Ahmad Fanakati

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Ahmad Fanākatī (died 1282) was a Muslim financial minister of Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty.

History[edit]

He came from Fanakat (Banakat), a town on the upper Syr Darya in Central Asia. Trusted by Chabui Khatun, Kublai's favorite wife, he was entrusted with state finances in 1262. He was successful in managing the financial affairs of Northern China and brought huge tax revenues to Kublai's new government.

In 1270 he assumed the full power of the new financial department named Shangshusheng (Chinese: 尚書省, "Department of State Affairs"), which had equal status with the administrative department named Zhongshusheng (Chinese: 中書省, "Central Secretariat"). After the conquest of the Song Dynasty in 1276, he entered the financial matters of Southern China. He prepared a state monopoly in salt, which came to account for a large portion of state income. In his 20-year term of office, he created his strong faction with his clan and Muslims from Central Asia. Ahmad's tax system gained a bad reputation from the Chinese because it was ruthlessly operated and considerably differed from traditional Chinese systems.

In 1271 the new financial department (Shangshusheng) was absorbed into Zhongshusheng. While holding the financial affairs, he started intervening in state administration. It heightened tension with the rival faction that included Crown Prince Zhenjin (Chinese: 真金), Antong (Chinese: 安童), the head of Zhongshusheng and other Mongol aristocrats, and Chinese bureaucrats. The death of his political patron Chabui Khatun in 1281 made the situation critical; Ahmad was assassinated in the next year and his faction fell from power.

Influence[edit]

Ahmad is usually portrayed as an evil bureaucrat in traditional Chinese records: his corruption and tyranny are emphasized. In contrast, the Jami al-Tawarikh positively evaluates his assistance to Kublai's administration. The recent Mongolian studies also tend to make positive reference to his role in establishing the dynasty's unique financial system.

References[edit]

  • Khubilai Khan - His Life and Times by Morris Rossabi, (1988) (USA) Ref. pages 179-184, 190-195, 205, 212.