For other uses see Mongols (disambiguation).
(0.16% of the world population)
|Rels:||Tibetan Buddhism and Shamanism.  |
Small Christian and Muslim groups exist.
|Langs:||Predominantly Mongolic languages;|
also Chinese, Russian.
|Related-C:||Khalkha, Daur, Buryats,Tuvans, Hazara, Dörbed, Kalmyks, Oirats, Chahar, Tümed, Moghols, Aimak, Ordos, Bayad, Dariganga, Uriankhai, Üzemchin, Zakhchin|
A narrow definition includes the Mongols proper, which can be roughly divided into eastern and western Mongols. In a wider sense, the Mongol people includes all people who speak a Mongolic language, such as the Kalmyks of eastern Europe.
The name "Mongol" appeared first in 8th century records of the Chinese Tang dynasty, but then only resurfaced in the 11th century during the rule of the Khitan. At first it was applied to some small and still insignificant tribes in the area of the Onon River. In the 13th century, it grew into an umbrella term for a large group of Mongolic and Turkic tribes united under the rule of Genghis Khan under a same identity (mostly cultural).
The specific origin of the Mongolic languages and associated tribes is unclear. Some researchers have proposed a link to languages like Tungusic and Turkic, which are often included alongside Mongolic in a hypothetical group called Altaic languages, but evidence for this line of argumentation is rather weak.
The differentiation between tribes and peoples (nationalities) is handled differently depending on the country. The Tumed, Chahar, Ordos, Bargut (or Barga), Buryats, Dörböd (Dörvöd, Dörbed), Torguud, Dariganga, Üzemchin (or Üzümchin), Bayid, Khoton, Myangad (Mingad), Zakhchin (Zakchin), Darkhad, and Oirats (or Öölds or Ölöts) are all counted as tribes of the Mongols.
The population of Mongolia consists of 92.6% Mongols, numbering approximately 2.7 million. Among those, the Khalkha, Uriankhai and Buryats are counted as eastern Mongols. The Oirats, living mainly in the Altay region, belong to the western Mongols.
See main article: Ethnic Mongols in China.
The Chinese census of 2000 counted 5.8 million Mongols (according to the narrow definition above). Most of them live in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, followed by Liaoning province. Small numbers can also be found in provinces near those two.
Other peoples speaking Mongolic languages are the Daur, Monguor, Dongxiang, Bonan, and parts of the Yugur. Those do not officially count as part of the Mongol nationality, but are recognized as nationalities of their own.
In Russia, the Buryats belong to the eastern Mongols. The western Mongols include the Oirats in the Russian Altay and the Kalmyks at the northern side of the Caspian Sea, where they make up 53.3% of the population of Kalmykia.. The Altay people are ethnic Mongols, but speak a Turkic language. Together they amount to roughly a million people.