In 1203 AD, a single Mongolian state was formed based on nomadic tribal
groupings under the leadership of Genghis Khan. He 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's grandson Kublai Khan,
who conquered China and established the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368 AD), gained
fame in Europe through the writings of Marco Polo.
Although Mongol-led confederations sometimes exercised wide political
power over their conquered territories, their strength declined rapidly
after the Mongol dynasty in China was overthrown in 1368. The Manchus,
a tribal group which conquered China in 1644 and formed the Qing dynasty,
were able to bring Mongolia under Manchu control in 1691 as Outer Mongolia
when the Khalkha Mongol nobles swore an oath of allegiance to the Manchu
emperor. The Mongol rulers of Outer Mongolia enjoyed considerable autonomy
under the Manchus, and all Chinese claims to Outer Mongolia following the
establishment of the republic have rested on this oath. In 1727, Russia
and Manchu China concluded the Treaty of Khiakta, delimiting the border
between China and Mongolia that exists in large part today.
Outer Mongolia was a Chinese province (1691-1911), an autonomous state
under Russian protection (1912-19), and again a Chinese province (1919-21).
As Manchu authority in China waned, and as Russia and Japan confronted
each other, Russia gave arms and diplomatic support to nationalists among
the Mongol religious leaders and nobles. The Mongols accepted Russian aid
and proclaimed their independence of Chinese rule in 1911, shortly after
a successful Chinese revolt against the Manchus. By agreements signed in
1913 and 1915, the Russian Government forced the new Chinese Republican
Government to accept Mongolian autonomy under continued Chinese control,
presumably to discourage other foreign powers from approaching a newly
independent Mongolian state that might seek support from as many foreign
sources as possible.
The Russian revolution and civil war afforded Chinese warlords an opportunity
to re-establish their rule in Outer Mongolia, and Chinese troops were dispatched
there in 1919. Following Soviet military victories over White Russian forces
in the early 1920s and the occupation of the Mongolian capital Urga in
July 1921, Moscow again became the major outside influence on Mongolia.
The Mongolian People's Republic was proclaimed on November 25, 1924.
Between 1925 and 1928, power under the communist regime was consolidated
by the Mongolian Peoples Revolutionary Party (MPRP). The MPRP left gradually
undermined rightist elements, seizing control of the party and the government.
Several factors characterized the country during this period: The society
was basically nomadic and illiterate; there was no industrial proletariat;
the aristocracy and the religious establishment shared the country's wealth;
there was widespread popular obedience to traditional authorities; the
party lacked grassroots support; and the government had little organization
In an effort at swift socioeconomic reform, the leftist government applied
extreme measures which attacked the two most dominant institutions in the
country--the aristocracy and the religious establishment. Between 1932
and 1945, their excess zeal, intolerance, and inexperience led to anti-communist
uprisings. In the late 1930s, purges directed at the religious institution
resulted in the desecration of hundreds of Buddhist institutions and imprisonment
of more than 10,000 people.
During World War II, because of a growing Japanese threat over the Mongolian-Manchurian
border, the Soviet Union reversed the course of Mongolian socialism in
favor of a new policy of economic gradualism and buildup of the national
defense. The Soviet-Mongolian army defeated Japanese forces that had invaded
eastern Mongolia in the summer of 1939, and a truce was signed setting
up a commission to define the Mongolian-Manchurian border in the autumn
of that year.
Following the war, the Soviet Union reasserted its influence in Mongolia.
Secure in its relations with Moscow, the Mongolian Government shifted to
postwar development, focusing on civilian enterprise. International ties
were expanded, and Mongolia established relations with North Korea and
the new communist governments in eastern Europe. It also increased its
participation in communist-sponsored conferences and international organizations.
Mongolia became a member of the United Nations in 1961.
In the early 1960s, Mongolia attempted to maintain a neutral position
amidst increasingly contentious Sino-Soviet polemics; this orientation
changed in the middle of the decade. Mongolia and the Soviet Union signed
an agreement in 1966 that introduced largescale Soviet ground forces as
part of Moscow's general buildup along the Sino-Soviet frontier.
During the period of Sino-Soviet tensions, relations between Mongolia
and China deteriorated. In 1983, Mongolia systematically began expelling
some of the 7,000 ethnic Chinese in Mongolia to China. Many of them had
lived in Mongolia since the 1950s, when they were sent there to assist
in construction projects.
Chronology of Mongolian History 1921-Present
March 13, 1921: Provisional People's Government declares independence
May 31, 1924: U.S.S.R. signs agreement with Peking government, referring
to Outer Mongolia as an "integral part of the Republic of China," whose
"sovereignty" therein the Soviet Union promises to respect.
May-September 16, 1939: Largescale fighting takes place between Japanese
and Soviet-Mongolian forces along Khalkhyn Gol on Mongolia-Manchuria border,
ending in defeat of the Japanese expeditionary force. Truce negotiated
between U.S.S.R. and Japan.
October 6, 1949: Newly established People's Republic of China accepts
recognition accorded Mongolia and agrees to establish diplomatic relations.
October 1961: Mongolia becomes a member of the United Nations.
January 27, 1987: Diplomatic relations established with the United States.
December 1989: First popular reform demonstrations. Mongolian Democratic
January 1990: Largescale demonstrations demanding democracy held in
March 2, 1990: Soviets and Mongolians announce that all Soviet troops
will be withdrawn from Mongolia by 1992.
May 1990: Constitution amended to provide for multi-party system and
July 29, 1990: First democratic elections held.
September 3, 1990:First democratically elected People's Great Hural
February 12, 1992: New constitution goes into effect.
April 8, 1992: New election law passed.
June 28, 1992: Election for the first unicameral legislature (State
June 6, 1993: First direct presidential election.
June 30, 1996: Election of first noncommunist government.
July 2, 2000: Election of the former communist Mongolian Peoples Revolutionary
Party (MPRP); formation of new government by Prime Minister N. Enkhbayar.