Kublai Khan

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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.
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 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.
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), 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.

Bibliography

See J. J. Saunders, The History of the Mongol Conquests (1971); M. Rossabi, Khubilai Khan (1988).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kublai Khan

 

(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Kublai Khan

?1216--94, Mongol emperor of China: grandson of Genghis Khan. He completed his grandfather's conquest of China by overthrowing the Sung dynasty (1279) and founded the Yuan dynasty (1279--1368)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Quanta distanza dal nobilissimo Kubilai, dal "viso bianco e vermiglio come rosa"!
Del resto, come sottolinea Segre, Kubilai e il vero centro del "trattato geografico" poliano, e "ne costituisce il punto di riferimento quasi ideologico; mettendo il sigillo della storia sulla geografia, della politica sul costume" (Segre, 1982: xxv).
quella e Pisola di Cipango, di cui si raccontano cose tanto maravigliose", scrive ad esempio il 24 ottobre; e sei giorni dopo rivela la sua ansia di arrivare alia corte di Kubilai: "Debbo fare ogni mio sforzo affine di recarmi presso al Gran Cane, che penso dimorare in questi contorni, o nella citta del Catai" (Colombo, 1864: 99-107).
The Yuan rulers, especially since the reign of Kubilai Khan, employed Muslims in government, particularly in financial administration.
The missive contains an interesting allusion to the presence of a Buddha relic in the 'great country' ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), likely the same Buddha tooth relic which was said to be residing in Kubilai's new capital (Beijing) since 1071.
Unfortunately, Kubilai Khan, a Mongol, is eccentric and demands that his "vassals" should come to China to pay homage in person, and the Tran family has to fight to uphold its own version of the tributary relationship.
The thirteenth century historian, Le Van Huu, needed Trieu-Da, the first "emperor", as a metaphor for Vietnamese independence in defiance of Kubilai Khan's fury, but Van-lang was to become sufficiently important in its own right to justify the efforts of archaeologists in the 1960s to recover its artifacts.