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Mongolia

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Mongolia
  • ᠮᠤᠩᠭᠤᠯ ᠤᠯᠤᠰ (Mongolian)
  • Монгол Улс (Mongolian)
Anthem: Монгол улсын төрийн дуулал
Mongol ulsyn töriin duulal
"
semi-presidential republic[3]
• President
Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh
Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene
Gombojavyn Zandanshatar
LegislatureState Great Khural
Formation
209 BCE
1206
29 December 1911
• Mongolian People's Republic established
26 November 1924
13 February 1992
+976
ISO 3166 codeMN
Internet TLD.mn, .мон

Mongolia[c] (/mɒŋˈɡliə/ (listen)) is a landlocked country in East Asia, bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south. It covers an area of 1,564,116 square kilometres (603,909 square miles), with a population of just 3.3 million, making it the world's most sparsely populated sovereign nation. Mongolia is the world's largest landlocked country that does not border a closed sea, and much of its area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. Ulaanbaatar, the capital and largest city, is home to roughly half of the country's population.

The territory of modern-day Mongolia has been ruled by various

democratic revolution in early 1990. This led to a multi-party system, a new constitution of 1992, and transition to a market economy
.

Approximately 30% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic; horse culture remains integral. Buddhism is the majority religion, with the nonreligious being the second-largest group. Islam is the second-largest religion, concentrated among ethnic Kazakhs. Most citizens are ethnic Mongols, with roughly 5% of the population being Kazakhs, Tuvans, and other minorities, who are especially concentrated in the west. Mongolia is a member of the United Nations, Asia Cooperation Dialogue, G77, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Non-Aligned Movement and a NATO global partner. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization in 1997 and seeks to expand its participation in regional economic and trade groups.[4]

Etymology

Mongolia
Mongolian name
Mongolian Cyrillic
Монгол Улс
(Mongol Uls)
Mongolian scriptᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ
ᠤᠯᠤᠰ

The name Mongolia means the "Land of the

Mugulü, the 4th-century founder of the Rouran Khaganate.[14] First attested as the 'Mungu',[15] (Chinese: 蒙兀, Modern Chinese Měngwù, Middle Chinese Muwngu[16]), a branch of the Shiwei in an 8th-century Tang dynasty list of northern tribes, presumably related to the Liao-era Mungku[15] (Chinese: 蒙古, Modern Chinese Měnggǔ, Middle Chinese MuwngkuX[17]
).

After the fall of the Liao in 1125, the

Temüjin eventually united all the Shiwei tribes as the Mongol Empire (Yekhe Monggol Ulus). In the thirteenth century, the word Mongol grew into an umbrella term for a large group of Mongolic-speaking tribes united under the rule of Genghis Khan.[18]

Since the adoption of the new Constitution of Mongolia on 13 February 1992, the official name of the state is "Mongolia" (Mongol Uls).

History

Prehistory and antiquity

The

mammoths, lynx, bactrian camels, and ostriches, earning it the nickname "the Lascaux of Mongolia". The Venus figurines of Mal'ta
(21,000 years ago) testify to the level of Upper Paleolithic art in northern Mongolia; Mal'ta is now part of Russia. Neolithic agricultural settlements (c. 5500–3500 BC), such as those at Norovlin, Tamsagbulag, Bayanzag, and Rashaan Khad, predated the introduction of horse-riding nomadism, a pivotal event in the history of Mongolia which became the dominant culture. Horse-riding nomadism has been documented by archeological evidence in Mongolia during the Copper and Bronze Age
square slab tombs
, and rock paintings.

Although cultivation of crops has continued since the Neolithic, agriculture has always remained small in scale compared to pastoral nomadism. Agriculture may have first been introduced from the west or arose independently in the region. The population during the

Copper Age has been described as mongoloid in the east of what is now Mongolia, and as europoid in the west.[19] Tocharians (Yuezhi) and Scythians inhabited western Mongolia during the Bronze Age. The mummy of a Scythian warrior, which is believed to be about 2,500 years old, was a 30- to 40-year-old man with blond hair; it was found in the Altai, Mongolia.[22] As equine nomadism was introduced into Mongolia, the political center of the Eurasian Steppe also shifted to Mongolia, where it remained until the 18th century CE. The intrusions of northern pastoralists (e.g. the Guifang, Shanrong, and Donghu) into China during the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BC) and Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) presaged the age of nomadic empires
.

