Friday, September 5, 2008

Rinchinbal Khan, Emperor Ningzong of Yuan

Rinchinbal was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire.

He was the second son of and a younger brother of . He was mothered by Babusha of the Naiman tribe when his father lived in exile in Central Asia.

When his father Kuśala died and was succeeded by , Rinchinbal was appointed to Prince of Fu. Although Tugh Temür Khan had a son named El Tegüs when he died in 1332, his widow and El Tegüs's mother Budashiri Khatun respected Tugh Temür's will of making Kuśala's son succeed the throne instead of El Tegüs.

The de facto ruler El Temür resisted letting Kuśala's eldest son Toghun Temür accede to the throne since he was suspected of having poisoned his father Kuśala. While Toghun Temür was kept far away from the capital Dadu, infant Rinchinbal was in Dadu and had became favored by Tugh Temür. Thus El Temür decided to install Rinchinbal as grand-khan, but he died two months later, aged only seven.

El Temür again asked Budashiri to install El Tegüs but was declined. He had no choice but to invite Toghun Temür back from far-away Yunnan.

Ukhaantu Khan, Emperor Huizong of Yuan

Ukhaantu Khan , born Toghun Temür, was the Emperor of China and ruled as emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, khanate of Mongol Empire. During his reign, the empire lost China to the Ming Dynasty. Toghun Temür was a buddhist student of Karmapas and is considered as a previous incarnation of Tai Situpa.

Before succession

Toghun Temür was born to when he stayed Central Asia in evacuation. Toghun Temür's mother was a daughter of the chief of the Qarluq tribe, whose rank was not high in the court.

Following the civil war broke out after Yesün Temür Khan's death in 1328, he attended his father Kuśala and entered Shangdu via Mongolia. But after Kuśala died and Kuśala's younger brother was restored to the throne, he was kept from the court. He was banished to Goryeo and then to Guangxi.

In 1332 when Tugh Temür died, his widow Budashiri Khatun respected his will to make Kuśala's son succeed the throne instead of his son El Tegüs. But it was not Toghun Temür but his younger brother who became the emperor. Rinchinbal died in two months, and the de facto ruler El Temür attempted to install El Tegüs again, but it was rejected by Budashiri. As a result, Toghun Temür was summoned back from Guangxi.

El Temür feared that Toghun Temür, who was too mature to be a puppet, would take against him since he was suspected of the assassination on Toghun Temür's father Kuśala. The enthronement of Toghun Temür was postponed for six months by El Temür. He managed to succeed to the throne in 1333 when El Temür died.

Struggles during the early reign

Toghun Temür appointed his nephew El Tegüs as Crown Prince, and was in ward to El Tegüs's mother Budashiri. But he was controlled by warlords even after El Temür's death. Among them, became as powerful as El Temür had been. He served as minister of the Secretariat and crushed a rebellion by El Temür's son.

As he was grew, he came to disfavor Bayan's autocratic rule. In 1340 he allied Bayan's nephew Toghtogha, who was in discord with Bayan, and banished Bayan by coup. He also kicked El Tegüs and Budashiri out of the court. He managed to purge officials that had dominated the administration, but it only resulted in another dictatorship, that of Toghtogha and his father Majartai. In 1347 he drove them into Gangsu with assistance from former officers of Kuśala and . But he called Toghtogha back in 1349. All he could do was to back up one side of warlords over power.

While the central government waged endless power struggles, people in the countryside suffered from frequent natural disasters; droughts, floods and the ensuing famines. The government's lack of policy led to a loss of the support from people. Illicit salt dealers who were disaffected with the government's salt monopoly raised a rebellion in 1348. It triggered many revolts around the empire. Among them, the Red Turban Rebellion, which started in 1351, grew into a nationwide turmoil.

In around 1338, Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq of Delhi Sultanate appointed Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta an ambassador to the Mongol court of Togan Temur in China. The gifts he was to take included 200 Hindu slaves. On the Doab plain they were attacked by Hindu insurgents; the imperial cavalry killed all 4,000 of them while losing 78 men, according to Battuta, who was separated, captured, and barely escaped being killed by brigands. Battuta also luckily escaped to China.

