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Bayan (1236-1295) was a Turkic general[1] who commanded the Mongol army of Kublai Khan against the Song Dynasty (960–1279) of China, ushering in its collapse and the Yuan Dynasty conquest of southern China.


He was a nephew of Naya, the general of Genghis khan. Bayan was from Baarin tribe of Mongols.[citation needed]

Career and conquest of southern China[]

When Bayan was in Persia with Hulegu's army, Kublai Khan recalled him. His father died while the Mongols were besieging the stronghold of the Assassins (Hashshashin). Kublai liked him, however, he was not a chief in command of the Yuan army. After the success of the Battle of Xiangyang in 1273, Bayan was appointed by Kublai as the commander of the Yuan army.[1]

At this time, Emperor Duzong died, and his four year old son, Emperor Gongdi (Zhao Xian, reign 1274-1275), was made into emperor in AD 1275. Mongols sent Shi Tianze and Bayan on a full campaign against Song. Shi Tianze died on route. Bayan ordered that A-zu head the first column and depart for the Yangtze from Xiangyang, with Lu Wenhuan as fore-runner general; 2nd column was to be headed by Mang-wu departing from Yangzhou, with Liu Zheng as forerunner general. Bayan took over numerous cities on the way, slaughtered one town, and killed and captured numerous Song generals. Song Dowager Empress Xie-shi had no choice but to rely on Jia Sidao for fighting the Mongols. More Song generals surrendered, including Fan Wenhu in Sichuan, Chen Yi in Huangzhou (Huanggang area, Hubei). Hearing Liu Zheng had passed away, Jia Sidao had a short ecstasy and led an army of about 130,000 against the Mongols, but he was defeated on the Yangtze River. Jiangsu areas, around the Yangtze, including Zhenjiang and Jiangyin, were deserted in face of Mongol attacks. Jia Sidao sent an emissary to Bayan for peace, but met with declination. Jia Sidao requested with dowager empress for relocation of Song capital, but Empress Xie-shi refused to move.

Several ministers at Song court requested that Jia Sidao be deprived of his posts, and Song released former Mongol emissaries like Hao Jing as a good-will gesture. At this moment, Zhang Shijie of E'zhou (Hubei Province), Wen Tianxiang of Jiangxi and Li Fei of Hunan came to the east to help the Song court. Jiankang (i.e., Nanking) was deserted by a Song general. Changzhou and Wuxi were next taken by the Mongols. Khubilai Khan then sent Lian Xixian and Yan Zhongfan to Song for talking about ceasefire. Lian Xixian requested with Bayan for bodyguards, but Bayan advised that the more bodyguards Lian was to take with him, the more likely Song Chinese might harm him. Lian obtained 500 soldiers, but once Lian arrived at Dusong-guan Pass, Song General Zhang Ru killed Yan Zhongfan and captured Lian Xixian. (History of Yuan Dynasty stated that Lian was killed, too.) Bayan reprimanded Song's acts, and sent another emissary, Zhang Xu, to Song court together with Song emissary. Again, Zhang Xu was killed by a Song border general. Then, the Mongols stopped peace talks and attacked Yangzhou on the north bank of the Yangtze (Changjiang River). Mongols then attacked Yangzhou and defeated two generals under Li Tingzhi. Jiading surrendered next. Zhang Shijie's navy was defeated on the Yangtze by Mongol fire attack. Wen Tianxiang arrived in Lin'an (Hangzhou) the capital, but Empress Dowager did not take his advice. Jia Sidao was expelled from the capital and he was killed by the escort official on route. Taizhou of Jiangsu was lost to the Mongols, and Changzhou was slaughtered. In Hunan, Li Fei died, and both Hunan and Jiangxi Provinces were lost. After taking over Dusong-guan Pass, the Mongols were closing in onto Song capital. A Song minister called Liu Yue was sent to Mongol camp for peace, but Bayan declined it, saying Song Emperor obtained the throne from a kid and would lose it in the hands of a kid. Lu Xufu was sent to Mongols for expressing a wish to be Mongol nephew, but Mongols declined it. Song's new prime minister, Chen Yizhong, sent Liu Yue to Mongols in the attempt of expressing ackowledgement as a Mongol vassal, but Liu Yue was killed by a Song Chinese civilian on route, at Gaoyou of Jiangsu Province. Mongols then sacked Jiaxing and An'jie of Zhejiang Province. Wen Tianxiang and Zhang Shijie advised that Song court relocated to the islands in the seas, but Prime Minister Chen Yizhong decided to send imperial seal to Mongols for a surrender. Bayan requested that Chen personally came to Mongols, and Chen fled to Wenzhou, a southern Zhejiang coastal city. Zhang Shijie led his people into the sea. Wen Tianxiang was made the rightside prime minister and was ordered to go to Mongols for peace. Wen was arrested by Bayan after he accused Bayan of invasion. In AD 1276, Bayan took over Lin'an and forced downager empress issue the surrender order. Song royal family, including downager empress and Emperor Gongdi, was sent to Peking.

Khubilai dispatched Prince Ye-mu-han, Mongke's son Xi-li-jie and Muqali's grandson An-tong against Haidu. Xi-li-jie defected to Haidu and arrested Ye-mu-han and An-tong. Khubilai then ordered prime minister Bayan to counter Haidu who was closing in on Helin. Bayan defeated Xi-li-jie and rescued Ye-mu-han and An-tong. Bayan was recalled by Khubilai when Nai-yan (the great grandson of the brother of Genghis khan) was reported to have planned rebellion in the areas between the Onon and Kerulen rivers of Mongolia. Bayan went to meet Nao-yan and failed to persuade Nai-yan. Bayan fled back to the Mongol capital. A Mongol minister recommended to Khubilai that once the khanates in the west are pacified, Nayan would succumb. This minister hence was ordered to go west and he claimed that Nai-yan had already succumbed to Khubilai. Hence the khanates all succumbed to Khubilai. After that, Khubilai led an army northward against Nai-yan. Seeing that his Mongol soldiers treated Nai-yan soldiers with intimacy, Khubilai adopted the advice of a Chinese in having the Chinese army act as the forerunner column. General Li Ting tricked Nai-yan into a retreat and then defeated Nai-yan's army of 100,000 via a night attack with cannons. Nai-yan was captured and executed. Remnant Nai-yan people then fled to Manchuria and attacked eastern Liaoning Province. Mongol 'Xuanwei-shi of Liaodong' Ta-chu requested for aid, and Khubilai sent his son over. Ta-chu defeated the Nai-yan remnants and chased them westward to the Altai. Ta-chu was conferred the title of 'wan hu'. Nai-yan remnants, however, still remained for some time. Bayan was ordered to counter Haidu who harassed Helin in the west, and Prince Timur (grandson of Khubilai) was ordered to guard the Liao River area in the east. When a Mongol official defected to Haidu and attacked Khubilai's grandson (Gemala) near Hang'aishan Mountain, Khubilai would lead a column to the north. Haidu retreated thereafter. Bayan would continue warfare with Haidu for sometime before he left the post at Helin.

Later life[]

Bayan met and swore his loyalty to Kublai Khan before the latter's death in 1294. It was with the support of Bayan that Kublai's grandson Timur was proclaimed the successor, i.e., Emperor Chengzong after the Yuan court went through a power vacuum for a few months. Bayan died the following year.


  1. 1,0 1,1 Rossabi, 87.


  • John Man "Kublai khan, Mongol prince who remade China"
  • Ch.Dalai "The history of Mongolia 1260-1388"
  • Rossabi, Morris (1988). Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05913-1.

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