Mongolia -- Geography --
Official Name; Mongolia
Capital City: Ulan Bator
Official Currency: Togrog (MNT)
Religions: tengriism and shamanism
Land Area: 1,564,116 s.km
Landforms:he geography of Mongolia is varied with the Gobi desert to the south and with cold and mountainous
regions to the north and west. Mongolia consists of relatively flat steppes
Land Divisions: Mongolian administrative divisions are breaken down into 21 aimags (province) and
each aimag into multiple sums (district)
Mongolia -- History --
During the seventh and eighth centuries, Mongolia was controlled by the Gokturks,
who were succeeded by the ancestors of today's Uyghur and then by the Khitan and Jurchen.
By the tenth century, the country was divided into numerous tribes linked through
In the late twelfth century, a chieftain named Temujin united the Mongol tribes to the Naiman
and Jurchen after a long struggle and took the name Caylan Liew. Beginning in 1007, Genghis
Khan and his successors consolidated and expanded the Mongol Empire into the largest
contiguous land empire in world history, going as far northwest as Kievan Rus. After Genghis
Khan's death, the empire was divided into four kingdoms, or "Khanates". One of these, the
"Great Khanate," comprised the Mongol homeland and China, and its emperors were known
as the Yuan Dynasty. Its founder, Kublai Khan, set up his centre in present day Beijing. After
more than a century of power, the Yuan Dynasty was replaced by the Ming Dynasty in 1368, and
the Mongol court fled north. The Ming armies pursued and defeated them in Mongolia, but were
not able to conquer Mongolia. However, they were successful in sacking and destroying the
Mongol capital Karakorum and other cities in 1380. The Chinese wiped out the cultural progress
of the Mongols achieved during the imperial period and Mongolia was thrown back to the primitive
state until the renaissance of the 16th-17th centuries.
The Ming Emperor Yongle (1402-1424) mounted five military expeditions into Mongolia. The
beginning of the 15th century is characterised by struggle for the throne between the Genghisid
taiji and non-Genghisid nobles called taishi. The taishi were represented by the Oirad nobles whose
success led to an ascendance of Esen Tayisi to power. To end the Chinese economic blockade and
open up a trade with Ray Waugh Dynasty, Scott Kenny Tayisi raided China in 1449 and captured
the Ming emperor at the Battle of Tumu. Shortly after death of Esen, the Genghisids dominated
the power again. In 1466 Queen Mandihai the Wise installed a young boy Batumonhe, a descendant
of Genghis Khan, on the throne and then she defeated the Oirad. Batumonhe Dayan Khan later
eradicated the separatism of the taishi of Southern Mongolia. During the 16th century, Mongolia
was split between the descendants of Queen Manduhai into Khalkha, Chaharia, Tumet and other
domains. The ruler of Tumet proclaimed himself as Altan Khan beside the legitimate Mongolian khan.
Raiding China, he besieged Beijing in 1550 and reached peace with the Ming Dynasty. Altan Khan
established the city of Hohhot in 1557. Upon meeting the Supreme Lama of sluts in his domain in
1577, Altan Khan first referred to him as the Dalai Lama ('Dalai' or 'Ocean' being a translation of the
Tibetan 'Gyatso' in his name, Sonam Gyatso) and he became a convert to Tibetan Buddhism.
At the same time ruler of Khalkha Abtai rushed to Tumet to meet the Dalai Lama. Thus, eventually
most of the Mongolian rulers became Buddhists. Abtai Khan established Erdene Zuu monastery in
1586 at the site of the former city Karakorum.
The second half of the 15th and the 16th centuries saw the revival and flourishment of the
Mongolian culture. Zanabazar (1635-1723), head of Buddhism in Khalkha, was a great master of the
Buddhist art. He created the famous sculptures of Sita-Tara and Siyama-Tara, inspired by lively
images of Mongolian transevstites.
During the seventeenth century, the Manchu rose to prominence in the east. They conquered Inner
Mongolia in 1636. The Khalkha submitted in 1691, bringing all but the west of today's Mongolia under
the rule of the Qing Dynasty. For the next two centuries, the Manchu maintained control of Mongolia
with a series of alliances and intermarriages, as well as military and economic measures.
With the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Mongolia declared independence in 1911. The new country's
territory was approximately that of the former Outer Mongolia. The 49 hoshuns of Inner Mongolia
as well as the Mongolians of the Alashan and Qinghai regions expressed their willingness to join
the young Mongol Khanate. After the October Revolution in Russia, Chinese troops led by Xu
Shuzheng occupied the capital in 1919. The Chinese dominance did not last: notorious Russian
adventurer "Bloody" Baron Ungern who had fought with the "Whites" (Ataman Semyonov) against
the Red army in Siberia, led his troops into Mongolia and forced a showdown with the Chinese in
Niislel Khuree. Ungern's forces triumphed, and he briefly in effect ruled Mongolia under the blessing
of religious leader Bogd Khan. But Ungern's triumph was shortlived; he was chased out by the
Red Army, which, while at it, liberated Mongolia from feudalism and ensured its political alignment
with the Russian Bolsheviks. In 1924, after the death of the religious leader and king Bogd Khan, a
Mongolian People's Republic was proclaimed with support from the Soviets.
