Mongolia News - History

Mongolia News - History


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Mongolia News

MONGOLIA

In The News


Since 1990, Mongolia has had a multi-party parliamentary democracy. All citizens over the age of 18 can vote. The head of state is the President, but executive power is shared with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister nominates the Cabinet, which is approved by the legislature.

The legislative body is called the Great Hural, which is made up of 76 deputies. Mongolia has a civil law system that is based on the laws of Russia and continental Europe. The highest court is the Constitutional Court, which primarily hears questions of constitutional law.


Cross Dressing and Warring for Over a Decade

The story of Mulan was first written in the 6th century The Ballad of Hua Mulan , and the character appeared in the 17th century Sui-Tang Romance written by Chu Renhuo in the early Qing Dynasty , telling of a young woman in the Northern Wei period (386-536 AD), during the Tang Dynasty , who pretended to be her own father when every family provided one male to fight in the emperor’s army, with her true identity remaining undetected for 12 years.

Speaking to Are Technica , Lee said historically archaeology has been “a very male dominated field,” which she thinks might have led to a biased traditional interpretation of women who she thinks were studied in their archetypal roles as wives and mothers, with less interest in women warriors. However, the anthropologist’s new study of skeletal remains presents “possible physical evidence” of a warrior women in the region associated with the Chinese legend of Mulan.

Lee's lecture at the symposium would have focused on nomadic Xiongnu female warriors who lived north of the Great Wall of China around 2200 years ago, until they were defeated by the Xianbei around 1850 years ago, and the researcher had planned to read ancient songs, poems and legends about warrior women, including The Ballad of Mulan .


Contents

The name Mongolia means the "Land of the Mongols" in Latin. The origin of the Mongolian word "Mongol" ( монгол ) is of uncertain etymology, given variously such as the name of a mountain or river a corruption of the Mongolian Mongkhe-tengri-gal ("Eternal Sky Fire") [17] or a derivation from Mugulü, the 4th-century founder of the Rouran Khaganate. [18] First attested as the Mungu [19] (Chinese: 蒙兀 , Modern Chinese Měngwù, Middle Chinese Muwngu [20] ) branch of the Shiwei in an 8th-century Tang dynasty list of northern tribes, presumably related to the Liao-era Mungku [19] (Chinese: 蒙古 , Modern Chinese Měnggǔ, Middle Chinese MuwngkuX [21] ) tribe now known as the Khamag Mongol.

After the fall of the Liao in 1125, the Khamag Mongols became a leading tribe on the Mongolian Plateau. However, their wars with the Jurchen-ruled Jin dynasty and the Tatar confederation had weakened them. The last head of the tribe was Yesügei, whose son 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. [22]

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

Prehistory and antiquity

The Khoit Tsenkher Cave [23] in Khovd Province shows lively pink, brown, and red ochre paintings (dated to 20,000 years ago) of 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 Afanasevo culture (3500–2500 BC) this culture was active to the Khangai Mountains in Central Mongolia. The wheeled vehicles found in the burials of the Afanasevans have been dated to before 2200 BC. [24] Pastoral nomadism and metalworking became more developed with the later Okunev culture (2nd millennium BC), Andronovo culture (2300–1000 BC) and Karasuk culture (1500–300 BC), culminating with the Iron Age Xiongnu Empire in 209 BC. Monuments of the pre-Xiongnu Bronze Age include deer stones, keregsur kurgans, 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. [23] 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. [25] 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.

The concept of Mongolia as an independent power north of China is expressed in a letter sent by Emperor Wen of Han to Laoshang Chanyu in 162 BC (recorded in the Hanshu):

The Emperor of China respectfully salutes the great Shan Yu (Chanyu) of the Hsiung-nu (Xiongnu). When my imperial predecessor erected the Great Wall, all the bowmen nations on the north were subject to the Shan Yu while the residents inside the wall, who wore the cap and sash, were all under our government: and the myriads of the people, by following their occupations, ploughing and weaving, shooting and hunting, were able to provide themselves with food and clothing. Your letter says:--"The two nations being now at peace, and the two princes living in harmony, military operations may cease, the troops may send their horses to graze, and prosperity and happiness prevail from age to age, commencing, a new era of contentment and peace." That is extremely gratifying to me. Should I, in concert with the Shan Yu, follow this course, complying with the will of heaven, then compassion for the people will be transmitted from age to age, and extended to unending generations, while the universe will be moved with admiration, and the influence will be felt by neighbouring kingdoms inimical to the Chinese or the Hsiung-nu. As the Hsiung-nu live in the northern regions, where the cold piercing atmosphere comes at an early period, I have ordered the proper authorities to transmit yearly to the Shan Yu, a certain amount of grain, gold, silks of the finer and coarser kinds, and other objects. Now peace prevails all over the world the myriads of the population are living in harmony, and I and the Shan Yu alone are the parents of the people. After the conclusion of the treaty of peace throughout the world, take notice, the Han will not be the first to transgress. [26]

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 Khan, the Kurultai (Supreme Council), left and right wings, imperial army (Keshig) and the decimal military system. The first of these empires, the Xiongnu of undetermined ethnicity, were brought together by Modu Shanyu to form a confederation in 209 BC. Soon they emerged as the greatest threat to the Qin Dynasty, forcing the latter to construct the Great Wall of China. It was guarded by up to almost 300,000 soldiers during Marshal Meng Tian's tenure, as a means of defense against the destructive Xiongnu raids. The vast Xiongnu empire (209 BC–93 AD) was followed by the Mongolic Xianbei empire (93–234 AD), which also ruled more than the entirety of present-day Mongolia. The Mongolic 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 Panticapaeum, present-day Kerch, in 576. They were succeeded by the Uyghur Khaganate (745–840) who were defeated by the Kyrgyz. The Mongolic Khitans, descendants of the Xianbei, ruled Mongolia during the 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), Avar (Avar Khaganate), Rome (Byzantine 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. [27]

Middle Ages to early 20th century

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), [28] (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. [29] [30]

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 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 was replaced by the Ming dynasty in 1368, and the Mongol court fled to the north. 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. [31]

After the expulsion of the Yuan dynasty rulers from China, the Mongols continued to rule their homeland, known 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 Chinese invasions (such as the five expeditions led by the Yongle Emperor).

In the early 16th century, Dayan Khan and his khatun Mandukhai reunited the entire Mongol nation under the Genghisids. In the mid-16th century, Altan Khan of the Tümed, a grandson of Dayan Khan – but not a hereditary or legitimate Khan – became powerful. He founded Hohhot in 1557. After he met with the Dalai Lama in 1578, he ordered the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism to Mongolia. (It was the second time this had occurred.) Abtai Khan of the Khalkha converted to Buddhism and founded the Erdene Zuu monastery in 1585. His grandson Zanabazar became the first 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 Ligden Khan in the early 17th century. He came into conflicts with the Manchus over the looting of Chinese cities, and also alienated most Mongol tribes. He died in 1634. By 1636 most Inner Mongolian tribes had submitted to the Manchus, who founded the Qing dynasty. The Khalkha eventually submitted to Qing rule in 1691, thus bringing all of today's Mongolia under Manchu rule. After several wars, the Dzungars (western Mongols or Oirats) were virtually annihilated during the Qing conquest of Dzungaria in 1757–1758. [32]

Some scholars estimate that about 80% of the 600,000 or more Dzungar were destroyed by a combination of disease and warfare. [33] 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 Bogd Khaan declared its independence. But the newly established Republic of China considered Mongolia to be part of its own territory. Yuan Shikai, the President of the Republic of China, considered the new republic to be 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. [34] [b]

The area controlled by the Bogd Khaan was approximately that of the former Outer Mongolia during the Qing period. In 1919, after the October Revolution in Russia, Chinese troops led by warlord Xu Shuzheng occupied Mongolia. Warfare erupted on the northern border. As a result of the Russian Civil War, the White Russian Lieutenant General 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 March 18, 1921, and on July 6 Russian and Mongolian troops arrived in Khüree. Mongolia declared its independence again on July 11, 1921. [35] 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 [36] or, as some sources claim, at the hands of Russian spies, [37] 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.

