In the chaos of the late 12th century, a chieftain named Temüjin finally succeeded in uniting the Mongol tribes between Manchuria and the Altai Mountains. In 1206, he took the title Genghis Khan. Under his successors it stretched from present-day Ukraine in the west to Korea in the east, and from Siberia in the north to the Gulf of Oman and Vietnam in the south, covering some 33,000,000 square kilometers (13,000,000 sq mi),(22% of Earth's total land area) and having a population of over 100 million people.

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A carved statue stands at the site where Temujin was crowned Genkhis (Chinggis) Khan, in Khentii Province, Mongolia. Photo by Matthew Pendergast.

After Genghis Khan's death, the empire was subdivided into four kingdoms or Khanates which eventually became quasi-independent after Möngke's death in 1259. One of the khanates, the "Great Khaanate", consisting of the Mongol homeland and China, became the Yuan Dynasty under Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan. He set up his capital in present day Beijing but after more than a century of power, the Yuan was replaced by the Ming Dynasty in 1368, with the Mongol court fleeing to the north. The last Mongol Khan was Ligden Khan in the early 17th century. He got into conflicts with the Manchus over the looting of Chinese cities, and managed to alienate most Mongol tribes. He died in 1634 on his way to Tibet, in an attempt to evade the Manchus and destroy the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism.

By 1636, most Inner Mongolian tribes had submitted to the Manchus, who founded the Qing Dynasty.Until 1911, the Qing Dynasty maintained control of Mongolia with a series of alliances and intermarriages, as well as military and economic measures. With the fall of the Manchu's Qing Dynasty, Mongolia under the Bogd Khaan declared independence in 1911. In 1924, after murder of the Bogd Khaan by Russian spies,[26] the country's political system was changed and a Mongolian People's Republic was established. A new constitution was introduced in 1992, and the "People's Republic" was dropped from the country's name. The first election wins for non-communist parties came in 1993 (presidential elections) and 1996 (parliamentary elections). The signing of the Oyu Tolgoi mine contract is considered a major milestone in modern Mongolian history. The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party renamed itself the Mongolian People's Party in 2010.