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A Nationality on Horseback

Mongolian nationality is a legendary ethnic group with a long history. For thousands of years, the Mongolians have been roving around as a nomad and propagating over the vast land which stretches from the Great Wall in the south, reaches the desert in the north, extends to Xingan Mountains in the east and gets over Henan Mountain in the west. On mentioning her name, one could not help thinking of the ancient ballad "The sky is gray, the open country is vast, grasses bend in the rustle of wind and flocks and herds come into the sight." The boundless pasture with the blue sky, white clouds, green fields, red flowers, flocks of sheep and air which is heavy with the aroma of meat and milk would rise before his or her eyes, and so with the scenes of the heroic posture of "the nationality on horseback" who had shaken heaven and earth, swept over Europe and Asia, and fought valiantly, full of power and grandeur!   

The Mongolian nationality is one of the minorities that possess a fairly large population that is distributed very widely. According to the statistics of the National Census in 1990, it has a present population of more than 4.8 million. Most of them live in compact communities in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regions, and the rest are mainly distributed over Liaoning, Jinlin, Heilongjiang, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Henan, Sichuan, Beijing and Yunnan and so on.

The Mongolians have their own language and characters. The Mongolian language belongs to the Mongolian group of Altai family of languages. It is divided into three dialects: Inner Mongolian, Weilate, and Baerhu - Buliyate (also mid-dialect, western dialect and northeastern dialect if divided according to regions). The Mongolian language, created as early as in the ear of Genghis Khan, is of the type of pinyin characters. There are 39 letters in present Mongolian with five vowels and 24 consonants. When writing in Mongolian, write from the left to the right the two or more syllables of a word together with a word as a unit. The Mongolian nationality came from the area around the east bank of ancient Wangjian River (Eerguna River at present). "Mengwu" is the earliest Chinese version of "Mongolia" which first appeared in Tang Dynasty. "Mongolian" initially was the name for one of the Mongolian tribes. At the beginning of the 13th century, the Mongolian tribe headed by Genghis Khan unified the other tribes in Mongolian area, and gradually formed a new ethnic community. Therefore, "Mongolia" became the name for a nationality instead of a tribe.

The Mongolians are diligent, bright, open-minded, good at learning and bold in exploration. In the process of long historical development, they constantly sum up various practical experiences in production and life while learning, absorbing and using for reference the excellent cultural achievements of other peoples home and abroad. Gradually, they come to know, master and accumulate mass knowledge of natural sciences and social sciences, and have brought out many inventions and outcomes in history, literature and arts. A number of scientists, historians, litterateurs, as well as artists spring up, and have made important contributions on the enrichment of the effulgent national treasury of science, technology and culture.

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