Map Courtesy CIA World Factbook
Mongolia (Khalkha Mongolian: Монгол Улс) is a landlocked nation in central Asia, bordered by Russia to the north and the People's Republic of China to the south. It was the center of the Mongol Empire of the 13th century, but was ruled by the Chinese Qing dynasty from the end of the 17th century until an independent government was again formed with Soviet assistance in 1921. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Mongolia became a democracy. The 18th largest country in the world, Mongolia has very little arable land: much of its area is grassland, with mountains in the north and west and the Gobi Desert in the south. Little over 30 percent of the population are nomadic or semi-nomadic Tibetan Buddhists of the Mongol ethnicity. Over 50 percent of the population reside in capital city - Ulaanbaatar.
In the 13th century, Mongolia was the center of the Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous land empire in world history. After more than a century of power, the Mongol Empire ended and Mongolia fell back into a state of internal struggle and feuds, which paved the way for the Manchu conquest of Inner Mongolia in 1636 and the submission of Outer Mongolia in 1691. Both Inner and Outer Mongolia declared independence in 1911, but only Outer Mongolia succeeded, with Russian help. After the October Revolution in Russia, Chinese troops re-occupied Outer Mongolia in 1919, but were caught in the middle when White and Red Russian armies extended the Russian Civil War into (Outer) Mongolian territory, and driven out in 1921. In 1924, the Mongolian People's Republic was proclaimed. Mongolia aligned closely with the Soviet Union. Politicians who demanded a more independent course, like Bodoo or Dandzan, were quickly toppled and executed. In 1928 Horloogiyn Choybalsan rose to power. Under his rule, forced collectivization, purges, and the destruction of the Lamaist monasteries in 1937, left more than 10.000 people dead.
During World War II, the USSR defended Mongolia against Japan during the Battle of Halhin Gol. Mongolian forces also took part in the Soviet offensive against Japanese forces in Inner Mongolia of August 1945. The threat of Mongolian forces seizing parts of Inner Mongolia induced the Republic of China to recognize Outer Mongolia's independence, provided that a referendum was held. The referendum took place on October 20, 1945, with, according to official numbers, 100% of the electorate voting for independence. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, both countries recognized each other on October 6, 1949.
After Choybalsan died in Moscow on January 26, 1952, Yumjaagiyn Tsedenbal took power. In 1956 and again in 1962, Choybalsan's 'personality cult' was condemned. Mongolia continued to closely align itself with the Soviet Union, especially after the Sino-Soviet split of the late 1950s. While Tsedenbal visited Moscow in August 1984, the parliament announced his retirement and replaced him with Jambyn Batmonh.
In 1990, the Communist Party relinquished control over the government, paving the way for a new constitution in 1992 that abolished the People's Republic and created a hybrid parliamentary/presidential state.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mongolia".