Descended from a line of 13th-century conquerors, modern-day Mongolia won independence from China in 1921 and adopted communism three years later under Soviet pressure. Democratic rule was restored in the early 1990s. Surrounded by China and Russia, Mongolia is landlocked with limited freshwater resources in some areas. The climate varies from desert to continental with large daily and seasonal temperature variations. The terrain ranges from semidesert and desert plains to grassy steppe in the mountains of the west and southwest. The well-known Gobi Desert is located in south-central Mongolia. The country is subject to natural hazards that include dust storms, grassland and forest fires, drought, and harsh winter conditions known as zud. Extensive natural resources include oil, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, ...

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