The Mongols gained fame in the 13th century when under Chinggis KHAN they conquered a huge Eurasian empire. After his death the empire was divided into several powerful Mongol states, but these broke apart in the 14th century. The Mongols eventually retired to their original steppe homelands and in the late 17th century came under Chinese rule. Mongolia won its independence in 1921 with Soviet backing. A Communist regime was installed in 1924.


Following a peaceful democratic revolution, the ex-Communist Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) won elections in 1990 and 1992, but was defeated by the Democratic Union Coalition (DUC) in the 1996 parliamentary election. Since then, parliamentary elections returned the MPRP overwhelmingly to power in 2000, but 2004 elections reduced MPRP representation and, therefore, its authority.


Location: Northern Asia, between China and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 46 00 N, 105 00 E
Population: 3,179,997 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.3% (male 437,241/female 419,693)

15-64 years: 68.7% (male 1,074,949/female 1,076,455)

65 years and over: 4% (male 54,415/female 70,565) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Mongolia

local long form: none

local short form: Mongol Uls

former: Outer Mongolia

Government type: mixed parliamentary/presidential
Telephones – main lines in use: 193,200 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 2.51 million (2009)
Airports: 44 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 15

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 11

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2012)

Military branches: Mongolian Armed Forces: Mongolian Army, Mongolian Air Force; there is no navy (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18-25 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation – 12 months in land or air defence forces or police; a small portion of Mongolian land forces (2.5 percent) is comprised of contract soldiers; women cannot be deployed overseas for military operations (2006)


Economic activity in Mongolia has traditionally been based on herding and agriculture. Mongolia has extensive mineral deposits. Copper, coal, gold, molybdenum, fluorspar, uranium, tin, and tungsten account for a large part of industrial production and foreign direct investment. Soviet assistance, at its height one-third of GDP, disappeared almost overnight in 1990 and 1991 at the time of the dismantlement of the USSR. The following decade saw Mongolia endure both deep recession because of political inaction and natural disasters, as well as economic growth because of reform-embracing, free-market economics and extensive privatization of the formerly state-run economy. Severe winters and summer droughts in 2000-02 resulted in massive livestock die-off and zero or negative GDP growth.