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Mongolia (previously Outer Mongolia)
Area: 1,566,000 square kilometres
Population: 2.38 million (October 1997)
Density: 1.5 people per square kilometre
GNP per capita: US$310 (1995)
Under-5 mortality rate: 71 per 1000 (1996)
Government: Parliamentary democracy
Religion: Predominantly Tibetan Buddhism
Capital City: Ulaanbaatar (estimated population 600,000)
Average Temperatures: January: -30 degrees Celsius, July: 26 degrees Celsius
People: Halh Mongols (86%), Kazakhs (6%), Chinese (2%), Russian (2%) other (4%)
Official language: Mongolian, written in Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet
Currency: Tugrug (NZ$1 = 450 tugrug) (October 98)

Mongolia is a huge landlocked country in Northern Asia, between China and Russia. The terrain is semi-desert and desert plains with mountains in the west and southwest.

Traditionally Mongolians are nomadic herders who live in felt tents called gers, and herd their sheep, goats, horses and cattle to their seasonal grazing grounds. Today many people are moving to the cities, but the traditional lifestyle remains in the countryside.

Mongolia has had a proud but varied history which includes their conquest of most of Asia and parts of eastern Europe in the 12th century under Genghis Khan, and control of the country at different times by both China and Russia.

Recent changes, mainly due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the withdrawal of Soviet subsidies and the introduction of free-market reforms, have increased Mongolia’s social and economic problems, and caused hardship to many families.



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