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. [38]

In 1930, the Soviet Union stopped Buryat migration to the Mongolian People's Republic to prevent Mongolian reunification. All leaders of Mongolia who did not fulfill Stalin's demands to perform Red Terror against Mongolians were executed, including Peljidiin Genden and Anandyn Amar. The Stalinist purges in Mongolia, which began in 1937, killed more than 30,000 people. Choibalsan died suspiciously in the Soviet Union in 1952. Comintern leader Bohumír Šmeral said, "People of Mongolia are not important, the land is important. Mongolian land is larger than England, France and Germany". [39]

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. [40]

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 October 20, 1945, with (according to official numbers) 100% of the electorate voting for independence. [41]

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, both countries confirmed their mutual recognition on October 6, 1949. However, the Republic of China used its Security Council veto in 1955, to stop the admission of the Mongolian People's Republic to the United Nations on the grounds it recognized all of Mongolia —including Outer Mongolia— as part of China. This was the only time 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. [42] [43] [44] (see China and the United Nations)

On January 26, 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. [45] 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 fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 strongly influenced Mongolian politics and youth. Its people undertook the peaceful Democratic Revolution in January 1990 and the introduction of a multi-party system and a market economy. At the same time, the transformation of the former 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. [46] 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 Organization. [47]

At 1,564,116 km 2 (603,909 sq mi), Mongolia is the world's 18th-largest country (after Iran). [48] 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 Gobi Desert to the south and cold, mountainous regions to the north and west. Much of Mongolia consists of the Mongolian-Manchurian grassland steppe, with forested areas accounting for 11.2% of the total land area, [49] a higher percentage than the Ireland (10%). [50] The whole of Mongolia is considered to be part of the Mongolian Plateau. The highest point in Mongolia is the Khüiten Peak in the Tavan bogd massif in the far west at 4,374 m (14,350 ft). The basin of the Uvs Lake, shared with 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. [51] [52] [53] [54]

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). [55] A vast front of cold, heavy, shallow air comes in from Siberia in winter and collects in river valleys and low basins causing very cold temperatures while slopes of mountains are much warmer due to the effects of temperature inversion (temperature increases with altitude).

In winter the whole of Mongolia comes under the influence of the Siberian Anticyclone. The localities most severely affected by this cold weather are Uvs province (Ulaangom), western Khovsgol (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). [56] [57]

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. [55] Mongolia is high, cold and windy. [58] It has an extreme continental climate with long, cold winters and short summers, during which most of its annual precipitation falls. [58] The country averages 257 cloudless days a year, and it is usually at the center of a region of high atmospheric pressure. [58] 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. [58] 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). [59] 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).

Wildlife

The name "Gobi" is a Mongol term for a desert steppe, which usually refers to a category of arid rangeland with insufficient vegetation to support marmots but with enough to support camels. [58] Mongols distinguish Gobi from desert proper, although the distinction is not always apparent to outsiders unfamiliar with the Mongolian landscape. [58]

Gobi rangelands are fragile and easily destroyed by overgrazing, which results in expansion of the true desert, a stony waste where not even Bactrian camels can survive. [58] The arid conditions in the Gobi are attributed to the rain shadow effect caused by the Himalayas. Before the Himalayas were formed by the collision of the Indo-Australian plate with the Eurasian plate 10 million years ago, Mongolia was a flourishing habitat for major fauna but still somewhat arid and cold due to distance from sources of evaporation. Sea turtle and mollusk fossils have been found in the Gobi, apart from well-known dinosaur fossils. Tadpole shrimps (Lepidurus mongolicus) are still found in the Gobi today. The eastern part of Mongolia including the Onon and Kherlen rivers and Lake Buir form part of the Amur river basin draining to the Pacific Ocean. It hosts some unique species like the Eastern brook lamprey, Daurian crayfish (cambaroides dauricus) and Daurian pearl oyster (dahurinaia dahurica) in the Onon/Kherlen rivers as well as Siberian prawn (exopalaemon modestus) in Lake Buir.

Mongolia had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 9.36/10, ranking it sixth globally out of 172 countries. [60]

Mongolia's total population as of January 2015 was estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau [61] to be 3,000,251 people, ranking around 121st in the world. But the U.S. Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs uses the United Nations (UN) estimations [62] instead of the U.S. Census Bureau estimations. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division [63] estimates Mongolia's total population (mid-2007) as 2,629,000 (11% less than the U.S. Census Bureau figure). UN estimates resemble those made by the Mongolian National Statistical Office (2,612,900, end of June 2007). Mongolia's population growth rate is estimated at 1.2% (2007 est.). [63] About 59% of the total population is under age 30, 27% of whom are under 14. This relatively young and growing population has placed strains on Mongolia's economy.

The first census in the 20th century was carried out in 1918 and recorded a population of 647,500. [64] Since the end of socialism, Mongolia has experienced a decline of total fertility rate (children per woman) that is steeper than in any other country in the world, according to recent UN estimations: [63] in 1970–1975, fertility was estimated to be 7.33 children per woman, dropping to about 2.1 in 2000–2005. [65] The decline ended and in 2005–2010, the estimated fertility value increased to 2.5 and stabilised afterwards at the rate of about 2.2–2.3 children per woman.

Ethnic Mongols account for about 95% of the population and consist of Khalkha and other groups, all distinguished primarily by dialects of the Mongol language. The Khalkha make up 86% of the ethnic Mongol population. The remaining 14% include Oirats, Buryats and others. Turkic peoples (Kazakhs and Tuvans) constitute 4.5% of Mongolia's population, and the rest are Russian, Chinese, Korean and American nationalities. [66]

Languages

The official language of Mongolia is Mongolian, and is spoken by 95% of the population. A variety of dialects of Oirat and Buryat are spoken across the country, and there are also some speakers of Mongolic Khamnigan. In the west of the country, Kazakh and Tuvan, both Turkic languages, are also spoken. Mongolian Sign Language is the principal language of the deaf community.

Today, Mongolian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet in Mongolia, although in the past it was written using the Mongolian script. An official reintroduction of the old script was planned for 1994, but has not taken place as older generations encountered practical difficulties. [67] Schools are reintroducing the traditional alphabet. [68] In March 2020, the Mongolian government announced plans to use both Cyrillic and the traditional Mongolian script in official documents by 2025. [69] [70] [71]

Russian is the most frequently spoken foreign language in Mongolia, followed by English, although English has been gradually replacing Russian as the second language. Korean has gained popularity as tens of thousands of Mongolians work in South Korea. [72]

Religion

Religions in Mongolia
(population aged 15 and above) [73]
Religion Population Share
Non-religious 735,283 38.6%
Religious 1,170,283 61.4%
Buddhism 1,009,357 53.0%
Islam 57,702 3.0%
Shamanism 55,174 2.9%
Christianity 41,117 2.2%
Other religions 6,933 0.4%
Total 1,905,566 100.0%

According to the 2010 National Census, among Mongolians aged 15 and above, 53% were Buddhists, while 39% were non-religious.