Disorder during the late reign

In 1354, when Toghtogha led a large army to crush the Red Turban rebels, Toghun Temür suddenly dismissed him for fear of betrayal. It resulted in Toghun Temür's restoration of power on the one hand and a rapid weakening of the central government on the other. He had no choice but to rely on local warlords' military.

He gradually lost his interest in politics and ceased to intervene political struggles. His son Ayushiridar, who became Crown Prince in 1353, attempted to seize power and came to conflict with Toghun Temür's aides who dominated politics instead of the khan. Toghun Temür was unable to conciliate the dispute. In 1364 the Shangxi-based warlord Bolad Temür occupied Dadu and expelled the Crown Prince from the winter base. In alliance with the Henan-based warlord K&, Ayushiridar defeated Bolad Temür in the next year. This internal struggle resulted in further weakening of political and military power of the central government.

Retreat to the north

Unifying rebel groups in Southern China and establishing the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang conducted military expeditions to Northern China and defeated the Yuan army in 1368. When Köke Temür lost battles against Ming General Xu Da and the Ming troops approached Hebei, Toghun Temür gave up Dadu and fled to the summer base Shangdu.

In 1369 when Shangdu also fell under the Ming's occupation, Toghun Temür fled northward to Yingchang, which was located in southern Mongolia. He died there in 1370 and his son Ayushiridara succeeded to the throne.

At the time of his death, the Mongolia-based empire maintained its influence, stretching the domination from the Sea of Japan to Altai Mountains. There were also pro-Yuan, anti-Ming forces in Yunnan and Guizhou. Even though its control over China had not been stable yet, the Ming considered that the Yuan lost the Mandate of Heaven when it abandoned Dadu, and that the Yuan was overthrown in 1368. The Ming did not treat Toghun Temür after 1368 and his successor Ayushiridar as legitimate emperors.

The Ming gave Toghun Temür the posthumous name ''Shundi'', which implied that he followed the Mandate of Heaven ceded emperorship to the Ming. But the Yuan gave their own temple name Huizong to him.

Even after Toghun Temür, there was still Mongol resistance to the Ming. In southwestern China, Basalawarmi, the self-styled "Prince of Liang", established a Mongol resistance movement in Yunnan and Guizhou that was not put down until 1381. In the north, Chinggisid khans ruled Mongolia and claimed succession to the Mongol Empire. Historians called the Yuan Dynasty after Toghun Temür the Northern Yuan.


Mongolian chronicles such as the Erdeni-yin tobchi include a poem known as the ''Lament of Toghun Temür''. It deals with his grieving after the loss of Dadu.

Biligtu Khan, Emperor Zhaozong of Northern Yuan

Biligtü Khan, born Ayushiridara , was the Mongol of the Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia.

He was born to and Khatun. He became crown prince but it caused an internal strife between his supporters and opponents. An opposition leader Bolud Temür occupied the capital in 1364. Ayushiridara fled to K&, a warlord. Köke Temür overthrer Bolud Temür in the next year.

In 1368 the Yuan Dynasty was expelled from China by the new Ming Dynasty. In 1370 his father Toghun Temür Khan died in Yingchang and Ayushiridara succeeded to the throne. Shortly after the succession, he fled to Karakorum and he changed the era name to Xuanguang there.

The Yuan Dynasty still remained a powerful empire. In 1372 Köke Temür won a victory over Ming in northern Mongolia. The victory in 1372 was not overwhelming. Ming's central army won a series of victories to arrive at the north of Ulan Bator and was finally defeated due to extended supply line. Ming's west army won a series of overwhelming victories. Ming's east army won a series of victories, but suffered comparable damage of Yuan. Ayushiridara died in 1378 and succeeded to the throne.

Uskhal Khan, Emperor Tianyuan of Northern Yuan

Uskhal Khan, born Tögüs Temür , was the Mongol of the Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia. He used the era name Tianyuan .

