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one knows with absolute certainty what the origins of the name Mongolia are. The
name likely comes from the name of a river, a mountain, or is perhaps named after
a former leader named Mugulu, who ruled in the 300s. It may even be derived from
Mongkhe-tengri-gal, which means "eternal sky fire."
Thousands of year ago the people of Mongolia were nomads who lived off the land
and today little has changed. The land and weather in Mongolia limits what can be
grown so the people move with the seasons to get ideal weather and foods during
each season. Additionally, the people have heavily relied on their livestock to
survive day to day and the livestock also need new lands and grasses to feed on
as the seasons change. Due to this past, the Mongol culture is deeply rooted in
the nomadic lifestyle. Even today to some degree Mongol culture is based on an ability
to understand the land, animals, and the flexibility and durability to survive harsh
The people have also learned to survive and fight against enemies as their borders
moved and their past leader, Genghis Khan, took lands and united the people. Since
the historic mentality of the people was simply survival, fighting others over resources
and land was a daily part of life. Genghis Khan changed that mentality to a degree
as he united the people and they began to realize working together led to greater
progress than fighting each other; since this time the people have been loosely
united, although self-protection and independence is still a strong aspect of Mongol
culture, although now it's more noticeable on a national level.
The flag of Mongolia contains blue
for the sky and red, which represents progress and prosperity. The flag also contains
the national emblem, which is called soyombo. This emblem includes symbols
for fire, the sun, moon, earth, water, and the yin-yang.
Independence: July 11, 1921
Population: 3,226,516 (2013 estimate)
Language: Khalkha Mongol
Religion: Buddhist Lamaism
Shockingly, little has changed the Mongol culture over the past thousand years,
but of those changes religion is among the most substantial. Buddhism is still the
dominant religion, while Islam is also popular, both of which dictate certain aspects
of life, such as dress, diet, and relationships. However, the culture is still rooted
in the people's nomadic past as many continue to live in gers, their
nomadic homes, and animals continue to be an important part of their culture and
the basis of their diet.
What has changed in recent times is the introduction of technology and infrastructure
as many former nomads are now settling and urbanization is occurring. Roads and
transportation are easily accessible and the cities are growing at the expense of
rural life. The cities today are home to most of the country's jobs as entire
areas on the outskirts of cities are made up of gers. Foreign powers have
also become more involved in local politics and have changed the culture, most particularly
the Soviet Union in the mid-1900s and China in more recent times as a communist
mentality has been introduced.
Despite the changing culture and Mongolia's shift to industrialization, the
people tend to cling to their historic cultural roots as the people remain humble,
modest, and united. Today, modern technology is available as cars, modern housing,
and fast foods are more widely accessible, but these items are not preferred or
affordable to many, as many continue to live simple lives as they have in the past.
The capital is ever-changing and is adopting these new introductions, but even here
change is slow.
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