Mongolian shamanism has been widely practised throughout the history of what is now Mongolia, with similar beliefs being common among the nomads of central Asia. They gradually gave way to Tibetan Buddhism, but shamanism has left a mark on Mongolian religious culture, and it continues to be practiced. The Kazakhs of western Mongolia, some Mongols, and other Turkic peoples in the country traditionally adhere to Islam.

Throughout much of the 20th century, the communist government repressed religious practices. It targeted the clergy of the Mongolian Buddhist Church, which had been tightly intertwined with the previous feudal government structures (e.g. from 1911 on, the head of the Church had also been the Khan of the country). [74] In the late 1930s, the regime, then led by Khorloogiin Choibalsan, closed almost all of Mongolia's over 700 Buddhist monasteries and killed at least 30,000 people, of whom 18,000 were lamas. [75] The number of Buddhist monks dropped from 100,000 in 1924 to 110 in 1990. [74]

The fall of communism in 1991 restored public religious practice. Tibetan Buddhism, which had been the predominant religion prior to the rise of communism, again rose to become the most widely practised religion in Mongolia. The end of religious repression in the 1990s also allowed for other religions to spread in the country. According to the Christian missionary group Barnabas Fund, the number of Christians grew from just four in 1989 to around 40,000 as of 2008 [update] . In May 2013, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) held a cultural program to celebrate twenty years of LDS Church history in Mongolia, with 10,900 members, and 16 church buildings in the country. [76] There are some 1,000 Catholics in Mongolia and, in 2003, a missionary from the Philippines was named Mongolia's first Catholic bishop. [77] In 2017 Seventh-day Adventists reported 2,700 members in six churches up from zero members in 1991. [78]

Mongolia is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic with a directly elected President. [3] [4] [5] The people also elect the deputies in the national assembly, the State Great Khural. The president appoints the prime minister, and nominates the cabinet on the proposal of the prime minister. The constitution of Mongolia guarantees a number of freedoms, including full freedom of expression and religion. Mongolia has a number of political parties the largest are the Mongolian People's Party and the Democratic Party. The non-governmental organisation Freedom House considers Mongolia to be free. [79]

The People's Party – known as the People's Revolutionary Party between 1924 and 2010 – formed the government from 1921 to 1996 (in a one-party system until 1990) and from 2000 to 2004. From 2004 to 2006, it was part of a coalition with the Democrats and two other parties, and after 2006 it was the dominant party in two other coalitions. The party initiated two changes of government from 2004 prior to losing power in the 2012 election. The Democrats were the dominant force in a ruling coalition between 1996 and 2000, and an almost-equal partner with the People's Revolutionary Party in a coalition between 2004 and 2006. An election of deputies to the national assembly on 28 June 2012 resulted in no party having an overall majority [80] however, as the Democratic Party won the largest number of seats, [81] its leader, Norovyn Altankhuyag, was appointed prime minister on August 10, 2012. [82] In 2014, he was replaced by Chimediin Saikhanbileg. The MPP won a landslide victory in the 2016 elections and the next Prime Minister was MPP's Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh. In June 2020, MPP won a landslide victory in the election. It took 62 seats and the main opposition DP, 11 of the 76 seats. Before the elections the ruling party had redrawn the electrol map in a way that was beneficial for MPP. [83] In January 2021, Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh resigned after protests over the treatment of a coronavirus patient. [84] On 27 January 2021, Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erdene of MPP became new prime minister. He represents a younger generation of leaders that had studied abroad. [85]

The President of Mongolia is able to veto the laws made by parliament, appoint judges and justice of courts and appoint ambassadors. The parliament can override that veto by a two-thirds majority vote. Mongolia's constitution provides three requirements for taking office as president the candidate must be a native-born Mongolian, be at least 45 years old, and have resided in Mongolia for five years before taking office. The president must also suspend their party membership. After defeating incumbent Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, a two-time former prime minister and member of the Democratic Party, was elected as president on May 24, 2009 and inaugurated on June 18 that year. [86] The ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) nominated Batbold Sukhbaatar as new Prime Minister in October 2009. [87] Elbegdorj was re-elected on June 26, 2013 and was inaugurated on July 10, 2013 for his second term as president. [88] In June 2017, opposition Democratic Party candidate Khaltmaagiin Battulga won the presidential election. [89] He was inaugurated on 10 July 2017. [90]

Mongolia uses a unicameral legislature, the State Great Khural, with 76 seats, which is chaired by the Speaker of the House. Its members are directly elected, every four years, by popular vote. [5]

Foreign relations

Mongolia's foreign relations traditionally focus on its two large neighbors, Russia and the People's Republic of China. [91] Mongolia is economically dependent on these countries China receives 90% of Mongolia's exports by value and accounts for 60% of its foreign trade, while Russia supplies 90% of Mongolia's energy requirements. [6] It has begun seeking positive relations with a wider range of other nations especially in cultural and economic matters, focusing on encouraging foreign investments and trade. [92]

Embassies

Mongolia maintains many diplomatic missions in other countries and has embassies in the following world capitals: [93]

Military

Mongolia supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has sent several successive contingents of 103 to 180 troops each to Iraq. About 130 troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan. 200 Mongolian troops are serving in Sierra Leone on a UN mandate to protect the UN's special court set up there, and in July 2009, Mongolia decided to send a battalion to Chad in support of MINURCAT. [94]

From 2005 to 2006, about 40 troops were deployed with the Belgian and Luxembourg contingents in Kosovo. On November 21, 2005, George W. Bush became the first-ever sitting U.S. president to visit Mongolia. [95] In 2004, under Bulgarian chairmanship, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) invited Mongolia as its newest Asian partner.

Legal system

The judiciary of Mongolia is made of a three-tiered court system: first instance courts in each provincial district and each Ulaanbaatar district appellate courts for each province and also the Capital Ulaanbaatar and the court of last resort (for non-constitutional matters) at the Supreme Court of Mongolia. [96] For questions of constitutional law there is a separate constitutional court.

A Judicial General Council (JGC) nominates judges which must then be confirmed by the parliament and appointed by the President.

Arbitration centres provide alternative dispute resolution options for commercial and other disputes. [97]

Administrative divisions

Mongolia is divided into 21 provinces (aimags) and subdivided into 331 districts (sums). [98] The capital Ulaanbaatar is administrated separately as a capital city (municipality) with provincial status. The aimags are:

Major cities

About 40% of the population lives in Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator), and in 2002 a further 23% lived in Darkhan, Erdenet, the aimag centers and sum-level permanent settlements. [99] Another share of the population lives in the sum centers.

