Mongolia

Date:  2013-05-28  Author: admin    Source:Wikipedia

Mongolia
 
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East andCentral Asia. It borders Russia to the north and the autonomous region of Inner MongoliaChina to the south, east and west. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest city, is home to about 45% of the population. Mongolia's political system is a parliamentary republic.
The area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Rouran, the Gökturks and others. In 1206 Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, and his grandson Kublai Khan conquered China to establish the Yuan Dynasty. After the collapse of the Yuan, the Mongols retreated to Mongolia and resumed their earlier pattern of constant internal conflict and occasional raids on the Chinese borderlands. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Mongolia came under the influence of Tibetan Buddhism. At the end of the 17th century, all of Mongolia had been incorporated into the area ruled by the Qing Dynasty. During the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, Mongolia declared independence, but had to struggle until 1921 to firmly establish de factoindependence from the Republic of China, and until 1945 to gain international recognition.
The country came under strong Russian and Soviet influence; in 1924, the Mongolian People's Republicwas declared, and Mongolian politics began to follow the same patterns as the Soviet politics of the time. After the breakdown of communist regimes in Eastern Europe in late 1989, Mongolia saw its ownDemocratic Revolution in early 1990, which led to a multi-party system, a new constitution in 1992, and transition to a market economy.
At 1,564,116 square kilometres (603,909 sq mi), Mongolia is the 19th largest and the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, with a population of around 2.75 million people. It is also the world's second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. The country contains very littlearable land, as much of its area is covered by steppes, with mountains to the north and west and theGobi Desert to the south. Approximately 30% of the population are nomadic or semi-nomadic. The predominant religion in Mongolia is Tibetan Buddhism, and the majority of the state's citizens are of Mongol ethnicity, although KazakhsTuvans, and other minorities also live in the country, especially in the west. About 20% of the population live on less than US$1.25 per day. Mongolia joined theWorld Trade Organization in 1997 and seeks to expand its participation in regional economic and trade regimes.
At 1,564,116 km2 (603,909 sq mi), Mongolia is the world's 19th-largest country (after Iran). 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. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its westernmost point is only 38 kilometres (24 mi) from Kazakhstan.
The geography of Mongolia is varied, with the Gobi Desert to the south and with cold and mountainous regions to the north and west. Much of Mongolia consists of steppes. The highest point in Mongolia is the Khüiten Peak in theTavan bogd massif in the far west at 4,374 m (14,350 ft). The basin of theUvs Lake, shared with Tuva Republic in Russia, is a natural World Heritage Site. 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). 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 oftemperature 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 also strongly affected but not as severely. The cold gets less severe as one goes south, reaching the warmest January temperatures in Omnogovi Province (DalanzadgadKhanbogd) 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 while daytime January temperatures often reach 0°C to 5°C and locals rarely have the stinging sensations associated with early frostbite. In Mongolia, being exposed to temperatures ranging from −30°C to −40°C for more than 60 minutes may increase the risk of frostbite. A strong wind at those temperatures almost certainly leads to frostbite even for Mongolians (who have special physical adaptations to the cold).
The country is subject to occasional harsh climatic conditions known as zud. The annual average temperature in Ulan Bator is 0°C, making it the world's coldest capital city. Mongolia is high, cold, and windy. It has an extreme continental climate with long, cold winters and short summers, during which most of its annual precipitation falls. The country averages 257 cloudless days a year, and it is usually at the center of a region of high atmospheric pressure. Precipitation is highest in the north (average of 200 to 350 millimeters (7.9 to 13.8 in) per year) and lowest in the south, which receives 100 to 200 millimeters (3.9 to 7.9 in) annually. The highest annual precipitation of 622.297mm occurred in the forests of Bulgan Province close to the border with Russia and the lowest of 41.735mm occurred in the Gobi Desert (period 1961–1990). The sparsely populated far north of Bulgan Province averages 600mm in annual precipitation which means it receives more precipitation thanBeijing (571.8mm) or Berlin (571mm).
The name "Gobi" is a Mongol term for a desert steppe, which usually refers to a category of arid rangeland with insufficient vegetation to supportmarmots but with enough to support camels. Mongols distinguish Gobi from desert proper, although the distinction is not always apparent to outsiders unfamiliar with the Mongolian landscape. Gobi rangelands are fragile and are easily destroyed by overgrazing, which results in expansion of the true desert, a stony waste where not even Bactrian camels can survive.
Sites such as Tsagaan Agui (White Cave) in Bayankhongor Provinceshow that Homo erectus inhabited Mongolia from 800,000 years ago. Modern humans reached Mongolia approximately 40,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic. The Khoid Tsenkher Cav in Khovd Province shows lively pink, brown and red ochre paintings (20,000 years ago) of mammoths, lynx, bactrian camels and ostriches, earning it the nickname "the Lascaux of Mongolia". The Mal'ta Venus (21,000 years ago) testifies to the level of Upper Paleolithic art in northern Mongolia, though 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 as it became the dominant lifestyle. Horse-riding nomadism is first seen in Mongolia during the Copper and Bronze Age Afanasevo culture (3500–2500 BC) which stretched to the Khangai Mountains in Central Mongolia. The wheeled vehicles found in the burials of the Afanasevans have been dated to before 2200 BC.[15] Pastoral nomadism and metalworking became more and 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 it always remained small in scale compared to pastoral nomadism, which may have first been introduced from the west or arose independently in the region. The population during the Copper Age has been described as paleomongoloid in the east of what is now Mongolia, and as europoid in the west. 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 and was found inthe Altai, Mongolia. As horse 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. Guifang, Shanrong, Donghu) into China during the Shang dynasty(1600–1046 BC) and Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) presaged the age of nomadic empires.
Mongolia, since prehistoric times, has been inhabited by nomads who, from time to time, formed great confederations that rose to prominence. The first of these, the Xiongnu of undetermined ethnicity, were brought together to form a confederation by Modu Shanyu in 209 BC. Soon they emerged as the greatest threat to the Qin Dynasty, forcing the latter to construct the Great Wall of China, itself being 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) which also ruled more than the entirety of present-day Mongolia. The Mongolic Rouran Khaganate (330–555), of Xianbei provenance, ruled a massive empire before being defeated by the Göktürks (555–745) whose empire was even bigger (laid siege toPanticapaeum, 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.
 
