Friday, February 23, 2007

Mongolia: A Barren and Strange Country

Mongolia: A Barren and Strange Country

Mongolia is literally a desert. The entire country is formed by the Gobi Desert, save a few mountains in the north. It is not near the sea so people cannot fish, and the land is unfertile so they cannot plant crops except in some places near the mountains.

So, instead of being farmers, most of the people of Mongolia are herders. They herd camels and they keep chickens. These people are constantly moving to find some good pastures. This makes Mongolia the least densely populated country in the world.

Mongolia is named after the Mongols, which was an army in the Ancient world that roamed across central Asia and Europe. At one point, the Mongols controlled an empire that stretched from Korea too Italy. No army has ever had so much land in its power ever since. The leader of this army was a man named Genghis Khan. When he died, his son Kublai Khan took over his kingdom.

Another interesting thing about Mongolia is that it is rich in dinosaur bones. Paleontologists from all over the world go there to find some new prehistoric creature. When the dinosaurs became extinct, the world was a little different. 65 million years ago Mongolia had a similar climate so the cold, dry environment preserved the bones very well.

Mongolia is a very primitive country. The people still live in yurts, which was the home of the Mongols, sort of like an Asian teepee. They are still nomads like their Mongol ancestors, but they are not warlike anymore. It is incredible how the lives of so many people can change so little through the centuries.

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