Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kublai Khan and the Divine Wind, Blind Jack Metcalf Builds a Road and the Typhoon Cocktail

The Mongol fleet destroyed in a typhoon, ink and water on paper, by Kikuchi Yōsai, 1847

In 1274, the Mongol Kublai Khan (the grandson of Genghis Khan) assembled a fleet of an estimated 15,000 Mongol and Chinese soldiers, 8,000 Korean soldiers, approximately 1000 ships of various sizes and sails to invade and conquer Japan. His forces would gain a toehold on the island, but a "divine wind" or Typhoon would arrive to destroy almost all of his ships. Defeated, Kublai Khan would retreat back to the Chinese mainland.

Frustrated, Kublai Khan sent five emissaries to Japan in September of 1275 to discuss the terms of surrender and occupation. Japan's response was having them sent to Kamakura and then beheading them. In 1279, 5 emissaries were again sent to Japan and they met with the same result. This time the beheadings took place in Hakata. Both of the gravesites are still in existence in Japan. Meanwhile, Japan was fortifying their shoreline defenses knowing a second invasion attempt would soon occur.

In 1281, Kublai Khan's launched his 2nd invasion force, consisting of two fleets. Nine hundred ships containing 40,000 Korean, Chinese, and Mongol troops would set out from Masan, while 100,000 troops sailed from southern China in 3,500 ships. It was an invasion force the size of which the world would not see again until the D-Day invasion of World War II. The Chinese force would encounter heavily losses at Tsushima and would be forced to return home.

On this day in 1281, Kublai Khan's 2nd invasion force, would arrive in Japan and face a well mobilized and heavily fortified Japanese defense. After a hard day of fighting the Mongols were forced back to their ships anchored offshore. That night a typhoon lasting two days would hit the Japanese waters and the Mongol fleet would be destroyed by "divine wind" for the second time.

The Historical Inebriant: The Typhoon Cocktail


Champagne (Chilled)
1 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Anisette
1 oz. Lime Juice

Shake all ingredients (except champagne) with ice and strain into a collins glass over ice cubes. Fill glass with chilled champagne, stir lightly, and serve.

On this day in 1717, John Metcalf (Blind Jack) was born in Knaresborough, England. Blind from the age of six, he would have successful careers as a musician, tour guide, load hauler and finally as a builder of roads. A facinating story if you have a chance to read it.

His tombstone erected in the churchyard of Spofforth, at the cost of Lord Dundas bears this epitaph:

Here lies John Metcalf, one whose infant sight
Felt the dark pressure of an endless night;
Yet such the fervour of his dauntless mind,
His limbs full strung, his spirits unconfined,
That, long ere yet life’s bolder years began,
The sightless efforts mark’d th’ aspiring man;
Nor mark’d in vain—high deeds his manhood dared,
And commerce, travel, both his ardour shared.
’Twas his a guide’s unerring aid to lend—
O’er trackless wastes to bid new roads extend;
And, when rebellion reared her giant size,
’Twas his to burn with patriot enterprise;
For parting wife and babes, a pang to feel,
Then welcome danger for his country’s weal.
Reader, like him, exert thy utmost talent given!
Reader, like him, adore the bounteous hand of Heaven

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Comment: