Kubla Khan, the Grand Khan of the Mongols and founder of the Mongol empire of China, lived in the 13th century, and was the grandson of Genghis Khan. In the middle of the century he conquered North China - known to poets and early travellers as Cathay - and en the death of his brother was proclaimed "Great Khan," though'not without incurring rivalry in the persons, first, of his brother Arikbuka, and then of another relative, whose opposition lasted throughout the reign.
Kubla Khan was an energetic, enlightened ruler, adopting the Chinese civilisation, patronising literature, favouring the Buddhist religion by creating the office of Grand Lama, and in other ways. He overthrew all and sundry of his enemies, and possessed the most extensive of Asiatic empires, his sway extending from the Arctic Ocean to the Straits of Malacca, and from the Corea to Hungary. His was the first foreign dynasty to establish itself in China. Marco Polo visited his court, and his achievements gave rise to one of the opium-born fragments of the poet Coleridge, who tells us how " Iu Xanadu did Kubla Khan, A stately pleasure-dome decree. Where Alpll the sacred river ran Down to a sunless sea."