saul Wurman, who co-founded it with Harry Marks in February 1984 as a conference; it has been held annually since 1990. TED’s early emphasis was on technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins. It has since broadened its perspective to include talks on many scientific, cultural, political, humanitarian and academic topics. It has been curated by Chris Anderson, a British-American businessman, through the non-profit TED Foundation since July 2019 (originally by the non-profit Sapling Foundation) (per Wikipedia).
TED-Ed is a YouTube channel from Ted which creates short animated educational videos. It also has its own website. TED-Ed lessons are created in collaboration with educators and animators. Current advisers for Ted-Ed lessons include Aaron Sams, Jackie Bezos, John Hunter, Jonathan Bergmann, Sir Ken Robinson, Melinda French Gates, and Sal Khan. It has over 14.7 million subscribers and over 2.6 billion views as of September 2021 (per YouTube.com)
Here is TED-ED’s video on the rise and fall of the Mongol Empire which, under the leadership of Genghis Khan, became the largest contiguous land empire in history.
“It was the largest contiguous land empire in history— stretching from Korea to Ukraine, and from Siberia to southern China. And was forged on the open plains. In the 12th century, the East Asian steppe was home to scattered groups of nomads who, by 1206, would be united under the innovative leadership of a man named Temujin. Anne F. Broadbridge details the rise and fall of the Mongol Empire.” I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
Why do you speak to me of the stones? It is only the arch that matters to me.” – Kublai Khan
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky
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