History of Mongolia
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|History of Mongolia|
The area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu state, the Xianbei state, the Rouran Khaganate, the Turkic Khaganate and others. The para-Mongol Khitan people founded a state known as the Liao dynasty (907-1125) in Central Asia and ruled Mongolia and portions of the Russian Far East, northern Korea, and North China.
In 1206 Genghis Khan was able to unite or conquer the warring tribes, forging them into a fighting force which went on to create the largest contiguous empire in world history, the Mongol Empire. After the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty in 1368, the Mongols returned to their earlier patterns of internal strife.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Mongolia came under the influence of Tibetan Buddhism. At the end of the 17th century, what is now Mongolia had been incorporated into the area ruled by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty. During the collapse of the Qing in 1911, Mongolia declared independence but had to struggle until 1921 to firmly establish de facto independence and until 1945 to gain international recognition. As a consequence, it came under strong Soviet influence: In 1924, the Mongolian People's Republic was declared, and Mongolian politics began to follow the same patterns as Soviet politics of the time. After the Revolutions of 1989, the Mongolian Revolution of 1990 led to a multi-party system, a new constitution in 1992, and a transition to a market economy.
- 1 Prehistory
- 2 Ancient period
- 3 Medieval period
- 3.1 Confederations and khanates in the 12th century
- 3.2 Consolidation of the Mongol state
- 3.3 Formation of the Mongol Empire
- 3.4 Mongol Empire and Pax Mongolica
- 3.5 Fragmentation of the Mongol Empire
- 3.6 Post-Imperial Mongolia and Four Oirat
- 4 Manchu Qing period
- 5 Modern Period
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
The climate of Central Asia became dry after the large tectonic collision between the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. This impact threw up the massive chain of mountains known as the Himalayas. The Himalayas, Greater Khingan and Lesser Khingan mountains act like a high wall, blocking the warm and wet climate from penetrating into Central Asia. Many of the mountains of Mongolia were formed during the Late Neogene and Early Quaternary periods. The Mongolian climate was more humid hundreds of thousands of years ago. Mongolia is known to be the source of priceless paleontological discoveries. The first scientifically confirmed dinosaur eggs were found in Mongolia during the 1923 expedition of the American Museum of Natural History, led by Roy Chapman Andrews.
Homo erectus possibly inhabited Mongolia as much as 800,000 years ago but fossils of Homo erectus have not yet been found in Mongolia. Stone tools have been found in the southern, Gobi, region, perhaps dating back as much as 800,000 years. Important prehistoric sites are the paleolithic cave drawings of the Khoid Tsenkheriin Agui (Northern Cave of Blue) in Khovd province, and the Tsagaan Agui (White Cave) in Bayankhongor province. A neolithic farming settlement has been found in Dornod province. Contemporary findings from western Mongolia include only temporary encampments of hunters and fishers. The population during the Copper Age has been described as paleomongolid in the east of what is now Mongolia, and as europid in the west.
In the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Slab Grave Culture which related to the Proto-Mongols, spread over northern, central and eastern Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Northwest China (Xinjiang region, Qilian Mountains etc.), Manchuria, Lesser Khingan, Buryatia, Irkutsk Oblast and Zabaykalsky Krai.  This culture is the main archaeological find of the Bronze Age Mongolia.
Deer stones (also known as reindeer stones) and the omnipresent kheregsüürs (small kurgans) probably are from this era; other theories date the deer stones as 7th or 8th centuries BC. Deer stones are ancient megaliths carved with symbols that can be found all over central and eastern Eurasia but are concentrated largely in Siberia and Mongolia. Most deer stones occur in association with ancient graves; it is believed that stones are the guardians of the dead. There are around 700 deer stones known in Mongolia of a total of 900 deer stones that have been found in Central Asia and South Siberia. Their true purpose and creators are still unknown. Some researchers claim that deer stones are rooted in shamanism and are thought to have been set up during the Bronze Age around 1000 BC, and may mark the graves of important people. Later inhabitants of the area likely reused them to mark their own burial mounds, and perhaps for other purposes. In Mongolia, the Lake Baikal area, and the Sayan Altai and Altai Mountain regions, there are 550, 20, 20, and 60 known deer stones respectively. Moreover, there are another 20 deer stones in Kazakhstan and the Middle East (Samashyev 1992) and 10 further west, specifically in the Ukraine and parts of the Russian Federation, including the provinces of Orenburg and the Caucasus, and near the Elbe River (Mongolian History 2003). According to H.L. hlyenova, the artistic deer image originated from the Sak tribe and its branches (Chlyenova 1962). Volkov believes that some of the methods of crafting deer stone art are closely related to Scythians (Volkov 1967), whereas Mongolian archaeologist D. Tseveendorj regards deer stone art as having originated in Mongolia during the Bronze Age and spread thereafter to Tuva and the Baikal area (Tseveendorj 1979).
Before the 20th century, some scholars assumed that the Scythians descended from the Mongolic people. The Scythian community inhabited western Mongolia in the 5-6th century. In 2006 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 in the Altai Mountains, Mongolia.
In historical times Eurasian nomads were concentrated on the steppe lands of Central Asia. Furthermore, it is assumed that the Turkic peoples have always inhabited the western, the Mongols the central, and the Tungusic peoples the eastern portions of the region.
By the eighth century BCE, the inhabitants of the western part of Mongolia evidently were nomadic Indo-European speakers, either Scythians  or Yuezhi. In central and eastern parts of Mongolia were many other tribes that were primarily Mongol in their ethnologic characteristics.
With the appearance of iron weapons by the 3rd century BCE, the inhabitants of Mongolia had begun to form Clan alliances and lived a hunter and herder lifestyle. The origins of more modern inhabitants are found among the forest hunters and nomadic tribes of Inner Asia. They inhabited a great arc of land extending generally from the Korean Peninsula in the east, across the northern tier of China to present-day Kazakhstan and to the Pamir Mountains and Lake Balkash in the west. During most of recorded history, this has been an area of constant ferment from which emerged numerous migrations and invasions to the southeast (into China), to the southwest (into Transoxiana—modern Uzbekistan, Iran, and India), and to the west (across Scythia toward Europe).
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The area of modern Mongolia has been inhabited by Mongolian people since ancient times. The ancient population had a nomadic and hunter lifestyle and lived a fairly closed life. While most of Central Asia had a fairly similar nomadic lifestyle where moving in and around national boundaries and mixing with different settlements was common, the situation in the Mongolian steppes was unique because migration was limited by natural barriers such as the Altai Mountains in the west, the Gobi Desert in the south and the freezing wastelands of Siberia in the north, all unsuitable for nomadic-based living. These greatly limited migration, although they also kept out invaders. The clans in Mongolia only allied with other Mongolian clans, with which they shared the same language, religion and way of life. This would later be a huge advantage in uniting the people in Mongolia against the threat of the expanding Chinese empires. There were repeated conflicts with the Chinese dynasties of Shang and especially Zhou, which had begun conquering and enslaving the Mongolic people in an expansive drift. By the time of the Warring States Period in China, the northern Dynasties of Zhao, Yan, and Qin had begun to encroach and conquer into Southern Mongolia. By the time the Qin Dynasty had united all of China's kingdoms into one empire, the Sahun Kingdom (Xiongnu) had been formed in the Mongolian plains, transforming all of the independent clans into one single state and reassured the safety and independence from an expanding Qin.
Xiongnu state (209 BC–93 AD)
The establishment of the Xiongnu empire in Mongolia in the 3rd century BC marks the beginning of statehood on the territory of Mongolia.
The first significant appearance of nomads came late in the 3rd century BC, when the Chinese repelled an invasion of the Xiongnu (Hsiung-nu in Wade–Giles romanisation) across the Huang He (Yellow River) from the Gobi. A Chinese army, which had adopted Xiongnu military technology—wearing trousers and using mounted archers with stirrups—pursued the Xiongnu across the Gobi in a ruthless punitive expedition. Fortification walls built by various Chinese warring states were connected to make a 2,300-kilometre Great Wall along the northern border, as a barrier to further nomadic inroads.
The founder of the Xiongnu empire was Toumen. He was succeeded violently by his son Modu Shanyu. Then he conquered and unified various tribes. At the peak of its power, the Xiongnu confederacy stretched from Lake Baikal in the north to the Great Wall in the south and from the Tian Shan mountains in the west to the Greater Khingan ranges in the east. In the 2nd century BC the Xiongnu turned their attention westward to the region of the Altai Mountains and Lake Balkash, inhabited by the an Indo-European-speaking nomadic peoples, including Yuezhi (Yüeh-chih in Wade–Giles), who had relocated from China's present-day Gansu Province as a result of their earlier defeat by the Xiongnu. Endemic warfare between these two nomadic peoples reached a climax in the latter part of the 3rd century and the early decades of the 2nd century BC; the Xiongnu were triumphant. The Yuezhi then migrated to the southwest where, early in the 2nd century, they began to appear in the Oxus (the modern Amu Darya) Valley, to change the course of history in Bactria, Iran, and eventually India.
In 200 BC, the Han Dynasty of China launched a military campaign into the territory, attempting to subjugate the Xiongnu. However the Xiongnu forces ambushed and encircled the Han Emperor Gao at Baideng for seven days. Emperor Gao was forced to submit to the Xiongnu, and a treaty was signed in 198 BC recognising all the territories to the north from the Great Wall should belong to the Xiongnu, while the territory to the south of the Great Wall should belong to the Han. In addition, China was obliged to marry princesses and pay annual tribute to the Xiongnu. This "marriage alliance" was far from peaceful, as Xiongnu raids into the fertile southern land never ceased. During the period of Emperor Wen, Xiongnu raids advanced into China Proper, ravaged and even besieged near its capital Chang'an. This continued for 70 years until the reign of Emperor Wu, whose massive counteroffensives devastated the Xiongnu and sent them towards the road of decline.
The Xiongnu again raided northern China about 200 BC, finding that the inadequately defended Great Wall was not a serious obstacle. By the middle of the 2nd century BC, they controlled all of northern and western China north of the Huang He. This renewed threat led the Chinese to improve their defences in the north, while building up and improving the army, particularly the cavalry, and while preparing long-range plans for an invasion of Mongolia.
Between 130 and 121 BC, Chinese armies drove the Xiongnu back across the Great Wall, weakened their hold on Gansu Province as well as on what is now Inner Mongolia, and finally pushed them north of the Gobi into central Mongolia. Following these victories, the Chinese expanded into the areas later known as Manchuria, Mongolia, the Korean Peninsula, and Inner Asia. The Xiongnu, once more turning their attention to the west and the southwest, raided deep into the Oxus Valley between 73 and 44 BC. The descendants of the Yuezhi and their Chinese rulers, however, formed a common front against the Xiongnu and repelled them.
