In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sac-red river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea…
So wrote the opium-addicted 18th-century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge after a dream about the great Mongol ruler Kublai Khan. A grandson of Genghis Khan, Kublai’s realm stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea, covering a fifth of the known world.
In 1279, he became the first non-Chinese emperor, establishing the Yuan Dynasty and ruling over China, present-day Mongolia, Korea and other Asian regions. But his ambition to occupy more lands led to one of his worst defeats when he sent his warships to invade Vietnam in 1288.
Now, 725 years later, Australian archaeologists are helping excavate the site where the mighty Kublai Khan’s invasion fleet of 400 was destroyed by the Vietnamese. Read more.
Okinawa Prefecture’s University of the Ryukyus has announced that large parts of a Mongolian ship presumed to have been part of a 13th century Yuan Dynasty-era invasion fleet has been discovered on the seafloor near Nagasaki. The find is the first intact wreck related to invasion attempts of Japan by the Mongolian ruler, Kublai Khan.
The archaeology team, headed by Yoshifumi Ikeda, found the near complete hull structure about 1-meter under the seabed, and about 20-25 meters beneath the ocean’s surface off the Takashima Island in Matsuura Nagasaki. The discovery is so monumental because much of the hull has remained intact, including a 12-meter section of the keels with rows of planks attached to the keel, Ikeda reported. The vessel appears to be well preserved due to the cover of sand. Read more.