(1206–1368) Dynasty established in China by Mongol nomads. Genghis Khan occupied northern China in 1215, but not until 1279 did Kublai Khan take control of southern China. The Mongols established their capital at Beijing (then called Dadu). They rebuilt the Grand Canal and put the roads and postal stations in good order. Paper money, which had had limited circulation under the Song, came to be used throughout the empire. Advances were made in astronomy, medicine, and mathematics, and trade was carried out throughout the Mongol empire from the plains of eastern Europe across the steppes to Mongolia and China. Many foreigners came to China (notably Marco Polo), and many Chinese traveled to Iran, Russia, and even western Europe. The Chinese resented the Mongol conquerors, whose governmental system discriminated against them. Chinese artists demonstrated passive resistance by withdrawing and turning to personal expression. Literati painting became popular; the novel developed, and new dramatic forms also appeared. Disputes over succession weakened the central government from 1300 on, and rebellions were frequent, many connected with secret societies such as the Red Turbans. The dynasty was overthrown in 1368 by the future Hongwu emperor. See also Ming dynasty.
Variants of YUAN DYNASTY
Yuan dynasty or Yüan dynasty or Mongol dynasty
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Yuan dynasty, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up Yuan dynasty? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.