The Mongol empire
Around 1200, a Mongol clan leader named Temujin sought to unify the Mongols under his leadership. He fought and defeated his rivals one by one.
In 1206, Temujin accepted the title Genghis Khan, or “universal ruler” of the Mongol clans.
After invading the northern Jin Empire in 1211, however, his attention turned to the Islamic region west of Mongolia.
By 1225, Central Asia was under Mongol control.
Genghis Khan died in 1227—not from violence, but from illness. His successors continued to expand his empire. In less than 50 years, the Mongols conquered ter- ritory from China to Poland. In so doing, they created the largest unified land empire in history.
By 1260, the Mongols had divided their huge empire into four regions, or khanates.
Failure to Conquer Japan After conquering China, Kublai Khan tried to extend his rule to Japan. In 1274 and again in 1281, the Great Khan sent huge fleets
Empires in East Asia
The most famous European to visit China in these years was a young Venetian trader, Marco Polo. He traveled by caravan on the Silk Roads with his father and uncle, arriving at Kublai Khan’s court around 1275.
In 1292, the Polos left China and made the long journey back to Venice.
Kublai Khan died in 1294. After his death, the Yuan Dynasty began to fade. Family members continually argued over who would rule. In one eight-year period, four different khans took the throne.