Japan; Kublai Khan’s invasion fleet

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The wreck of a Mongolian ship that took part in Kublai Khan’s attempts to invade and subjugate Japan in 1281 has been discovered on the seabed off southern Japan. The warship appears to be nearly complete, and lies in 1m of silt at a depth of 25m. An archaeological team from Okinawa’s University of the Ryukus found the ship using sonar during a survey of the waters around Takashima Island, in Nagasaki Prefecture. The area had previously yielded anchor stones and cannonballs from Mongolian ships. Historical records suggest that some 4,400 ships carrying 140,000 Mongolian soldiers landed in Japan in 1281 and skirmished with samurai in northern Kyushu. After returning to their boats, the fleet was struck by a devastating typhoon that put an end to the invasion plans.

This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 51. Click here to subscribe

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