Yuan Dynasty, 1279-1368, the period of Mongol rule over China initiated by the conquest of the Southern Song Dynasty by Kublai Khan. Northern China had fallen to the Mongols in 1234, but more than 40 years passed before they gained control over and incorporated the rest of the country into what proved to be the largest contiguous land empire in world history.
Under the leadership of Genghis Khan and then of his descendants, the Mongols in the 13th century carved out an empire stretching from what is now Korea and Western Russia in the north to Burma and Iraq in the south. The Mongol Empire linked Europe and East Asia, initiating the first direct contracts between China and the west.
After the Mongols imposed their rule over much of Asia, they promoted trade and travel, permitting west asian and european traders, artisans, and missionaries to reach China. Chinese silks and ceramics arrived in Europe via Eurasian caravan trails and stimulated European demand for these products, inspiring the search for a sea route to East Asia. This is a coin from that period.