Economic activity in Mongolia has long been based on herding and agriculture, although development of extensive mineral deposits of copper, coal, molybdenum, tin, tungsten and gold have emerged as a driver of industrial production. [100] Besides mining (21.8% of GDP) and agriculture (16% of GDP), dominant industries in the composition of GDP are wholesale and retail trade and service, transportation and storage, and real estate activities. [100] The informal economy is estimated to be at least one-third the size of the official economy. [100] As of 2006 [update] , 68.4% of Mongolia's exports went to the PRC, and the PRC supplied 29.8% of Mongolia's imports. [101]

Mongolia is ranked as lower-middle-income economy by the World Bank. [102] Some 22.4% of the population lives on less than US$1.25 a day. [103] In 2011, GDP per capita was $3,100. [6] Despite growth, the proportion of the population below the poverty line was estimated to be 35.6% in 1998, 36.1% in 2002–2003, and 32.2% in 2006. [104]

Because of a boom in the mining sector, Mongolia had high growth rates in 2007 and 2008 (9.9% and 8.9%, respectively). [100] In 2009, sharp drops in commodity prices and the effects of the global financial crisis caused the local currency to drop 40% against the U.S. dollar. Two of the 16 commercial banks were taken into receivership. [100] In 2011, GDP growth was expected to reach 16.4%. However, inflation continued to erode GDP gains, with an average rate of 12.6% expected at the end of 2011. [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. The Economist predicted this trade deficit of 14% of Mongolia's GDP would transform into a surplus in 2013. [105]

Mongolia was never listed among the emerging market countries until February 2011 when Citigroup analysts determined Mongolia to be one of the "global growth generating" countries, which are countries with the most promising growth prospects for 2010–2050. [106] The Mongolian Stock Exchange, established in 1991 in Ulaanbaatar, is among the world's smallest stock exchanges by market capitalisation. [107] [108] In 2011, it had 336 companies listed with a total market capitalization of US$2 billion after quadrupling from US$406 million in 2008. [109] Mongolia made a significant improvement in the ease of doing business in 2012, ranking 76th compared with 88th the previous year in the "Doing Business" report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). [110]

Mineral industry

Minerals represent more than 80% of Mongolia's exports, a proportion expected to eventually rise to 95%. Fiscal revenues from mining represented 21% of government income in 2010 and rose to 24% in 2018. [112] [113] About 3,000 mining licences have been issued. [105] Mining continues to rise as a major industry of Mongolia as evidenced by the number of Chinese, Russian and Canadian firms starting mining businesses in Mongolia. [6]

In 2009, the government negotiated an "investment agreement" with Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines to develop the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposit, [100] the biggest foreign-investment project in Mongolia, expected to account for one-third of Mongolia's GDP by 2020. [105] In March 2011, six big mining companies prepared to bid for the Tavan Tolgoi area, the world's largest untapped coal deposit. According to Erdenes MGL, the government body in-charge of Tavan Tolgoi, ArcelorMittal, Vale, Xstrata, U.S. coal miner Peabody, a consortium of Chinese energy firm Shenhua and Japan's Mitsui & Co, and a separate consortium of Japanese, South Korean and Russian firms are the preferred bidders. [114]

Agriculture

In 2002, about 30% of all households in Mongolia lived from breeding livestock. [115] Most herders in Mongolia follow a pattern of nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralism. Due to the severe 2009–2010 winter, Mongolia lost 9.7 million animals, or 22% of total livestock. This immediately affected meat prices, which increased twofold the GDP dropped 1.6% in 2009. [100]

Communications

Postal services are provided by state-owned Mongol Post and 54 other licensed operators. [116]

Energy

Mongolia's main source of energy is thermal power, which is converted to electricity at the seven power stations currently active in the country.

Transportation

The Trans-Mongolian Railway is the main rail link between Mongolia and its neighbors. It begins at the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia at the town of Ulan-Ude, crosses into Mongolia, runs through Ulaanbaatar, then passes into China at Erenhot where it joins the Chinese railway system. A separate railroad link connects the eastern city of Choibalsan with the Trans-Siberian Railway. However, that link is closed to passengers after the Mongolian town of Chuluunkhoroot. [117]

Mongolia has a number of domestic airports, with some of them having international status. However, the main international airport is Buyant-Ukhaa International Airport, located approximately 20 km (12 mi) from downtown Ulaanbaatar. Direct flight connections exist between Mongolia and South Korea, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, Germany, and Turkey. MIAT Mongolian Airlines is Mongolia's national air carrier, operating international flights, while air carriers such as Aero Mongolia and Hunnu Airlines serve domestic and short international routes.

Many overland roads in Mongolia are only gravel roads or simple cross-country tracks. There are paved roads from Ulaanbaatar to the Russian and Chinese borders, from Ulaanbaatar east- and westward (the so-called Millennium Road), and from Darkhan to Bulgan. A number of road construction projects are currently underway. Mongolia has 4,800 km (3,000 mi) of paved roads, with 1,800 km (1,100 mi) of that total completed in 2013 alone. [118]

Education

During the state socialist period, education was one of the areas of significant achievement in Mongolia. Before the People's Republic, literacy rates were below one percent. By 1952, illiteracy was virtually eliminated, [119] in part through the use of seasonal boarding schools for children of nomadic families. Funding to these boarding schools was cut in the 1990s, contributing to slightly increased illiteracy.

Primary and secondary education formerly lasted ten years, but was expanded to eleven years. Since the 2008–2009 school year, new first-graders are using the 12-year system, with a full transition to the 12-year system in the 2019–2020 school year. [120]

As of 2006 [update] , English is taught in all secondary schools across Mongolia, beginning in fourth grade.

Mongolian national universities are all spin-offs from the National University of Mongolia and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology. Almost three in five Mongolian youths now enroll in university. There was a six-fold increase in students between 1993 and 2010. [121]

Health

The symbol in the left bar of the national flag is a Buddhist icon called Soyombo. It represents the sun, moon, stars, and heavens per standard cosmological symbology abstracted from that seen in traditional thangka paintings.

Visual arts

Before the 20th century, most works of the fine arts in Mongolia had a religious function, and therefore Mongolian fine arts were heavily influenced by religious texts. [122] Thangkas were usually painted or made in appliqué technique. Bronze sculptures usually showed Buddhist deities. A number of great works are attributed to the first Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, Zanabazar.

In the late 19th century, painters like "Marzan" Sharav turned to more realistic painting styles. Under the Mongolian People's Republic, socialist realism was the dominant painting style, [123] however traditional thangka-like paintings dealing with secular, nationalist themes were also popular, a genre known as "Mongol zurag".

Among the first attempts to introduce modernism into the fine arts of Mongolia was the painting Ehiin setgel (Mother's love) created by Tsevegjav in the 1960s. The artist was purged as his work was censored.

All forms of fine arts flourished only after "Perestroika" in the late 1980s. Otgonbayar Ershuu is arguably one of the most well-known Mongolian modern artists in the Western world, he was portrayed in the film "ZURAG" by Tobias Wulff. [124]

Architecture

The traditional Mongolian dwelling is known as a ger. In the past it was known by the Russian term yurt, but this has been changing as the Mongolian term becomes better known in English-speaking countries. According to Mongolian artist and art critic N. Chultem, the ger was the basis for development of traditional Mongolian architecture. In the 16th and 17th centuries, lamaseries were built throughout the country. Many of them started as ger-temples. When they needed to be enlarged to accommodate the growing number of worshippers, the Mongolian architects used structures with 6 and 12 angles [ clarification needed ] with pyramidal roofs to approximate to the round shape of a ger. Further enlargement led to a quadratic shape of the temples. The roofs were made in the shape of marquées. [125] The trellis walls, roof poles and layers of felt were replaced by stone, brick, beams and planks, and became permanent. [126]

Chultem distinguished three styles in traditional Mongolian architecture: Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese as well as combinations of the three. Among the first quadratic temples was Batu-Tsagaan (1654) designed by Zanabazar. An example of the ger-style architecture is the lamasery Dashi-Choiling in Ulaanbaatar. The temple Lavrin (18th century) in the Erdene Zuu lamasery was built in the Tibetan tradition. An example of a temple built in the Chinese tradition is the lamasery Choijing Lamiin Sume (1904), which is a museum today. The quadratic temple Tsogchin in lamasery Gandan in Ulaanbaatar is a combination of the Mongolian and Chinese tradition. The temple of Maitreya (disassembled in 1938) is an example of the Tibeto-Mongolian architecture. [125] Dashi-Choiling monastery has commenced a project to restore the temple and the 25 metres (82 ft) sculpture of Maitreya.

