1215 - 1294
Mongol Emperor

Kublai Khan was a grandson of Genghis Khan and he became emperor of China (1279--94), the first foreigner ever to rule China.

He was elected khan over the Mongols in 1260. A brilliant general and statesman, Kublai Khan conquered China and became the founder of the Yuan dynasty.

He was able to rule a vast empire by adapting Chinese traditions to his government. An energetic prince, he suppressed his rivals, encouraged men of letters, and made Buddhism the state religion.

He established himself at Cambaluc (modern Beijing); the splendour of his court was legendary and he became famous in the West because of the writings of Marco Polo who visited his court in 1271.

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Mongols in China