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Kublai Khan(ko͞o`blī kän), 1215–94, Mongol emperor, founder of the Yüan dynasty of China. From 1251 to 1259 he led military campaigns in S China. He succeeded (1260) his brother Mongke (Mangu) as khan of the empire that their grandfather Jenghiz KhanJenghiz Khan
or Genghis Khan
, Mongolian Chinggis Khaan, 1167?–1227, Mongol conqueror, originally named Temujin. He succeeded his father, Yekusai, as chieftain of a Mongol tribe and then fought to become ruler of a Mongol confederacy.
..... Click the link for more information. had founded. The empire reached its greatest territorial extent with Kublai's final defeat (1279) of the Sung dynasty of China; however, his campaigns against Japan (see kamikazekamikaze
[Jap.,=divine wind], the typhoon that destroyed Kublai Khan's fleet, foiling his invasion of Japan in 1281. In World War II the term was used for a Japanese suicide air force composed of fliers who crashed their bomb-laden planes into their targets, usually ships.
..... Click the link for more information. ), Myanmar, Vietnam, and Indonesia failed. Kublai's rule as the overlord of the Mongol empire was nominal except in Mongolia and China. He recruited men of all nations for his civil service, but only Mongols were permitted to hold the highest government posts. He promoted economic prosperity by rebuilding the Grand Canal, repairing public granaries, and extending highways. He fostered Chinese scholarship and arts. Although he favored Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism), other religions (except Taoism) were tolerated. Kublai encouraged foreign commerce, and his magnificent capital at Cambuluc (now Beijing) was visited by several Europeans, notably Marco Polo, who described it. It was long thought to be the city Xanadu, featured in Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan. Kublai's name is also spelled Khubilai, Kubilai, Koublai, and Kubla.
See J. J. Saunders, The History of the Mongol Conquests (1971); M. Rossabi, Khubilai Khan (1988).
(Mongol posthumous title, Setsen Khan; Chinese temple name, Shih-tsu). Born Sept. 23, 1215; died Feb. 18, 1294, in what is now Peking. Fifth Mongol great khan (from 1260); grandson of Genghis Khan.
During the reign of the Mongol khan Mangu (1251–59), Kublai was made head of an army sent to complete the conquest of China. After Mangu’s death, he seized the throne. In 1260 he moved the capital from Karakorum to the city of K’aip’ing in China, and in 1264 he made Chungtu (now Peking) the capital. On Dec. 18, 1271, Kublai Khan gave his Mongol Dynasty the Chinese name Ta Yuan. In 1279 he completed the conquest of the empire of the Southern Sung, thereby extending his rule to all of China. Kublai Khan’s military expeditions to Japan in 1274 and 1281 and to Java in 1293 were unsuccessful, as were the campaigns of Mongol forces to Vietnam between 1257 and 1288 and to Burma between 1277 and 1287.