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Coinage under Kublai Khan

14 Jun 2021  Mon

Kublai also known as the Emperor Shizu of Yuan was the fifth khagan of the Mongol Empire. Grandson of Genghis Khan, Kublai became emperor of China in 1271, founding the Yuan Dynasty, which lasted until 1368. Today on 14th June in the year 1287, Kublai Khan defeats the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.

Kublai's real power was limited to China and Mongolia, though as Khagan he still had influence in the Ilkhanate of Persia (present-day Iran). He was the overlord of all the other Mongol dominions, which included areas as diverse as that of the Golden Horde in southern Russia, and the steppe heartlands where Mongol princes were still living the traditional nomadic life.

If one counts the Mongol Empire at that time as a whole, his realm reached from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea, from Siberia to what is now Afghanistan. After the Mongol Empire began their campaigns against the Tanguts, Khitans, and Jurchens they started to cast their own copper cash coins with the inscription "Da Chao Tong Bao". It is currently unknown if these coins were already cast under Genghis Khan or if production started under Kublai Khan during the Yuan dynasty as these coins are undocumented and rare.

Production of Yuan dynasty copper coins with the "Zhong Tong Yuan Bao" coins commissioned by Kublai Khan started concurrently with the issuance of paper money which was backed up by silver sycees. The above-shown coin represents the Bust of Kublai Khan to the front. On the other hand, the reverse side engraved Map showing the Mongol Empire.

Image Source: https://www.britishmuseum.org/

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