Music

The music of Mongolia is strongly influenced by nature, nomadism, shamanism, and also Tibetan Buddhism. The traditional music includes a variety of instruments, famously the morin khuur, and also the singing styles like the urtyn duu ("long song"), and throat-singing (khoomei). The "tsam" is danced to keep away evil spirits and it was seen as reminiscent of shamanism.

The first rock band of Mongolia was Soyol Erdene, founded in the 1960s. Their Beatles-like manner was severely criticized by the communist censorship. It was followed by Mungunhurhree, Ineemseglel, Urgoo, etc., carving out the path for the genre in the harsh environment of communist ideology. Mungunhurhree and Haranga were to become the pioneers in the Mongolia's heavy rock music. Haranga approached its zenith in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The leader of Haranga, famous guitarist Enh-Manlai, generously helped the growth of the following generations of rockers. Among the followers of Haranga was the band Hurd. In the early 1990s, group Har-Chono pioneered Mongolia's folk-rock, merging elements of the Mongolian traditional "long song" into the genre.

By that time, the environment for development of artistic thought had become largely liberal thanks to the new democratic society in the country. The 1990s saw the development of rap, techno, hip-hop and also boy bands and girl bands flourished at the turn of the millennium.

Media

Mongolian press began in 1920 with close ties to the Soviet Union under the Mongolian Communist Party, with the establishment of the Unen ("Truth") newspaper similar to the Soviet Pravda. [127] Until reforms in the 1990s, the government had strict control of the media and oversaw all publishing, in which no independent media were allowed. [127] The dissolution of the Soviet Union had a significant impact on Mongolia, where the one-party state grew into a multi-party democracy, and with that, media freedoms came to the forefront.

A new law on press freedom, drafted with help from international NGOs on August 28, 1998 and enacted on January 1, 1999, paved the way for media reforms. [128] The Mongolian media currently consists of around 300 print and broadcasting outlets. [129]

Since 2006, the media environment has been improving with the government debating a new Freedom of Information Act, and the removal of any affiliation of media outlets with the government. [130] [131] Market reforms have led to an annually increasing number of people working in the media, along with students at journalism schools. [130]

In its 2013 World Press Freedom Index report, Reporters Without Borders classified the media environment as 98th out of 179, with 1st being most free. [132] In 2016, Mongolia was ranked 60th out of 180. [133]

According to 2014 Asian Development Bank survey, 80% of Mongolians cited television as their main source of information. [134]

Mongolian cuisine

Mongolian cuisine is rooted in their nomadic history, and thus includes much dairy content and meat, but few vegetables. Two of the most popular dishes are Buuz (a meat-filled steamed dumpling) and Khuushuur (a sort of deep-fried meat pie.)

Sports and festivals

The main national festival is Naadam, which has been organised for centuries and takes place over three days in the summer, consisting of three Mongolian traditional sports, archery, cross-country horse-racing, and wrestling, traditionally recognized as the Three Manly Games of Naadam. In modern-day Mongolia, Naadam is held from July 11 to 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. At Naadam, this contest is popular among older Mongolians.

Horse riding is especially central to Mongolian culture. The long-distance races that are showcased during Naadam festivals are one aspect of this, as is the popularity of trick riding. One example of trick riding is the legend that the Mongolian military hero Damdin Sükhbaatar scattered coins on the ground and then picked them up while riding a horse at full gallop.

Mongolian wrestling is the most popular of all Mongol sports. It is the highlight of the Three Manly Games of Naadam. Historians claim that Mongol-style wrestling originated some seven thousand years ago. Hundreds of wrestlers from different cities and aimags around the country take part in the national wrestling competition.

Other sports such as basketball, weightlifting, powerlifting, association football, athletics, gymnastics, table tennis, jujutsu, karate, aikido, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts have become popular in Mongolia. More Mongolian table tennis players are competing internationally.

Freestyle wrestling has been practised since 1958 in Mongolia. [135] Mongolian freestyle wrestlers have won the first and the most Olympic medals of Mongolia.

Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar won Mongolia's first ever Olympic gold medal in the men's 100-kilogram class of judo. [136]

Amateur boxing has been practised in Mongolia since 1948. [137] The Mongolian Olympic boxing national team was founded in 1960. The Communist government of Mongolia banned boxing from 1964 to 1967 but the government soon ended the ban. Professional boxing began in Mongolia in the 1990s.

Mongolia national basketball team enjoyed some success recently, especially at the East Asian Games.

Association football is also played in Mongolia. The Mongolia national football team began playing national games again during the 1990s but has not yet qualified for a major international tournament. The Mongolia Premier League is the top domestic competition.

Several Mongolian women have excelled in pistol shooting: Otryadyn Gündegmaa is a silver medalist of the 2008 Olympic Games, Munkhbayar Dorjsuren is a double world champion and Olympic bronze medal winner (now representing Germany), while Tsogbadrakhyn Mönkhzul is, as of May 2007, ranked third in the world in the 25-metre pistol event. [138]

Mongolian sumo wrestler Dolgorsürengiin Dagvadorj won 25 top division tournament championships, placing him fourth on the all-time list. In January 2015, Mönkhbatyn Davaajargal took his 33rd top division championship, giving him the most in the history of sumo.

Bandy is the only sport in which Mongolia has finished higher than third place at the Asian Winter Games, which happened in 2011 when the national team captured the silver medal. It led to being chosen as the best Mongolian sports team of 2011. [139] Mongolia won the bronze medal of the B division at the 2017 Bandy World Championship after which the then President of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, held a reception for the team. [140]

Ulaanbataar holds an annual marathon in June. 2015 will have the sixth marathon that has been organized by Ar Mongol. The race starts at Sukh Bataar Square and is always open to residents and runners who come especially for this event. [141]

Mongolia holds other traditional festivals throughout the year. The Golden Eagle Festival draws about 400 eagle hunters on horseback, including the traveler Мөнхбаярт Батсайхан (Mönkhbayart Batsaikhan), to compete with their birds. The Ice Festival and the Thousand Camel Festival are amongst many other traditional Mongolian festivals.


Interesting Facts About Mongolian Camels

Most of our friends ask me &lsquowhat is camel riding like?&rsquo and how is the Mongolian Gobi?
First of all, I will talk about the specialty of Mongolian camel. As you know there are 2 types of camels are survived on earth, which is one-humped Dromedary, makes up 94% of all and remained 6% are a two-humped Bactrian camel.

The Mongolian Gobi is the habitat of the Bactrian camel, but Wait!! Also, there are Wild Bactrian Camels, called &lsquoKhavtgai&rsquo are survived and still roaming through this exotic and alive desert.

What, wild camel? Yes. There are around only 800 wild camels remained in the harsh environment of Mongolian Gobi. The ancestor of the domesticated Bactrian camel has been attracted to international researchers for its different gene since it was first discovered by Russian explorer in 1800s. It is classified as Critically Endangered Species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Domestic Bactrian camel has been one of the most important animals for steppe nomads since it had domesticated in 2500BC. They were 549 thousand in 1985 but sadly they have been decreased to 200 thousand in 2007. And in the last few years local nomads and communities arrange some good campaigns to raise and promote them so the quantity has been increased up to 401 thousand in 2016.

