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Beijingfuturesdreams, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

China's Dynastic History -- Yuan Dynasty

Yuan Dynasty

The famous reign of the Mongolian Empire over the land of China marked the first and only time that the civilization was subjugated to foreign rule. As such, some changes were made to the social order of China, beginning with the establishment of a monarchy with Kublai-khan and his successors as supreme ruler. Han governors lost their place of power, changes to the taxation system, and a new caste system were also put in place.

The new social order placed all Mongols as first priority throughout the empire for positions of governance and power. Subsequently, non-Hans from other parts of Asia, were appointed positions to help the Mongol rulers maintain their positions. This dispersion of the Han power base did not stop the development of China, and numerous projects, such as the building of modern day Beijing (then known as Dadu) and an expansion of the agricultural system through irrigation enlargement were seen through.

The expansive Mongol empire, reaching as far s the Middle East and parts of Europe brought a great cultural exchange to Han-China, and opened up the minds of both the East and the West for the sharing of unique sciences and techniques. This cultural exchange, and the Mongols emphasis on scientific and religious education, played a major role in the development of China in the coming Ming Dynasty.

The Yuan Dynasty’s downfall is noted as being the result of internal conflict and power struggles among the Mongol elite. Ousted from Han-China, the Mongol leaders retreated north, and maintained the seal of the Yuan dynasty for another 200+ years. This portion of the “dynasty” is not recognized by most historians, however, it was not until the seal of this dynasty was relinquished that the Qing Dynasty rule would become absolute in 1688.

Further information exists in abundance concerning the Yuan Dynasty and the Mongol rule over China and much of East and Central Asia. Some References include:

Wikipedia Entry

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Minnesota State University – E museum

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