A once powerful empire that’s now shrunken down to a barren no-man’s-land, Mongolia is a country with a fascinating past and an intriguing future. As its mineral wealth is just beginning to be explored, Mongolia is a country to watch with interest.
Location: Asia. Landlocked. South of Russia and surrounded on other sides by China.
Capital: Ulan Bator
Population: 2, 754, 685 (comparable to Nevada)
Size: 603,909 square miles (comparable to Texas)
Government: Parliamentary republic. Parliament and prime minister (currently Norov Altanhuyag) hold real political power and president (currently Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj) retains power of veto in parliament and power over armed forces. The president is directly elected. President Elbegdorj is from the democratic party and was elected on a platform that promised to fight corruption and to distribute Mongolia’s mineral wealth to the equal benefit of the whole country. Broken into 21 provinces.
Economy: GNI is US $1,850; use 1 togrog= 100 mongos. Is expected to grow significantly with mineral mining.
- Then Mongol Empire was founded by Genghis Khan, an 11th century conquistador who ruthlessly attacked neighboring territories to expand his. However, in Mongolia, he is revered as a national hero and remembered for unifying local nomadic tribes, promoting religious freedom, and conquering most of Central Asia and China.
- The average temperature in Ulan Bator, the coldest capital city in the world, is 0 degrees Celcius. It also is home to 40% of Mongolia’s population.
- Though it is the 19th largest country in the world in terms of size, rated by population it comes in at 138th.
- The NW corner of Mongolia is considered by some the last true wilderness. It’s home to many endangered species, a myriad of lakes and rivers, the countries highest mountain Hüiten Peak. It remains largely untouched.
- Mongolia focuses on foreign relations. They are in good terms with U.S. and they sent troops to Afganistan and Iraq.
- Mongolia has a big festival called Naadam for its three biggest traditional sports- archery, horse racing, and wrestling. For wrestling, winners get names dependent on how long they last in competition. Starting with falcon, and then moving to elephant, lion, and finally Titan.
- They have snow covered mountains in the north (where they go kite skiing) and large, barren desert (the Gobi Desert) in the south.
Not So Fun Facts:
- Education is limited. Though illiteracy is nearly illeminated there, public school systems are just now requiring a 12 year education, and higher education is limited.
- 30% of Mongolia’s population make their living from farming. However severe drought has killed much of their livestock.
- Cities in the south have temperatures drop to 40 below in winter and rise to 135 in the summer. They also endure wind and sand storms and tornados.
In the News Lately:
- Mongolia facing changes because of increase in mining and opportunity for economic growth. http://www.npr.org/2012/05/24/152842270/old-ways-disappearing-in-the-new-mongolia-19288780
- Mongolian gold rush http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world
- Droughts devastate farmers’ livestock. http://www.npr.org/2012/05/22/152698675/mongolias-dilemma-who-gets-the-water