During the next century, as Chinese strength waned, border warfare between the Chinese and the Xiongnu was almost incessant. Gradually the nomads forced their way back into Gansu and the northern part of what is now China's Xinjiang. In about the middle of the 1st century AD, a revitalized Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220) slowly recovered these territories, driving the Xiongnu back into the Altai Mountains and the steppes north of the Gobi. During the late 1st century AD, having reestablished the administrative control over southern China and northern Vietnam that had been lost briefly at beginning of this same century, the Eastern Han made a concerted effort to reassert dominance over Inner Asia. The concept of Mongolia as an independent power north of China is seen in the letter sent by Emperor Wen of Han to Laoshang Chanyu in 162 BC (recorded in the Hanshu):
The Emperor of China respectfully salutes the great Shan Yu (Chanyu) of the Hsiung-nu (Xiongnu)...When my imperial predecessor erected the Great Wall, all the bowmen nations on the north were subject to the Shan Yu; while the residents inside the wall, who wore the cap and sash, were all under our government: and the myriads of the people, by following their occupations, ploughing and weaving, shooting and hunting, were able to provide themselves with food and clothing...Your letter says:--"The two nations being now at peace, and the two princes living in harmony, military operations may cease, the troops may send their horses to graze, and prosperity and happiness prevail from age to age, commencing, a new era of contentment and peace." That is extremely gratifying to me...Should I, in concert with the Shan Yu, follow this course, complying with the will of heaven, then compassion for the people will be transmitted from age to age, and extended to unending generations, while the universe will be moved with admiration, and the influence will be felt by neighbouring kingdoms inimical to the Chinese or the Hsiung-nu...As the Hsiung-nu live in the northern regions, where the cold piercing atmosphere comes at an early period, I have ordered the proper authorities to transmit yearly to the Shan Yu, a certain amount of grain, gold, silks of the finer and coarser kinds, and other objects. Now peace prevails all over the world; the myriads of the population are living in harmony, and I and the Shan Yu alone are the parents of the people...After the conclusion of the treaty of peace throughout the world, take notice, the Han will not be the first to transgress.
The identity of the ethnic core of Xiongnu has been a subject of varied hypotheses and some scholars, including A.Luvsandendev, Bernát Munkácsy, Henry Howorth, Rashpuntsag, Alexey Okladnikov, Peter Pallas, Isaak Schmidt, Nikita Bichurin and Byambyn Rinchen, insisted on a Mongolic origin.
There are many cultural similarities between the Xiongnu and Mongols such as yurt on cart, composite bow, board game, horn bow and long song. Mongolian long song is believed to date back at least 2,000 years. Mythical origin of the long song mentioned in "Book of Wei (Volume 113).
In 48 AD, the Xiongnu empire was weakened as it was divided into the southern and northern Xiongnu. The northern Xiongnu migrated to the west. They established Üeban state (160–490) in modern Kazakhstan and Hunnic Empire (420–469) in Europe. The Xianbei that were under the Xiongnu rebelled in 93 BC, ending the Xiongnu domination in Mongolia.
Recent excavations of Xiongnu graves at the site Gol Mod in the Khairkhan of Arkhangai province, discovered bronze decorations with images of a creature resembling the unicorn and images of deities resembling the Greco-Roman deities. These discoveries lead to a hypothesis that the Xiongnu had relations with the Greco-Roman world 2000 years ago.
Xianbei state (93–234)
Although the Xiongnu finally had been split into two parts in AD 48, within ten years the Xianbei (or Hsien-pei in Wade–Giles) had moved (apparently from the east) into the region vacated by the Xiongnu. The Xianbei were the northern branch of the Donghu (or Tung Hu, the Eastern Hu), a proto-Mongol group mentioned in Chinese histories as existing as early as the 4th century BC. The language of the Donghu is believed to be proto-Mongolic to modern scholars. The Donghu were among the first peoples conquered by the Xiongnu. Once the Xiongnu state weakened, however, the Donghu rebelled. By the 1st century AD, two major subdivisions of the Donghu had developed: the proto-Mongolic Xianbei in the north and the Wuhuan in the south.
The Xianbei gained strength beginning from the 1st century AD and were consolidated into a state under Tanshihuai in 147. He expelled the Xiongnu from Jungaria, and pushed the Dingling to the north of the Sayans, thus securing domination of the Mongolic elements in what is now Khalkha and Chaharia. The Xianbei successfully repelled an invasion of the Han Dynasty in 167 and conquered areas of northern China in 180.
There are various hypotheses about the language and ethnic links of the Xianbei and most widely accepted version suggests that the Xianbei were a Mongolic ethnic group and their branches are the ancestors of many Mongolic peoples such as the Nirun, Khitan and Menggu Xibei, who are suggested to be the proto-Mongols. The ruler of the Xianbei state was elected by a congress of the nobility. The Xianbei used woodcut tallies called Kemu as a form of non-verbal communication. Besides extensive livestock husbandry, the Xianbei were also engaged on a limited scale in farming and handicraft. The Xianbei fractured in the 3rd century.
The Xianbei established an empire, which, although short-lived, gave rise to numerous tribal states along the Chinese frontier. Among these states was that of the Toba (T'o-pa in Wade–Giles), a subgroup of the Xianbei, in modern China's Shanxi Province.
The Wuhuan also were prominent in the 2nd century, but they disappeared thereafter; possibly they were absorbed in the Xianbei western expansion. The Xianbei and the Wuhuan used mounted archers in warfare, and they had only temporary war leaders instead of hereditary chiefs. Agriculture, rather than full-scale nomadism, was the basis of their economy. In the 6th century, the Wuhuan were driven out of Inner Asia into the Russian[clarification needed] steppe.
Chinese control of parts of Inner Asia did not last beyond the opening years of the 2nd century AD, and, as the Eastern Han Dynasty ended early in the 3rd century AD, suzerainty was limited primarily to the Gansu corridor. The Xianbei were able to make forays into a China beset with internal unrest and political disintegration. By 317 all of China north of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) had been overrun by nomadic peoples: the Xianbei from the north; some remnants of the Xiongnu from the northwest; and the Chiang people of Gansu and Tibet (present-day China's Xizang Autonomous Region) from the west and the southwest. Chaos prevailed as these groups warred with each other and repulsed the vain efforts of the fragmented Chinese kingdoms south of the Yangtze River to reconquer the region.
Tuoba, a faction of the Xianbei, established the Toba Wei empire beyond Mongolia proper in northern China in 386. By the end of the 4th century, the region between the Yangtze and the Gobi, including much of modern Xinjiang, was dominated by the Toba. Emerging as the partially sinicized state of Dai between AD 338 and 376 in the Shanxi area, the Toba established control over the region as the Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 386-533). Northern Wei armies drove back the Ruruan (referred to as Ruanruan or Juan-Juan by Chinese chroniclers), a newly arising nomadic Mongol people in the steppes north of the Altai Mountains, and reconstructed the Great Wall. During the 4th century also, the Huns left the steppes north of the Aral Sea to invade Europe.[dubious ] By the middle of the 5th century, Northern Wei had penetrated into the Tarim Basin in Inner Asia, as had the Chinese in the 2nd century. As the empire grew, however, Toba tribal customs were supplanted by those of the Chinese, an evolution not accepted by all Toba. Toba Wei existed until 581.
Rouran state (330–555)
A branch of the Xianbei, the Rouran (also known as Nirun) were consolidated under Mugulyu. In the late 5th century, the Ruruan established a powerful nomadic empire spreading generally farther north of Northern Wei. It was probably the Ruruan who first used the title khan. The Nirun ruled Mongolia, eastern Kazakhstan, part of Gansu, northern Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, parts of Northeastern China and southern Siberia. Hephthalite Empire was a vassal state to the Nirun for 100 years. Shelun assumed the title of Khagan in 402 landmarking the establishment of the state of the Rouran Khaganate. The Toba waged long wars against the Rouran Khaganate. The Altai Turkics that were subjects of the Rouran revolted in 552 establishing the Turkic Khaganate. The Rouran Khaganate was finally defeated by the Turkics in 555. Part of the Rouran left the present territory of Mongolia. A number of historians maintain that they established the Avarian Kaganate between the river Danube and the Carpathian Mountains. The Niruns that stayed in Mongolia became the ancestors of the Tatar tribes. The Tatars and other Mongol tribes lived in the eastern part Mongolia during the Turkic period. Other Mongols that migrated east returned in the 8th century.
Turkic Period (555–840)
Turkic Khaganate (552–744)
Northern Wei was disintegrating rapidly because of revolts of semi-tribal Toba military forces that were opposed to being sinicized, when disaster struck the flourishing Ruruan Empire. The Altai Turkics (Orkhon Turkics, Göktürks), known as Tujue to Chinese chroniclers, were subjects to the Nirun and served as blacksmiths for them. In 552 AD the Göktürks revolted against their Ruruan rulers. The uprising began in the Altai Mountains, where many of the Türk were serfs working the iron mines. Therefore, the revolt of the Turkics of 552 is often called the "Blacksmiths' rebellion". The uprising was headed by Buman, who became the founder of the Göktürk Khaganate. Thus, from the outset of their revolt, they had the advantage of controlling what had been one of the major bases of Ruruan power. Between 546 and 553, the Türks overthrew the Ruruan and established themselves as the most powerful force in Central Asia.
The Chinese dynasties Qi and Zhou surrendered in 570 and began paying tribute to the Göktürks. However, the Turkic Khaganate was partitioned in 590 into an Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates. The Sui Dynasty of China invaded the Turkic Khaganate in 615, but Shibi kagan repelled the invasion and captured the Sui Emperor. The internal struggle between the Turkic nobles lead to their defeat by the Tang Dynasty of China in 630. From 629 to 648, a reunited China—under the Tang Dynasty (618-906) --destroyed the power of the Eastern Türk north of the Gobi; established suzerainty over the Kitan, a semi-nomadic Mongol people who lived in areas that became the modern Chinese provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin; and formed an alliance with the Uyghurs, who inhabited the region between the Altai Mountains and Lake Balkash. Between 641 and 648, the Tang conquered the Western Türk, reestablishing Chinese sovereignty over Xinjiang and exacting tribute from west of the Pamir Mountains. The Göktürks continuously struggled against the subjugation by the Tang Dynasty. An uprising of 680 under the leadership of Kutuluk and Tonyukuk led to restoration of the Turkic Khaganate.
For a brief period at the beginning of the 7th century, a new consolidation of the Türk, under the Western Türk ruler Tardu, again threatened China. In 601 Tardu's army besieged Chang'an (modern Xi'an), then the capital of China. Tardu was turned back, however, and, upon his death two years later, the Türk state again fragmented. The Eastern Türk nonetheless continued their depredations, occasionally threatening Chang'an. In the early 8th century, an invading army of 450,000 soldiers headed by Tang Dynasty's Empress Wu Zetian was defeated and chased back by Mojo khagan. The Türk empire finally ended in 744.
