Member of an Asian people originally from the Mongolian Plateau who share a common language and a nomadic tradition of herding sheep, cattle, goats, and horses. In the 10th–12th centuries the Khitan (see Liao dynasty), Juchen (Chin dynasty), and Tatars ruled in Mongolia, but Mongol power was greatest in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan, his sons (notably Ögödei), and his grandsons Batu and Kublai Khan created one of the world's largest empires. It declined greatly in the 14th century, when China was lost to the Ming dynasty and the Golden Horde was defeated by Muscovy. Ming incursions effectively ended Mongol unity, and by the 15th–16th centuries only a loose federation existed. Today the plateau is divided between independent Mongolia and Chinese-controlled Inner Mongolia. Other Mongols live in Siberia. Tibetan Buddhism is the principal Mongol religion.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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