Mongolian ancient history reaches back to the 12th century. Tibetan
Buddhist theocracy and secular Mongol aristocracy ruled the country
from 1696 until the 20th century, under the suzerainty of the Qing
(Manchu) dynasty of China. Mongolia declared independence from China
after the Chinese revolution of 1911.
Russian-backed Mongolian Communists established a Provisional
People's Government in 1921. The Mongolian People's Republic was
set up after the death of the last Buddhist ruler in 1924 but was
not recognized by China until 1946. Mongolia maintained close ties
with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Trade and cultural
relations with Communist China, established in 1949, were curtailed
by the Sino-Soviet split in the late 1950s.
Mongolia's first president of the post-Soviet era was Punsalmaagiyn
Ochirbat. In 1993 President Ochirbat and Russian President Boris
Yeltsin signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation. In 1996 a
democratic coalition won a majority in parliamentary elections,
toppling Mongolia's Communist-era government and ending 75 years
of Communist control.
Mongolia did not achieve a cohesive culture until the 20th century,
when it became an independent nation. Only a few remnants of ancient
cultures exist, including Stone Age campsites, and much of Mongolia's
traditional folklore has been lost with succeeding generations.
The Republic of Mongolia has tried to establish a national culture
and has sponsored drama, art schools, and a state theater of music
and drama. Mongolian literature is rich and epic in form.