Facts About Mongolia
Background: Long a province of China, Mongolia won its
independence in 1921 with Soviet backing. A communist regime was installed
in 1924. During the early 1990s, the ex-communist Mongolian People's
Revolutionary Party (MPRP) gradually yielded its monopoly on power. In
1996, the Democratic Union Coalition (DUC) defeated the MPRP in a national
election. Over the next four years the Coalition implemented a number of
key reforms to modernize the economy and institutionalize democratic
reforms. However, the former communists were a strong opposition that
stalled additional reforms and made implementation difficult. In 2000, the
MPRP won 72 of the 76 seats in Parliament and completely reshuffled the
government. While it continues many of the reform policies, the MPRP is
focusing on social welfare and public order priorities.
Geography of Mongolia
Location: Northern Asia, between China and Russia
People of Mongolia
Life in sparsely populated Mongolia has become more urbanized. Nearly half of the people live in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and in other provincial centers. Seminomadic life still predominates in the countryside, but settled agricultural communities are becoming more common. Mongolia's birth rate is estimated at 1.4% (2000 census). About two-thirds of the total population are under age 30, 36% of whom are under 14.
Ethnic Mongols account for about 85% of the population and consist of Khalkha and other groups, all distinguished primarily by dialects of the Mongol language. Mongol is an Altaic language--from the Altaic Mountains of Central Asia, a language family comprising the Turkic, Tungusic, and Mongolic subfamilies--and is related to Turkic (Uzbek, Turkish, and Kazakh), Korean, and, possibly, Japanese. The Khalkha make up 90% of the ethnic Mongol population. The remaining 10% include Durbet Mongols and others in the north and Dariganga Mongols in the east. Turkic speakers (Kazakhs, Turvins, and Khotans) constitute 7% of Mongolia's population, and the rest are Tungusic-speakers, Chinese, and Russians. Most Russians left the country following the withdrawal of economic aid and collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Traditionally, Tibetan Buddhist Lamaism was the predominant religion. However, it was suppressed under the communist regime until 1990, with only one showcase monastery allowed to remain. Since 1990, as liberalization began, Buddhism has enjoyed a resurgence. About 4 million Mongols live outside Mongolia; about 3.4 million live in China, mainly in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and some 500,000 live in Russia, primarily in Buryatia and Kalmykia.
Population: 2,791,272 (July 2005 est.)
SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State
Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Mongolia > Map Economy History