Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mongolian Ethnic - Unique type of nation

Although most people probably think of Mongolia as being inhabited by a single ethnic group - the Mongols - this is wrong. There are actually quite a few. There are over 20 different groups of Mongols. Nineteen of these and one non-Mongol group (the Kazakhs) live in Mongolia itself. While peaceful, these ethnic differences sometimes matter in Mongolia when it comes to politics. Somewhat oddly, the 2000 census doesn't list give a full list of the different ethnic groups in Mongolia. It's also worth noting that there was a reported drop of almost 20,000 in the Kazakh population between 1989 and 2000.


The Khalkha are the largest group of Mongols in Mongolia. In fact, they are the core of all the Mongol peoples across North Asia. The Khalkha Mongol considers themselves the direct descendants of Genghis Khan and therefore, the true preservers of Mongol culture.
In the thirteenth century, Genghis Khan formed one of the greatest empires in world history by uniting all of the nomadic Mongol tribes. During the centuries that followed, the once mighty Mongol empire was squeezed between the growing Russian and Chinese empires. In the early 1920's, Mongolia became a Marxist state until its quiet democratic revolution in 1990. The Khalkha Mongol consider their language, Halh, to be the "real" Mongolian language, since all other Mongols speak variations or dialects of Halh. Halh is understood throughout Mongolia and by Mongols living in Central Asia. Mongolia was once one of the most closed countries in the world, but is now relatively open to outside influence, including Christianity.


The Kazak of Mongolia belong to a larger group of people who live primarily in Kazakstan. Ethnically, they are of Turkic descent, and are the second largest Muslim group of Central Asia. In the past, they were perhaps the most influential of the various Central Asian ethnic groups. 

The Kazak developed a distinct ethnic identity in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. In the nineteenth century, the Russians acquired Central Asia through a steady process of annexation. They eventually claimed the entire territory of Kazakstan. About half of the Kazak population was killed during the Russian Civil War of the 1920's and 1930's. During this time, many fled to China and Mongolia. 
The Kazak who now live in Mongolia make up the largest non-Mongolian ethnic group in the country. However, at the present time, their number is decreasing since many are emigrating back to their homeland, Kazakstan. 


The Durbet are a Western Mongol tribe. They are primarily located in the western part of Mongolia, near the border of Russia. In the early 1600's, most of their ancestors (the Oirat) left their homeland, Dzhungaria, which is now part of the Xinjiang region of China, in hopes of settling in the rich pastures of the northern Caucasus Mountains.

In 1771, the majority of the Oirat decided to move back to Dzhungaria in order to escape the Russian dictatorship. Those who stayed in Russia became known as the Kalmyk, which means "to remain." Of those who left Russia, only a small group survived the long and difficult journey back to Dzhungaria. 
Having arrived in the land of their ancestors, the surviving Oirat were accepted under Manchu rule and given pastures for grazing their herds. Their descendants are still found in western Mongolia, as well as in the Xinjiang region and Qinghai province of China. 


The Bayad people are one of the Mongol tribes, residing in western Mongolia. In the 13th century the term "Mongol" grew into an umbrella term for a large group of tribes united under the rule of Genghis Khan.
Ethnic distinctions among the Mongol subgroups are relatively minor. Tribal differences are usually not a political or social issue as the Mongols are a generally peaceful nation. 


The Northern Mongolians, also known as the Buryat, are believed to be the descendants of the western Mongols and the northern Siberians. the large number of Northern Mongolians, only a relatively small number live in Mongolia. They primarily inhabit the forested lowland regions along the Russia-Mongolia border. 
The territory that once belonged to the Northern Mongolian's ancestors includes the regions along Lake Baikal, which is located in present-day Siberia. Buriat mongolia
Three quarters of all Northern Mongolians still live there, in a region that is now known as the Buriat Autonomous Republic. 
The Northern Mongolians are very similar to the Khalkha Mongols, particularly in their physical features, dialects, and customs. In fact, they are often indistinguishable from neighboring Mongol tribes. However, they maintain a number of small differences, the most significant of which is their language. 

The Dariganga, a small people group of Mongolian origin, inhabit the southeastern regions of Mongolia. They are primarily located in the southern part of the S├╝hbaatar province, on a volcanic plateau near the Gobi Desert. The Dariganga belong to the eastern group of Mongols, which includes the Khalkha Mongols, the Buryat, and most of the Chinese Mongols.
The Dariganga language is closely related to Halh, and is often referred to as a Mongolian dialect. However, all Dariganga are also able to use Halh in conversation with other Mongols in North and Central Asia.
In the 13th century, Genghis Khan formed one of the greatest empires in world history by uniting all of the nomadic Mongol tribes. During the centuries that followed, the once mighty Mongol empire became squeezed between the growing Russian and Chinese empires. In the early 1920's, Mongolia became a Marxist state, until its quiet democratic revolution in 1990. 