Although sources say that he was a son of Biligtü Khan, Tögüs Temür was his younger brother. He succeeded to the throne after Biligtü Khan died in 1378. He continued to press the Ming from the north, cooperating with Naghachu of the Jalayir in Manchuria. However, he suddenly faced a predicament in 1387 when Nagachu surrendered to the Ming due to a devastating famine. In 1388 he was raided by the Ming on the Buyir Nuur. In his escape to Karakorum, he was killed on the Tuul River by , a descendant of . This marked the fall of the Khubilai line and the rise of the Oirats.

Guyuk Khan

Güyük was the third of the Mongol Empire. He was the son of &, grandson of Genghis Khan, and reigned from 1246 to 1248. His brother was Kadan.

Early life

Güyük received military training and served as an officer under Genghis and Ögedei. In 1233, he conquered the short-lived Dongxia Kingdom of Puxian Wannu.

He participated in the invasion of Russia and eastern Europe in 1236-1241 with other Mongol princes, including his cousin . During the course of the invasion, Güyük quarreled violently with Batu and was recalled for a time to Mongolia. This breach between the families of and , the first and third sons of Genghis Kahn, would widen over time and prove the ultimate downfall of the Mongol Empire.

In the meantime Ögedei had died in 1241, and his widow T& had taken over as regent, a position of great influence and authority which she used to advocate for her son Güyük. Batu withdrew from Europe so that he might have some influence over the succession, but despite his delaying tactics, Töregene succeeded in getting Güyük elected in 1246.


Guyuk's enthronement on 24 August 1246, near the Mongol capital at Karakorum, was attended by a large number of foreign ambassadors: the Franciscan friar and envoy of Pope Innocent IV, ; the Grand Duke of Moscow Yaroslav II of Vladimir; the incumbents for the throne of ; the brother of the king of and historian, Sempad the Constable; the future , Kilij Arslan IV; and ambassadors of the Abbasid Caliphate and of the emperor of India. According to John of Plano Carpini, Güyük's formal election in a great ''kurultai'', or diet of the tribes, took place while his company was at a camp called ''Sira Orda'', or "Yellow Pavilian," along with 3,000 to 4,000 visitors from all parts of Asia and eastern Europe, bearing homage, tribute, and presents. They afterwards witnessed the formal enthronement at another camp in the vicinity called the "Golden Ordu," after which they were presented to the emperor.


Güyük reversed several unpopular edicts of his mother the regent and made a surprisingly capable khan, appointing Eljigidei in Persia in preparation for an attack on Baghdad and pursuing the war against the Song Dynasty. He was, nevertheless, insecure and won the disapproval of his subjects by executing several high-ranking officials of the previous regime for treason. Although Batu did not support Guyuk's election seriously, he expected the Great Khan as tradionalist and sent Andrey and Alexander Nevsky to Karakorum in Mongolia in 1247 after their father's death. Guyuk appointed Andrey Grand Duke of Vladimir and Alexander prince of Kiev.
In 1248, he demanded Batu come towards Mongolia to meet him, a move that some contemporaries regarded as a pretext for Batu's arrest. In compliance with the order, Batu approached bringing a large army. Güyük prepared for battle, and civil war seemed imminent.

The showdown never happened— Güyük died in route, in what is now Xinjiang; he had succumbed at about the age of forty-two to the combined effects of alcoholism and gout. His widow Oghul Qaimish took over as regent, but she would be unable to keep the succession within her branch of the family. M& succeeded as Khan in 1251.

Genghis Khan's sons and grandsons, were haunted by alcoholism, a vice that Genghis himself had detested. Despite this, Genghis himself once remarked that it was not realistic to expect a man not to get drunk on occasion. The death of Güyük had a profound effect on history. Güyük wanted to turn the Mongol power against Europe. Because of Güyük's premature death, Mongol family politics caused the Mongol efforts to be directed against southern China, which was eventually conquered in the time of Kublai Khan.

