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What Was the Yuan Dynasty?


Chengzong ruled from 1294 to 1307 A.D.

Emperor Chengzong of China's Yuan Dynasty

Public domain via Wikimedia

Yuan Dynasty: The Mongolian dynasty that ruled China from 1279 to 1368. It was founded in 1271 by Kublai Khan (Genghis Khan's grandson). The Yuan Dynasty was preceded by the Song Dynasty, and followed by the Ming.

The Yuan Dynasty moved China's capital to Beijing (then called Dadu).

Yuan China was considered the most important piece of the vast Mongolian Empire, which stretched as far west as Poland and Hungary, and from Russia in the north to Syria in the south. The Yuan Chinese Emperors were also the Great Khans of the Mongolian Empire.

This dynasty's name comes from the phrase da zai qian yuan, meaning "how large the heaven is." The word yuan means "first" or "primary."

Pronunciation: "y-WAN" or "yoo-AHN"
Also Known As: Yuan Chao

"Long-term failure of the monsoon rains during the Little Ice Age may have been a factor in the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368."

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