In the chaos of the late 12th century, a chieftain named Temüjin finally succeeded in uniting the Mongol tribes (belonging to the Shiwei branch of the Mongolic Xianbei) 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 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), (22% of Earth's total land area) and having a population of over 100 million people. The emergence of Pax Mongolica also significantly eased trade and commerce across Asia during its height.
After Genghis Khan's death, the empire was subdivided into four kingdoms or Khanates which eventually became quasi-independent after Möngke's death in 1259. One of the khanates, the "Great Khaanate", consisting of the Mongol homeland and China, became the Yuan Dynasty under Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan. He set up his capital in present day Beijing but after more than a century of power, the Yuan was replaced by the Ming Dynasty in 1368, with the Mongol court fleeing to the north. As the Ming armies pursued the Mongols into their homeland, they successfully sacked and destroyed the Mongol capital Karakorum among a few other cities, although some of these attempts were repelled by the Mongols under Ayushridarand his general Köke Temür.
After the expulsion of the Yuan Dynasty rulers from China, the Mongols continued to rule Mongolia, also referred to as the Northern Yuan. The next centuries were marked by violent power struggles among various factions, notably the Genghisids and the non-Genghisid Oirads, as well as by several Chinese invasions (like the five expeditions led by the Yongle Emperor). In the early 15th century, the Oirads under Esen Tayisigained the upper hand, and even raided China in 1449 in a conflict over Esen's right to pay tribute, capturing the Ming emperor in the process. However, Esen was murdered in 1454, and the Borjigids recovered.
Batumöngke Dayan Khan and his khatun Mandukhai reunited the entire Mongol nation under the Genghisids in the early 16th century. In the mid-16th century, Altan Khan of the Tümed, a grandson of Dayan Khan – but no legitimate Khan himself – became powerful. He founded Hohhot in 1557 and his meeting with the Dalai Lama in 1578 sparked the second introduction of Tibetan Buddhism to Mongolia. Abtai Khan of the Khalkhaconverted to Buddhism and founded the Erdene Zuu monastery in 1585. His grandsonZanabazar became the first Jebtsundamba Khutughtu in 1640. 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. The top monasteries wielded significant temporal power besides spiritual power.
The last Mongol Khan was Ligden Khan in the early 17th century. He got into conflicts with the Manchus over the looting of Chinese cities, and managed to alienate most Mongol tribes. He died in 1634 on his way to Tibet, in an attempt to evade the Manchus and destroy the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism. By 1636, most Inner Mongoliantribes 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 Beijing's rule. After several wars, the Dzungars (the western Mongols or Oirats) were virtually annihilated during the Qing conquest of Dzungaria in 1757–58.
Some scholars estimate that about 80% of the 600,000 or more Dzungars were destroyed by a combination of disease and warfare. 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 Manchus also forbade mass Chinese immigration, allowing the Mongols to keep their culture. The main trade route during this period was the Tea Road which had permanent stations located every 25–30 km each of which was staffed by 5–30 chosen families. Urga (present-day Ulaanbaatar) benefited greatly from this overland trade as it was the only major settlement in Outer Mongolia used as a stopover point by merchants, officials and travelers on the Tea Road.
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 KhüreeUliastai, and Khovd, and the country was subdivided into ever more feudal and ecclesiastical fiefdoms. 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 the usuriouspractices of the Chinese traders and the collection of imperial taxes in silver instead of animals, resulted in poverty becoming ever more rampant. By 1911 there were 700 large and small monasteries in Outer Mongolia and 115,000 monks who 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.
 