For instance they organize &lsquoThousand Camel Festival&rsquo or Camel Race and Camel Polo in the past 20 years which recorded in World Guinness Book in 2016, and also local tour operators organize camel riding trips. South Gobi, Bayankhongor and Gobi-Altai Provinces have the largest number of camel.

So, what is the importance of this animal and its role in the daily life of Mongolian nomads? Since the domestication, camel breeding has been turning into the cultural heritage of nomadic people. We cannot imagine that the life of Mongol nomads without their livestock and Mother Nature, you can feel the true connection of human and nature. Such as, there is a magical and ritual that belongs to mother and baby camel. You will melt into this ritual when you see it yourself, but you can watch the famous film &lsquoThe story of the Weeping camel&rsquo

- Served as transportation and can carry 170-250kg (370-55-lb) for 47km (30miles) per day.
- Hair is used for rope which encircles Traditional Mongolian Ger dwelling (yurt)
- Wool is used for garment and sock
- Provide milk and meat
- Camel Riding Tour

Camels in the snow. What a fantastic imagination is that! Is the camel just the animal of the desert? No, they are one of the few animals that can survive in the great heat and extreme cold of the Mongolian Gobi. According to history, during the 1 st World War, the role of the Bactrian camel was so important for its stamina for transporting.

How do you imagine about Mongolian Gobi? Is that just the hot desert without life? This is so unique desert on the planet, home to ascinating wildlife and pre-historic sites such as dinosaur fossils, and local nomadic cultural richness and breathtaking scenery of greens and oasis.

What about riding? For the first time, it might seem like falling but after the camel stands your mind would be changed and it will be so comfortable on the camelback.

If you are animal and nature lover and want to know about the beautiful Gobi and nomadic way of living and stay close to nature, camel riding is the right way to explore all of these. Imagine that, sleeping under the millions of stars, accommodating in nomadic dwelling ger (yurt), having great dinner surrounding beautiful nature, getting to know legends and stories about local life and riding through the mystical Gobi.


Xiongnu Nomadic Tribal Confederation Were Hun Ancestors

After their defeat by the Han Dynasty at the Battle of Mobei (119 BC), the Xiongnu were weakened and eventually divided into a north and south branch. However, they remained powerful and after the fall of the Han, the Xiongnu settled in China. During the 4 th century AD in the Sixteen Kingdoms period , the Xiongnu nomads established a number of states such as Han Zhao.

The Xiongnu are somewhat mysterious and their ethnicity and origin are not known, although some believe that they were the ancestors of the feared Huns. According to Sputnik News ‘Various hypotheses suggest that they may have spoken Iranian, Mongolic, Turkic, Uralic, or Yeniseian languages.’ One of the greatest Xiongnu mysteries was the location of their capital Luut or Luncheng which was also known as the ‘Dragon City.’

The Xiongnu Empire and the long-lost nomad Dragon City near Luut (Khiruge / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

The archaeological team from Ulaanbaatar State University believe that they have finally solved the mystery of the location of the nomad’s city. The decoration unearthed at this site ‘is the first evidence found within the region to suggest the site is the Dragon City of Luncheng,’ Tumur-Ochir Iderkhangai told AKI Press . The fragment with the Chanyu inscription demonstrates that the site near the Orkhan River was the nomads’ capital. Its location had been lost for almost two thousand years but now researchers are confident that they have found the long-lost Dragon City. Iderkhangai is quoted by Aventuras na historia as saying ‘As a result of more than a decade of research on the political centre of the Xiongnu Empire, I am very happy that we have discovered and excavated the empire’s capital Dragon City or Luncheng City.’


Russia Wants to Keep Mongolia in Its Place

On June 24, Russia held a massive military parade, technically to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day—delayed for over a month due to COVID-19—but also to provide a suitably militaristic backdrop for voting in the constitutional referendum that will conclude next week, paving the way for the extension of Vladimir Putin’s presidency until at least 2036.

On the same day, Mongolia held its regular, democratic parliamentary elections.

On June 24, Russia held a massive military parade, technically to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day—delayed for over a month due to COVID-19—but also to provide a suitably militaristic backdrop for voting in the constitutional referendum that will conclude next week, paving the way for the extension of Vladimir Putin’s presidency until at least 2036.

On the same day, Mongolia held its regular, democratic parliamentary elections.

Now these two unrelated events have triggered an uncharacteristic diplomatic row between Moscow and Ulaanbaatar that highlights Russia’s self-defeating propensity to bully its neighbors and Mongolia’s rapidly shrinking room for maneuver as it faces pressure from both Moscow and Beijing. Mongolia, a robust democracy in a deeply authoritarian neighborhood, faces a difficult future as its two giant neighbors and former imperial overlords, China and Russia, seek to reorder Eurasia in their image.

The latest row erupted when the Mongolian National Broadcaster (MNB) scrapped plans to air the Russian parade in a live broadcast. It had originally planned to show the parade, partly because the Mongolian government resolved to send a small detachment of soldiers to march in the spectacle in a gesture of respect for Russia. But realizing that the rescheduled parade would coincide with the Mongolian election, MNB decided to pull the broadcast, citing concerns over perceptions of election day bias.

The Russian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar lashed out against this decision in a mean-tempered public post on its Facebook page, accusing MNB of an “aberration of vision” and even subservience to Western interests: “Perhaps the MNB board of directors inadvertently joined … a whole campaign of accusing Russia of electoral interference nearly everywhere in the world?”

The remarks caused a storm of controversy. In a letter sent to Russian Ambassador Iskander Azizov, MNB Director Luvsandashiin Ninjjamts called the embassy’s remarks “clearly insulting” and demanded an official apology. Former Mongolian Prime Minister Sanjaagiin Bayar, who had also served in Russia as Mongolia’s ambassador, likened the embassy’s outburst to the old practice of Soviet ambassadors dictating to their host governments what they should and should not do.

Mongolians know a thing or two about Soviet interference. The country became a Soviet satellite 20 years before the same fate befell the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In the 1930s, the Soviets—and their Mongolian puppets, the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party—slaughtered tens of thousands of people in anti-religious campaigns and waves of political repression.

Among the victims was Mongolian Prime Minister Peljidiin Genden, who had the nerve to quarrel with Joseph Stalin. (He is rumored to have smashed the Soviet dictator’s pipe to pieces in one nasty altercation.) He was sent to Moscow and executed by the Soviets in 1937. His successor, Anandyn Amar, suffered a similar fate. He was arrested, sent to the Soviet Union, and executed there in 1941.

This bloodbath led to the premiership of Khorloogiin Choibalsan, also known as Mongolia’s Stalin, who lent himself to serving Soviet aims in Asia and was closely supervised by Ivan Ivanov, the then-Soviet plenipotentiary in Mongolia. It was on Choibalsan’s and Ivanov’s watch that Mongolia got involved in the Soviet war effort during the 1940s, sending nearly half a million horses (which proved their resilience on the front line) and sponsoring a tank brigade. Mongolia also joined the Soviets in fighting the Japanese in Manchuria in August 1945.

Choibalsan’s successor, Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal, was even more anxious to endear himself to his Soviet overlords, repeatedly requesting Mongolia’s annexation by the Soviet Union. (To their credit, the Soviets refused.) Tsedenbal also fought Moscow’s case tirelessly during the unfolding Sino-Soviet split. In December 1962, his ardent defense of Soviet policies in a conversation with the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai got so heated that the two nearly came to blows.

