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Yuan Dynasty

Blue and white porcelain
The Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) ended to the 370-year divisive period following the downfall of the Tang Dynasty and again unified the whole country, paving the way for a lasting unification through the Ming-Qing period.

During the Yuan Dynasty, economic and cultural exchanges were frequent among different nationalities, and the Hui nationality was formed during this period. The Yuan had an extremely vast territory, drawing a basic outline of present China's territory.

Yuan Dynasty sculpture
The Yuan regime can be roughly divided into three periods: the early, middle and late periods. The early period began from the reign of Kublai Khan, Yuan Emperor Shizu, until 1294. During this period rulers adopted laws from the Han nationality and set up political, economic and cultural systems that promoted social development.

The middle years (1307 to 1323) marked a period of decline. During this period, social conflicts and the competition for imperial power became intensified and included continuous uprisings all around the country. The New Deal carried out by Emperor Yingzong was like a flash in the pan, but it could not save the Yuan Dynasty from declining. Finally, the New Deal failed and Emperor Yingzong died an unnatural death.

From 1329 in the late-Yuan period, peasant uprisings accelerated the decline of the regime. Zhu Yuanzhang joined a peasant force and later took command to defeat other forces and rebuild the dynasty of the Han nationality, namely the Ming Dynasty.