Uyghur state (744–840)
The Uyghurs, who were subjects to the Göktürks, revolted in 745 and founded the Uyghur Khaganate which replaced the Eastern Turkic Khaganate. The Uyghur kagan Bayanchur established Ordu-Baliq City on the Orkhon river in 751. The Tang Empire invited the Uyghurs to subdue a peasant rebellion in 755. Successful campaigns of the Uyghur Khaganate led to a peace with the Tang Dynasty of China which paid tribute in silk and grain for 12 years after 766. Though a faction of the Uyghurs were Buddhists, the Manichaeism became the official religion of the Khaganate in the 8th century. Nevertheless, the majority of the Uyghurs remained shamanists. The culture and economy of the Uyghur Kaganate were more advanced than those of its predecessors. The Uyghurs used a 12-month calendar and calculated the dates of solar and lunar eclipses. The Uyghurs developed their own writing system based on the Sogdian script. The Tang dynasty surreptitiously encouraged the Yenisei Kirghiz and the Karluks to attack the Uyghurs and the Uyghur Khaganate fell under an invasion of the Yenisei Kirghiz in 840.
The destruction of Uyghur Khaganate by Yenisei Kirghizes resulted in the end of Turkic dominance in Mongolia. According to historians, Kirghiz were not interested in assimilating newly acquired lands. The Kirghiz state was centered on Khakassia.
Khitan state (906–1125)
The Khitans were an ethnic group whose language belonged to the Mongolic group. Its ruler Ambagyan founded the Khitan Liao Dynasty in 907. The Khitan Empire covered a significant portion of what is now Mongolia including the basins of the three rivers Kherlen, Tuul and Orkhon. The Khitans occupied the areas vacated by the Turkic Uyghurs bringing them under their control.
The Liao Dynasty soon grew strong and occupied parts of Northern China, including the modern-day Beijing. By 925 the Kitan ruled eastern Mongolia, most of Manchuria, and much of China north of the Yellow River. By the middle of the 10th century, Kitan chieftains had established themselves as emperors of northern China; their rule was known as the Liao Dynasty. The Kitan built cities and exerted dominion over their agricultural subjects as a means of consolidating their empire.
The territory of the empire consisted of two parts: one populated by pastoral herders in the north and the other populated by croppers in the south. The two parts of the empire actively traded with each other. Lubugu, a grandson of Ambagyan, and a scholar named Tulyubu developed a Grand Alphabet based on the Chinese hieroglyphics in 920. Later, Tela, a son of Ambagyan, developed a Minor Alphabet based on the Uyghur script. A printing technology developed in the Liao territory. The Khitan language was widely studied abroad.
A Tungusic people, the Jurchen, ancestors of the Manchu, formed an alliance with the Song dynasty and reduced the Kitan Empire to vassal status in a seven-year war (1115–1122). The Jurchen leader proclaimed himself the founder of a new era, the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234). Scarcely pausing in their conquests, the Jurchen subdued neighboring Goryeo (Korea) in 1226 and invaded the territory of their former allies, the Song, to precipitate a series of wars with China that continued through the remainder of the century. The Khitan Empire fell in 1125 and some Khitans fled west after their defeat by the Jurchens and founded the Kara-Khitan (Black Khitan) or Western Liao (Western Iron) Empire (1125–1218) in present-day Xinjiang and eastern Kazakhstan with capital in Balasagun, near modern Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan. In addition, the Western Liao also controlled some highly autonomous vassalized states, such as Khwarezm, the Eastern and the Western Kara-Khanids, etc. In 1218, Genghis Khan destroyed the Kara-Khitan Kingdom, after which the Khitan passed into obscurity. The modern-day minority of Mongolic-speaking Daurs in China are their direct descendants based on DNA evidence and other Khitans assimilated into the Mongols (Southern Mongols), Turkic peoples and Han Chinese.
Confederations and khanates in the 12th century
12th century Mongolia was characterized by rivalry between many tribes and confederations (khanligs or khanate). A confederation of tribes under the name Mongol was known from the 8th century. Some Shiwei tribes, though little is known, have been considered the ancestors of the Mongols according to ancient Chinese records. Term "Shiwei" was an umbrella term of the Mongolic and Tungusic peoples in the 6th to 12th centuries. During the 5th century, they occupied the area east of the Greater Khingan Range, what is the Hulunbuir, Argun (Ergune), Nen (Noon), Middle Amur, and the Zeya Watersheds. They may have been divided into five to twenty tribes. They were said to be dressed in fish skins. They may have been nomadic, staying in the marshy lowlands in the winter and the mountains during the summer. The burial was by exposure in trees. Their language is described as being similar to Manchu-Tungusic languages and Khitan. The Turkic Khaganate installed tuduns, or governors over the Shiwei and collected tribute. Other Shiwei may have stayed and become the Evenks. The Kitans conquered the Shiwei during the late 9th century. One Shiwei tribe, living near the Amur and Ergune rivers, was called the "Menggu" (Mongol).
The confederations of core Mongol tribes were transforming into a statehood in the early 12th century and came to be known as the Khamag Mongol confederacy. The people of Mongolia at this time were predominantly spirit worshipers, with shamans providing spiritual and religious guidance to the people and tribal leaders.
The Khamag Mongols occupied one of the most fertile areas of the country—the basins of the rivers Onon, Kherlen and Tuul in the Khentii mountains. The first known khan of Khamag Mongol is Khabul Khan from Khiyad tribe. Khabul Khan successfully repelled the invasions of Jin Dynasty. He was succeeded by Ambaghai Khan from Taichuud tribe. Ambagai was captured by the Tatars while he came to deliver his daughter as a bride to the Tatar confederacy and was given to the Jurchens of Jin Dynasty who cruelly executed him, nailing to a "wooden donkey". Ambagai was succeeded by Hotula Khan, son of Khabul Khan. Hotula Khan engaged in 13 battles with the Tatars endeavouring to avenge Ambagai Khan. Khamag Mongol was unable to elect a khan after Hotula died. However, Khabul's grandson Yesukhei baghatur was a major chief of Khamag Mongol.
Yesukhei was poisoned by the Tatars in 1171 when his eldest son Temujin was 9 years old. Shortly after Yesukhei died, Targudai of Taichuud moved away with the subjects of Yesukhei, leaving young Temujin, his mother and his younger siblings without support. Hence, Khamag Mongol remained in political crisis until 1189.
In the 12th century the Khamag Mongol Khanate, Tatar confederation, Khereid Khanate, Merkit confederation, Naiman Khanate were five major Mongolic tribal confederations and khanates in the Mongolian plateau.
The Tatar confederacy first appeared in recorded history in 732. The Tatars became subjects of the Khitan in the 10th century. After the fall of the Khitan empire, the Tatars experienced pressure from the Jin Dynasty and were urged to fight against the other Mongol tribes. The Tatars lived on the fertile pastures around the lakes Hulun and Buir and occupied a trade route to China.
The Khereid confederacy was located between the mountain ranges of Khangai and Khentii and centered on the site of today's city Ulaanbaatar in the willow groves of the Tuul river. Markus was khan of the Khereid in the 12th century. Markus was succeeded by Tooril khan. In his feud with his brothers for the Khereid throne, he was repeatedly aided by Yesukhei Bagatur of Khamag Mongol.
The Naiman confederacy was situated between the mountain ranges of Altai and Khangai. The Ongut tribes lived at the north of Gobi. Other tribes were Olkhunut, Bayud, Khongirad, Oirats and so forth. While most of the Mongolian tribes were Shamanists, Nestorian Christianity was practiced in a number of confederations such as Khereid and Ongut.
Consolidation of the Mongol state
Temujin (1162–1227) defeated and subjugated the "Three Mergids" in 1189 with the support of Tooril Khan of Kereit, the blood brother of his father. Another ally who helped Temujin in this venture was his own blood brother Jamukha of Jadaran clan. The Mergids had attacked the home of Temujin and captured his wife Börte of Hongirad tribe revenging for a much earlier event in which Temujin's father Yesukhei deprived a Mergid chief Chiledu his bride Hoelun of Olkhunut tribe, who became the mother of Temujin. The striving of Temujin to free his wife became a reason for the campaign against the Mergids. After the defeat of the Mergid, the reputation of Temujin rose rapidly and the leading members of the Khamag Mongol aristocracy enthroned him with title Chinggis Khan (Genghis Khan), as the ruler of Khamag Mongol. It is speculated to be an ancient form of the word "Tenggis"—ocean, sea.
A conflict of the Tatars with the Jin Dynasty became a favorable opportunity for Temujin and Tooril Khan to defeat them in alliance with the Jurchens. At this point, Tooril Khan was granted the title Wang (王, Chinese for "king") by the Jin court and since then became known as Wang Khan. By the year 1201, the Taichuud and Jurkhin tribes were defeated and subjugated. Influential aristocrats of many other tribes and confederations were joining Temujin.
In 1201, a crisis ignited in the Khereid khanlig, in which the siblings of Tooril Wang Khan allied with Inancha Khan of Naiman and defeated Tooril. Wang Khan regained power in his kingdom with the support of Temujin. Temujin finally defeated and subjugated the Tatars in 1202. Nilha (childish) Sengum, son of Wang Khan, envied Temujin as his power was growing and persuaded his father to battle against Temujin. This venture led to a victory of Temujin and conquest of the Kereit Khanlyk. Wang Khan escaped alone into the southern deserts of the Naiman khanlig, where he was caught by the by Naiman patrols, who killed him irritated as he claimed himself as Wang Khan.
Tayan khan of Naiman and his son Kuchlug initiated a campaign against Temujin in 1204. They allied with Jamukha, who competed with Temujin for the power over the Mongolic tribes. The Naiman troops outnumbered the Temujin's troops. At night at the eve of the battle, Temujin ordered each of his warrior to light ten bonfires, thus deceiving and demoralising Tayan khan, who was a weak warlord. Temujin won the battle. Tayan khan was captured but died of his wound, Kuchlug retreated to the river Irtysh where he was overtaken by Temujin and defeated. After this battle, Kuchlug escaped to Gur-Khan of Kara-Kitai.
As the Khanlyk of Naiman was conquered, Khasar, brother of Temujin, found a dignitary named Tata Tunga, who spread the Uigur alphabet among the Mongols. This alphabet became the basis of the Classical Mongol script.
By 1206, all the tribes and confederations of Mongolian steppe had come under the leadership of Temujin. The success of Temujin in consolidation of the Mongols was due to his flexibility, his cherishing of his friends and his elaborated tactics. A congress of the Mongol aristocrats on the river Onon in 1206 enthroned Temujin as Chingis Khaan (Genghis Khan) as Emperor of all Mongolia.