The religion of the early residents of the Mongolian region recognized only one uniform godly power, localized in the celestial vault. They also worshiped certain natural phenomenon, and believed in a life after death in the form of spirits (demons).
The artwork of the people, their great poetic talents, their epic works and the lyric poetry are outstanding. Singers and poets used to walk from camp to camp, singing their songs and epics, reflecting the expression of freedom and the immensity of the Mongolian steppes.


The Tuvinian in Mongoloia inhabit a harsh mountainous region in the northern part of the country, near the border of Russia. There, the summers are hot and dry, while the winters are bitterly cold. Still, this region can have as many as 300 sunny days a year, and the extremely dry air helps people to withstand the cold winters and the hot summers.
Because the Tuvinian, like other Russian settlers, left their home territories in the Soviet Union many years ago and immigrated to Mongolia; their present "national" status is disputed. Some Tuvinian clans in Mongolia have maintained their native language, ethnic background, and traditional culture. 

Other Tuvinian clans have been absorbed by the Mongolian culture. Their original language, Tuvin, contains many Mongolian words and uses the Cyrillic script. Most Mongolian Tuvinian also speak Halh, the national language of Mongolia.


China is a multi-nationalities nation. Besides Han, which takes up over 90% of China's population, there are 55 ethinic groups living together harmoniously in this big landmass. Their costumes, festivals and customs are unique and colorful. It is very worthwhile to explore China's ethnic villages. See our China's Festival Tours, or simply contact us for a tailor-made tour.

Marriage customs of ethnic groups are various and unique. Guizhou Museum of Marriage Customs of  Ethnic Minorities is the only museum in China that features marriage customs of ethnic minorities. See also China's Top Minority Cities and Southern Minority Food.

Zhuang Minority
Zhuang ethnic group has the largest population (almost 18 million) among all the 55 ethnic groups in China. Most of them inhabit in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province. In South China's Guangdong, Hunan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces, there are also some distributions of Zhuang People. Read more

Mongolian Minority
Mongolian ethnic group has a population of around 5.81 million, mostly living in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in North China, and the rest residing in provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Xinjiang, Hebei, and Qinghai Provinces. Mongolians are known as a nationality on the horseback, and animal husbandry is their leading industry. They boast good horsemanship, and like archery and wresting. Read more

Hui Minority
Hui ethnic group is China's most widely distributed ethnic minority, with a sizeable population of 9.8 million. Most of them inhabit in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in Northwest China, and there are concentrated Hui communities in many cities in Gansu, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Hebei, Henan, Yunnan and Shandong Provinces. Read more

Miao Minority
qiandongnanMiao people
Miao ethnic group is one of the few minority nationalities that have an extensive population existing in and out of Mainland China. Scattered worldwide, the Miao diaspora exists on five continents and many countries, including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, France, Britain, Canada, Australia, and the United States, among others. In China, they inhabit a wide range of land in South-Central China, including settlements in Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Hubei, and Hainan Provinces. Approximately four million Miao reside in present-day Guizhou, a population that accounts for over half of the Miao in China. Census reports have the Miao situated in rural and urban environments across the prefectures and counties of Guizhou. Read more

Dong Minority
Dong people, a Chinese ethnic minority which numbers about 2,514,000 according to the 1990 Chinese state census, are found mainly in the provinces of Guizhou and Hunan, as well as in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Read more

Uygur Minority
Uygur, signifying unity or union, is the nickname used for members of The Uygur ethnic group. With a population of 9.9 million, the Uygur people mainly live in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Others are scattered in Hunan and Henan Provinces. Their religion is Islamism. Read more

Manchu Minority
Manchu ethnic group has a population of more than 10 million, mostly living in three provinces in Northeast China (provinces of Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin), with Liaoning Province having over half of the Manchu population. Since the founding of the Qing Dynasty (1616–1912), because of the intermarriage and mingling between the Han nationality and the Manchu nationality, the difference between the two had gradually reduced. The Manchu people believe in Shamanism, later they also believe in Buddhism. Read more

Tibetan Minority
With a population of more than 5 million, Tibetan nationality mainly live in Tibet Autonomous Region in Southeast China, and neighboring provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan. Tibetan people have their own spoken and written language. Tibetan language belongs to Cambodian branch, Sino-Tibetan language system. Read more

Yao Minority
yao-minority-longshengYao people
Yao ethnic group has a population of over 2.6 million, and mainly inhabit in Guangxi, Hunan, Yunnan, Guangdong, Guizhou and Jiangxi Provinces. Most of the Yao people are farmers living together in small groups distributed widely throughout the mountainous areas. Read more

Bai Minority
Naxi Minority
Dai Minority
Hani Minority
Kazak Minority
Qiang Minority
Shui Minority
Tujia Minority
Yi Minority