Ironically, it was the Soviets who ultimately decided to remove Tsedenbal from power in 1984, sending him to peaceful retirement in Moscow. The move was choreographed by then-up-and-coming Central Committee Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev (reportedly, in part because Tsedenbal’s anti-Chinese views undercut Moscow’s interest in improving relations with Beijing).

Mongolia only shed its status as a Soviet satellite in the late 1980s. Sandwiched uncomfortably between two former empires, the country embraced its so-called “third neighbor policy,” seeking actively to develop relations with the West as a counterbalance. Mongolia also developed a robust system of democratic governance, holding regular elections (in what has become largely a two-party system) and enjoying freedoms of speech, assembly, and association in stark contrast to its two authoritarian neighbors.

For years, Ulaanbaatar has played China against Russia, Russia against China, and both against the West in a skillful balancing act that is now becoming difficult to sustain. Closer relations between Beijing and Moscow in recent years have constrained Mongolia. The landlocked country’s utter economic dependence on its two larger neighbors accentuates its impossible dilemma.

Mongolia’s current president, Khaltmaagiin Battulga, campaigned on a Russia-friendly platform, projecting himself as Putin’s friend. He had also made overtures to China (most recently, by inexplicably donating 30,000 sheep as Mongolia’s contribution to China’s anti-coronavirus effort) and even floated the prospect of his country joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, largely run by China and Russia.

When Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Battulga’s predecessor as president, first agreed to contribute Mongolian troops to march in the V-E parade—in 2015, for the 70th anniversary—it served as an indicator of a careful pivot in Russia’s direction. It was a move that had some support in Mongolian policy circles: Better the Russians than the Chinese, their thinking went.

But, as the Russian Embassy’s intervention demonstrates, Mongolia’s independence is not yet fully accepted in Moscow. The expectation, clearly, is that the Mongolians ultimately have no recourse: They have to swallow their pride and do as they are told because, if they don’t, let them see if they can get better treatment with China.

The embassy’s outrageous Facebook post is a part of an emerging pattern. In recent years, the Russian Foreign Ministry has pursued a much more assertive social media policy. Russian embassies have played an active part in disgraceful propaganda and trolling, in particular related to the history of World War II. This includes, for instance, posts that blame Poland for the outbreak of the war (by the Russian Embassy in Warsaw) and posts by the Russian Embassy in Tallinn praising the joys of life in Soviet-occupied Estonia.

While the purpose of these aggressive and deliberately offensive social media campaigns is far from clear, its effects are obvious: enraging the populace of the target countries and helping to foster Russia’s image as an unrepentant, aggressive, neoimperialist power. That is certainly the image the Russian Embassy has projected in Mongolia.

Unfortunately, unlike the European countries that can laugh off Russia’s trolling or perhaps take it seriously and rally in defiance of Putin’s regime, Mongolia has limited options. Moscow senses this vulnerability and will, of course, exploit it. In the long term, the very existence of an open, democratic Mongolia poses a challenge to China and Russia , and for this reason the survival of democracy in the country is an open question.

Despite the row over MNB’s refusal to broadcast the parade, Mongolian troops did march on Red Square, a sign of Ulaanbaatar’s commitment to keeping its difficult northern neighbor appeased. Whether or not the embassy apologizes for the scandalous post (and it won’t), the passions will probably fizzle out in the days ahead, leaving just the bitter aftertaste—a reminder for ordinary Mongolians that in Russia’s zero-sum world, you march in unison and never, ever smash Stalin’s pipe.

Sergey Radchenko is a professor of international politics and director of research at the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University. He is the author, most recently, of Unwanted Visionaries: The Soviet Failure in Asia at the End of the Cold War. Twitter: @DrRadchenko


Mongolia: Historic vote abolishes death penalty

Mongolia’s parliament became the latest to consign the death penalty to the history books, in a major victory for human rights in the country, said Amnesty International today.

On Thursday, lawmakers voted in favour of a new Criminal Code that abolishes the death penalty for all crimes. The new Criminal Code will take effect from September 2016, and would bring the total number of countries to have completely abandoned this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment to 102.

“Mongolia’s historic decision to abolish the death penalty is a great victory for human rights. The death penalty is becoming a thing of the past across the world,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

“Mongolia has set an example which we hope will quickly ripple across Asia. The countries that continue to execute have been shown a clear path to follow to end this cruel and inhumane punishment.”

Three countries - Fiji, Madagascar and Suriname - have already abolished the death penalty this year.

The last execution in Mongolia was in 2008 and the death penalty remained classified as a state secret. Since then, the country has taken a series of steps towards abolition culminating in yesterday’s historic parliamentary vote.

In 2010, the country’s President, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, commuted all death sentences and announced a moratorium on all executions. In 2012, Mongolia ratified an international treaty committing the country to the abolition of the death penalty.

President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj has repeatedly said Mongolia must turn its back on the death penalty in order to fully respect the right to life. He argued that the threat of executions does not have a deterrent effect and the risk of a miscarriage of justice is inherent in any system of justice.

“President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj exposed the fallacy of the death penalty. The political leadership shown in abolishing the death penalty in Mongolia needs to be repeated elsewhere in Asia. Countries that continue to execute are on the wrong side of history,” said Roseann Rife.

A minority of countries continue to use the death penalty, in ways that are completely contrary to international law and standards. Earlier this year, Indonesia resumed executions amidst worldwide criticism, while Pakistan has executed at least 300 people since it lifted a moratorium on executions in December 2014. In East Asia, China, Japan, North Korea, and Taiwan have all carried out executions in 2015.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

Read more on how the death penalty is being consigned to history across the world.


Christianity growing fast in Mongolia

1 of 3 Mitch Tillman gives a sermon at his congregation located inside a building that once was a museum dedicated to Vladimir Lenin under previous communist regimes. By Michael Kohn/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Mongolians pray at the Living Word Christian Church, an evengelical church with around 1000 members in Ulan Bator. It is located in the UB Palace, a large complex that on weekend nights is a nightclub and bar. By Michael Kohn/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Mitch Tillman is an unlikely savior. Six years ago, the Baptist missionary languished in an Alabama jail, facing a prison sentence on drug charges. Today he builds hospitals, feeds street children and saves souls in Mongolia.

For Christian missionaries like Tillman, Mongolia is the new El Dorado. Since communist rule ended in 1990, some 60,000 Mongolians have turned to Christianity, according to records kept by Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, other Protestant churches and Catholics.

"A lot of my friends were becoming Christian, so I decided to learn something about the faith," said L. Chimgee, 18, a student at Ulan Bator's Technical University. "I went on a weekend retreat to a Christian camp in the countryside. It was a lot of fun and I felt a real sense of community. So I joined the church."

Tillman, who was acquitted of cocaine possession in 2002, believes prayers secured his freedom. Once out of jail, the Chattanooga native sold his auto body business and moved to Mongolia where his father, a Baptist pastor, had established a mission.

"As Mongolia enters a new era of freedom and democracy, people are looking for something different," said Tillman, a 53-year-old father of six, whose family includes three adopted Mongolian children. "They are looking for hope and a better life for their children. I think that Christ will give them that."

Monks alarmed

But the campaign to convert Mongolians has set off alarm bells in the ancient hallways of Gandan Monastery, the nation's largest Buddhist complex with 800 monks. Senior monk Khunhur Byambajav says he is concerned that fewer Mongolians are coming to his monastery.

"It's a problem of money. (Christian) missionaries have money to build schools and educate young people. They entice them by various means," said Byambajav, referring to gifts offered by churches such as food, clothing and scholarships to study abroad. "We cannot financially compete, but we have to try, otherwise we won't have enough young people becoming Buddhist."