Güyük's reign showed that the split between Batu's line, the descendants of Jöchi, and the rest of the family was the fatal flaw in the unity of all the Mongol Empire. The civil war which split the empire into rival khanates might well have occurred in Güyük's time had he not died early. Batu eventually backed Möngke and helped to establish him as Great Khan, thereby replacing the house of Ögodei with that of Tolui.

Oghul Qaimish, whom Möngke had called "more contemptible than a bitch" to a European visitor, was executed after Batu and Möngke affected the family coup.

Mongke Khan

Möngke Khan , also transliterated as Mongke, Mongka, Möngka, Mangu or Mangku , was the fourth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1251 to 1259. He was the son of Tolui and Sorghaghtani Beki, brother of Hulagu and Kublai Khan, and a grandson of Genghis Khan.

Early career

Möngke is noted as participating in the campaign of 1236-1242. He led a mongol corpse against the Kypchaks and Alans and beheaded their leader Bachman, then destroyed Alani capital Maghas, before sacking italian ports in Crimea in 1239. Mongke was impressed by the splendour of Kiev and demanded their submission in order to save the city. But Kievans, who killed mongol envoy before, refused to surrender again and Mongols . Mongke fought against Hungarians at with Batu. In the summer of 1241, before the premature end of the campaign, Möngke returned home.

After the death of the third Great Khan, Güyük, Möngke found himself the champion of the factions of Genghis' descendants who aimed to supplant the branch of . , the senior male of the family, had almost come to open warfare with Güyük in 1248, the khan's early death precluding this. Batu joined forces with Tolui's widow to outmaneuver the regent, Ögedei's widow Oghul Qaimish. Batu called a kurultai in Siberia in 1250, which was protested as not being in Mongolia proper. However, Batu ignored the opposition, had his brother Berke call a kurultai within Mongolia, and elected Möngke khan in 1251.


Realizing they had been outmaneuvered, the Ögedeiid faction attempted to overthrow Möngke under the pretext of paying him homage, but their conspiracy was clumsy and easily avoided. Oghul Qaimish was sewn up into a sack and drowned.

In 1252 and 1256, He conducted a census all over Mongol Empire including Persia, Russia and North China. There was only uprising in Novgorod against the Mongol rule in 1257, but Alexander Nevsky forced the city to submit to Mongol census and taxation.

Möngke, as khan, seemed to take much more seriously the legacy of world conquest he had inherited than did Güyük. He concerned himself more with the war in China, outflanking the Song Dynasty through the conquest of in 1254 and an invasion of Indochina, which allowed the Mongols to invade from north, west, and south. Taking command personally late in the decade, he captured many of the along the northern front. These actions ultimately rendered the conquest a matter of time. He dispatched his brother Hulagu to the southwest, an act which was to expand the Mongol Empire to the gates of Egypt. European conquest was neglected due to the primacy of the other two theaters, but Möngke's friendliness with Batu ensured the unity of empire.

However, while conducting the war in China at Fishing Town in modern-day Chongqing, Möngke died near the site of the siege on August 11, 1259.

Notes on his death

There are several different accounts as to how he perished. Generally recorded as killed in action by cannon shot from Song Chinese artillery, he's also reported to have been killed by an arrow shot from a Chinese archer during the siege. Other accounts claim that he died of dysentery or even a cholera epidemic. In any case, his death forced Hülegü, along with his top general Guo Kan, Jalayirtai to abort their campaigns in Syria and Korea to engage the tenacious Southern Song, and would ultimately cause a civil war that destroyed the unity and invincibility of the Mongol Empire.

In popular folklore, famous Chinese novelist Jin Yong dramatized the death of Mongke Khan in his famous Condor Trilogy series , which describes a melancholic Southern Song warrior and martial artist by the name Yang Guo as the unwilling hero who fired the shot that killed the great Khan. Nevertheless, Mongke was the only Great Khan to have ever been killed in action.

