[[caption-width-right:323: ''[[Film/TheProducers "Watch out, Asia! We're going on tour!"]]'']]

->''"We're the exception!"''
-->--'''WebVideo/CrashCourse''' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqcVro-3f4I on the Mongols]]

A landlocked country sandwiched between Russia and China, Mongolia is sparsely populated, with around 3 million inhabitants spread over a territory more than twice the size of France/Texas. Nowadays it is home to a peaceful people, and hasn't caught the world's attention for good or ill in the past half-millennium. And yet, Mongolia was once the center of an empire that ruled the Old World from the Danube to the Pacific Ocean.

Because of its location in the great Eurasian steppeland, Mongolia has been inhabited by [[BornInTheSaddle horse-riding nomads]] since prehistoric times. These nomads, usually divided in rival tribes, were sometimes unified under a strong visionary ruler, and at such times engaged in wars of conquest against the Chinese, their sedentary neighbors to the South. It was in order to protect themselves from such invasions that the Chinese built the Great Wall.

The various empires that arose in Mongolia include the Xiongnu Confederation (a little-understood nomadic people that have long been associated with the European Huns, though recent analysis casts doubt on the connection), the Xianbei Empire, the Rouran Khaganate and the Liao Dynasty. At the end of the 12th century, as the tribes had once again fallen into disunion, a ruthless and ambitious chieftain named Temujin imposed his rule, organized the Mongols into a [[TheHorde brutally efficient]] war machine, and proclaimed himself UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan. He then embarked on a series of conquests that his sons and grandsons would continue, until most of the Eurasian landmass was under their domination. Along the way, they laid waste to pretty much every polities in Asia and Eastern Europe (Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Kievan Rus' were particularly hardest hit) while those who didn't were turned into puppet states or tributaries (China, Korea, Vietnam). The 13th century section in the history books of all countries in the region can be summed up as "Mongols paid visit and wiped us". Further conquests were nevertheless averted, mainly due to political in-fighting but also by strong resistance of peoples in the periphery; the 1260 Battle of Ain Jalut/[[DavidVersusGoliath Spring of Goliath]] in modern-day Israel, pitting them against Mamluk Egypt, is often cited as the defining PointOfNoReturn that prevented them from expanding to Africa, while for various reasons campaigns for Japan, the Malay Archipelago, and the Indian subcontinent floundered. The emergence of such a huge empire created what came to be called "Pax Mongolica", in which warfare was lessened and movement of goods and ideas were made easier through efficient transportation. This unfortunately also made diseases easier to move; the 14th century [[TheBlackDeath Black Death]] that affected 75-200 million people in Eurasia was most likely caused due to this freedom of movement.

The Mongol Empire fell apart, bit by bit, over the following century, with the tribes outside the Mongol heartland becoming [[TheAssimilator assimilated]] into the native cultures; out of the four major empires that fragmented, three[[note]]the Chagatai Khanate, the Ilkhanate, and the Golden Horde[[/note]] quietly merged with the local Muslim dynasties, while the remaining one, the Yuan dynasty, became just the latest addition to the "barbaric hordes civilized by China" gallery. The tribes would unify again on later occasions, but they never again managed to conquer so much territory. In the 17th century, the Mongols, who by then had largely adopted Tibetan Buddhism, became the vassals of the [[UsefulNotes/DynastiesFromShangToQing Qing Dynasty]].

