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About Mongolia - History, Landscape & Economy
The historic heritage of Mongolia is mainly related to Genghis Khan, the warrior-statesman, who, in the 13th century,
unified the Mongolian people into a strong nation that conquered and controlled much of Asia. The huge Eurasian
empire that they acquired gained the Mongols much fame. After Ghengis Khan's death the empire was divided into several
powerful Mongol states, which later broke apart in the 14th century. The Mongols eventually retired to their original
steppe homelands and later came under Chinese rule. Mongolia won its independence in1921 with Soviet backing, and
a Communist regime was installed in 1924. During the early 1990s, the Communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
(MPRP) gradually yielded its monopoly on power to the Democratic Union Coalition (DUC), which defeated the MPRP in
a national election in 1996. Since then, parliamentary elections returned the MPRP overwhelmingly to power in 2000
and produced a coalition government in 2004.
Mongolia is a land-locked country in the North-East part of Asia which borders China in the south, and Russia in the north. The total territory of the country is 1.56 million square kilometers, with a population of 2.8M people, making approximately 1 square kilometer per 1.7 persons, and the 18th largest country in the world. Mongolia is one of the world's last undiscovered travel destinations. It is a land to experience with wide-open spaces, cobalt blue skies, green hillsides, lush forests, and crystal clear rivers and lakes. Simply put, Mongolia is a land of adventure with many cultural and natural wonders. Winters in Mongolia last from November to late April, with Spring occurring from May through June, and Summer from July through September. In Mongolia there are 250 sunny days a year, often with clear cloudless skies. Because of this, Mongolia is commonly known as the country of "Blue Sky".
Economic activity in Mongolia has traditionally been based on herding and agriculture. Mongolia has extensive mineral deposits; copper, coal, tin, tungsten and gold account for a large part of industrial production. Soviet assistance, at its height one-third of GDP, disappeared almost overnight at the time of the dismantle of the USSR. The following decade saw Mongolia endure both deep recessions due to political inaction and natural disasters, as well as economic growth due to reform embracing free-market economics and extensive privatization of the formerly state-run economy. Staler winter and summer droughts in 2000, 2001, and 2002 resulted in massive livestock die-off and zero or negative GDP growth. This was compounded by falling prices for Mongolia's primary sector exports and widespread opposition of privatization. Growth improved from 2002 at 4% to2003 at 5%, due largely to high copper prices and new gold production, with the government claiming 10.6% growth rate for 2004 that is unconfirmed.
"Trade with China, Japan, and South Korea is developing"Mongolia's economy continues to be heavily impacted by its neighbors. For example, Mongolia purchases 80% of its petroleum products and a substantial amount of it electric power from Russia leaving it vulnerable to price increases. China is Mongolia's chief export partner and a main source of the "shadow" or "gray" economy. The World Bank and other international financial institutions estimate the gray economy to be at least equal to that of the official economy. The actual size of this gray—largely cash economy is difficult to calculate since the money does not pass though the hands of tax authorities or the banking sector. Remittances from Mongolians working abroad, both legally and illegally, constitute a sizeable portion. Money laundering is growing as an accompanying concern. Mongolia settled its $11 billion debt with Russia at the end of 2003 on very favorable terms. Mongolia, which joined the World Trade Organization in 1997, seeks to expand its participation and integration into Asian regional economic and trade regimes. Trade with China, Japan, and South Korea is developing, and there have been optimistic reports on potential oil reserves.