A chronology of key events:
1206-63 – Following unification of the Mongol tribes, Genghis Khan launches a campaign of conquest. His sons and grandsons create the world’s biggest land empire.
1267-1368 – Weakened by disunity, the empire implodes. Ming troops oust the Mongols from Dadu (Beijing).
1380 – The Golden Horde is defeated by the Russian Prince Dmitriy Donskoy. Ming troops destroy the Mongol capital Karakorum.
1636 – The Manchu (Qing) empire conquers the southern Mongols, creating Inner Mongolia.
1691 – The Qing empire offers protection to the northern Mongols, creating Outer Mongolia.
1727 – The Treaty of Kyakhta fixes the western border between the Russian and Manchu empires, confirming Qing dominion over Mongolia and Tuva.
First Soviet satellite state
1911 – The Qing dynasty falls and Outer Mongolia declares its independence. Russia and the Republic of China recognise its autonomy.
1919 – The Chinese army occupies Outer Mongolia.
Mongolian revolutionaries found the Mongolian People’s Party and open contact with Bolsheviks in Siberia.
1921 – With Red Army support, Mongolian revolutionaries drive out Chinese and Tsarist forces and install the Mongolian “people’s government”.
1924 – The People’s Party chooses Lenin’s “road to socialism bypassing capitalism” and renames itself the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP). The Mongolian People’s Republic is proclaimed.
1928-32 – “Rightists” who want private enterprise are ousted. “Leftists” who want communes are ousted. A “counter-revolutionary uprising” against the confiscation of monastery property is suppressed.
1937 – Mongolian Prime Minister Genden is arrested in the USSR and shot for spying for Japan. The Minister of War Marshal Demid is poisoned aboard a Trans-Siberian train. Monasteries are destroyed and lamas murdered.
1939 – Mongolian and Soviet troops commanded by General Zhukov defeat an invasion by Japanese and Manchukuo forces in the Battle of Halhyn Gol (Nomonhan).
1939 – “Mongolia’s Stalin”, the Minister of Internal Affairs and new Minister of War Choybalsan, is appointed prime minister. Ex-Prime Minister Amar is tried in the USSR and shot for spying for Japan.
1945-46 – Yalta conference agrees to preserve the status quo (i.e. Soviet control) in Mongolia. Mongolians vote for independence in a UN plebiscite. Mongolia is recognised by the Republic of China.
1949-55 – Relations established with the People’s Republic of China. Railway built across Mongolia linking Russia and China.
1952 – Choybalsan dies, and is replaced as prime minister by Tsedenbal, the MPRP general secretary since 1940.
1961-63 – UN Security Council approves Mongolia’s UN membership. Diplomatic relations established with the UK.
Soviet buffer against China
1966 – Soviet Communist Party General-Secretary Brezhnev signs a friendship treaty in Ulan Bator allowing secret stationing of Soviet troops in Mongolia.
1973-81 – Mongolia accuses China of planning annexation, protests against Chinese leaders’ call for withdrawal of Soviet troops, accuses China of “aggressive intentions” and expels some Chinese residents.
1984 – “Mongolia’s Brezhnev”, party General-Secretary Tsedenbal, head of state since 1974, is forced out of office by the MPRP Politburo.
1986 – Gorbachev’s Vladivostok speech opens the way to detente with China and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Mongolia.
1990 – Street demonstrations force resignation of the MPRP Politburo. Political parties are legalised. Elections to the Great Hural (parliament) are won by the MPRP, but 19 of the 50 seats in a new standing legislature go to non-communists.
1992 – Mongolia’s new constitution gives first place to human rights and freedoms. In the first democratic elections the MPRP wins 71 of the 76 seats in the new single-chamber Great Hural.
1993 – The first direct presidential elections are won by Ochirbat, nominated by the National and Social Democrats.
1996 – The National and Social Democrats win 50 seats in the Great Hural elections, but the MPRP can deny a quorum, hindering passage of legislation.
1997 – MPRP candidate Bagabandi wins presidential election.
2000 – After the democrats form three new governments in two years the MPRP wins 72 seats in the Great Hural elections. The National and Social Democrats and three other parties form a new Democratic Party.
2001 February – UN launches appeal for $8.7m (£6m) to support herders suffering in worst winter conditions in more than 50 years.
2001 May – President Bagabandi re-elected.
2001 October – IMF approves nearly $40 million in low-interest loans over next three years to help tackle poverty and boost economic growth.
2002 November – Dalai Lama visits. China denounces trip and warns Mongolian leaders not to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader.
2003 July – It is announced that 200 soldiers will be sent to Iraq to contribute to peacekeeping.
2004 January – Russia writes off all but $300 million of Mongolia’s debts.
2004 June-August – Parliamentary elections, in which the opposition performs strongly, result in political deadlock over contested results. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj is eventually appointed as prime minister following power-sharing deal.