Since prehistoric times, Mongolia has been inhabited by nomads who, from time to time, formed great confederations that rose to power and prominence. Common institutions were the office of the

Rouran Khaganate (330–555), of Xianbei provenance was the first to use "Khagan" as an imperial title. It ruled a massive empire before being defeated by the Göktürks
(555–745) whose empire was even bigger.

The Göktürks laid siege to

Liao Dynasty (907–1125), after which the Khamag Mongol
(1125–1206) rose to prominence.

Lines 3–5 of the memorial inscription of

Bilge Khagan (684–737) in central Mongolia summarizes the time of the Khagans
:

In battles they subdued the nations of all four sides of the world and suppressed them. They made those who had heads bow their heads, and who had knees genuflect them. In the east up to the Kadyrkhan common people, in the west up to the Iron Gate they conquered... These Khagans were wise. These Khagans were great. Their servants were wise and great too. Officials were honest and direct with people. They ruled the nation this way. This way they held sway over them. When they died ambassadors from Bokuli Cholug (Baekje Korea), Tabgach (Tang China), Tibet (Tibetan Empire),

Kirgiz, Uch-Kurykan, Otuz-Tatars, Khitans, Tatabis came to the funerals. So many people came to mourn over the great Khagans. They were famous Khagans.[23]

Middle Ages to early 20th century

Map of Asia
This map shows the boundary of the 13th-century Mongol Empire compared to today's Mongols. The red area shows where the majority of Mongolian
speakers reside today.

In the chaos of the late 12th century, a chieftain named Temüjin finally succeeded in uniting the Mongol tribes between Manchuria and the Altai Mountains. In 1206, he took the title Genghis Khan, and waged a series of military campaigns – renowned for their brutality and ferocity – sweeping through much of Asia, and forming the Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous land empire in world history. Under his successors it stretched from present-day Poland in the west to Korea in the east, and from parts of Siberia in the north to the Gulf of Oman and Vietnam in the south, covering some 33,000,000 square kilometres (13,000,000 sq mi),[24] (22% of Earth's total land area) and had a population of over 100 million people (about a quarter of Earth's total population at the time). The emergence of Pax Mongolica also significantly eased trade and commerce across Asia during its height.[25][26]

After Genghis Khan's death, the empire was subdivided into four kingdoms or Khanates. These eventually became quasi-independent after the Toluid Civil War (1260–1264), which broke out in a battle for power following Möngke Khan's death in 1259. One of the khanates, the "Great Khaanate", consisting of the Mongol homeland and most of modern-day China, became known as the Yuan dynasty under Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan. He set up his capital in present-day Beijing. After more than a century of power, the Yuan dynasty was overthrown by the Ming dynasty in 1368, and the Yuan court fled to the north, thus becoming the Northern Yuan dynasty. As the Ming armies pursued the Mongols into their homeland, they successfully sacked and destroyed the Mongol capital Karakorum and other cities. Some of these attacks were repelled by the Mongols under Ayushridar and his general Köke Temür.[27]

After the expulsion of the Yuan rulers from China proper, the Mongols continued to rule their homeland, known in historiography as the Northern Yuan dynasty. The next centuries were marked by violent power struggles among various factions, notably the Genghisids and the non-Genghisid Oirats, as well as by several Ming invasions (such as the five expeditions led by the Yongle Emperor).

In the early 16th century,

Jebtsundamba Khutughtu in 1640. Following the leaders, the entire Mongolian population embraced Buddhism. Each family kept scriptures and Buddha statues on an altar at the north side of their ger (yurt). Mongolian nobles donated land, money and herders to the monasteries. As was typical in states with established religions, the top religious institutions, the monasteries, wielded significant temporal power in addition to spiritual power.[citation needed
]

The last Mongol Khan was

Dzungars (western Mongols or Oirats) were virtually annihilated during the Qing conquest of Dzungaria in 1757 and 1758.[28]

Altan Khan (1507–1582) founded the city of Hohhot, helped introduce Buddhism and originated the title of Dalai Lama

Some scholars estimate that about 80% of the 600,000 or more Dzungar were destroyed by a combination of disease and warfare.[29] Outer Mongolia was given relative autonomy, being administered by the hereditary Genghisid khanates of Tusheet Khan, Setsen Khan, Zasagt Khan and Sain Noyon Khan. The Jebtsundamba Khutuktu of Mongolia had immense de facto authority. The Manchu forbade mass Chinese immigration into the area, which allowed the Mongols to keep their culture. The Oirats who migrated to the Volga steppes in Russia became known as Kalmyks.

