Diplomatic Relationship

Era Information
Time: 1271-1368
Location of Capital: Kai Feng in today's Henan Province
Emperors:
Replaced by: Ming Dynasty

Song dynasty's map, map of Song dynastyThe last years of the Yuan Dynasty were marked by struggle, famine, and bitterness among the populace. The dynasty was, significantly, one of the shortest-lived dynasties in the history of China, covering just a century, 1271 to 1368. In time, Kublai Khan's successors lost all influence on other Mongol lands across Asia, while the Mongols beyond the Middle Kingdom saw them as too Chinese. Gradually, they lost influence in China as well. The reigns of the later Yuan emperors were short and were marked by intrigues and rivalries. Uninterested in administration, they were separated from both the army and the populace.

China was torn by dissension and unrest; outlaws ravaged the country without interference from the weakening Yuan armies. Regardless of the merits of his reign, Shidebala (Emperor Yingzong) ruled for only two years (1321 to 1323); his rule ended in a coup at the hands of five princes. They placed Yesün Temür (or Taidingdi) on the throne, and, after an unsuccessful attempt to calm the princes, he also succumbed to regicide. When Yesün Temür died in Shangdu in 1328, Tugh Temür was recalled to Dadu by the Qipchaq commander El Temür.

He was installed as the emperor (Emperor Wenzong) in Dadu while Yesün Temür's son Ragibagh succeeded to the throne in Shangdu with the support of Yesün Temür's favorite retainer Dawlat Shah. Gaining support from princes and officers in Northern China and some other parts of the dynasty, Dadu-based Tugh Temür eventually won the civil war against Ragibagh in 1329. Afterwards, Tugh Temür abdicated in favour of his brother Kusala who was backed by Chagatai Khan Eljigidey and announced Dadu's intent to welcome him.

However, Kusala suddenly died only 4 days after a banquet with Tugh Temür. He was supposedly killed with poison by El Temür, and Tugh Temür then remounted the throne. Tugh Temür also sent delegates to the western Mongol khanates in order to be accepted as the suzerain of Mongol world. He gave Eljigidey the imperial seal and precious gifts and sent 3 Chingisid princes to Ilkhanate and Golden Horde. Western khanates responded favorably and sent tribute missions to the Yuan emperor.

However, he was mainly a puppet of the powerful official El Temür during his latter three-year reign. El Temür purged pro-Kusala officials and brought power to warlords, whose despotic rule clearly marked the decline of the dynasty.