Profession: Mongolian Emperor and Founder of the Yuan Dynasty
Why Famous: As Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, Kublai reigned from 1260 to 1294 over one fifth of the world's inhabited land area. He was the grandson of Genghis Khan, the founder and first great leader of the Mongol Empire.
If one counts the Mongol Empire at that time as a whole, his realm reached from the Pacific to the Black Sea, from Siberia to modern day Afghanistan.
In 1271, Kublai founded the Yuan dynasty in modern day Beijing, which ruled over present-day Mongolia, China, Korea, and some adjacent areas, and assumed the role of Emperor of China.
By 1279, the Yuan forces had overcome the last resistance of the Southern Song dynasty, making Kublai the first foreign conqueror to rule all of China. As the first Yuan emperor he ruled until his death in 1294.
His dynasty, the "Great Yuan" would last until 1368.
The West knew Genghis Khan through the writing of the Venetian merchant Marco Polo who visited his court in about 1274.
- 1260-05-05 Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire
- 1260-05-21 Hao Jing, envoy of Mongol leader Kublai Khan imprisoned by order of the high Chancellor of China, Jia Sidao at the Song Dynasty court of Emperor Lizong while attempting to negotiate with the Song
- 1264-08-21 Kublai Khan accepts the surrender of his younger brother Ariq Böke at Xanadu, at the end of the Mongol civil war
- 1271-12-18 Kublai Khan renames his empire "Yuan" (元 yuán), marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of China
- 1274-10-05 Around 1,000 soldiers of the Mongol army land on the Japanese island of Tsushima, the first attack of Kublai Khan's Mongol invasion of Japan
- 1279-07-29 Five emissaries dispatched by Kublai Khan from the Mongol Yuan dynasty are beheaded by Japan
- 1281-05-21 Kublai Khan's second invasion of Japan begins with an attack on Tsushima Island but meets fierce resistance; his troops are forced to withdraw
- 1281-08-14 During Kublai Khan's second Mongol invasion of Japan his invading Chinese fleet of 3,500 vessels disappears in a typhoon near Japan