Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/421

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343
MONGOLIA

There are also many evidences even here that this drier region was formerly better inhabited than it is now, and the lake appears to have had more water in the past than at present. The population is now estimated at about 150,000. The peoples are Mongols and Tanguts, the latter, who are of Tibetan stock, but not polyandrous, being combative and oppressing the more peaceful Mongols. Their only occupation is stock-breeding. According to Prejvalsky the province is divided into twenty-nine banners, Sining in Kansu being the residence of the Chinese officials through whom the people communicate with the Imperial Government.

At times a little missionary work has been done in this region, Mrs. Dr. Rijnhart having, when visiting that country, engaged in medical mission work.


Mongolia proper is nearly as large as China proper, and, with Zungaria, Outer Kansu, and the Tarim basin, occupies about half the Chinese Empire. In a general way it may be described "as a vast plateau, slightly hollowed in the centre and rising gradually from the south-west to the north-east." The mean elevation on the west is 2600 feet, and on the east over 4000 feet.

It is bounded on the north by the Siberian provinces of Tomsk, Yeniseisk, Irkutsk, and Transbaikalia, the Altai and Sayan mountains ; on the east by Manchuria and the Khingan mountains; on the south by China, the Great Wall dividing two regions already separated by nature; and on the west by Sinkiang, Zungaria, and the Tien-shan.

Broadly speaking, Mongolia divides itself into three parts, though some, as Wells Williams, divide it into four: 1. North-Western Mongolia; 2, The Gobi; and 3. South-Eastern Mongolia.


North-Western Mongolia covers an area of nearly 370,000 square miles. According to Prince Kropotkin's article in the Encyclopædia Britannica, the altitude of this region nowhere falls below 2370 feet, the lowest area