The main trade route during this period was the Tea Road through Siberia; it had permanent stations located every 25 to 30 kilometres (16 to 19 mi), each of which was staffed by 5–30 chosen families.

Until 1911, the Qing dynasty maintained control of Mongolia with a series of alliances and intermarriages, as well as military and economic measures. Ambans, Manchu "high officials", were installed in Khüree, Uliastai, and Khovd, and the country was divided into numerous feudal and ecclesiastical fiefdoms (which also placed people in power with loyalty to the Qing). Over the course of the 19th century, the feudal lords attached more importance to representation and less importance to the responsibilities towards their subjects. The behaviour of Mongolia's nobility, together with usurious practices by Chinese traders and the collection of imperial taxes in silver instead of animals, resulted in widespread poverty among the nomads. By 1911 there were 700 large and small monasteries in Outer Mongolia; their 115,000 monks made up 21% of the population. Apart from the Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, there were 13 other reincarnating high lamas, called 'seal-holding saints' (tamgatai khutuktu), in Outer Mongolia.

Modern history

With the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911, Mongolia under the

successor of the Qing. Bogd Khaan said that both Mongolia and China had been administered by the Manchu during the Qing, and after the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911, the contract of Mongolian submission to the Manchu had become invalid.[30][d]

The area controlled by the Bogd Khaan was approximately that of the former

Baron Ungern led his troops into Mongolia in October 1920, defeating the Chinese forces in Niislel Khüree
(now Ulaanbaatar) in early February 1921 with Mongol support.

To eliminate the threat posed by Ungern,

Bolshevik Russia decided to support the establishment of a communist Mongolian government and army. This Mongolian army took the Mongolian part of Kyakhta from Chinese forces on 18 March 1921, and on 6 July, Russian and Mongolian troops arrived in Khüree. Mongolia declared its independence again on 11 July 1921.[31]
As a result, Mongolia was closely aligned with the Soviet Union over the next seven decades.

Mongolian People's Republic

In 1924, after the

Bogd Khaan died of laryngeal cancer[32] or, as some sources claim, at the hands of Russian spies,[33] the country's political system was changed. The Mongolian People's Republic was established. In 1928, Khorloogiin Choibalsan rose to power. The early leaders of the Mongolian People's Republic (1921–1952) included many with Pan-Mongolist
ideals. However, changing global politics and increased Soviet pressure led to the decline of Pan-Mongol aspirations in the following period.

Stalinist era
and presided over an environment of intense political persecution

Khorloogiin Choibalsan instituted

collectivization of livestock, began the destruction of the Buddhist monasteries, and carried out Stalinist purges, which resulted in the murders of numerous monks and other leaders. In Mongolia during the 1920s, approximately one-third of the male population were monks. By the beginning of the 20th century, about 750 monasteries were functioning in Mongolia.[34]

In 1930, the Soviet Union stopped

Comintern leader Bohumír Šmeral said, "People of Mongolia are not important, the land is important. Mongolian land is larger than England, France and Germany".[35][page needed
]

Mongolian troops fight against the Japanese counterattack at Khalkhin Gol
, 1939

After the Japanese invasion of neighboring Manchuria in 1931, Mongolia was threatened on this front. During the Soviet-Japanese Border War of 1939, the Soviet Union successfully defended Mongolia against Japanese expansionism. Mongolia fought against Japan during the Battles of Khalkhin Gol in 1939 and during the Soviet–Japanese War in August 1945 to liberate Inner Mongolia from Japan and Mengjiang.[36]

Cold War

The February 1945 Yalta Conference provided for the Soviet Union's participation in the Pacific War. One of the Soviet conditions for its participation, put forward at Yalta, was that after the war Outer Mongolia would retain its independence. The referendum took place on 20 October 1945, with (according to official numbers) 100% of the electorate voting for independence.[37]

After the establishment of the

Republic of China ever used its veto. Hence, and because of the repeated threats to veto by the ROC, Mongolia did not join the UN until 1961 when the Soviet Union agreed to lift its veto on the admission of Mauritania (and any other newly independent African state), in return for the admission of Mongolia. Faced with pressure from nearly all the other African countries, the ROC relented under protest. Mongolia and Mauritania were both admitted to the UN on 27 October 1961.[38][39][40] (see China and the United Nations
)

Soviet Bloc
, with over 44 years in office

On 26 January 1952, Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal took power in Mongolia after the death of Choibalsan. Tsedenbal was the leading political figure in Mongolia for more than 30 years.[41] While Tsedenbal was visiting Moscow in August 1984, his severe illness prompted the parliament to announce his retirement and replace him with Jambyn Batmönkh.