Formation of the Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire and the states that emerged from it played a major role in the history of the 13th and 14th centuries. Genghis Khan and his immediate successors conquered nearly all of Asia and European Russia and sent armies as far as central Europe and Southeast Asia.
Genghis Khan abolished the organization of the former tribes and confederations and reformed the country into 95 mingats. In this system, a group of households large enough to mobilize ten warriors was organized into an arbatu, 10 arbatus were organized into a zagutu (100 warriors), 10 zagutus constituted a mingat (1,000 warriors) and 10 mingats constituted a tumetu or tumen (10,000 warriors). This decimal system was a long-tested system that had been inherited from the period of the Xiongnu. With an assumption that each household consisted of four persons and every adult male was a warrior, it can be estimated that the entire population of Mongolia was at least 750,000 people and the nation possessed 95,000 cavalrymen.
The newly unified Great Mongol State became an attractive force for many neighbouring peoples and kingdoms. Beginning from 1207, the Uighur state, Taiga people of the river Yenisey and the Karluk kingdom joined Mongolia. The urgent task of Chinggis Khaan was strengthening the independence of his young nation. For a century, the southeastern neighbour Jin Dynasty had been provoking the Mongolic tribes against one another in order to eventually subjugate them. With a purpose of testing the military strength of his state and preparing for a struggle against the Jin Dynasty, Chinggis Khaan conquered the Tangut empire Xi-Xia, which pledged vassalage.
In the year, Mongolia, with over 90,000 cavalrymen, started a war with the Jin Dynasty which had a multi-million population. At this stage, the Mongols passed over the Great Wall, invaded Shanxi and Shandong provinces, and approached the river Huang He. The "Altan (Golden) Khaan" (Jin Emperor) surrendered in 1214 and gave Genghis Khaan his princess and tribute of gold and silver to his warlords. Genghis Khaan gave out to his warriors the tribute of the Jin Emperor loaded on 3000 horses. However, the Jin Dynasty continued hostility against Mongolia, hence Genghis Khaan ordered his warlord Guo Wang Mukhulai of the Jalair clan to complete the conquest of the Jin Dynasty and returned to Mongolia.
Genghis Khaan intended to develop friendly relations with the Khwarezm Empire, which was on a junction of the trade routes connecting the East and the West and dominated Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan. Genghis Khaan considered himself a supreme ruler of the East and Khwarezm Shah a supreme ruler of the West. Khwarezm Shah had an opposite view that there should be only one ruler on earth as there is only one sun in the sky.
The execution of 450 envoys and tradesmen of Chinggis Khaan by Khwarezm Shah 1218 was an announcement of war. The Mongol troops invaded Khwarezm Empire in 1219. Although Khwarezm Shah possessed an army outnumbering the Mongol troops dozen of times, he lacked the courage and initiatives to unite his forces and fight back. The Mongol troops sacked cities Otrar, Buhara, Merv and Samarkand. Shah's warlord Temur-Melik led a daring resistance when the Mongol troops besieged city of Khujand. Shah's son Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu courageously battled with the Mongol army in 1221, but was defeated and escaped to the river Ind.
Pursuing Khwarezm Shah in 1220, the scout groups of warlords Jebe and Subedei bagathur of Uriankhai clan conquered northern Iran. They invaded Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia in 1221 and entered the territories of the Kipchak Khanate in Crimea and grasslands of the northern Black Sea. The Kipchaks allied with the troops of the principalities of Rus gave battle to the 30,000 cavalrymen of Jebe and Subedei on the river Kalka in May 1223, but were defeated and were chased up to the river Dnieper.
The Tangut kingdom denied its obligation as a vassal state to take part in the western campaign of Genghis Khan. Shortly after returning to Mongolia, the Mongol army invaded the Tangut state in 1226 and conquered the capital Zhongxing (中兴府), located in modern Yinchuan. The Tangut kingdom completely surrendered in March 1227.
Mongolic Khitans and Tuyuhuns or Monguor people (1227) came under rule of the Mongol Empire after conquest of the Tanghut's Western Xia and Tungusic Jin Empires. The Kara-Khitan Mongols voluntarily submitted to Genghis Khan in 1218.
The 16-year conquests of Genghis Khan resulted in the formation of the Mongol Empire. Chinggis Khaan died on 16 August 1227 and was buried at site Ihe Ötög on the southern slopes of the Khentii mountain range.
Mongol Empire and Pax Mongolica
An Ihe Kurultai Congress of nobility of 1228 enthroned Ogedei, who had been nominated by Genghis Khan. Ogedei Khan made Karakorum on the river Orkhon the capital of the Mongol Empire. Karakorum had been a military garrison of Genghis Khan since 1220. The existence of 12 Buddhist temples, 2 Muslim mosques and 1 Christian church in city Karakorum indicates the tolerance of the Mongols to all religions. The construction of the city was supervised by Otchigin, the youngest brother of Genghis Khaan. Ogedei Khaan established an effective postal yam system with well-organized posts (‘’örtege’’). The system connected the various regions of the whole Empire. Ogedei Khaan settled down the rebellions in the countries conquered during his father and led an army himself to put down a revolt in Korea.
Ogedei Khaan completed the conquest of the Jin Dynasty in 1231–1234. He sent princes headed by Batu, son of Zuchi, to the west, and they conquered the Bulgar kingdom on the Volga river and 14 principalities of Rus in 1236–1240, invaded the principalities of Poland, the kingdom of Kingdom of Hungary, Moravia (then part of the Holy Roman Empire), and the area of Moldavia in 1241–1242 and approached the Adriatic sea.
After his 16-year reign, Ogedei Khaan died in 1241 under suspicious circumstances. A rivalry for the throne began between the faction of the houses of Zuchi and Tului on one side and the faction of the houses of Chagatai and Ogedei on the other side. Ihe Kuriltai of 1246 elected Guyug, son of Ogedei, as Great Khaan. Guyug Khaan died in 1248.
The traveller from Italy Giovanni da Pian del Carpine arrived in 1246 and later he wrote the book Historia Mongolorum quos nos Tartaros appellamus. The faction of Zuchi-Tului houses won the Ihe Kuriltai of 1251 electing Mönghe, son of Tului, as Great Khaan. Mönghe Khaan sent his cousin Hulagu to conquer Iran. Hulagu completed the conquest of Iran in 1256 and conquered Baghdad, Caucasus and Syria in 1257–1259. Willem van Ruysbroeck of Flanders arrived in 1254 and later wrote his account Itinerarium fratris Willielmi de Rubruquis de ordine fratrum Minorum, Galli, Anno gratia 1253 ad partes Orientales.
Mönghe Khaan died in 1259, without leaving behind a son. Ihe Kuriltai of 1260 elected Ariq Böke, a younger brother of Mönghe Khaan, as Great Khaan. The same year, Ariq Böke's elder brother Kublai, who was warring in China to conquer the Song Dynasty, elevated himself into Khaan of Mongolia in city Shangdu (or known as Kaiping). The Toluid Civil War was fought between the two brothers from 1261 to 1264 until Ariq Böke surrendered.
The Mongol Empire had an establishing effect on the social, cultural and economic life of the inhabitants of the vast Eurasian territory in the 13th and 14th centuries. It enabled exchange of knowledge, inventions and culture between the West and East. This epoch is called Pax Mongolica.
In Mongolia, the legacy of Genghis Khan was a superior law code, a written language, and a historical pride.
Fragmentation of the Mongol Empire
The establishment of the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) by Kubilai Khaan accelerated fragmentation of the Mongol Empire. The Mongol Empire fractured into the Yuan Dynasty, the Golden Horde, Chagatai Khanate and Ilkhanate, although later Yuan emperors were seen as the nominal suzerains of the western khanates.
The transition of the capital of the Mongol Empire to Dadu (modern-day Beijing) by Kublai Khaan in 1264 was opposed by many Mongols. Thus, Ariq Böke's struggle was for keeping the center of the Empire in Mongolia proper. After Ariq Böke's death, the struggle was continued by Kaidu, a grandson of Ogedei Khaan and lord Nayan until 1294.
Kublai invited lama Drogön Chögyal Phagpa of Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism to spread Buddhism among the Mongols (the second introduction of Buddhism). Buddhism became the official religion of the Mongol state. In 1269, Kublai Khaan commissioned Phagpa lama to design a new writing system to unify the writing systems of the multilingual Mongol Empire. The Phagspa script also known as Дөрвөлжин бичиг (Quadratic script) based on the Tibetan script and written vertically from top was designed to write in Mongolian, Tibetan, Chinese, Uighur and Sanskrit languages and served as the official script of the empire.
Kublai Khaan announced the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty in 1271. The Yuan Dynasty included Mongolia proper, the territories of the former Jin and Song dynasties and some adjacent territories such as a major part of Southern Siberia. The Yuan government also set up a top-level institution called the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs to govern Tibet. Korea was its tributary kingdom. Kublai established a government with institutions resembling the ones in earlier Chinese dynasties, yet at the same time introduced a hierarchy of reliability by dividing the subjects of the Yuan Dynasty into 4 ranks. The highest rank included the Mongols, the second rank included the peoples to the west of Mongolia, the third rank included the subjects of the former Jin Dynasty such as Northern Chinese, the Kidans and Jurchens, and the lowest rank comprised the subjects of the former Song Dynasty such as the Han ethnic group in South China.
By eliminating the Song Dynasty, Kublai Khaan completed the conquest of China. The fleets of the Yuan Dynasty attempted to invade Japan in 1274 and 1281, but their ships were destroyed in sea storms on both occasions. During the Yuan Dynasty, Mongolia proper was administered by the jinong, prince royal nominated as successor to the throne, who resided in Karakorum.
The ordinary people experienced hardships during the Yuan Dynasty. Hence, Mongol warriors rebelled against Kublai in 1289. Kublai Khaan died in 1294 and was succeeded by Ölzei Temür Khaan, who continued the fight against Kaidu. Kaidu died in 1301. Scholar Choiji-Odser wrote the book on Mongolian grammar "Jiruken Tolitu" in 1305. During the reign of Khaisan Külüg Khaan, who succeeded Ölzei Temür Khaan in 1307, an uprising of ordinary Mongols under the leadership of Alhuitemur took place in 1309. Buyantu Khaan came to power in 1312. The Mongol commoners were exempted from tax in 1314 for a period of 2 years.
In 1333, Togoontemur became khan. The city Karakorum was expanded in 1297, underwent capital repairs in 1311 and was expanded again in 1346.
A rebellion called the Red Turban Rebellion began in China in the 1350s and the Yuan Dynasty fell in 1368. The last Yuan emperor Togoontemur fled north to Yingchang and died there in 1370. The Yuan remnants, which had retreated to Mongolia homeland, is known as the Post-Imperial Mongolia, and continued to resist the Ming rebels.
