(Mongolian People's Rep.). In E cen. Asia. Area: ca. 604,250 sq. mi. Formerly under China; indep. 1911; communist 1921. Ethnic groups: Khalkha Mongols 76%, other Mongols 8%, Kazakhs 5%; other Turks, Russ., Chinese. Official language: Khalkha Mongolian; others: Turkic, Russ., Chinese. Religion: Lama Buddhism, formerly prevalent, has been curbed. Probably had contact with Nestorians (see Nestorianism) by ca. the 10th c., but without great or lasting effect. RC miss. endeavors among Mongols began in the 13th c., Eng. and Scand. in the 19th c. No for. missionaries have been able to enter the Soviet Mongolian rep. est. in the 20th c. See also Russia, 2.
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