The Country Today
The Republic of Mongolia is a landlocked nation that is approximately equal to the size of Alaska and is home to about 2.2 million people. With a population of only 2.2 million that makes Mongolia one of the lowest population dense nations in the world. In fact Mongolia has more livestock than people with over 25 million heads of livestock. Mongolia became the second nation in the world to become communist, after the USSR, when the USSR participated in the Mongolian revolution of 1921.
The population of Mongolia is about 90% native Mongols, that 90% in a combination of two main groups called the Khalkhas (75%), the Oirats (15%), and several smaller tribes. The rest of the population is made up of a mixture of nationalities from neighboring countries with the Kazakhs being the largest minority. The Mongolian population has been on a rapid increase over the last few decades causing more than half the countries population to be under the age of 15.
The main religion practiced within Mongolia is Tibetan Buddhism which has had a great revival with the onset of democracy and the freedom once again to practice religion. During the communist reign religion was strictly forbidden and was nearly eliminated in the years between 1937 and 1939 during a Soviet crackdown. The new Mongolia has declared Buddhism to be the national religion although other religions are permitted.
The economy in the area is slowly improving although heavy losses in livestock, due to worse than average winters and pressure from Russia has slowed the progress of a free-market economy. However with help from neighboring countries through trade and aid Mongolia is becoming a much more economically healthy despite the cutoff of Russian subsidies, oil shipments, and the constant threat of overdue debt.
As stated before Mongolia has renounced communism and has moved to free elections. The new Mongolian constitution created the People's Great
Hural, which is similar to the U.S. congress, and it created the leading post of Prime Minister, again similar to the U.S. president.
History of Modern Mongolia, and a little before
Despite the Mongol peoples glorious past present Mongolia is less than spectacular. As stated elsewhere on this site the technical end of the Mongol Empire as a unified state is considered to be the year 1368. After that time the original homeland of the Mongols was controlled once again by small tribal leaders that were neither strong or effective. The area of modern Mongolia was controlled by these tribal leaders until the year 1691 when it was invaded and swallowed up by the Ch'ing dynasty of China. Mongolia was then divided by the Chinese into Outer Mongolia and Inner Mongolia. Both of these areas were more or less controlled by the Chinese until 1911 when Outer Mongolia declared its independence. Then in 1919 the Chinese once again took control of Outer Mongolia and remained there until early 1921 when they were driven out by the Mongolian people and their ruthless leader, Baron Von Ungern-Sternberg who in turn massacred thousands of his own people. In late 1921 Baron Von Ungern-Sternberg was finally ousted by Mongolian revolutionaries with Soviet help. After 1921 the Soviets took great interest in Mongolia and help setup the new communist regime that would rule the once great country until March of 1990 when the people called for political and economic change. Today Mongolia is slowly becoming a new and free democratic nation despite there being many reformed communists that still hold power.
Currently the main problem for Mongolia is Russia. Throughout Mongolia's communist years it was heavily dependant on the USSR for many types of aid, including food and monetary aid, that have now been cut off due to Russia's own new reforms. However that is not the worst, Russia is now insisting that Mongolia payback all the years of aid that it provided during its communist years which Mongolia does not have the means to due.
The nation of Mongolia is still on a rebound from years of oppression from the former Soviet Union. The current main goal is to split itself from domination from its rather large and powerful neighbors of Russia and China. With democracy in power it is most definite the Mongol people will come out of this century far better off than they have been for many years. Perhaps the great power that the Mongols once held will one day come back and they will reach their dream of all people bowing to them.