Mongolia and Inner Mongolia: What's the Difference?

This is a simple question with a simple solution. Mongolia is a sovereign state situated between China and Russia. It is also known as Outer Mongolia. Inner Mongolia is a Chinese autonomous area with the status of a province. Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia's capital, whereas Hohhot is the capital of Inner Mongolia (or Huhehaote to the Chinese).

inner mongolia

However, the cultural differences between the two are considerably more than you may imagine, reflecting the last hundred years of history in these two cities.

The Famous Leader Genghis Khan

First and foremost, when one thinks about Mongolia, the name – or title, to be more precise – of Genghis Khan comes to mind. The Mongol Empire spanned much of the Eurasian continent in the 13th century. Kublai Khan, his grandson, conquered China and established the Yuan Dynasty, which encompassed much of modern-day China. The war between Mongols and Chinese lasted after the Yuan Dynasty fell, until both Mongolia and Inner Mongolia were finally integrated into China in the late 17th century.

Meanwhile, Mongolian Buddhism was introduced to Tibet, and there are fascinating connections between Mongolian and Tibetan culture.

Inner Mongolia, on the other hand, has remained a Mongol autonomous territory inside China, stretching from the Hulunbeier grasslands near the Russian border in the northeast to the Gobi Desert in the west, which is home to massive oil reserves and China's most famous ghost city, Ordos. The majority of the population in the major cities is Han Chinese, with ethnic Mongols being more common in rural areas.

Genghis Khan Mausoleum

The Genghis Khan Mausoleum is also at Ordos, where he is claimed to have spent his retirement. Despite the fact that Mongol culture did not revere monarchs with mausoleums and no one knows where he was actually buried, the Chinese built the mausoleum as a destination of pilgrimage to him.


The language is one of the most noticeable and sometimes startling differences between Mongolia and Inner Mongolia. In Mongolia, the Mongol script was abandoned in favour of Cyrillic, but the Chinese in Inner Mongolia kept the Mongol character, which can be found on everything from road signs to Chinese banknotes. Despite the fact that the spoken language is still comparable, the original Mongolian written script is far more common in Inner Mongolia than in Mongolia.

Mongolians speak in a Khalkh-Mongolian accent for the most part, with roughly 40 other accents filling in the gaps. Chinese is the official language of Inner Mongolia and is taught in schools. Despite the fact that the words and accent are closer to old Mongolian, the majority of the Mongolians there speak Mongolian. Inner Mongolians' accents are significantly influenced by Chinese, making it difficult for them to communicate with one another.

There are multiple countries with the same name, yet they are politically and geographically distinct. The best illustration of this is Korea. Mongolia, sadly, is one of these countries. There are various reasons that separate a country with citizens of the same race and language. Inner and Outer Mongolia have a lot of unanswered questions.

This question, unfortunately, does not have a simple answer. From every angle, the concept of the same is subjective. So, to figure out the solution, let's look at some significant elements of both Outer and Inner Mongolia.

It is necessary to grasp the similarities and differences between the countries in order to comprehend the similarities and differences.

Striving For Independence

The two countries have been apart for less than sixty years. Mongolia's khans and regional leaders have begun striving to gain independence after nearly 200 years of being ruled by the Qing Dynasty. However, as is typical of every revolution, there were internal struggles that eventually led to the country's disintegration.

Mongolian revolutionaries picked Russia to seek assistance in their war against the Qing Dynasty, and they were successful. However, they were only able to free the northern section of Mongolia, which is today known as Outer Mongolia. Unfortunately, China refused to give up Inner Mongolia as part of the three-country pact between Russia, Mongolia, and China. It's not surprising, given the abundance of coal and other subsoils in Inner Mongolia.

Separation of the Inner and Outer Mongolia

Inner and Outer Mongolia have been separated since then, and Outer Mongolia has been granted world-wide recognition as a sovereign nation known as Mongolia.

As previously said, the two countries have only been divided for a short time. It's not easy to leave Mongolian culture behind because it dates back so far in history.

Inner Mongolians write in a combination of Mongolian and Chinese characters. In the 1930s, Mongolians declared Cyrillic to be an official national letter. We had attempted utilising latin letters for two years before abandoning it due to the Soviets' overwhelming influence. Mongolian script has now been designated as a second official letter by government officials in an effort to preserve our culture and traditions. It begins in middle school and continues through high school. However, because the initiative is only getting started and traditional Mongolian script was abandoned during the 70 years of Soviet rule, the pupils have been trying to keep up.

Traditional Dress

Traditional dress is essentially identical for Inner and Outer Mongolians, just as it is for them. However, as previously said, since urbanisation, the deel has been relegated to being brought out mainly during national festivals such as Tsagaan Sar and Naadam. Mongolian designers have been working hard to modernise our tradition in the last five years, and it has been fruitful. Mongolian teenagers prefer to dress in traditional Mongolian clothing with a modern touch. In everyday life, however, the bulk of Inner and Outer Mongolians dress in a predominantly western way.

Nomadic Lifestyle

Mongolians have a nomadic lifestyle that is largely centred on cattle herding. The Inner Mongolians, who primarily herd sheep for a living, are in the same boat. It is significantly different from the Chinese people's traditional way of life. Those who reside in the countryside of Inner Mongolia live in gers and enjoy a nomadic lifestyle due to this lifestyle. Clearly, the years of separation have had an impact on Inner Mongolian culture. Inner Mongolians are no longer allowed to herd animals, according to some locals, due to intensive mining and cultivation.

Even if they do, they are compelled to adopt a more farming-oriented lifestyle, whereas herding in Outer Mongolia is mostly unchanged from hundreds of years ago.

They Are Two Separate Countries

Inner and Outer Mongolia are two separate countries, as previously stated. China has designated Inner Mongolia as an independent province. It is China's 23rd most populous region, with Han Chinese citizens making up the majority. However, there are still about 5 million Mongols in the area, which is more than Mongolia's whole population.

In 1921, Mongolia claimed its independence from the Qing monarchy. Mongolia now boasts a population of about 3 million people, the bulk of whom live in Ulaanbaatar, the capital. People in the countryside are dispersed over the region due to the small number of people living such a big area.

Mongolian experts have established that Nomadic tribes have lived in today's Inner Mongolia since antiquity.