The History of China

You know it’s hard out there for a prince. The fourth sons of a fourth son, Khubilai of the Borjigin will grow up little recognized, and bound for a life of little more than comfortable obscurity. But between his mother’s machinations, his wife’s guidance, his own skills… and a healthy smattering of good fortune, he’ll find himself suddenly thrust into the spotlight and tasked with overseeing the conquest of the Mongols’ oldest foe.

Time Period Covered:

1215-1259 CE

Major Historical Figures:


Tolui [c. 1191-1232] – 4th son of Genghis Khan, Khubilai’s father

Sorkhokhtani Beki [c. 1190-1252] – Khubilai’s mother, Nestorian Christian

Möngke Khaghan [1209-1259] – Tolui’s eldest son, 4th Great Khan of the Mongols

Khubilai, Ilkhan of the Left [1215-1289] – favored grandson of Genghis

Hulagu, Ilkhan of the Right [1218-1265] – 3rd son of Tolui and Sorkhokhtani

Ariq Böke [1219-1266] – youngest son of Tolui, Otchigin “Hearthkeeper”

Chabi Khatun [1225-1281] – Khubilai’s 2nd wife & only love, Tibetan Buddhist

North China:

Minister Yao Shu

Liu Bingzhong, Buddhist Monk, Adviser & Architect of Kaiping/Shangdu city

The Phagspa Lama [1235-1280]

Dali Kingdom:

King Duan Xingzhi [r. 1251-1254, 1256-1260 (as Maharaja)]

Prime Minister Gao Taixiang [d. 1253]

Major Sources:

Atwood, Christopher P. Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire.

Broadbridge, Anne F. Women and the Making of the Mongol Empire.

Clements, Jonathan. A Brief History of Khubilai Khan: Lord of Xanadu, Founder of the Yuan.

May, Timothy (ed.). The Mongol Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia, vol. 1.

McLynn, Frank. Genghis Khan: His Conquests, His Empire, His Legacy.

Rossabi, Morris. “The Reign of Khubilai Khan” in The Cambridge History of China, v. 6: Alien Regimes and Border States, 907-1368.

Weatherford, Jack. The Secret History of the Mongol Queens. For information regarding your data privacy, visit

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