- Carole Pegg
Independent country in Inner Asia and landlocked between the Russian Federation to the north and China to the east, west and south. It covers an area of 1,565,088 km² (606,250 miles²) and has a population of 2·74 million (2000 estimate) of which an estimated 78·8% are classified as Khalkha [Halh] Mongols. Other Mongol groups include Altai Urianghais, Bargas, Baits, Buryats, Chahars, Darhats, Darigangas, Dörbets, Hamnigans, Harchins, Horchins, Hoshuts, Hotogoids, Mingats, Ölöts, Sünits, Torguts, Üzemchins and Zakchins. Turkic minorities within Mongolia include Kazakhs (5·9% of the population) and small numbers of Tuvans, Üzbeks (Chantous), Uighur and Soyot Urianghais, Tsaatans and Hotons.
Mongols emerged as a distinct group during the 11th and 12th centuries. The first Mongol Uls (Mongol nation) – a name reassigned during the 1990s to contemporary Mongolia – was established in 1206 by Temüjin (Chinggis Khan), who united the Mongolian tribes to create a nomadic empire, which, at its height, reached from Korea to the Black Sea (...