Post-Cold War

The

Marxist-Leninist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party to the current social democratic Mongolian People's Party
reshaped the country's political landscape.

A new constitution was introduced in 1992, and the term "People's Republic" was dropped from the country's name. The transition to a market economy was often rocky; during the early 1990s the country had to deal with high inflation and food shortages.[42] The first election victories for non-communist parties came in 1993 (presidential elections) and 1996 (parliamentary elections). China has supported Mongolia's application for membership in to the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and granting it observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.[43]

Geography and climate

The southern portion of Mongolia is taken up by the Gobi Desert
, while the northern and western portions are mountainous.

At 1,564,116 km2 (603,909 sq mi), Mongolia is the world's

18th-largest country (after Iran).[44] It is significantly larger than the next-largest country, Peru. It mostly lies between latitudes 41° and 52°N (a small area is north of 52°), and longitudes 87° and 120°E. As a point of reference the northernmost part of Mongolia is on roughly the same latitude as Berlin (Germany) and Saskatoon (Canada), while the southernmost part is on roughly the same latitude as Rome (Italy) and Chicago (USA). The westernmost part of Mongolia is on roughly the same longitude as Kolkata in India, while the easternmost part is on the same longitude as Qinhuangdao and Hangzhou in China, as well as the western edge of Taiwan. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its westernmost point is only 36.76 kilometres (22.84 mi) from Kazakhstan
.

The geography of Mongolia is varied, with the

Tuva Republic in Russia, is a natural World Heritage Site
.

Climate

Mongolia is known as the "Land of the Eternal Blue Sky" or "Country of Blue Sky" (Mongolian: "Mönkh khökh tengeriin oron") because it has over 250 sunny days a year.[47][48][49][50]

Most of the country is hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter, with January averages dropping as low as −30 °C (−22 °F).

temperature inversion
(temperature increases with altitude).

In winter the whole of Mongolia comes under the influence of the

Rinchinlhumbe), eastern Zavkhan (Tosontsengel), northern Bulgan (Hutag) and eastern Dornod province (Khalkhiin Gol). Ulaanbaatar is strongly, but less severely, affected. The cold gets less severe as one goes south, reaching the warmest January temperatures in Omnogovi Province (Dalanzadgad, Khanbogd) and the region of the Altai mountains bordering China. A unique microclimate is the fertile grassland-forest region of central and eastern Arkhangai Province (Tsetserleg) and northern Ovorkhangai Province (Arvaikheer) where January temperatures are on average the same and often higher than the warmest desert regions to the south in addition to being more stable. The Khangai Mountains play a certain role in forming this microclimate. In Tsetserleg, the warmest town in this microclimate, nighttime January temperatures rarely go under −30 °C (−22 °F) while daytime January temperatures often reach 0 °C (32 °F) to 5 °C (41 °F).[52][53]

The country is subject to occasional harsh climatic conditions known as zud. Zud, a natural disaster unique to Mongolia, results in large proportions of the country's livestock dying from starvation or freezing temperatures or both, resulting in economic upheaval for the largely pastoral population. The annual average temperature in Ulaanbaatar is −1.3 °C (29.7 °F), making it the world's coldest capital city.[51] Mongolia is high, cold and windy.[54] It has an extreme continental climate with long, cold winters and short summers, during which most of its annual precipitation falls.[54] The country averages 257 cloudless days a year, and it is usually at the center of a region of high atmospheric pressure.[54] Precipitation is highest in the north (average of 200 to 350 millimeters (8 to 14 in) per year) and lowest in the south, which receives 100 to 200 millimeters (4 to 8 in) annually.[54] The highest annual precipitation of 622.297 mm (24.500 in) occurred in the forests of Bulgan Province near the border with Russia and the lowest of 41.735 mm (1.643 in) occurred in the Gobi Desert (period 1961–1990).[55] The sparsely populated far north of Bulgan Province averages 600 mm (24 in) in annual precipitation which means it receives more precipitation than Beijing (571.8 mm or 22.51 in) or Berlin (571 mm or 22.5 in).

Environmental issues

There are many pressing environmental issues in Mongolia that are detrimental to both human and environmental wellness. These problems have arisen in part due to natural factors, but increasingly because of human actions. One of these issues is
industrialization
.

Wildlife

Bactrian camels
by sand dunes in Gobi Desert.
Mongolian steppe