Kublai Khan

Kublai or Khubilai Khan , was the fifth and last Khagan of the Mongol Empire. In 1271, he founded the Yuan Dynasty, which ruled over Mongolia, China Proper, and some adjacent areas, and became the first Yuan emperor.

He was the second son of Tolui and Sorghaghtani Beki and a grandson of Genghis Khan. The civil war between him and his younger brother Ariq B& over the succession to their older brother essentially marked the end of a unified Mongol empire.

Early years

Kublai Khan studied Chinese culture and became enamoured of it. In 1251, his elder brother became Khan of the Mongol Empire, and Kublai became the governor of the southern territories of the Mongol Empire. During his years as governor, Kublai managed his territory well, boosting the agricultural output of Henan and increasing social welfare spendings after receiving Xi'an. These acts received great acclaim from the Chinese warlords and were essential to the building of the Yuan Dynasty.

In 1253, Kublai was ordered to attack Yunnan, and he destroyed the Kingdom of Dali. In 1258, Möngke put Kublai in command of the Eastern Army and summoned him to assist with attacks on Sichuan and, again, Yunnan. Before Kublai could arrive in 1259, word reached him that Möngke had died. Kublai continued to attack Wuhan, but soon received news that his younger brother Ariq Böke had held a kurultai at the Mongolian imperial capital of Karakorum and was pronounced Great Khan. Most of Genghis Khan's descendants favored Ariq Böke as Great Khan; however, his two brothers Kublai and Hulegu were in opposition.

Kublai quickly reached a peace agreement with troops and returned north to the Mongolian plains, in order to oppose Ariq Böke's claim to the title of Great Khan.

Upon returning to his own territories, Kublai summoned a kurultai of his own, and was proclaimed Great Khan. Only a small number of the royal family supported Kublai's claims to the title, however the small number of attendees still proclaimed him Great Khan.

This subsequently led to warfare between Kublai and his younger brother Ariq Böke, which resulted in the eventual destruction of the Mongolian capital at Karakorum.

Both his brother and Kublai crowned themselves Khan in 1260, and the two brothers battled for three years before Kublai finally won. However, during this civil war, Yizhou governor Li revolted against Mongol rule. The revolt was swiftly crushed by Kublai, but this incident instilled in him a strong distrust of ethnic Hans. After he became emperor, Kublai instituted several anti-Han laws, such as banning the titles of and tithes to Han Chinese warlords.

Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty

The decisive steps to assume the role of a have taken place under Kublai Khan after some initial and rather inconclusive efforts under earlier rulers. As emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan worked to minimize the influences of regional lords who had held immense power before and during the Song Dynasty. Although Kublai Khan wished to signal to the Han Chinese that he intended to adopt the trappings and style of a Chinese ruler, his mistrust of ethnic Han Chinese caused him to appoint Mongols, Central Asians, Muslims and few Europeans to high positions more often than Han Chinese. Kublai lost his faith on Han Chinese when his Chinese minister's son revolted against him while he was fighting against Ariq Böke in Mongolia.

China proper and Mongolia itself were administered in 11 provinces during his reign with a governor and vice-governor each. According to the Chinese historian Professor Ting-hsueh Wu, of these 12 governors, 8 were Muslims. In the remaining districts, Muslims were vice-governors.

In the 8th Year of Zhiyuan , Kublai Khan officially declared the creation of the Yuan Dynasty, and proclaimed the capital to be at in the following year. His summer capital was in . To unify China, Kublai Khan began a massive offensive against the remnants of the southern Song Dynasty in the 11th year of Zhiyuan , and finally destroyed the Song Dynasty in the 16th year of Zhiyuan , unifying the country at last.

He ruled well, promoting economic growth with the rebuilding of the , repairing public buildings, and extending highways. However, Kublai Khan's domestic policy also included some aspects of the old Mongol living traditions, and as Kublai Khan continued his reign, these traditions would clash more and more frequently with traditional Chinese economic and social culture.

In 1273, He issued a new series of state sponsored bills, which was used throughout the country, although eventually a lack of fiscal discipline and inflation turned this move into an economic disaster in the later course of the dynasty. It was required to pay in only in the form of paper money called Chao. To ensure its use in circles, Kublai's government confiscated gold and silver from private citizens as well as foreign merchants. But traders received government-issued notes in exchange. That is why Kublai khan is considered to be the first of fiat money makers. The paper bills made collecting taxes and administering the huge empire much easier while reducing cost of transporting coins. Later Gaykhatu of the Ilkhanate attempted to adopt the system in Persia and Middle east, which was however a complete failure, and he was assassinated shortly after that.

He encouraged Asian arts and demonstrated religious tolerance, except in regards to Taoism. The empire was visited by several Europeans, notably Marco Polo in the 1270s who may have seen the summer capital Shangdu.

He made Goryeo a tributary ally in 1260. The Yuan helped stabilized his control over Korea in 1271. Kublai Khan also tried to establish tributary relationships with other countries, which were however rebuffed. Under pressure from his Mongolian advisors, Kublai decided to invade , Burma, and . These costly, failed attempts, along with the introduction of paper currency, caused inflation. However, Kublai Khan also forced warlords from the Northwest and Northeast to capitulate, ensuring stability for those regions. Kublai Khan died in the 31st year of Zhiyuan .

Invasions of Japan

Kublai Khan twice attempted to invade Japan; however, both times, it is believed that bad weather, or a flaw in the design of the ships, destroyed the fleets. The first invasion attempt took place in 1274, with a fleet of 900 ships. The second invasion occurred in 1281, with a fleet of over 1,170 large war junks, each close to 240 feet long. The campaign was badly organized, and the Korean fleet reached Japan well ahead of the Chinese fleet. Overall, the Japanese fought very little in the invasion, but the times they did, they lost.

Dr. Kenzo Hayashida, the , headed the investigation that discovered the wreckage of the second invasion fleet off the western coast of Dokdo. His team's findings strongly indicate that Kublai Khan rushed to conquer Japan and attempted to construct his enormous fleet in only one year . This forced the Chinese to use any available ships, including river boats, in order to achieve readiness. Most importantly, the Chinese, then under the Khan's control, were forced to build many ships quickly in order to contribute to the fleet in both of the invasions. Hayashida theorizes that, had Kublai used standard, well-constructed ocean-going ships, which have a curved keel to prevent capsizing, his navy might have survived the journey to and from Japan and might have conquered it as intended.

Stephenie Meyer, author of ''Kublai Khan'' , writes, "The cost of these defeats led the Khan to devalue the central currency, further exacerbating growing inflation. He also increased tax assessments. These economic problems lead to growing resentment of the Mongols, who paid no taxes, among the Chinese populace." David Nicole writes in ''The Mongol Conquerors'' that "these disastrous defeats shattered the myth of Mongol invincibility throughout Asia." He also wrote that Kublai Khan was determined to mount a third invasion, despite the horrendous cost to the economy and to his and Mongol prestige of the first two defeats, and only his death prevented such a third attempt, despite the unanimous agreement of his advisors against such an attempt."

In 1293, Yuan navy captured 100 japanese from Okinawa.

Invasions of Vietnam

Kublai Khan also twice invaded Dai Viet. The first one is started in December 1284 when Mongols under the commander of Toghan crossed the border and quickly occupied Thăng Long in January 1285 after the victory battle of Omar in Vạn Kiếp and at the same time Sogetu from Champa moved northward and rapidly marched to Nghe An where the army of the Tran under the general Tran Kien surrender him. However, the and the commander-in-chief Trần Hưng Đạo turns the tide from defence to attack the Mongols. In April, General Tr& defeats Sogetu in Chuong Duong and then the Trần kings won a big battle in Tây Kết where Sogetu died. Soon after, general Tr& also won the battle in Hàm Tử while Toghan was defeated by Tr& and the Mongols failed their second attempt to invade & .

