Mongolian Information


General Information




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General Information

 Adult literacy rate is 84%(1999)

 The public school system provides free and compulsory education for 8 yrs., starting at age 7

 Infant mortality rate is 66 per 1,000 births(1999); birth rate 3.26%, death rate .6%(1995)

 in 1995 there was an average of 4.5 children/woman

 Life expectancy = 59(men) 64(women)(1999)

 Population statistics for 1995: pop. Growth 2.58%, under 14 yrs 40%, over 65 yrs. 4%

Population statistics for 1999: pop. Growth 1.5%, Mongolia has 2.57 million people

 Inflation rate = 53.1%(1995)

 GDP per capita = US$309(underestimated because of cashless society)(1995)

monthly wage = US$94 in Ulaanbaatar; US$65 in countryside(1995)

 Major exports = molybdenum, copper, sheepskins, cashmere

the country has over 300 mines, coal is also produced but used for heat in country

 Major imports = vehicles, oil, glass, sugar, industrial equipment

 before communism it was all free land, communists tried to implement collective farming and privatization, many lost their apartments and now have uneven grazing in government controlled areas


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The Secret History of the Mongols reads like the Greek Odyssey. It tells the story of Chinggis' ancestors.

 1162-1227 life of Temujin

 1189 Temujin is given title of Chinggis Khaan(universal king). To the Mongolians he represents strength, unity, law, and order. Many of them still have pictures of him in their homes today. Before him the Mongols were a loose organization of feuding clans.

 1211 Chinggis Khaan attacks China

 1279 Kublai Khaan(Temujin's grandson) completes conquest of China

 1294 Kublai Khaan dies

 1400-1454 Civil war in Mongolia

 1911 Independence from China

 1915 Russia, China, and Mongolia sign agreement to grant limited autonomy to Mongolia

 1919 Chinese invade Mongolia again

 1921 Chinese defeated

 1924 the Mongolian People's Republic declared by the Communists

 1932 Choibalsan, following Stalin's lead, had more than 700 people, mostly monks imprisoned or murdered.

 by 1939 some 27,000 people had been executed(3% of Mongolia's pop., 17,00 of which were monks)

 1986 air services between Beijing and Ulaanbaatar, which had been suspended since the 1960's, were resumed

 1989 communism collapses

 1989 full diplomatic relations with China were established

 1992 new constitution announced, communists win election

 1995 Mongolia received US$210 million in loans, major investors from 90-96 were 39% USA, 12% Japan, 12% Russia, and 10% China-much of this aid does not filter down to those in need

 1996 Mongolian Democratic Coalition unexpectedly wins over communists ending 75 years of communist rule

 1998-1999 three leaders resigned over conflicts of how to govern

 2000 new elections to be held, a Prime Minister governs currently

 The Mongolians have gone from pastoral nomads to the second communist state in the world for 70 years to a market economy with a democratic government. They are eager to learn new ways, but still hold to the strength of their people with many living the same as they did in Chinggis Khan's time.


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The People

Photo by Ohno Satoshi

 The horse is very important to their way of life.


Photo on left by Adrian Arbib and Benedict Allen, photo on right by Melvyn C. Goldstein and Cynthia M. Beall

Children learn to ride as soon as they can walk. This picture, on the left, shows young riders in the Nadaam festival race. Horses are put out in the winter and "rebroke" each Spring, as shown by the enthusiastic rider on the right.

 Mongolia is also famous for a specific kind of earthreal singing. There are many types, khumaii and tuva are two names I've heard. As I learn more maybe I can update this area. I found a site on Tuva music that gives you more information than one could ever digest.

 {pg. 12 in women of mongolia}

 ethnicity: 79%(1999), are Khalkh Mongols, 4%(1999) are Kazaks(most of whom live in the West and are famous for their falconry). There are 13 other smaller groups of distinct ethnicities.

 1/4 of the people live in Ulaanbaatar, another 1/4 live in smaller cities, the rest of the people are spread throughout Mongolia and are mostly nomadic

 The youth wear jeans and Western-style clothing. Men wear suits. In rural areas the del(a traditional wrap around gown held round the waist by a bright sash and buttoning on the upper right shoulder) is more popular, and is worn by both men and women. A winter version may be very thickly lines with fur.

photo by Melvyn C. Goldstein and Cynthia M. Beall

 Mongols enjoy having guests in their homes and are known for their hospitality.

 Most live in nuclear families. Elderly parents live with the family of their youngest son.

 People usually marry between 18 and 25 years of age.


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photo by Adrian Arbib and Benedict Allen

This is a photo of an ovoo. Usually a pile of rocks that travelers add stones or other bits to. This shows the integration between shaministic beliefs and Buddism coexisting.

 Tibetan Buddhism was introduced in the 7th Century

 1578 - Altan Khan converts to Buddhism, Mongolia had previously been mostly Shamanistic

 Kublai Kahn had teachers of Islam, Taoism, Nestorian Christianity, Manicheism, Confucianism, and Buddhism in his court offering advice in managing the state.

 Mongolians take Buddhism of the Tibetan Lamaist variety

 reincarnate lamas have been born in Mongolia

 1911 - when Qing China collapsed, the eighth Jebtzun Damba(he died in 1924 and was not replaced) declared Mongolia's independence and wielded sacred and secular power as did the Dalai Lama in Tibet

 1921 -110,000 men(1/3 of the male population) were lamas living in about 700 monasteries. Such a lack of males in the population was not good for the communist ideal of having large populations.

 1937 - the purge began and only 4 monasteries remained as museums, today new ones are being built, and old ones(where anything is left) are being restored.

 1997 - there were only 1000 lamas in 30 monasteries

 5% of Mongolia today is Islamic, but it's mostly Kazaks

 there are 30 non-Buddhist places of worship

 Shamanism is still practiced, and co-exists with Buddhism.

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Last Revised: May 3, 2000