They regained their independence in 1921 as China was in the throes of the [[UsefulNotes/NoMoreEmperors Warlord Era]], but in short order they fell under the suzerainty of the Soviet Union. For better or worse, the move was a total necessity: even as late as the 1950s, after the Chinese Civil War, maps belonging to the [[UsefulNotes/TheOtherChineseArmy Nationalist Chinese Government]] identified Mongolia as part of the Republic of China on the basis of being the successor to the Chinese Empire (in fact, the [=RoC=] government, even when confined to the island of Taiwan, has continued to recognize Mongolia as part of China well into 20th century. While some laws were changed between 2002 and 2006 to permit Mongolia to be treated as a de facto foreign country, the [=RoC=] Constitution has not been amended to make the recognition formal as of 2015). Between Chinese anxiousness to reincorporate Mongolia and [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Japanese invasion of Manchuria]], the geographically huge but demographically small Mongolian People's Republic owed its continued independence to its role as a Soviet-endorsed buffer between the USSR and China. Mongolian politics and national defense was largely shaped on the basis of counting on this role while stuck between two of the largest countries in the world. During this period, the Mongols were led first by Damdin Sukhbaatar, for whom the capital (Ulanbaatar - "Red Hero") is named. Sukbaatar is generally considered to be the Father of modern Mongolia. Unfortunately, he died of overwork in 1923 (though popular narratives suggest he was poisoned). The other important leader of Mongolia during this period was Khorloogiin Choibalsan, whose nickname "the Stalin of the Mongolia" should tell you everything you need to know about him.

In the 1950s, a small minority of Mongolian leaders, including the leader of the time, Yumzhagin Tsebenbal, pursued the [[UsefulNotes/SovietRussiaUkraineAndSoOn incorporation]] of Mongolia into the Soviet Union, but this was shot down by the rest of the ruling party and the USSR itself. The arrangement did ensure no further military action taken against Mongolia, even during the Sino-Soviet split.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia became a democracy, but it has found the transition from decades of collectivized economy difficult. These days, it is somewhat famous for its [[StockDinosaurs velociraptors]] (of the fossilized variety of course).

The Mongolian language is a part of the Mongolic language family, which more or less consists of it and a couple of obscure languages with much fewer speakers. There has been proposals to connect it with other isolated Eurasian families (including the Turkic and Japonic families) as a part of the Altaic supergroup, but it's not definitively demonstrated. Nevertheless, clear parallels with the Turkic family can't be denied; the two families have the same geographical origin, and the Turks, who were (and are) numerically superior, lent extensive vocabulary, including such important terms as "khan", "Tengri", and even "Genghis" itself. Note that the Mongols tend to regard themselves as one big extended family no matter how far they are to each other (and they do reach far enough; you can find Mongols [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalmyks as far as European Russia]]). Difference is indicated by confederation title, e.g. Mongolian Mongols are mostly "Khalkha", while the aforementioned European Mongols are "Kalmyks".

Sometimes one will encounter references to Inner Mongolia and/or Outer Mongolia. "Inner Mongolia" refers to that portion of the traditional Mongolian homelands which is now a province of China. "Outer Mongolia" is what is now the independent nation of Mongolia. One difference is the writing system: Outer Mongolia switched to using [[UsefulNotes/{{Cyrillic Alphabet}} Cyrillic]] in the 1930s due to the influence of the Soviet Union, whereas those left outside the state continues to use the original, Aramaic-descended script (one of the few that is absolutely required to be written vertically; Japanese and Chinese, though properly vertical, are nowadays more common to be written horizontally). Another difference is that 80% of Inner Mongolia is ethnically Han Chinese, not Mongolian, although the 1/5 of Inner Mongolia that is ethnically Mongol still makes up twice as many Mongols as live in independent Mongolia.

The dishes commonly known as "Mongolian barbecue" and "Mongolian beef" have no connection to Mongolia, and actually come from UsefulNotes/{{Taiwan}} and [[UsefulNotes/CuisinesInAmerica Chinese Americans]], respectively.[[note]]While Mongolian cuisine ''does'' largely consist of beef and does have its own meat roasting and barbecuing methods, they are ''very'' different in style than the popularly known dishes.[[/note]]

!!Works set in Mongolia:


