A Brief History of Mongolia

A large number of ethnicities have inhabited Mongolia since prehistoric times. Most of these people were nomads who, from time to time, formed confederations that rose to prominence. The first of these, the Xiongnu, were brought together to form a confederation by Modun Shanyu in 209 BC.

In 1206, Chinggis Khan (also known as Genghis Khan) founded the Mongol Empire, the largest empire in history. The Mongol Empire’s territory extended from present-day Poland in the west to the Korean peninsula in the east, from Siberia in the north to the Arab peninsula and Vietnam in the south, covering approximately 33 million square kilometers. In 1227, after Chinggis Khan’s death, the Mongol Empire was subdivided into four kingdoms. In 1260, Chinggis Khan’s grandson, Kublai Khan, ascended the throne of one of the four kingdoms that encompassed present-day Mongolia and China. In 1271, Kublai Khan formally established the Yuan Dynasty. The Yuan Dynasty was the first foreign dynasty to rule all of China until it was overthrown by the Chinese Ming Dynasty in 1368.

The Mongol court returned to its native land, however, centuries of internal conflict, expansion and contraction brought them fall into Manchu Qing dynasty.  They conquered Inner Mongolia in 1636. Outer Mongolia was submitted in 1691. For the next two hundred years Mongolia was ruled by the Qing Dynasty until 1911. Mongolia declared its  independence in 1911 under the Bogd Khan, the spiritual  leader of Mongolia’s Tibetan Buddhism. However, the Chinese government still considered “Outer Mongolia” as part of it and invaded the country in 1919.

In 1921, People’s Revolution won in Mongolia with the help of the Russian Red Army and thus Mongolia became the second socialist country in the world. After Bogd Khan’s death in 1924, the Mongolian People’s Republic was proclaimed and the first Constitution was adopted.

Mongolia was under a Soviet-dominated Communist regime for almost 70 years, from 1921 to 1990.  In the fall of 1989 and the spring  of 1990, new currents of political thought began  to emerge in Mongolia, inspired by the  glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union and the collapse  of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe. In March 1990, a democratic revolution that started  with hunger strikes to overthrow the Government led to the  peaceful renouncement of communism. Mongolia’s renouncement of communism led to a multi-party system, a new constitution and a transition to a market economy.

Over the past two decades, Mongolia has transformed itself from a socialist country with a planned economy into a vibrant multi-party democracy with one of the world’s  fastest  growing economies.

Mongolia is  the world’s second largest landlocked country and occupies a territory of 1.56 million  square kilometers. Mongolia is located in Northern Asia, bordered by Russia in the north and China in the south, east and west. Mongolia  is the world’s least densely populated country, with a population  of more than 2.9 million people living in a vast area of 1.56 million square kilometers. Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s capital and largest city and home to approximately 45% of the country’s population.

Ethnic Mongols comprise approximately 94.9% of the population, Kazakh 5% and Turkic, Chinese  and Russians make up the remaining population.

Buddhism is major religion in Mongolia with a small number of  Muslims, Christians, and Shamans reside in Mongolia.

The official language is Mongolian and is spoken by 90% of the population. English is quickly  replacing Russian as the most popular language following Mongolian.  Many Mongolians also speak Korean, Japanese, Chinese, German and other western European languages.