Kublai Khan - King of the Mongol Empire
Kublai Khan was born from queen Sorghaghtani Beki in 1215, as a son of Tolui, the fourth son of emperor Chinggis. Since childhood, he was favoured by emperor Chinggis and queen Borte. After his father’s untimely death, Kublai was raised by her mother Sorghaghtani Beki and grew up to be intelligent and smart young lord. Upon the death of his brother Munkh in 1259, Kublai succeeded him in 1260. In 1271, Kublai imposed the name of the empire Great Yuan, with China under its rule. However, his rise to power was not a straight one. In 1260, Kublai quarrelled with his brother over the throne. This eventually turned into a full on civil war between brothers and in 1264 final decisive battle between them took place south of the great gobi, on the basin of Ganga lake. Kublai’s older brother, Arig Boke, lost the battle and Kublai became the emperor of Mongol Empire.
Although Kublai’s fight for the throne caused further conflict among Chingiss’s descendants, he established the Yuan Dynasty in 1271 and ruled over Golden Horde, Ilkhanate, Chagatai Khanate. The land of Great Yuan stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Ural mountains, from Siberia to Afghanistan, whole dynasty ruled over one fifth of the world’s dry land. In 1264, Kublai moved the governing body of the empire to Beijing, causing Kharkhorum’s influence to fade over time. In 1271, Kublai officially imposed the name of the empire Great Yuan and declared Buddhism as a state religion. In 1274, the emperor ordered the construction of 900 ship fleet and invaded Japan through Korea, successfully capturing Tsushima, Iki islands and reached the shores of Kyushu island.
After a fierce battle on Hakata bay, a storm hit the island, causing heavy damage to the Mongolian fleet. 200 ships sunk to the bottom of the ocean and over 1300 soldiers died. Hence, first invasion of Japan was unsuccessful. Despite this setback in the eastward expansion, Kublai successfully conquered Sun Dynasty and became the first ever foreign king to rule over all of China. Yuan Dynasty reigned over its subjects for over two centuries. An interesting fact is that the currency of modern day China is named after the Yuan Dynasty. Emperor Kublai passed away on the 18th of February, 1294, at the age of 78. His legacy is recorded by the famous Italian merchant, explorer and writer, Marco Polo.