The Golden Horde (Altan Ord) was founded by Batu, son of Jochi, in 1243. The Golden Horde included the Volga region, mountains of Ural, the steppes of the northern Black Sea, Fore-Caucasus, Western Siberia, Aral Sea and Irtysh bassin, and held principalities of Rus in tributary relations. The capital was initially Sarai Batu and later Sarai Berke. This extensive empire weakened under rivalry of the descendants of Batu and split into Khanate of Kazan, Astrakhan Khanate, Crimean Khanate, Siberia Khanate, Great Horde, Nogai Horde and White Horde. A unified Rus conquered Khanate of Kazan in 1552, Astrakhan Khanate in 1556, Siberia Khanate in 1582, and the Russian Empire conquered Crimean Khanate in 1783.
The Chagatai Khanate or Chagatai Ulus separated in 1266 and covered Central Asia, Lake Balkhash, Kashgaria, Afghanistan and Zhetysu. It was split between settled Transoxania (Ma Wara'un-Nahr) in the west and nomadic Moghulistan in the east. It is claimed that parts of them still spoke Mongolian until the late 16th century.
Moghulistan gained strength during Timur (1395–1405), a warlord from Barlas clan. Timur defeated Tokhtamysh Khan of Golden Horde in 1395 and deprived him of Fore-Caucasus. He destroyed the army of the Turkish sultan near Angora, the event which delayed a Turkish conquest of the Byzantine Empire for half a century. Timur's empire fragmented shortly after he died.
Timur's grandson Ulugh Beg (1409–1449) ruled Transoxania and during his rule trade and economy of Transoxania achieved significant development. Ulugh Beg built an astronomical observatory near Samarkand in 1429 and wrote his work Zij-i-Sultani, which comprises the theories of astronomy and a catalogue of over 1000 stars with their precise positions on the celestial sphere.
A long rivalry of Moghulistan with the Oirats for trade routes ended with its defeat by the Oirats in 1530. Babur, a Timurid ruler of Kabul, conquered most of India in 1526 and founded the Mughal Empire. The Mughal Empire fractured into several lesser states in the 18th century and was conquered by the British Empire in 1858.
The Ilkhanate, also known as the Hulagu Ulus, formed in 1256 and comprised Iran, Iraq, Transcaucasus, eastern Asia Minor and Western Turkistan. In 1300, Rashid-al-Din Hamadani in cooperation with Mongol historians commenced writing Jami al-Tawarikh (Sudur un Chigulgan, Compendium of Chronicles) under the order of Ilkhan Ghazan (1295–1304). The work was completed in 1311 during the reign of Ilkhan Öljeitü (1304–1316). Altan Debter written by a Mongol historian Bolad Chinsan served as a basis for writing Jami al-Tawarikh. Hulagu Ulus disintegrated in 1335 into several states one of which was Jalayrid dynasty, ruled by descendants of Mukhali of Jalair.
Post-Imperial Mongolia and Four Oirat
By 1368 the Mongols who established the Yuan Dynasty a century ago had been expelled from China to Mongolia. The Dongxiangs, Bonans, Yugur and Monguor people came under rule of Chinese Ming Dynasty. The Mongol regime after this time until the 17th century is often referred to as the Post-Imperial Mongolia or the Northern Yuan dynasty, or the Forty and the Four (Дөчин дөрвөн хоёр), meaning the forty Tumens of the Mongols and the four Tumens of the Oirats.
Ayushiridara Biligtü Khaan was enthroned in 1370. The Ming Dynasty founded by native Chinese began aggressions against Mongolia from the year 1372. Mongol warlord Köke Temür defeated a 150,000 Ming force on the river Orkhon in 1373. Ming army invaded Mongolia again in 1380 and looted Karakorum and other cities, but the invasions of Mongolia by Ming armies in 1381 and 1392 were expelled. Nevertheless, Yuan royalists in Yunnan had surrendered to the Ming Dynasty by the early 1380s.
Naghacu, a Mongol official of Ayushiridara in Liaoyang province, invaded Liaodong with aims of restoring the Yuan Dynasty. However, he, along with his troops (sized about 200,000) finally surrendered to the Ming Dynasty in 1387–88 after a successful diplomacy of the latter. Ming China send Qui Fu's cavalry into Mongolia, but was chased out by Buyanshri Khaan (1405–1412). In response, the Yongle Emperor of Ming China personally invaded Mongolia in 1409, 1414, 1422, 1423, and 1424. Mongols remained powerful even after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty but number of the Mongols decreased due to the fall of the Mongol Empire, wars and assimilation (turkization). As the Ming Dynasty understood its own disability of conquering Mongolia by military force, it started a policy of provoking the groups of Mongols to quarrel with one another, as well as economic blockade.
A long period of feudal separatism and rivalry for the Khaan's throne started in Mongolia by the early 15th century. The military strength of the Mongols during the Yuan dynasty was that they were able to mobilize an army of 400,000 warriors (40 tumens). Assuming that an average household consisted of 4 people and every adult man was a warrior, it can be estimated that the Mongol population in the Yuan Dynasty counted at least 1,600,000 people. However, the amount of 40 tumens remained only in the name of the Mongols after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty as only 6 tumens were able to retreat to Mongolia and the remaining 34 tumens were lost to the Chinese Ming Dynasty. These 6 tumens were grouped into the 3 tumens of the left wing ruled by Khaan of Mongolia and the 3 tumens of the right wing ruled by Jinong, vassal of the Khaan. There were 250,000? Mongols in southern Yuan (China) and many Mongols were massacred by Chinese king's order and China prohibited the Mongols to return.
The Oirats constituted another 4 tumens. They stayed in Mongolia proper during the Yuan Dynasty and sided Ariq Böke, Kaidu and Nayan in their anti-Kublai struggle. By the 15th century the Oirats occupied the Altay Mountains region. The Oirats were ruled by a Taishi who was a vassal of the Khaan.
The first half of the 15th century saw a rivalry of Oirat Taishis for the throne of the Khaan and the second half of the 15th century saw a separatist movement of the Taishis in the right wing tumens.
Western Mongolian Oirats and Eastern Mongolian Khalkhas vied for domination in Mongolia since the 14th century and this conflict weakened Mongolian strength.
In 1434, Eastern Mongolian Taisun Khagan's (1433–1452) prime minister Western Mongolian Togoon Taish reunited the Mongols after killing Eastern Mongolian another king Adai (Khorchin). Togoon died in 1439 and his son Esen Taish became prime minister. Togoon Taishi of Oirat eventually increased his power in the Mongol court and these achievements were tightened under his successor Esen Taishi. Mongolia was effectively unified under the power of the Oirat Taishi. Esen Taishi led active diplomatic exchanges with Ming China to achieve favorable trading conditions. When diplomacy failed to reach the goal, he led a military campaign in 1449, in which a 500,000 Ming army was defeated by a 20,000 Oirat army, the Ming Emperor was captured and Beijing was besieged. Shortly after this event Esen Taishi defeated the nominal Khaan Togtobuh in their conflict and became a self-declared Khaan. During his retreat, Togtobuh was caught and assassinated by his ex-father-in-law for an earlier humiliation of his daughter as she was divorced and returned to her parents. The reign of Esen Taishi was short, less than a year—his rivals rebelled and overthrew him in 1454.
Mongolia was once again unified under queen Mandukhai the Wise and Batmönkh Dayan Khaan, who subdued the Taishis. Queen Manduhai defeated the Oirats when Batmönkh was still a child. Later Batmönkh subdued the Taishis of the right wings as they refused to accept a suzereign over them—son of Dayan Khaan sent there as a Jinong. After this event, Batmönkh moved his residence from Khalkha to Chaharia, to a proxime neighbourhood to the right wings for tighter control over them. Since then, the Khaans of Mongolia resided in Chaharia up to 1634. The left wing tumens under Dayan Khaan were Khalkha, Chaharia and Urianhai, and the right wing tumens were Ordos/Tümed, Yunshiyebu and Kharchin/Khorchin.
Dayan Khaan was succeeded by Bodi Alagh Khaan whose power was however assumed by his uncle Bars Bolud Jinong as a regent due to the Khaan's young age. As he grew up, Bodi Alagh claimed back his throne and the Jinong yielded.
The Mongols voluntarily reunified during Eastern Mongolian Tümen Zasagt Khagan rule (1558–1592) for last time and the Xiongnu and Mongol Empires united all Mongols before the Mongol Khaganate. During the reign of Darayisung Gödeng Khaan and his successor Tümen Jasagtu Khaan, the right wings rose in the 16th century under a local lord Altan (son of Bars Bolad Jinong) who assumed the title of khan. In order to maintain the unity of the country by peaceful means, Tümen Jasagtu Khaan initiated a representative government with equal participation of the representatives of the left and right wings. The right wings rivalled with the Oirats for possession of Upper Mongolia (Qinghai) and Altan Khan, who appointed his son as a ruler of Upper Mongolia (Kukunor), defeated the Oirats in 1552. Altan Khan attacked Ming China, but he stopped the raids in 1571, and signed a peace treaty with the Ming court. To achieve favorable conditions in the peace treaty with the Ming Dynasty, Altan Khan occasionally threatened that he may ally with Tümen Khaan to attack China. Altan Khan established the city of Hohhot in 1557. Hutuhtai Secen Hongtaiji of Ordos defeated the Torghuts at the river Irtysh around the 1560s.
Abtai, the ruler of Khalkha, conquered the Oirats in the 1570s, but the latter rebelled in 1588. The Oirats, in turn, were busy in struggle with Moghulistan for trade routes.
Tümen Jasagtu Khaan was succeeded by Buyan Sechen Khaan who claimed having possessed the "seal of the ancient Taizong Khaan". Buyan's grandson Ligden ascended the throne in 1603. He initiated translation of major Buddhist scriptures into the Mongolian language. By his time, the authority of the Mongolian Khaan had declined to such a degree that Legdan Hutuhtu Khaan came to be known as "Khaan of Chaharia". The failure of his attempts of unification of Mongolia by peaceful means led him to shift to forceful methods. However, this in turn alienated the local lords of Inner Mongolia from him even farther.
The striving of the Mongols to improve their life led naturally to an increase in the number of their livestock. In the extensive livestock husbandry, on which the medieval Mongolian economy was based, an excess number of livestock required either expansion of the pastures, which may imply conquest of new territories, or exchange of the excess animals and livestock products for products of settled civilizations unavailable in the unsophisticated Mongolian economy. For example, they would be able to wear clothes made of hides and wool in cold seasons, but would certainly need clothes from silk or light fabric in summer. However, the ban on trade with the Mongols by the Ming administration was a reason for armed conflicts. Moreover, there were frequent attempts to offer low prices for the livestock products or to supply low quality reject goods to the Mongols. Thus in protest, there were cases that Mongol traders burned their reject Chinese purchases in front of the Ming officials during the rule of Esen. Also the Ming administration often issued extremely low import quotas for trade. They banned selling metal products to the Mongols in suspicion that metal would be remoulded into weapons; however, metal products such as kettles were vitally important in the every day life of the herders.
