Mongolian Independence/Constitution Day, A Short History Lesson
By Amber Barger, KF13, Mongolia
November 26 is a national Mongolian holiday. November 26, 1924 was the day that Mongolia declared itself as an independent country with the adoption of its first constitution. The Mongolian People’s Republic (MPR), a communist state, under the rule of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP), lasted until 1990.
Although, November 26 is the day that Mongolia turned into an official communist country, it’s still celebrated today as the day Mongolia gained its independence once and for all. Mongolia had been under Chinese rule by varying degrees of force for centuries. When the last dynasty of China, the Manchurian Qing Dynasty, fell in 1911, Bogd Khaan, the Holy King, declared Mongolia’s independence. This, however, wasn’t recognized by the new Chinese government.
After many failed attempts to declare and fight for Mongolian independence, Mongolia turned to Russia for help. In 1915, the Khyagta talks took place between China, Russia, and Mongolia in order to discuss the political status of Mongolia. The Khyagta meetings resulted in the decision to split Outer and Inner Mongolia and give them limited autonomy under Chinese rule.
In 1919, with the distraction of the Russian revolution, the Chinese returned to Mongolia and forcefully occupied the capital city. The Mongolian government was required to sign a document that forfeited their autonomous status. Once again, Mongolia looked to Russian Bolsheviks for assistance. The Outer Mongolian Revolution took place in 1921, with the assistance of Soviet troops to overtake Ulaanbaatar from the Chinese. On July 11, 1921, the People’s Government of Mongolia was declared with China’s defeat. From 1921 until 1924, Mongolia worked to establish a new government and finalized this with its constitution on November 26, 1924.
As I was researching this blog post and asking my Mongolian friends the history of this holiday, I found that many of them weren’t sure of the history, themselves. Many of them thought of Mongolian Independence Day as a day off from work to be with their families and friends. I had to ask quite a few people and search through many articles on the Internet to piece together this short history piece.
Amber Barger is currently serving as a Kiva Fellow in Mongolia. She has lived for the past two years in rural Mongolia as a community economic development Peace Corps Volunteer. Along with her Kiva Fellowship, she is extending a third year with the Peace Corps as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader.