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HIST 254
Jeremy Brown

YUAN DYNASTY – China under Mongol Rule 1276-1368 Was the Mongol rule a disaster for China? • View of Mongols as barbarians – ugly, brutal, fierce, seen with terror Weakness of Song • Flourishing culture and economy but bad military • This works until they come against a strong enemy Mongol Society and Rule • Travelled in grasslands living in tents • Self sufficient economy of sheep • Global cooling means not enough food for sheep so they turn to trade and plundering Organization of tribes – built for war and mobility • Built for war • System of loyalty between Khanites • When you win a battle, Khan picks what he wants and the rest is taken by his supporters creating a continued incentive for war • In war time, supporters pledge total loyalty to Khan in return for treasure Chinggis Khan (1162 -1227) • First to unite Mongols • So effective because he moved quickly and had tactics, and technology − Each soldier had 2-3 horses and put dummies on them to make the army appear bigger − Iron straps so they could shoot on the move − Chinese fire powder for fire bombs − Lances • Their goal was to force enemies to surrender without fighting − Sent envoys to cities with choice between giving them money and treasure or being killed − Most surrender because they hear rumour, but rumours had to be backed up with action • Succeeded by Qublai Khan who established himself in central China as emperor Kublai Khan (1215-1295) • Focuses on East Asia and leaves the rest of the territory to other Khans • To legitimize himself he relies on Confucianism – has Confucian officials • Can’t read Chinese but can speak some • Biggest achievement is taking over the S. South (long process of 40 years) − South was hard to conquer because it was on water (not Mongol area of expertise) − Final battle in 1276 under a child emperor − Many would rather die than submit to a non-Chinese ruler − Also takes over Korea Was Mongol rule a disaster? Violence • Disaster for those destroyed o Population declines Discrimination • No experience governing sedentary society: a few hundred thousand governing 60 million • Divided society into four categories: 1. Mongols – in government 2. Central Asians – called Semuren 3. Northern Chinese and Jurc
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