Mongolia: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Mongolia, the land of Ghenghis Khan, geography, history of the army and military might.



Except for the capital, Ulan Bator, and a couple of industrialized cities, Mongolia has changed very little since the days of Genghis Khan 700 years ago. Although the Gobi Desert accounts for 25% of the country, natural scenery also includes snow-capped mountains, forests, countless acres of grazing land, and deep valleys. It is said that at night 3 times the number of stars observed elsewhere can be seen in the clear, cold sky.

The Mongols never overwhelmed their opponents by sheer numbers as the romantic legends frequently maintain. At the peak it is estimated their armies probably never exceeded 250,000. The real truth is that they were all elite, thoroughly disciplined, practically born in the saddle, and capable of incredible feats of endurance ranging from living endless days on horseback while surviving off the surrounding countryside to covering tremendously long distances in a short time. Another important factor is their unification at a time when the surrounding long-established societies were declining. Although they were primitive, they were also technologically superior: Centuries before, their tribal ancestors had begun using iron stirrups for warfare, making it possible for men on horseback to stand and shoot arrows at their enemies while riding. This innovation appears simple by modern standards but its development greatly changed the tactical balance, favoring the Mongol rider over the ordinary fighting man he generally encountered during the Mongolian quest for empire.

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