The second invasion to & of Kublai Khan was in 1287 after the more careful preparation by Kublai Khan for a big fleet and a large stock of food for the Mongols since 1286. The Mongols under the commander of Toghan moved to Vạn Kiếp and met the infantry and cavaltry of Omar and there they quickly won the battle. The naval fleet rapidly won the battle in Vân Đồn but they left the heavy cargo ships with full stock of food for the Mongols behind. And general Tr& quickly captured all of the food. As foreseen, the Mongolians in Thăng Long suffered an acute shortage of food. Without any news about the supply fleet Toghan found himself in a tight corner and had to order his army to retreat to Vạn Kiếp. This was when Đại Việt's Army began the general offensive by recapturing a number of locations occupied by the Mongol invaders. Groups of infantry were given orders to attack the Mongols in Vạn Kiếp. Toghan had to split his army into two and retreat.
In early April the naval fleet led by Omar and escorted by infantry fled home along the . As bridges and roads were destroyed and attacks were launched by Đại Việt's troops, the Mongols reached Bạch Đằng without the infantry escorted. Đại Việt's small flotilla engaged in battle and pretended to retreat. The Mongols eagerly pursued Đại Việt troops and fell into their prearranged battlefield. "Thousands" of Đại Việt's small boats from both banks quickly appeared, fiercely launched the attack and broke the combat formation of the enemy. Inflicted with a sudden and strong attack, the Mongols tried to withdraw to the sea in panic. Hitting the stakes, their boats were halted, many of which were broken and sunken. At that time, a number of fire rafts quickly rushed toward them. Frightened, the Mongolian troops jumped down to get to the banks where they were dealt a heavy blow an army led by the Trần king and Tr&. The Mongolian naval fleet was totally destroyed and Omar was captured. At the same time, Đại Việt's Army made continuous attacks and smashed to pieces Toghan’s army on its route of withdrawal through Lạng Sơn. Toghan risked his life making a shortcut through forests to flee home. The third attempt of invasion to & failed too.

Although these failures ended Kublai Khan’s dream of expanding his territory southward, especially to control the Spice Route, in 1288-1293, the states of , Champa and had recognized Kublai's supremacy in order to avoid more conflicts.


On 5 May 1260 Kublai was elected Khan at his residence in Shangdu and he began to organize the . Zhang Wenqian, who was a friend of Guo and like him was a central government official, was sent by Kublai Khan in 1260 to Daming where unrest had been reported in the local population. Guo accompanied Zhang on his mission. Guo was not only interested in engineering, but he was also an expert astronomer. In particular he was a skilled instrument maker and understood that good astronomical observations depended on expertly made instruments. He now began to construct astronomical instruments, including water clocks for accurate timing and armillary spheres which represent the celestial globe.

Zhang advised Kublai Khan that his friend Guo was a leading expert in hydraulic engineering. Kublai knew the importance of water management, for irrigation, transport of grain, and flood control, and he asked Guo to look at these aspects in the area between Dadu and the Yellow River. To provide Dadu with a new supply of water, Guo found the Baifu spring in the Shenshan Mountain and had a 30 km channel built to bring the water to Dadu. He proposed connecting the water supply across different river basins, built new canals with many sluices to control the water level, and achieved great success with the improvements which he was able to make. This pleased Kublai Khan and led to Guo being asked to undertake similar projects in other parts of the country. In 1264 he was asked to go to Gansu province to repair the damage that had been caused to the irrigation systems by the years of war during the Mongul advance through the region. Guo travelled extensively along with his friend Zhang taking notes of the work which needed to be done to unblock damaged parts of the system and to make improvements to its efficiency. He sent his report directly to Kublai Khan.

Later life

In the later part of his life, Kublai developed severe gout. He also gained weight due to a fondness for eating animal organs and other delicacies. This also more than likely increased the amount of purines in his blood, leading to his problems with gout, and ultimately to his death in 1294. His overeating may have been related to the deaths of not only his favorite wife, but also his chosen heir.

Coleridge poem

Kublai and Shangdu or Xanadu are the subject of the English Romantic Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem ''Kubla Khan''. Coleridge makes Xanadu a symbol of mystery and splendour.