Cities in Mongolia were completely destroyed during Chinese raids in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. The Ming Empire attempted to invade Mongolia in the 14-16th centuries, however, the Ming Empire was defeated by the Oirat, Southern Mongol, Eastern Mongol and united Mongolian armies. Thus there was no division of labor between urban and rural economies that was characteristic in other cultures. Some attempts of diversification of the economy were undertaken in the 16th and 17th centuries in peripheral Mongol domains but not in Northern Khalkha. Thus Altan Khan made Chinese grow grain around the city of Hohhot. Erdeni Batur Hongtaiji attempted to develop cereal and horticulture production in Dzungaria using imported Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Chinese and Taranchis. However, these initiatives mainly or exclusively served the ruling classes and the mass of the Mongol commoners received little or no benefit from them.
By the end of the 16th century, several Khanlig dynasties developed in Khalkha. As Dayan Khaan divided Mongolia among his eleven sons, Northern Khalkha (approximately the territory of modern Mongolia) was given to his youngest son Gersenz Hongtaiji and Southern Khalkha was given to Alchibolad. Northern Khalkha was further divided among Gersenz's seven sons and their sons. Abtai, the most powerful of Gersenz's grandchildren, received the title of Khan from the Dalai Lama, and his son Eriyehii Mergen Khan founded the dynasty of the Tushiyetu Khans, who ruled the central heartland of Northern Khalkha. Gersenz's great-grandson Sholoi solicited the title of Khan from Dalai Lama during his visit to Tibet and initiated the dynasty of Secen Khans in the east of Khalkha. Another great-grandson of Gersenz Laihur assumed the title of Khan, and his son Sumbadai founded the dynasty of the Zasagtu Khans, ruling the west of Northern Khalkha. Laihur's cousin Ubashi Hongtaiji separated from the Zasagtu Khan and initiated the dynasty of Altan Khans of Khotgoid. The title Altan Khan was given to him by the Russian authorities.
In the beginning of the 17th century, the Khoshut tribe of Oirat migrated to Kukunor, and Torghuts migrated to the basin of the river Volga, becoming the Kalmyk people. Khara Khula of the Choros clan unified the Oirats by the 1630s, and his son Erdeni Batur Hongtaiji established the Zunghar Khanate in 1634. The title of Hongtaiji was given to him by the Dalai Lama.
The third introduction of Buddhism
Hutuhtai Secen Hongtaiji of Ordos and his two brothers invaded Tibet in 1566. He sent an ultimatum to some of the ruling clergy of Tibet stating: "If you surrender, we'll develop the Dharma with you. If you don't surrender, we'll conquer you." ("Та манд орж өгвөөс, бид шажин ном хийе, орж эс өгвөөс, бид танд довтолмуй".) The Tibetan supreme monks decided to surrender and Hutuhtai Secen Hongtaiji returned to Ordos with three high ranking monks. Tumen Jasaghtu Khaan invited a monk of Kagyu school in 1576.
Following the advice of his nephew Hutuhtai Secen Hongtaiji, Altan Khan of Tumet invited the head of Gelug school Sonam Gyatso to his domain. Upon their meeting in 1577, Altan Khan recognized Sonam Gyatso lama a reincarnation of Phagpa lama. Sonam Gyatso, in turn, recognized Altan a reincarnation of Kublai Khaan. Thus, Altan had the title "khan" he had assumed recognized by Sonam Gyatso while the latter received support of his supremacy over the Tibetan sangha. Since this meeting, the heads of the Gelugpa school became known as Dalai Lama. Altan Khan also bestowed title Ochirdara (Очирдар, from Sanskr. Vajradhara) to Sonam Gyatso.
At the same time ruler of Khalkha Abtai rushed to Tumet to meet the Dalai Lama. He requested title Khan from Dalai Lama. Although he had already recognized Altan as a Khan besides the Mongolian Khaan Tumen Jasaghtu, the Dalai Lama in this case rejected the request with the excuse that "there cannot be two Khans at the same time." After some hesitation however, he did give Abtai the title Khan. Abtai Khan established the Erdene Zuu monastery in 1585 at the site of the former city of Karakorum. Thus, eventually most of the Mongolian rulers became Buddhists.
The second half of the 15th and the 16th centuries saw the revival and flourishing of Mongolian culture. This period is characterized by development of architecture, fine arts including silk applique, thangka, martang and nagtang painting, and sculpture.
An adopted son of Oirat aristocrat Baibagas, Zaya Pandita Namhaijamtso (1599–1662), reformed the Mongolian script, adapting it to the Oirat dialect. This new script is called Todo bichig.
Zanabazar (1635–1723), head of Buddhism in Khalkha, was a great master of the Buddhist art. Along with the sculptures of the Twenty One Taras, he created the famous sculptures of Sita Tara and Siyama Tara, inspired by lively images of beautiful Mongolian women. The lotus flower over the left shoulder of Sita Tara is about to blossom and Sita Tara herself is in her mid-teens. The lotus flowers over the shoulders of Siyama Tara have already blossomed and Siyama Tara herself is a woman in the bloom of her beauty. She is aware and proud of her perfect beauty. She has awakened from her meditation, put down her right leg in the moment of standing up to descend from her lotus seat to breastfeed her child; and her children are the sentient beings. Many temples and monasteries were built under Zanabazar's projects. He designed the Soyombo script for the Mongolian, Tibetan, and Sanskrit languages in 1686.
Mathematician and astronomer Minggatu of Sharaid discovered nine trigonometric equations and wrote 42 volumes of "The Roots of Regularites" (Зvй тогтлын бvрэн эх сурвалж), 5 volumes in linguistics (дуун ухаан), and 53 volumes of work on mathematics.
In the area of historiography and literature, the Shira Tuuji was written in the 16th century, the Altan Tobchi of Lubsandanzan was written in the first half of the 17th century, and the Erdeniin Tobchi of Sagan Secen Hongtaiji (a descendant of Hutuhtai Secen Hongtaiji), was written in 1662. In the 1620s, Tsogtu Hongtaiji of Khalkha wrote his famous philosophic poems and Legdan Hutuhtu Khaan had the 108 volumes of Kangyur and 225 volumes of Tengyur translated into the Mongolian language. A translation theory work, The Source of Wisdom (Мэргэд гарахын орон) was written under leadership of Rolbiidorji, Janjaa Hutuhtu II.
Manchu Qing period
Manchu conquests of Mongolia
In the early 17th century Eastern Mongolia was divided into three parts: Eastern Mongolia (Khalkha), Southern Mongolia (Southern Mongols), Northern Mongolia (Buryats). By the end of the 17th century, the power of the all-Mongolian Khaan had greatly weakened and the decentralized Mongols had to face the rising new Jurchen statehood on the east. The last Northern Yuan khagan was Ligden 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. In 1618, Ligden signed a treaty with the Ming dynasty to protect their northern border from the Manchus attack in exchange for thousands of taels of silver. Nurhaci Bagatur (Тэнгэрийн сүлдэт) who reunified the Jurchen tribes sent a letter to Ligden Khaan seeking alliance in fighting against the Ming Dynasty. Ligdan denied the proposal mentioning that Nurhaci rules only three tumens of the Jurchens while Ligdan himself is a Genghisid ruling the 40 tumens of the Mongols, and that Nurhaci had better refrain from disturbing the Chinese cities-tributaries of him-of Ligdan Khaan. In response, Nurhaci held it necessary to remind him that the 40 tumens are long gone and there are perhaps some six tumens of which only Chaharia recognizes Ligden's power as Khan. Later Nurhaci managed to ally with the vassals of Ligdan Khaan, the taijis or princes of Southern Khalkha, Horchin, Horlos, etc., who pledged to support Nurhaci in his wars against the Ming dynasty. However their first allied actions were against their own suzerain Ligdan Khaan, who they defeated in 1622.
By the 1620s, only the Chahars remained under Ligden's rule. The Chahar army was defeated in 1625 and 1628 by the Southern Mongol and Manchu armies due to Ligden's faulty tactics.
Ligden Khaan occupied Tumet and Ordos in 1623 to forestall their absorption by the Manchu and advanced into the Manchurian lands in 1631. Nevertheless, Manchu ruler Hong Taiji, successor of Nurhaci, allied with the Inner Mongolian taijis defeated him again in 1634 and sacked Hohhot. The Manchus secured control over Southern Mongolia in 1632 and Ligden's army moved to fight Tibetan Gelugpa sect (Yellow Hat sect) forces. The Gelugpa forces supported the Manchus, while Ligden supported the Kagyu sect (Red Hat sect) of Tibetan Buddhism. Ligden Khagan died in 1634 on his way to Tibet when his troops were swept by an epidemic.
Abahai assumed the title of Khan of Mongolia in 1636, marking the conquest of Southern Mongolia. The Manchus, supported by the troops of the Inner Mongolian taijis, conquered Ming China in 1644 and founded the Qing dynasty.
Erdeni Batur Hongtaiji of the Dzungar Khanate convened a congress of Western Mongolian Dzungars and Khalkas in 1640 to ally their forces in struggle against increasing foreign aggression. The congress issued a Khalkha-Oirat Law called the "Great Code of the Forty and the Four" or "Mongol-Oirat Code" (Döchin Dörben Hoyar un Ike Tsagaza). The Congress was attended by 28 rulers from Dzungaria, Khalkha, Kukunor, and Kalmykia. Tushiyetu Khan Gombodorji and Secen Khan Sholoi were engaged in a conflict with the Manchu Qing dynasty siding with Tenggis Taiji of Southern Mongolia who revolted against Qing rule in 1646.
Chahundorji succeeded to Tushiyetu Khan's (Tusheet Khan) throne in 1665. Zasagtu Khan Norbo (Norvo) died in 1661 and rivalry started between his successors. This feud eventually involved Altan Khan, Tushiyetu Khan, and the Dzungar Khanate. The crisis continued for decades and evolved into a war between Khalkha and Dzungaria in 1688, leading to the conquest of Khalkha by Galdan Boshugtu Khan, king of the Dzungar Khanate, in the course of several battles in the Hangai mountains.
In 1688, Galdan attacked Khalkha following the murder of his younger brother by Tusheet Khan Chakhundorj (the main or Central Khalkha leader) and the Khalkha-Oirat War began.
The head of the Khalkha Buddhism Boghda Zanabazar, the Khalkha khans and nobles with thousands of their subjects moved in panic to Southern Mongolia, which had been integrated into the Qing dynasty. A few Khalkhas fled to Northern Mongolia where Russia threatened to exterminate them if they failed to submit, but many submitted to Galdan Boshugtu. The Khalkha leaders sought Manchu aid in their feud with Galdan Boshugtu Khaan while the Qing Kangxi emperor cunningly demanded that they become his vassals as a condition for his support. Galdan demanded that Kangxi cede him Önder Gegeen Zanagazar and Tushiyetu Khan Chahundorji. The Qing emperor refused and decisive battle took place near UlaanBudan where Galdan was defeated and fled back deeper into Khalkha territory.
