This period of Chinese history, from roughly 600-1600 C.E., is a period of stunning development in China. From the Tang (discussed in the unit on the Tang Dynasty) through the “pre-modern” commercial and urban development of the Song, ca. 1000, to the Ming voyages of exploration (1405- 1433) with ships that reach the coast of Africa. (The achievements of China under the Song are the subject of Marco Polo’s “fantastic” reports when he journeys to China under the Mongols, who rule in China for eighty-nine years (1279- 1368) as the Yuan dynasty, between the Song and Ming.)
The Mongols invade China from the north, defeat the Song, and establish the Yuan dynasty in 1279, ruling less than one-hundred years, to 1368. Under Khubilai (Kublai) Khan (1215-1294), the supreme leader of the Mongols and a grandson of Chinggis (Genghis) Khan (d. 1227), the Mongols move the Chinese capital to Beijing and establish the capital of their empire there.
The Mongol empire spans Eurasia in the 13th and 14th centuries and facilitates trade and exchange across the Eurasian land mass.
Marco Polo visits China (from ca. 1275-1291) under the Mongol rule, as mentioned above.
The Ming dynasty (/mɪŋ/), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China ruled by Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng (who established the Shun dynasty, soon replaced by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty), numerous rump regimes loyal to the Ming throne – collectively called the Southern Ming – survived until 1662.[dThe Hongwu Emperor (r. 1368–1398) attempted to create a society of self-sufficient rural communities ordered in a rigid, immobile system that would guarantee and support a permanent class of soldiers for his dynasty: the empire’s standing army exceeded one million troops and the navy‘s dockyards in Nanjing were the largest in the world.
The Song dynasty (Chinese: 宋朝; pinyin: Sòng cháo; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The Song often came into conflict with the contemporaneous Liao, Western Xia and Jin dynasties to its north. It was eventually conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Song government was the first in world history to issue banknotes or true paper money nationally and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the first discernment of true north using a compass
The Yuan dynasty (/juˈɑːn/; Chinese: 元朝; pinyin: Yuán Cháo), officially the GreatYuan (Chinese: 大元; pinyin: DàYuán; Middle Mongolian:
ᠳᠠᠢ ᠦᠨ ᠦᠯᠦᠰ
, Dai Ön Ulus, literally “Great Yuan State”[note 2]), was the empire or ruling dynasty of China established by Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan. It followed the Song dynasty and preceded the Ming dynasty. Although the Mongols had ruled territories including modern-day North China for decades, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan officially proclaimed the dynasty in the traditional Chinese style, and the conquest was not complete until 1279 when the Southern Song dynasty was defeated in the Battle of Yamen. His realm was, by this point, isolated from the other Mongol khanates and controlled most of modern-day China and its surrounding areas, including modern Mongolia. It was the first non-Han Chinese dynasty to rule all of China and lasted until 1368 when the Ming dynasty defeated the Yuan forces. Following that, the rebuked Genghisid rulers retreated to their Mongolian homeland and continued to rule as the Northern Yuan dynasty. Some of the Mongolian Emperors of the Yuan mastered the Chinese language, while others only used their native language (i.e. Mongolian) and the ‘Phags-pa script.
brief history of china