Mongol leader Genghis Khan began launching raids into present-day China almost immediately after uniting the nomadic tribes of the Mongolian plateau in 1206. His grandson Kublai Khan completed the conquest in 1279, and founded the Yuan Dynasty. Although he deemed the Chinese legally inferior and recruited outsiders such as Venetian merchant Marco Polo to administer the realm, he also tried hard to win the support of the populace. He repaired the damage of war, loosening his predecessor’s draconian penal code, promoted the arts and expanding the efficient Mongolian postal system into China.

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