- At the beginning of the 20th century, external and internal prerequisites existing in Khalkh Mongolia led to the downfall of the Manchu tyranny. Resistance to the Manchu Qing Empire embraced all of society. In 1900, there was an armed revolt of soldiers in Uliastai. In Ikh Khuree there were a number of uprisings by lamas against the Manchu and China. The movement for the renaissance of the Mongolian State led by Bogd Khan spread nationwide. On the 1 December 1911, Outer Mongolia in effect proclaimed its independence from Manchu domination and intended to unite all Mongolian-speaking people.
On 29 December 1911, Bogd Javzundamba was crowned head of Religion and State, with the title “Elevated by all”, and the state was named Mongolia. Bogd Khaan set up five ministries: Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, War, Finance and Justice. Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, the national liberation movement won and the age-old country of Mongolia restored its statehood and independence. But this aim remained unfulfilled due to the expansionist policies of Tsarist Russia and China. In 1919 the Chinese government violated the Russian, Chinese, Mongolian tripartite treaty of 1915, and conquered the Mongolian State through the use of armed force.
This precipitated another upsurge in the national liberation movement in the country and so in 1921 the Khalkh Mongols, the dominant ethnic group in modern Mongolia (Khalkh means shield or protection), under the direction of S.Danzan, D.Bodoo, and Sukhbaatar liberated the Mongolian territory from foreign conquerors. 11 June 1921 was chosen as the day to celebrate the creation of the independent Mongolian state and since that time the date of the victory of the people’s revolution has been celebrated as a national holiday.
From 1921-1924 Mongolia was a republican monarchy. In 1924, however, it became a Soviet-style Republic with one-party system that lasted until 1990. Two key figures dominated the political scene from the mid 1930s to 1984, as leaders of the ruling Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party. Khorloogiin Choibalsan (1895-1952) developed a Soviet-style economy and destroyed theocratic power through political and religious purges, remaining in power until his death in 1952. Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal’s (1916-1991) period of tenure was marked by increasingly close integration with the USSR at the same time as following a program of rapid industrialization of the livestock economy and urbanization of nomadic people.
The country, which at the end of the 19th century was viewed by Western historians and some scholars as an almost extinct nation, succeeded in achieving considerable progress in promoting its national economy in areas such as animal husbandry, agriculture and industry and improving standards of living, raising educational and cultural levels, evidence of which can be seen in its economic and social statistics. The country’s population tripled at the end of the 20th century, reaching 2 million. The population’s annual rate of growth increased to 3.5 per cent after 1960. Just over 80 years ago the majority of the population was illiterate, but by 1960 the entire adult population of the Mongolian People’s Republic was able to read and write due to measures undertaken to eradicate illiteracy. This was in sharp contrast to the past when the only education available was provided by monasteries for those destined to become monks.
A special prize was granted by UNESCO in recognition of such striking progress. During the 1960s, the objective of ensuring that all school age children received secondary education was successfully realized. The 20th century witnessed the progress made by Mongolia in fostering the development of its culture, arts, sports and sciences. Mongolian citizen J.Gurragchaa participated in a space flight together with his Soviet colleagues, and carried out tests and studies.
As well as significant achievements made during the 1960s in the national economy and social sphere, the country also strengthened its prestige and position in the international arena. In 1962, Mongolia became a member of the United Nations, regarded as an official worldwide acknowledgment of the country’s independence and sovereignty. Starting from the 1960s Mongolia extended its foreign relations outside the so called “socialist bloc”, establishing and maintaining diplomatic relations with 106 countries (up to 1990) in Western Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia in political, economic and cultural spheres. The winds of the European democratic changes of the late 1980s also came to the country. New democratic parties were created, and a peaceful democratic revolution changed the country’s political system. In July 1990, the first democratic general election took place in Mongolia and it became, finally, a parliamentary republic with a President and multi-party system.
The Mongolian people entered the new millennium by re-affirming the outcomes of those democratic elections with successive regular elections to the State Great Khural in 1996,2000 and 2004 and the presidential elections that took place in 1996 and 2001, establishing and strengthening its democratic system. The Conception for Development of Mongolia, adopted in May of 1996 by the State Great Khural, identified the major objectives of the country for the next 15 to 25 years. According to the conception, Mongolia aims to become an industrial country with a relatively self-supporting economy, an adequate political system based on democratic values, and high levels of cultural and spiritual development.
Notwithstanding some difficulties today, Mongolia is among the democratic countries implementing reforms successfully and intensively, according to a report by the World Bank and International Development Agency. (Source: Information MONGOLIA. Academy of Sciences A4PR. 1990.)