Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Mongol Empire

The Mongol Empire
While China continued to develop and become prosperous, to the north a new power emerged in the form of the Mongols, a fierce nomadic people who had adapted to life in the great steppes of Mongolia Empire . Under a new leader, who became known as Genghis Khan, or “Universal Ruler,” the Mongols created a vast empire that eventually stretched from Europe to China and the borders of India. In the early 1200s, the Mongols captured the city now called Beijing in northern China. Under Kublai Khan, one of Genghis Khan’s grandsons, the Mongols completed their conquest of China and Kublai Khan proclaimed the beginning of his own Yuan dynasty in 1271.

Over a century of warfare and invasion the population of China had declined from about 100 million to about 60 million, but after the consolidation of Mongol rule, China once again began to prosper in many ways. The population began to increase again, and Kublai Khan extended the Grand Canal all the way to Beijing. The Mongols also linked China to India and Persia by new roads, and encouraged trade throughout their vast empire. During Mongol rule, contacts between China and Europe increased, as Christian missionaries and merchants like Marco Polo travelled to China and back. Despite such benefits, however, the Chinese always regarded the Mongols as invaders and in 1368 the Chinese overthrew the last Mongol emperor and established a new Chinese dynasty, the Ming, on the throne.

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