With the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Mongolia under the Bogd Khaan declared independence in 1911. However, the newly established Republic of China considered Mongolia to be part of its own territory. 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 Xu Shuzheng occupied Mongolia.
However, as a result of the Russian Civil War, the White Russian adventurer Baron Ungern led his troops into Mongolia in October 1920, defeating the Chinese forces in Niislel Khüree (Ulaanbaatar) in early February 1921. In order 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's independence was declared once again on July 11, 1921. These events led to Mongolia's close alignment with the Soviet Union over the next seven decades.
In 1924, after the death of the religious leader and khanBogd Khan, a Mongolian People's Republic was proclaimed with support from the Soviet Union.
In 1928, Khorloogiin Choibalsan rose to power. He instituted collectivisation of livestock, the destruction of Buddhist monasteries and the Stalinist repressions in Mongolia resulting in the murder of monks and other people. 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. The Stalinist purges in Mongolia that began in 1937 affected the Republic by killing more than 30,000 people. Japanese imperialism became even more alarming after the invasion of neighboring Manchuria in 1931. During the Soviet-Japanese Border War of 1939, the Soviet Union successfully defended Mongolia against Japanese expansionism.
In August 1945 Mongolian forces also took part in the Soviet Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation in Inner Mongolia. The Soviet threat of seizing parts of Inner Mongolia induced China to recognize Outer Mongolia's independence, provided that a referendum be held. The referendum took place on October 20, 1945, with (according to official numbers) 100% of the electorate voting for independence. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, both countries confirmed their mutual recognition on October 6, 1949. On January 26, 1952, Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal took power. In 1956 and again in 1962, Choibalsan's personality cult was condemned at the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary PartyCentral Committee plenums. Mongolia continued to align itself closely with the Soviet Union, especially after the Sino-Soviet split of the late 1950s. In the 1980s, an estimated 55,000 Soviet troops were based in Mongolia. While Tsedenbal was visiting Moscow in August 1984, his severe illness prompted the parliament to announce his retirement and replace him with Jambyn Batmönkh.
The introduction of perestroika and glasnost in the USSR by Mikhail Gorbachev strongly influenced Mongolian politics, leading to the peaceful Democratic Revolution and the introduction of a multi-party system and market economy. A new constitution was introduced in 1992, and the "People's Republic" was dropped from the country's name. The transition to market economy was often rocky. The early 1990s saw high inflation and food shortages. The first election wins for non-communist parties came in 1993 (presidential elections) and 1996 (parliamentary elections). The signing of the Oyu Tolgoi mine contract is considered a major milestone in modern Mongolian history. The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party renamed itself the Mongolian People's Party in 2010.

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