Tillman's Harbor Evangelism International, for example, operates two hospitals, an orphanage, a soup kitchen and an alcohol recovery program in a country where alcoholism is rampant even among some Buddhist monks, some observers say.

"Our Mongolian Buddhist monasteries are weak," said L. Odonchimed, a former member of parliament. "They get money from people but don't give much back. Missionaries give things away for free and help people - that is what a religious organization should do."

Unregistered groups

Byambajav says he is most concerned about unregistered Christian groups, which he says indoctrinate children, convince Buddhists to burn religious articles and even destroy stupas (a mound-like structure that symbolizes enlightenment). "There is no control over these groups and no one is paying attention to what they are doing."

In a nation that separates church and state like the United States, Byambajav has asked the government to make Buddhism the state religion. He argues that the nation needs a law giving monks state funds and allowing the teaching of Buddhism in public schools.

"We sent a letter to the government to change the law on religion, but foreign religious organizations are very strong and wealthy," said Byambajav. "They influence the decisions of politicians because they give them money. So it puts us at a disadvantage."

Back to Buddhism

Odonchimed, the former legislator, agrees that many Mongolians are attracted by the services offered by church groups. But he predicts they will be eventually ignored as the nation's economy develops.

"As time passes, people will have less need for these missionaries and they will be forgotten," he said. "Most people will turn back to Buddhism."

In the meantime, the Federation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, an Oregon-based nonprofit Buddhist organization, is using a Western approach to win converts. The group has opened schools in monasteries and at its center in Ulan Bator.

"Mongolian religion needs to adapt to modern times," said Ueli Minder, the Swiss head of the federation. "Young Mongolians have little knowledge of Buddhism because the monasteries don't teach the faith to laypeople. It's our goal to help people understand the roots of the culture and the religion."

Western methods

Byambajav says Gandan monastery is also using Western methods, including a radio program, and plans to open several private schools and launch a television station.

Minder, however, concedes that Buddhist monks are facing a daunting challenge when going up against Christian missionaries: proselytizing is an alien concept for most of them.

"It should not become a missionary religion, but we need to have a strategy to overcome the negative propaganda of the past and the propaganda of missionary work," said Minder. "The lamas (Tibetan/Mongolian monks) need to learn to defend their beliefs . regain the people's confidence."

Christianity in Buddhist Mongolia

Until religion was banned in 1921 by a Communist regime, most Mongolians followed Tibetan Buddhism. New freedom following the collapse of communism in 1990 legalized Buddhism and reopened monasteries. But it also opened the gates to outside faiths.

Currently, 50 percent of Mongolians are Tibetan Buddhists, 6 percent are Shamanist and Christians and 4 percent are Muslims. About 40 percent say they practice no religion, according to CIA data.

The challenge to keep the Buddhist faithful from converting to Christianity is hampered by language. Monks chant in Tibetan, which most Mongolians do not understand. Christian sermons and bibles are given and written in Mongolian.

According to records kept by church groups operating in Mongolia, there are 60,000 Christians - a 20 percent increase over the past eight years. The government keeps no statistics on religious affiliation.

In the capital, Ulan Bator, where half the nation's Christians reside, according to a U.S. State Department report, churches are located in prominent neighborhoods, including a five-story Mormon tabernacle situated next to the city's most luxurious hotel. Residents can also watch Christian programs via Eagle TV, a satellite channel funded by American Protestants.

U.S.-style revivals are also common, including charismatic pastors giving fiery sermons to packed halls. These services include rock music, flashing neon lights and high-tech videos beamed across large screens. Clear plastic boxes overflow with donations and teens can sign up to participate in rural "Jesus Camps."

"It's a release from the status quo," said American Baptist minister Mitch Tillman. "For so many years they were under Buddhism and then they were oppressed by communism. They want something new and they find it in Jesus Christ."


Latest Updates

They contacted price-gouging middlemen, international health organizations and vaccine alliances for poorer countries. One intermediary offered to sell Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine for $120 a shot, nearly a quarter of the average monthly salary, Ms. Enkhbat said. Covax, the global vaccine-sharing alliance, which Mongolia signed onto in July 2020, promised doses in the fall or winter.

With each breakthrough from Russia, negotiations moved more quickly with China.

In early February, Mongolia approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Three days later, China’s Sinopharm Group received approval for its Vero Cell vaccine. Soon after, China donated 300,000 doses of its Sinopharm vaccine to Mongolia, citing a “profound traditional friendship” as motivation.

Opening up more of the border between China and Mongolia was also a part of the vaccine discussions, Chinese and Mongolian officials said in Chinese state media. Mongolia needs China to buy its coal — exports to the country make up nearly a quarter of Mongolia’s annual economic growth. The revenues helped to pad Mongolia’s budget by a quarter last year.

After a month of back and forth, the Mongolian government struck a deal in March with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, too, for one million doses of the Sputnik vaccine. Days later, Mongolia finalized an agreement to buy 330,000 additional doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.

When there was a last-minute hitch in the delivery of the purchased Chinese vaccines, a call on April 7 between China’s premier, Li Keqiang, and Mongolia’s prime minister, helped to smooth things over and reassure both sides. Up to that point, it was still unclear if Mongolia would be able to rely on China or if it would need to return to Russia for more vaccines.

“That’s what paved the way for the rest of the deal,” Ms. Enkhbat said about the phone call between the two men. “We laid out the situation and said that we are betting on Chinese vaccines at a time when the rest of the world fully isn’t.”

Mongolia has also secured commitments from AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech. So far it has received only 60,000 of the Sputnik vaccine because of manufacturing delays. But the Chinese vaccine will account for a majority of Covid-19 shots for Mongolia’s population.

“We are thankful to our partners, especially China, that they are providing us with vaccinations when they also need it for domestic use,” said Battsetseg Batmunkh, Mongolia’s foreign minister.

The Chinese and Russian embassies in Mongolia did not respond to requests for comment.

In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, 97 percent of the adult population has received a first dose and more than half are fully vaccinated, according to government statistics. Across the country, more than three quarters of Mongolians have already received one shot.

The country’s vaccination effort still faces hurdles. Mongolia is economically dependent on China, and many of its citizens continue to fear its power and influence. When tensions have arisen in the past, China has shut its border and stopped purchasing Mongolian coal.

Mongolians have also expressed a preference for Russia’s Sputnik vaccine. To get the population to take the Sinopharm shot, the government has offered each citizen 50,000 tugriks — about $18 — to get fully vaccinated. The average monthly salary in 2020 was $460.

The terms and pricing of the Sinopharm and Sputnik deals were not made public, and Mongolia’s foreign ministry declined to comment on pricing. Representatives for the Gamaleya Research Institute and Sinopharm did not respond to requests for comment.

While some global health experts have questioned whether Sinopharm will be able to continue to deliver on its commitments overseas, it has delivered all of the doses Mongolia ordered. China has said it can make as many as five billion doses by the end of the year, though officials have warned that the country is struggling to make enough shots for its citizens.

There are also some signs that governments that have chosen the Sinopharm vaccine may have to roll out a third booster shot sooner than expected.

China, for its part, may be playing a long game, said Julian Dierkes, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia who specializes in Mongolian politics. Though many Mongolians may still not trust China, the Mongolian government will remember how it made its vaccines available at a critical moment.


Watch the video: Friendly Mongolia 1989 - Mongolia in late 1980s


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