Events and trends
The decade was perhaps most dominated by the Mongols, who under the leadership of Möngke Khan continued their rapid expansion throughout Asia both to the east and west of their home territories. The Mongols destroyed the Kingdom of Dali in Laos, and captured the Goryeo kingdom in Korea, Anatolia in Turkey, and the Islamic center of Baghdad, where tens or hundreds of thousands were killed as the city was burned to the ground. In Thailand the Lannathai kingdom was founded. In Japan, a new sect of Buddhism was formed, while in Korea the carving of Buddhist scriptures on 81,000 wooden blocks was completed.
Europe noted several important cultural milestones, including the completion of several important cathedrals and the beginning of construction of others, as well as the founding of the Collège de Sorbonne at the University of Paris. Significant political developments in Europe included the lack of a Holy Roman Emperor for most of the decade, further erosion of the power of the monarchy in England and Portugal, the end of the failed Seventh Crusade in Egypt, and the expulsion of the Jews from France and the Moors from Portugal. In religion, a papal bull authorized the use of torture in the Medieval Inquisition, and the Roman Catholic Church clarified the concept of purgatory. Several important modern cities, including Stockholm and Lviv, were founded in the 1250s.
One of the largest volcanic eruptions of the Holocene epoch is thought to have occurred circa January 1258, with ice cores pointing to a tropical location such as El Chichón, Mexico or possibly Quilotoa, Ecuador. The aftermath may have led to climatic anomalies in rainfall, effects on agriculture, as well as famine and epidemic disease across Europe.