Mongolia | The Land Of The Eternal Blue Sky, Genghis Khan & The Mongol Empire
Mongolia, despite being just 3,000,000 people, have had an entirely outsized influence on history.
The Mongolian conquests and Mongol empire of 13th century Genghis Khan majorly shifted the genetic structure and political geography of what would become billions of people. The children of Genghis Khan can be to as many as 17 million people alone, and that’s just one Mongolian.
Otherwise known as the ‘Land Of The Eternal Blue Sky’, Mongolia experience more than 250 days of clear blue sky per year. Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital city in the world, and the countries geography marks the beginning of Eurasia’s expansive and mystical steppe. A vast, open expanse of grassland which consequently enabled the Khan conquests of ages past to dominate the world.
The Mongol Empire & Genghis Khan
At the height of the Mongol area, Genghis Khan held dominion over land equivalent to the size of the entire continent of Africa, or in other continental comparisons, the land stretching from Canada to Brazil.
It is from this legacy of the Khans that modern-day Mongolia is best known. It has informed much of their current culture including customs, language and traditions and pride.
An Interview With Jack Weatherford | Author Of Genghis Khan & The Making Of The Modern World
The Mongolian Geography | Land, Human & Demographic
Mongolia is the 18th largest country in the world, they are a giant landmass but a huge landmass is not worth as much when you are simultaneously met with the unfortunate position of being landlocked.
Mongolia is wedged between Russia and China (difficult neighbours) and are therefore also then subject too these two nations trade flows. The absence of an aquatic coast ties Mongolia’s potential somewhat. Not all of us are dealt equally good hands. Historically, the numerous horses of the Khans could traverse and navigate the hilly and open routes of the steppe. And as such an absence of a navy and access to the oceans was less detrimental. Today, however, trading flows have transitioned more shipping and as such, the economic prospects of Mongolia are severely handicapped because of this.
The people of Mongolia are extremely distributed. Each person has themselves half a km squared, and outside of the capital Ulaanbaatar, the land is largely untouched and mostly absent any sign of infrastructure. It is not a hyperbolic euphemism to state that all roads lead to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city which houses 45% of the entire countries population.
Mongolia’s Geographical Borders Versus Political
While Mongolia’s political boundaries are without complexity Russia and China, their geographical boundaries are more interesting and varied.
To the South lies the ‘Gobi Desert’, to the West, the Altai mountains, and then to the North both mountain ranges Khangal and Khentii. Consequently, this renders the south of Mongolia is a dry, cold desert, while the north is hillier, extremely green, and fertile. Mongolia sits in the middle of the ‘Siberian Anti-Cyclone’ which explains the massive pressure which centres over lake Baikal and keeps Mongolia chilly and windy most year round. Mongolia is extremely dry with barely any rainfall dropping throughout the year.
Mongol’s are very homogenous, which is not so remarkable considering their history and extremely proud culture. Only 5% of the population are not ethnically Mongolian, and instead, either Russian or Khazak and not, as I would have thought, Han Chinese.
Chinese Inner Mongolia
A fascinating and uplifting but nonetheless concerning feature of Mongolia’s ‘sovereign’ and land occupation is the non-autonomous region of ‘Inner Mongolia’, which is dominion of the PRC (People’s Republic Of China). Within Inner Mongolia live 6,000,000 Mongols. Which means, in a Mongolian region of China there lives twice the population of Mongolians living in Mongolia.
There is really nothing quite as exceptional as China’s ability to populate.
The Mongolia Of Today
Estimates suggest that for every Mongol in Mongolia there is an equivalent of 30 sheep and 13 horses. The land is a prosperous hazing ground for animals, and as a result, Mongolians have historically enjoyed a consistent diet of meat and milk. The Khans of conquests old used to consider those who would only eat grain equivalent to livestock and not human. Up until the modern-day, meat was typically only enjoyed internationally as a staple of the wealthy, except for the Mongols.
This symbiosis with and reliance upon the animal population in Mongolia has endured until today via a profitable cashmere trade, courtesy of those sheep.
Mongolia are proven and terrific diplomats. Despite being such a small and economically insignificant country (especially considering their neighbours) they wield significant soft power, especially when you take into account their size. Mongolia is also one of Asia’s most stable and least corrupt democracies.
Mongolia The Diamond Of Asia
I have developed a bit of a crush on this country recently and find that it exerts a disproportionately large influence on the world.
As Aisa furthers their plunge into international relevency I predict Mongolia’s role as a cultural leader is only going to become further and further bolstered.
Landlocked, bordering two imperialist nations, a tough climate, a small population, no oil… all very bad ingredients for making a successful country. Yet and nonetheless! Mongolia is the most stable democracy in the region, has the best education and continues with pride its national culture.
What a country.
Watch Here For A Broader Discussion On Mongolia With An Expert On The Country | Jack Weatherford
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