Selena Travel

The Differences Between Inner Mongolia And Outer Mongolia

Posted by Selena Travel / 03 02, 2024

There are several countries that go with the same name, but are separate when it comes to politics and geographics. Korea is the best example of this. There are many reasons that separates a country with residents that have the same race and language, and Mongolia is unfortunately one of these countries. There are many questions about Inner and Outer Mongolia. Here are some of the most common asked questions and answers for them.


Unfortunately, there’s no short answer to this question. The idea of the same is subjective from each aspect. So let’s look at the certain key aspects of both Outer and Inner Mongolia in order to find out the answer.

How did the Inner and Outer Mongolia get separated?

In order to understand the similarity and difference between the countries, it’s important to know a little bit about the history. If we dig a little deeper and see the root of the separation, we would see that it’s much nearer to the present than we think.

The separation between the countries started less than sixty years ago. After around 200 years of being under the control of the Qing Dynasty, the khans and regional leaders of Mongolia have started trying to get independence. However, as is the norm with any revolution, there were some internal conflicts that later resulted in the separation of the country.

Mongolian revolutionists have chosen Russia to request help with the fight against the Qing Dynasty and succeeded. However, they have only succeeded to free the Northern Mongolian part, which is now called Outer Mongolia. Unfortunately in the 3 countries’ treaty between Russia, Mongolia and China, China refused to give the Inner Mongolia away. It’s certainly no surprise since Inner Mongolian land is rich in coal and other subsoils.

Since then, the Inner and Outer Mongolia has been separated and Outer Mongolia got the world-wide approved independence by the name of Mongolia.

Inner and Outer Mongolia- Difference between the culture

As mentioned before, it has not been long since the two countries were separated. Since Mongolian culture goes a long way back in history, it’s not that simple to leave the culture behind.


Majority of the Mongolians talk in the Khalkh-Mongolian accent with around 40 different accents filling up the rest. In Inner Mongolia, Chinese is the official main language and is taught in schools. However, most of the Mongolians there know Mongolian even though the words and accent is more similar to the ancient Mongolian. The Inner Mongolians’ accent is heavily influenced by Chinese which sometimes makes it hard for each other to understand.

Inner Mongolians use traditional Mongolian script along with Chinese letters. Mongolians have declared cyrillic as an official national letter in the 1930s. Before that, we have tried using latin letters for two years and abandoned it due to the heavy influence of the Soviets. Now, in an attempt to keep our tradition and history, government officials have made Mongolian script a second-official letter. It is taught for students from middle school. However, since the project is only beginning and traditional Mongolian script have been abandoned during the 70 long years under the Soviet influence, the students have been struggling to keep up with the change.


As with the clothes, the traditional clothing “deel” is almost exactly the same for both Inner and Outer Mongolians. However, as mentioned before, since being urbanized, the deel has been cast aside only to be brought out during the national holidays such as Tsagaan Sar and Naadam. Now the local designers of Mongolia have been making great effort to keep our tradition alive by modernizing it, and it has been proving fruitful in the last five years. The youth of Mongolia are more keen to wear traditional Mongolian clothes with a modern twist. However, the majority of both the Inner and Outer Mongolians clothe in heavily western style in their everyday life.


Traditional Mongolian lifestyle is a nomadic one, heavily focused on  herding livestock. The same is true for the Inner Mongolians, who herds usually sheep to make a living. It is quite different from the traditional lifestyle of Chinese people. Due to this lifestyle, those who are living in the countryside of the Inner Mongolia live in a ger and have a similar nomadic lifestyle. Obviously the years of separation has its effect on Inner Mongolian lifestyle. According to some locals, due to the heavy mining and plantation, the Inner Mongolians are no longer allowed to herd animals. Even if they do, they are forced to change into more farming style, while in Outer Mongolia the herding style is basically the same as what it was hundreds of years ago.

Political separation between Inner and Outer Mongolia

As mentioned before, politically, Inner and Outer Mongolia are two different countries. Inner Mongolia has a status of autonomous region in China. It is the 23rd most populous region in China, with the majority of Han Chinese residents. However, there are still around 5 million Mongols living in the area, which is larger than even the population of Mongolia.

Mongolia officially declared its independence from the Qing dynasty in 1921. Now Mongolia has over 3 million people with the majority of them living in the capital city- Ulaanbaatar. With this few people occupying considerably large land, the people in the countryside are scattered through the territory.

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