The Dzungar throne was then seized by Galdan's brother, Tsewang Rabtan in 1689 while the latter was engaged in the war in Khalkha and this event made it impossible for Galdan to fight the Manchu Empire. Galdan sent his army to liberate Southern Mongolia after defeating the Khalkha army and called Southern Mongolian nobles to fight for Mongolian independence. Some Southern Mongolian nobles, Tibetans, Kumul Khanate and some Moghulistan's nobles supported his war against the Manchu, however, Southern Mongolian nobles did not join the battle against the Manchus.
Kangxi organized a congress of the rulers of Khalkha and Inner Mongolia in Dolnuur in 1691 at which the Khalkha feudatories (the Khalkha Khanate or Eastern Mongolia) by Zanabazar's decision formally declared allegiance to the Qing Emperor. However, Khalkha de facto remained under the rule of Galdan Boshugtu Khaan. Chakhundorj fought against the Russian invasion of Northern Mongolia until 1688. Zanabazar struggled to bring together the Oirats and Khalkhas before the war. Kangxi invaded Khalkha in 1696 and the Oirats were defeated by the outnumbering enemy in a battle at Zuun Mod at the river Terelj. Galdan Boshugtu Khaan died in 1697 in the region of Kovd.
There were three khans in Khalkha of which Zasagt Khan Shar (Western Khalkha leader) was Galdan's ally. Tsetsen Khan (Eastern Khalkha leader) did not engage in this conflict. The Mongols who fled to Northern and Southern Mongolia returned after the war. Some Khalkhas mixed with the Buryats. Tsewang Rabtan continued the war against the Manchus to liberate Eastern, Upper and Southern Mongolia after Galdan Boshugtu, however, his action against Galdan made Northern Mongolians fight against Russia without the help of other Mongols. The Russian and Manchu Empires supported his actions because this coup weakened Western Mongolian strength.
Mongolia encountered Russian expansion on her northern border in the 17th century. The Buryats had fought against Russian invasion since the 1620s. The well-armed Russian Cossaks cruelly subdued the resistance of the Buryats and conquered the Baikal region in 1640-1650s. The uprisings of the Buryats were brutally crushed in 1658 and 1696. The Russians attempted to build ostrogs in Khövsgöl area, but they were quickly destroyed by the local population. Northern Mongolia were formally annexed to Russia by treaties in 1689 and 1727, when the territories on both the sides of Lake Baikal were separated from Mongolia. In 1689 the Treaty of Nerchinsk established the northern border of Manchuria north of the present line. The Russians retained Trans-Baikalia between Lake Baikal and the Argun River north of Mongolia. The Treaty of Kyakhta (1727), along with the Treaty of Nerchinsk, regulated the relations between Imperial Russia and the Qing Empire until the mid nineteenth century. It established the northern border of Mongolia. Oka Buryats revolted in 1767 and Russia completely conquered Northern Mongolia in the late 18th century.
Teswang Rabtan stopped the eastern expansion of the Kazakh khans, and also sent his general Ihe Tserendondov to conquer Tibet in 1716. His force was driven out by Qing troops in 1720, who then occupied Tibet. However, several attempts by the Qing dynasty to subjugate the Dzungar Khanate failed in the early 18th century. In 1723, the Qing troops subdued the uprising of Luvsandanzan taiji in Kukunor. Tsewang Rabtan was succeeded by his son Galdan Tseren in 1727.
Galdant Seren took a series of actions to develop of crop production, gardening, and cannon manufacture in Dzungaria. He successfully repelled the aggression of the Qing dynasty in 1729–31. Moreover, his general Baga Tserendondov advanced into Khalkha and reached the River Kerulen in 1732, but had to retreat after battles with Khalkha and Qing troops. Galdan Tseren died in 1745 and a crisis arose among his heirs. After a series of bloody clashes among them, Dawachi, supported by Khoi-Oirat prince Amursana became the new Dzungar Khaan in 1753. The feud was a sign to the Qing dynasty to prepare for the invasion of the Dzungar Khanate.
As soon as he became Khan, Dawachi deprived his friend Amursana of his wife and then defeated him in a battle in 1754. Amursana sought an alliance with the Qing Dynasty, hoping to defeat Dawachi and elevate himself to the position of Khan of the Dzungar Khanate. The Qing administration mobilized horses and other livestock of the Khalkha population for the Dzungar invasion. A 200,000 strong army consisting of Khalkha, Inner Mongolian, Manchu and Chinese troops invaded Dzungaria in 1755. The vanguard of the Qing army was led by Amursana, king Chingünjav and King Renchindorji of the Khalkhas. The Dzungar Khanate was conquered by the Manchus in 1755–1758 due to conflicts between their leaders and military commanders .
While this horde entered the Ili River Basin, Amursana captured Davaachi and handed him to the Manchu. This event marked the fall of the Dzungar Khanate, which had impeded Qing expansion into Central Asia for over a century. The Qing Qianlong Emperor demobilized the army and envisaged a congress of Dzungar and other Mongol aristocrats to celebrate the incorporation of Dzungaria into the Qing Empire.
Soon after the conquest of the Dzungar Khanate, Amursana, Chingünjav of Khotogoid and Southern Mongolian Khorchin Wang Sevdenbaljir rose up against Qing domination. Some Southern Mongol and Khalkha nobles supported this uprising but the second Jebtsundamba Khutughtu and Tushiyetu Khan Yampildorji mysteriously died shortly afterwards.
Chingünjav rose against Qing rule in 1756 abandoning his post and appealed to the other nobles of Khalkha to rise for independence. Around the same period, an uprising of Sevdenbaljir in Inner Mongolia was subdued. Sevdenbaljir was arrested before this uprising to prevent the Southern Mongols uniting their force. He planned to organize a congress of the Khalkha nobility to elect a future Khaan of Mongolia. Chingunjav was supported by Boghda Gegeen II, the Khans of the four Khalkha aimags and other members of the nobility. However, the Qing court was able to capture Chingunjav before the uprising took its full swing. Chingunjav and his whole family were cruelly executed in 1757, and the Qing court decided that future Jebtsundamba Khutughtus would be only found in Tibet, not in Mongolia. Renchindorj Wang who allowed Amursanaa to abandon his post in the Qing army was cruelly executed in Beijing.
Amursanaa returned to Dzungaria with his 500 warriors as he was deceived in his hope to take the Dzungar throne with the support of the Qing. A faction of the Oirat aristocrats elevated him as Khan of the Oirats in 1756. However, Amursana's followers lacked unity. The decisive battle took place at Sharbal in 1757 when 3,000 Oirat troops fought against a four times outnumbering enemy. After the 17-day battle, Amursana was defeated and fled to Tobolsk in Russia where he died but the Dzungars continued their war against Manchu invasion until 1758. Brutally revenging the Oirat people for their love for freedom, the Qing army carried out the Dzungar genocide, killing every Oirat they met on their way in the territory of the Dzungar Khanate. Of the 600,000 Dzungar population, only 30 thousand survived. Some scholars estimate that about 80% of the Dzungar population were destroyed by a combination of warfare and disease during the Qing conquest of the Dzungar Khanate in 1755–1758. Mark Levene, a historian whose recent research interests focus on genocide, has stated that the extermination of the Dzungars was "arguably the eighteenth century genocide par excellence." The territory of the Dzungar Khanate was then incorporated into the Qing Empire as the province of Xinjiang.
Mongolia during the Manchu Qing rule
After seizing control of Mongolia, the Qing government grouped Khalkha khoshuns into 4 aimags (province): Tusiyetu Khan aimag, Zasaghtu Khan aimag, Secen Khan aimag and Sain Noyan Khan aimag. In addition, the territories populated by Oirats in the Kobdo region were grouped into Togs Huleg Dalai Khan aimag and Unen Zorigtu Khan aimag. Aimags were governed by aimag congress chigulgan comprising the lords of the khoshuns. The chigulgan daruga (чуулган дарга - official presiding the congress) was appointed from the khoshun lords by the Qing government.
As vassals of Qing Emperors, the Mongolian nobles—rulers of the khoshuns were expected to carry out military services commanding their troops in warfare, to personally attend the Emperor in his hunting processions, mobilize resources from the khoshun population and subdue local riots. Their services were generously awarded by the Emperor, and those who performed exceptionally outstanding feats before the Qing Emperor would occasionally be honoured to marry a princess. Disobedience or failure to provide adequate service was severely punished.
The most heavy burden of the foreign exploitation was laid on the spine of the ordinary Mongolian laborers. They were impoverished during mobilization of horses and livestock products during preparation of the military campaign against the Zunghar Khanate besides they had to serve as warriors themselves. Although the military feudal system of Mongolia of the pre-Qing epoch is considered to have been a class society in which an ordinary Mongol was expected to obey his feudal lord as a soldier obeys a commander, it was during the rule of Qing Dynasty when serfdom was effectively introduced to the Mongolian society for the first time. There were 3 forms of serfdom: albatu—state serfs, khamjilga—personal serfs of khoshun rulers and of taijis, and shabi—serfs of Khutuhtus, supreme clergy. To prevent assimilation of the Mongols, the Qing government tried to restrict travels of Han Chinese to Khalkha and to forbid cross-ethnic marriages between the Mongols and Han Chinese. In the 19th century their policy changed and Mongols faced danger of complete extinction because of Manchu's policy.
Bogd Khaanate (1911–1924)
In July 1911, at a religious Mandala ceremony before the 8th Bogd Gegeen Jebzundamba Khutuktu, the princes of Khalkha conferred. In view of the imminent collapse of the Qing Dynasty, they decided to seek Mongolian independence. After the Xinhai Revolution, they decided in November 1911 to mobilize 1,000 warriors from each of the four aimags of Khalkha. With these Khalkha troops in Urga, the Qing amban Sando was deported to China. Outer Mongolia became effectively independent on 1 December 1911 and the Mongolian National Liberation Revolution ended 220 years of rule by the Manchu Empire.
The official name of the state was Olnoo Örgögdson Mongol Uls ("State of Mongolia").
Bogd Gegeen was enthroned as Bogd Khaan (Holy King) of Mongolia on 29 December 1911 and the era was titled Olan-a Örgugdegsen ("Elevated by Many"). The Qing high official in Uliastai was deported on 12 January 1912 in the presence of 700 Mongolian warriors mobilized from Sain Noyan Khan aimag. Mongolian troops led by Danbijantsan (Ja Lama), Magsarjav, and the Manlaibaatar Damdinsüren arrived in the Khovd region in August 1912. After an intense attack supported by the local people, they captured the city of Kobdo during the night of 20 August 1912.
