The Yuan dynasty was founded by Kublai khan at 1271 A.D. he has placed his grandfather “Genghis khan” on the official records when he claimed the mandate of heaven, and established the dynasty in the traditional Chinese way.
The Yuan dynasty considered both a Mongolian and a Chinese Imperial dynasty, was the first non-Han dynasty in the history of china.
Before Kublai khan has established the dynasty, he was running a campaign against the Song dynasty in south of china, while in 1259 A.D. his brother the great khan “Mongke” has died, Kublai has considered himself as his successor while his other brother, “Ariq Boke” who was sitting in the Karakorum (the Mongolian capitol) has declared himself as the great khan.
Kublai khan has declared him usurper, and after a battle, “Ariq Boke” has surrendered and Kublai was declared as the Great Khan.
Kublai khan have adopted many Chinese customs, and establish his capitol as “Zhongdu” (Modern Beijing) also was called “Dadu”.
In the early 1270’s Kublai has continued his campaign against the Song dynasty, and beat them in many battles, in 1276 A.D. he has captured almost all of the southern Song territory, and by 1279 he has crushed the last resistance of the Song dynasty, and united china under his reign.
Kublai khan has established a government with institutions similar to older Chinese dynasties, and made reforms in order to centralized his reign, he made himself as an absolute monarch, and divided his empire to provinces, while putting Mongol officials on important central posts, he saw that in order to rule china properly he need to employ Han Chinese advisors and officials, although he never totally relied on them.
The Yuan Empire has issued paper money banknotes known as “Chao”, Kublai khan was considered as a generous emperor, in hard times, he would reduce the taxes and he was building hospitals and orphanages, and also distribute food among the poor.
Kublai khan has died at the year of 1294 A.D., his successor was his grandson known as “Temur khan” or Emperor Chengzong who ruled the Yuan empire until 1307 A.D continuing many of his grandfather works.
After Temur khan reign, and after few different rulers of the dynasty, the Yuan empire has started to lose their power, the northern Mongols has considered them more of Chinese then Mongols,
China started to have conflicts inside, outlaws ravaged the country and the Yuan armies’ power has started to weaken.
After many natural disasters such as droughts, floods and famines, that were dealt purely by the Yuan government, In the year 1351 A.D the “Red Turban Rebellion” has started and spread all over the country.
In 1368 A.D. Emperor “Toghan-Temur” has fled north from the capitol “Dadu” to “Shangdu”, after Ming dynasty forces led by zhu Yuanzhang (who also known later as Emperor Hongwu of Ming) was coming to take Dadu, Emperor “Toghan-Temur” had tried to take it back later but failed, and then died at the year 1370 A.D.