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/TheCaveOfTheYellowDog'' is about a young girl who adopts a stray dog against her father's wishes.
* At least three UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan biopics.
** ''Film/TheConqueror'' is a 1956 film most famous as a member of the WTHCastingAgency Hall of Fame. Creator/JohnWayne played the lead role of Genghis Khan. Yes. John Wayne. Some have suggested that this film killed him, due to filming having taken place downwind of former nuclear testing areas. Of course, the fact that he was a chain smoker for decades might have played a role as well.
** ''Film/GenghisKhan'' is a 1965 film that is severely flawed but at least has Omar Sharif giving a much, much better performance than Wayne did.
** ''Film/{{Mongol}}'', a 2007 film directed by Creator/SergeiBodrov, is a much better (and more historically accurate) film than either of its two predecessors.
* ''Film/{{Joy|2016}}'', a tearjerker about an 8-year-old girl that undergoes a series of tragedies.
* ''Film/{{Khadak}}'' is a 2006 Belgian film set in Mongolia with an all-Mongolian cast, about a nomadic family which is forced to leave the steppe behind and go work in a coal mine.
* ''Film/MyBeautifulJinjiimaa'' is a {{Tearjerker}} film about a young deaf-mute woman living as a nomad on the steppe.
* ''Film/APearlInTheForest'' is about Buryat tribesmen fleeing Russia for Mongolia to escape the communes of UsefulNotes/JosephStalin, and the damage wreaked by a Buryat communist who returns to sniff out defectors in his home village.
* ''Film/StormOverAsia'' is a 1928 Soviet propaganda film about a Mongol herder who leads the people of the steppe in revolt against their British EvilColonialist oppressors.
* ''The Story of the Weeping Camel'' is about a shepherd family trying to save the life of a rare white camel.
* ''Film/TsogtTaij'' is a 1945 Mongolian film about a RealLife Mongolian prince who fought for Mongolian independence against the Chinese and Tibetans.
* ''Urga'' is a 1991 film about a Mongolian shepherd who befriends a stranded Russian truck driver.
* ''Film/TheWayBack'', directed by Creator/PeterWeir, is about a group of escapees from Stalin's gulag who flee into Mongolia, then have to [[CrossingTheDesert cross the Gobi Desert]] on their way to China. [[ThirstyDesert It doesn't go well]].
* ''Film/TheEagleHuntress'', a 2016 documentary about a young girl training to be an eagle hunter, among the Kazakh people of western Mongolia.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/{{Conqueror}}'': A series of novels about the Mongol Empire.
* ''Blue Wolf'' by Inoue Yasushi is a fictionalized biography of UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan
* The poem "Literature/KublaKhan" by Creator/SamuelTaylorColeridge is a fanciful portrait of Mongol conqueror Kublai Khan's summer palace in "Xanadu"--now [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shangdu Shangdu]], and located in Inner Mongolia.
* "Literature/ThePrivateLifeOfGenghisKhan" is a humorous short story by Creator/DouglasAdams depicting the mighty Khan as a HenpeckedHusband.


[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* Masashi Ozawa, who is actually Japanese, was billed from Mongolia as Wrestling/KillerKhan.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresII'': The campaign of UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan shows his rise to power, by uniting Mongolia, and his conquest of Asia to Europe.


[[folder: The Mongolian flag ]]

->The central blue band symbolizes Tengri, chief god of the Turkic pantheon and ruler of the sky, while the red side stripes symbolize the people's ability to thrive in the harsh steppes. At the center of the left stripe is a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyombo_symbol special character]] of the Soyombo script; the lower half shows the ever-familiar Yin-Yang symbol, symbolizing the mutuality of opposites, flanked vertically by a pair of rectangles, symbolizing honesty and justice on all levels of society, which are in turn accompanied by downward triangles, signifying vigilance against enemies from within and without, and flanked on both sides by the pillars of ThePowerOfFriendship; the upper half shows the Sun and the Moon, symbolizing Mongolia's wish to exist forever under the skies, and topping the entire symbol is the flame of wealth.