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A Nautical Archaeological Study of Kublai Khan's Fleets

Takahiko Inoue
Thesis: December 1991
Chair: Crisman
Nautical Archaeology Program

A study of Kublai Khan's fleets constitutes the subject of this thesis. The purpose of this study is to collect, analyze, and interpret all available information pertinent to the Kublai Khan's invasion fleets of 1274 and 1281. Primary sources from China, Japan, and Korea, as well as secondary sources, have been consulted.

Chinese ships were the most advanced seagoing vessels in the world at the end of the 13th century. However, little is known about Kublai Khan's fleets. Although many general works on the history of Kublai's invasions of Japan are available in the literature, there are no detailed studies of Kublai's fleets that combine data from both historical and artistic representations.

The discovery and excavation of one or more ships from Kublai Khan's fleets could greatly expand our knowledge of east Asian naval history, ship types and ship design. It is hoped that this study will assist in the search by providing a better understanding of what we should be looking for.

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