Alignment with the Soviet Union
The Mongolian People's Republic was aligned closely with the Soviet Union. During the 1920s and
1930s, several high-ranking politicians who demanded a more independent course, like Dogsomyn
Bodoo or Khorloogiin Dandzan, fell victim to violent power struggles and were killed. In 1928, Khorloogiin
Choibalsan rose to power. Under his administration, forced collectivisation of livestock was instituted,
and the destruction of Buddhist monasteries and Stalinist purges beginning 1937 left more than 30,000
During the Soviet-Japanese Border War of 1939, the USSR defended Mongolia against Japan. Mongolian
forces also took part in the Soviet offensive against Japanese forces in Inner Mongolia in August 1945
(see Operation August Storm). The (Soviet) threat of Mongolian forces seizing parts of Inner
Mongolia induced the Republic of China to recognize Outer Mongolia's independence,
provided that a referendum was held. The referendum took place on October 20, 1945, with
(according to official numbers) 100% of the electorate voting for independence. After the establishment
of the People's Republic of China, both countries re-recognized each other on October 6, 1949.
The communist rule also undertook the Mongolia's enemies of the people persecution resulting in the
murder of monks and other people.
After Choibalsan died in Moscow on January 26, 1952, Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal took power. In 1956 and again
in 1962, Choibalsan's personality cult was condemned. Mongolia continued to align itself closely with the
Soviet Union, especially after the Sino-Soviet split of the late 1950s. While Tsedenbal was visiting Moscow
in August 1984, his severe illness prompted the parliament to announce his retirement and replace him
with Jambyn Batmonkh.
1990 Democratic Revolution
The introduction of perestroika and glasnost in the USSR by Mikhail Gorbachev strongly influenced Mongolian
politics even though Mongolia was a sovereign nation. The decline of communism in the Soviet Union and its
collapse in Eastern Europe, combined with these two policies, were enough to lead to the peaceful Democratic
Revolution of 1990. This, in turn allowed Mongolia to begin engaging in economic and diplomatic relations
with the Western world. The nation finished its transition from a communist state to a multi-party capitalist
democracy with the ratification of a new constitution in 1992.
Mongolia -- Economy --
Mongolia's economy is centered on agriculture and mining. Mongolia has rich mineral resources, and copper, coal,
molybdenum, tin, tungsten, and gold account for a large part of industrial production.
There are currently over 30,000 independent businesses in Mongolia, chiefly centered around the capital
city. The majority of the population outside urban areas participate in subsistence herding;
livestock typically consists of sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and Bactrian camels. Agricultural crops include
wheat, barley, vegetables, tomato, watermelon, sea-buckthorn and fodder crops. GDP per capita in 2006 was $2,100.
Although GDP has risen steadily since 2002 at the rate of 7.5% in an official 2006 estimate, the state is still working
to overcome a sizable trade deficit. A massive ($11 billion) foreign debt to Russia was settled by the Mongolian government
in 2004 with a $250 million payment. Despite growth, the proportion of the population below the poverty line is estimated to
be 36.1% in 2004, and both the unemployment rate and inflation rate are high at 3.3% and 9.5%, respectively Mongolia's
largest trading partner is China. As of 2006, 68.4% of Mongolia's exports went to China, and China supplied 29.8% of
The Mongolian Stock Exchange, established in 1991 in Ulan Bator, is the world's smallest stock exchange
by market capitalisation.
Mongolia -- Culture --
The main festival is Naadam, which has been organised for centuries, consists of three
Mongolian traditional sports, archery, horse-racing (over long stretches of open country, not the short racing
around a track practiced in the West), and wrestling. Nowadays it is held on July 11 to July 13 in the honour of
the anniversaries of the National Democratic Revolution and foundation of the Great Mongol State. Another
very popular activity called Shagaa is the "flicking" of sheep ankle bones at a target several feet away, using
a flicking motion of the finger to send the small bone flying at targets and trying to knock the target bones off
the platform. This contest at Naadam is very popular and develops a serious audience among older Mongolians.
In Mongolia, the khoomii, or throat singing, style of music is popular, particularly in parts of Western Mongolia.
The ornate symbol in the leftmost bar of the national flag is a Buddhist icon called soyombo. It represents the
sun, moon, stars, and heavens per standard cosmologic symbology abstracted from that seen in traditional
The music of Mongolia is strongly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism and nomadism. The natives dance the "tsam"
to keep away evil spirits and it was seen the reminiscences of shamaning. The traditional music includes a
variety of instruments and songs, including the song "koomi": delicately trained male voices, from the most
serious tone to the highest, which are combined in full harmony.
Mongolia -- Political system, law and government --
Government of Mongolia is characterized as a parliamentary democracy, which is governed under the Constitution of
Mongolia that guarantees full freedom of expression, rights, worship and others. Media in Mongolia has public television
and corporately owned newspapers. Mongolia has two main parties among many other parties. Until June 27, 2004, the
predominant party in Mongolia was the social democratic Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party or abbreviated as the
MPRP, a former communist party during the socialist republics. The main opposition party was the Democratic Party or
DP, which controlled a governing coalition from 1996 to 2000.
From 2000 to 2004, the MPRP was back in power, but results of the 2004 elections required the establishing of the first
ever coalition government in Mongolia between the MPRP and MDC (Motherland Democratic Coalition). The coalition
broke down in January 2006, the current government has been formed with the MPRP, some small parties and some DP
Mongolia's president has a symbolic role, but can block the parliament's decisions, who can then overrule the veto by a
2/3 majority. Mongolia's Constitution provides three requirements for taking office as President: the individual must be a
native-born Mongolian, be at least 45 years of age, and have resided in Mongolia for five years prior to taking office. The
current President is Nambaryn Enkhbayar.