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Study On The Yuan Dynasty In China History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The Great Yuan Empire was founded by Mongol Leader Kublai Khan which officially lasted from 1271 to 1368. Kublai Khan ruled most of the present day Modern China and other surrounding areas. In Chinese history, Yuan Dynasty was followed the Song Dynasty and It preceded the Ming Dynasty. The official founder of Yuan Empire was Genghis Khan, who was grandfather of Kublai Khan who established & flourished the Yuan Empire during 1271 to 1368. Kublai Khan was acclaimed with the title of THE GREAT KHAN. Also, the Yuan Dynasty is referred as the Empire of Great Khan.

Why the Yuan Dynasty was one of the richest and shortest dynasties in China?

Since the beginning of Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan, had adopted many customs from the earlier Chinese dynasties, like, Era Names & Bureaucracy. Since his early years, he was associated with several Chinese teachers who helped him to understand & explain him Chinese history & ideology. He was continuously being advised by them on governance on dynasties.

Unlike his predecessors, Kublai established a government with institutions resembling the ones in earlier Chinese dynasties and made various reforms to maintain his centralized rule. He further consolidated his rule by centralizing the government of China, making himself an absolute Monarch. He divided his empire into provinces or branch secretariat. Kublai khan also reform many other governmental and economic institutions, specially the tax systems. He sought to govern through traditional institutes and also recognized that in order to rule china he needed to employ Han Chinese as advisors and officials. He also improved the agriculture of china by extending the grand canals, highways and public granaries.

Since the Chinese were not permitted to be occupied in government, they were free to follow art and literature. The maximum advances in literature were in the way of theatre and opus. Western musical instruments were introduced to enrich the Chinese performing arts. Advances were made in the fields of cartography, geography, and scientific education. Agriculture was fostered, and new crops like sorghum were introduced. Cotton was widely planted. With the peace imposed on much of Asia by the Mongols, trade was booming. Overseas merchants brought horses, carpets, medicines, and spices to China, and exported Chinese textiles, ceramics, and lacquer ware. Active trade also introduced Chinese innovations like printing techniques and porcelain to Europe, while the production of thin glass and cloisonné were brought to China. Due to the comparatively easy access to China, many people traveled to China. Best known of the foreigners believed to have reached China during this period was Marco Polo, whose account of his travels portrays the wealth and splendor of Chinese cities.

Marco polo a Venetian merchant who served as an official under Kublai khan described rule of great Kublai khan as “Benevolent”. He further described his rule as reliving the populace of taxes in times of hard ship, building hospitals and orphanages, distributing food among abjectly poor. He also promoted science and religion and strongly promoted Silk Road trade network alloying the contacts between the Chinese and western technologies. With his keen interest in Latin world specially Christianity after discussion with Matteo Polo (father of Marco Polo), he invited hundreds of missionaries through a letter written in Latin to Pope, so as to convince the masses of idolaters the error of their belief. In this way Matteo Polo served as ambassador of Kublai khan to west.

A rich cultural diversity developed during the Yuan dynasty. The major cultural achievements were ht e development of drama and use of written vernacular .The political unity of china and much of central Asia promoted trade between east and west .Western musical instruments were introduced to enrich Chinese performing arts. The travel of Marco Polo in the year 1299 was one of the first recorded travels by Europeans to china who dedicated his trip to the capital of Great Khan. Some suggested that Marco Polo acquired much of his knowledge through contact with Persian traders since many of the places he named in his travel are Persians.

Above factors were the key contributors, which made Yuan Dynasty as the one of the Richest, Wealthy and Prosperous Dynasties.

The last years of Yuan Dynasty were marked by struggle, famine and bitterness among the populace. Also In the later years, unnecessary and excessive spending and trade limits severely exhausted China rationally. Canals and palaces were built, which forced the peasants to both give more tax money and to leave their homes to build them. Campaigns were also launched against Japan which were not successful and destroyed many Chinese ships. The Mongols took over a rich China and less than one hundred years later left an impoverished nation.

The dynasty was significantly was one of the shortest lived dynasties in the history of china covering just a century. The reigns of later Yuan emperors were very short and were dominated by rivalries. With their less interest in effective administration they were separated by both army and masses. During this time china was torn by disagreement and unrest, outlaws ravaged the country without interference from weak Yuan army. Regardless of successful two years reign of Emperor Yingzong his rule ended in a coup in 1323. With this coup Yesun Temur was given the throne, who further succumbed to regicide. The occurrence of these revolts and the subsequent suppressions aggravated the financial difficulties of Yuan Government which resulted in selling of offices of Yuan Dynasties. From late 1340’s onwards people in china suffered from frequent natural disasters such as draughts, floods and the resulting famines and further government’s lack of effective policy led to loss of popular support resulting nationwide growth of Red Turban rebellions. In 1354 when Toghtogha led a large army to crush Red Turban rebellions he was faced with restoration of power on one hand and a rapid weakening of central government on the other, He had no choice but to rely on military power. He fled to north in 1368 after the approach of the forces Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644)

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