The Mongolian army liberated Eastern Mongolia (Khalkha) and the Khovd region (modern Uvs Province, Khovd Province, and Bayan-Ölgii Province) but Northern Xinjiang (the Altai and Ili regions of the Qing Empire), Upper Mongolia, Barga, and Southern Mongolia came under control of the newly formed Republic of China. On 2 February 1913 the Bogd sent Mongolian cavalrymen to liberate Southern Mongolia from China. The Russian Empire refused to sell weapons to the Bogd Khanate, and Tsar Nicholas II called it "Mongolian imperialism". The United Kingdom urged Russia to abolish Mongolian independence because it was concerned that "if Mongolians gain independence then Central Asians will revolt".  10,000 Mongolian and Southern Mongolian cavalry (about 3,500 Southern Mongols) defeated 70,000 Chinese soldiers and liberated almost all of Southern Mongolia, but in 1914 the Mongolian army retreated due to lack of weapons. 400 Mongol soldiers and 3,795 Chinese soldiers died in this war.
In its historical significance, the establishment of the Bogd Khaanate of Mongolia is comparable with the foundation of the unified Mongol Empire in 1206. With national independence, Mongolia entered the path of modernization. A parliamentary structure consisting of two chambers, the Upper Hural and the Lower Hural, was formed in 1914. A legal code, Jarlig yar togtughaghsan Mongol Ulus un hauli zuil-un bichig (or Zarligaar togtooson Mongol Ulsyn khuuli zuiliin bichig), was adopted in 1915. On 3 November 1912, the Russian Empire and Mongolia signed a bilateral treaty without the participation of China. This treaty meant recognition of the Bogd Khaan as the monarch of the sovereign "State of Mongolia" by Russia. Nevertheless, under strong pressure from the Russian and Chinese governments, the Treaty of Kyakhta (1915) between Russia, Mongolia, and the Republic of China "downgraded" the independence of Outer Mongolia to autonomy within China. The government of Mongolia maintained a position of preserving Mongolia's independence including Khalkha Mongolia, the Khovd region, Western Mongolia, Tuva, Southern Mongolia, Barga, and Upper Mongolia. The position of the Republic of China was that all of Mongolia was territories of China. The position of Russia was to reduce Mongolian independence to an autonomy limited to Outer Mongolia only. Negotiations continued for eight months as the Mongolian representatives firmly defended the independence of the country, but finally the government of Mongolia had to accept Russia's position. However, Outer Mongolia remained effectively outside Chinese control. Mongolia lost Barga, Dzungaria, Tuva, Upper Mongolia, and Southern Mongolia in 1915.
On 2 February 1913, Mongolia and Tibet signed a treaty of friendship and alliance. Mongolian agents and Bogd Khaan (he was a Tibetan) disrupted Soviet secret operations in Tibet to change its regime in the 1920s.
Following the Russian Revolution of October 1917, China revived its claims to Outer Mongolia, aiming at its conversion into a common Chinese province. In late 1919, the Chinese general Xu Shuzheng occupied Urga after suspicious deaths of Mongolian patriotic nobles and forced the Bogd Khaan and the leading nobles to sign a document renouncing Mongolia's independence. Leaders of Mongolia's national independence movement, such as Magsarjav or Damdinsuren (died in the prison under brutal torture) were arrested and imprisoned. The Chinese had tighted their control of Mongolia by this time.
Russian White Guard troops led by Baron Ungern von Sternberg, who had been defeated in the Civil War in Transbaikalian Siberia, invaded Mongolia in October 1920. Baron Ungern sought allies to defeat the Soviet Union. In October–November 1920, Ungern's troops assaulted the capital, Niislel Khuree, known to Europeans under the name Urga (now Ulaanbaatar), several times but were repelled with heavy losses. Ungern entered contacts with Mongolian nobles and lamas and received Bogd Khaan's edict to regain independence. On 2–5 February 1921, after fighting a huge battle, Ungern's force (mainly Mongolian volunteer cavalrymen, Buryat and Tatar cossacks of Russia) drove the Chinese forces out of Mongolian capital.
One part of the Chinese forces fled to the south to China, and another to the north of Mongolia to enter negotiations with the Far Eastern Republic (a puppet state created by Soviet Russia). The Bogd Khaan's monarchic power and his government were restored.
Mongolian People's Republic
Bogd Khan failed in his efforts to get aid from Japan and the United States for regaining the independence of Mongolia from China. Later the Chinese forces were defeated by Baron Ungern, but at the same time the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) had been established. The Soviet government saw this party as instrumental for driving Ungern's troops from Mongolia.
The MPP was established in early 1921 as a merger of two underground revolutionary groups who had their own views on the future of Mongolia. One of these groups was headed by Soliin Danzan, and the other group was headed by Bodoo. They sought aid from the Soviet Union, which was unacceptable to Bogd Khan. However, for the sake of the country's independence, Bogd Khan endorsed the MPP's letter to the Soviet government. However, the Soviet Union chose not to respond to Bogd Khan's government, instead looking to the MPP to become the rulers of Mongolia.
The Mongolian Revolution of 1921 began on 18 March, when 400 volunteer troops led by Sukhbaatar attacked the 2,000-man Chinese garrison in Kyakhta at the northern frontier of Mongolia. The Mongolian volunteer troops and units of the Soviet Red Army advanced to the south, annihilating the remainder of the defeated Chinese troops and Ungern's White troops. The main battles undertaken by the Mongolian troops took place at Tujiin Nars against the Chinese and at Zelter and Bulnai against the White troops. Simultaneously, Khatanbaatar Magsarjav, who had been sent by Baron Ungern to the western provinces, revolted and allied himself with the MPP. He defeated the White troops led by Kazantsev, Vandanov, and Bakich. Mongolian and Soviet troops led by Khasbaatar and Baikalov withstood a long encirclement by the Whites at Lake Tolbo (in present-day Bayan-Ölgii aimag). Baron Ungern, after a conspiracy, was deserted by his troops and captured by a detachment of the Red Army. The MPP troops and Russian Red Army troops entered Urga in July 1921.
Thus the Revolution ended Chinese occupation of Mongolia and defeated White Russian forces in Mongolia. Also that year, Mongolian revolutionary leaders adopted the Statement of Reunification of Mongolia.
The revolutionary government kept Bogd Khan as nominal head of state, but the actual power was in the hands of the MPP and its Soviet (especially Buryat and Kalmyk) counselors. After the mysterious death of Bogd Khan in 1924, the MPP moved quickly to promulgate a Soviet-style constitution, abolishing monarchy and declaring the Mongolian People's Republic on 26 November 1924. Mongolia became completely isolated from the world by the MPP government, which followed the Soviet Union in implementing the Communist experiment. On the other hand, this also provided protection against the potential aggression of China.
In 1928, Mongolian politics took a sharp leftward turn. Herds were forcibly collectivized, private trade and transport were forbidden, and monasteries and the nobility came under attack. This led to an economic breakdown and to widespread unrest and armed uprisings in 1932. The MPP and Soviet troops defeated the rebels in October.
But as a result, the MPP withdrew its most aggressively socialist policies, as advised by the Comintern, instead adopting the Шинэ эргэлтийн бодлого (Shine ergeltiin boglogo, the so-called "Policy of the New Turn"). The "New Turn" included the purging of the most leftist members of the leadership under the pretext of нугалаа (nugalaa "bending") and liberalized development of the economy, and was favored by new leaders such as Prime Minister P. Genden. However, they did not realize that this was a temporary tactical retreat by Stalin and the Comintern. Another wave of repressions began in 1937 and resulted in the almost complete elimination of the Buddhist clergy.
The Buryat Mongols started to migrate to Mongolia in the 1900s due to Russian oppression. Stalin stopped the migration in 1930 and initiated genocide in Mongolia against both immigrants and native Mongolians. During the Stalinist repressions in Mongolia many Buryat men and 22,000–33,000 Mongols were killed by Soviet orders. The victims were 3%–5% of the total population, and included monks, Pan-Mongolists, nationalists, patriots, military officers, nobles, intellectuals, and common citizens.  Some authors also offer much higher estimates, up to 100,000 victims. At this time, Mongolia had an overall population of about 700,000 to 900,000 people. The proportion of victims to the total population was much higher than during the Great Purge in the Soviet Union.
In 1939, Soviet and Mongolian troops fought against Japan in the Battle of Khalkhyn Gol, in Eastern Mongolia. In August 1945, at the end of World War II, Mongolian troops took part in the Soviet operations against Japan in Inner Mongolia.
Also in August 1945, the Rrpublic of China had finally agreed to recognize Mongolia's independence if a vote were held. The vote took place in the presence of Chinese observers on 20 October. The official result was 100% for independence.
After the 1949 Communist victory in China, Mongolia had good relations with both of her neighbors. When the Sino-Soviet split developed in the 1960s, she aligned herself firmly with the Soviet Union. In 1960, Mongolia gained a seat in the UN, after earlier attempts had failed due to U.S. and Republic of China vetos.
The post-war years also saw the acceleration of the drive towards creating a socialist society. In the 1950s, livestock was collectivized again. At the same time, state farms were established, and, with extensive aid from the USSR and China, infrastructure projects like the Trans-Mongolian Railway were completed. In the 1960s, Darkhan was built with aid from Soviet Union and other COMECON countries, and in the 1970s the Erdenet kombinat was created.
A modest meeting organized by the Mongolian Democratic Union on 10 December 1989 landmarks the commencement of the Democratic Movement in Mongolia. The subsequent meetings involved ever increasing numbers of supporters. A meeting with participation of 100,000 people took place on 4 March 1990 on the square at cinema Yalalt, now known as the Square of Liberty. The meeting turned into a demonstration, marching to the House of the Government, which then hosted the People's Great Hural, Council of Ministers and the Headquarters of MPRP. The demonstrators demanded the resignations of the Political Bureau of the MPRP, formation of a Provisional People's Hural during the month of March, and separation of MPRP from the government; they handed their petition to a representative of the government.
Denial of these demands by the Communist government led to a hunger strike of the 7–9 March 1990 by a number of activists of the Mongolian Democratic Union resulting in the resignation of the Political Bureau of the MPRP and negotiations for political reforms.
The first democratic election was held in July 1990.
On 3 October 2002 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Taiwan recognizes Mongolia as an independent country, although no legislative actions were taken to address concerns over its constitutional claims to Mongolia. Offices established to support Taipei's claims over Outer Mongolia, such as the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, lie dormant.
- Architecture of Mongolia
- Central Asian studies
- Culture of Mongolia
- Geography of Mongolia
- History of Central Asia
- History of East Asia
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- List of sovereign states by date of formation
- List of country name etymologies
- Mongolian nobility
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- Outline of Mongolia
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- Timeline of Mongolian history
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