DEAD: Kublai Khan

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Kublai Khan (aged 78)

Founding emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, grandson of Genghis Khan

Kublai was the fifth Khagan (Great Khan) of the Mongol Empire (Ikh Mongol Uls), reigning from 1260 to 1294 (although due to the division of the empire this was a nominal position). He also founded the Yuan dynasty in China as a conquest dynasty in 1271, and ruled as the first Yuan emperor until his death in 1294.

DEATH: Kublai became increasingly despondent after the deaths of his favorite wife and his chosen heir Zhenjin. The failure of the military campaigns in Vietnam and Japan also haunted him. Kublai turned to food and drink for comfort, became grossly overweight, and suffered gout and diabetes. The emperor overindulged in alcohol and the traditional meat-rich Mongol diet, which may have contributed to his gout. Kublai sank into depression due to the loss of his family, his poor health and advancing age. Kublai tried every medical treatment available, from Korean shamans to Vietnamese doctors, and remedies and medicines, but to no avail. At the end of 1293, the emperor refused to participate in the traditional New Years’ ceremony. Before his death, Kublai passed the seal of Crown Prince to Zhenjin’s son Temür, who would become the next Khagan of the Mongol Empire and the second ruler of the Yuan dynasty. Seeking an old companion to comfort him in his final illness, the palace staff could choose only Bayan, more than 30 years his junior. Kublai weakened steadily, and on February 18, 1294, he died at the age of 78. Two days later, the funeral cortège took his body to the burial place of the khans in Mongolia.[citation needed]

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