Kublai Kahn’s birthday, 1215 AD, was yesterday. Happy Birthday, Sir. He was a grandson of Genghis Kahn who had unified Mongolia and parts of northern China. After a haphazard power struggle when Genghis died, Kublai eventually became the Grand Khan.
During the turmoil of accession, Kublai conquered the Sung Dynasty, in southern China, a huge, fractured nation. With time, Kublai, who was one shrewd ruler, adapted the Chinese to Mongolian ways, and vice versa. Kublai created a new form for governing, mixing local experts and aristocrats with Mongol forces, to create a more organized environment. Kublai also called his realm the Yuan Dynasty, a nod to the Chinese, who numbered in the millions.
The Yuan came to be the largest contiguous Empire in history. Kublai’s game-changing methods are felt to this day.