Ethnic Groups of Khövsgöl Province :
Introduction to Khövsgöl Province (Хөвсгөл аймаг) of Mongolia
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As one may tell from te adjacent schematic Map of language area's in Mongolia, is essentially split into three culturally and ethnically distinct zones which are arranged around the central Khövsgöl Lake.
To the West of Khovskol Lake the language spoken is predominantly Uigur, whereas to the East of the Lake the Buryat Dialect of the Mongolian Language dominates. This is only remote historically determined outcropping of the larger Buryat Language area which extends across the International Border and into the Buryatia Republic, Mongolian lands which today are a part of the Russian
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Language Map schematic of all Mongolian Language Areas and Territories. The Khovsgol Province sits in a location where various tribal areas and the languages meet.
Federation. To complete the image, below the Khövsgöl Lake, in the somewhat less mountainous territories of Khövsgöl Province, the Khalka variant of the Mongolian language is the main language spoken.
A special place and category in the Mongolian Language landscape is taken by The Dukha (Mongolian: Цаатан, Tsaatan) People, who, living in the remotest parts of the Nation, still have their own language dialect. This language is however not marked on the available language map schematic.
The Dukha or Tsataan People are a small culture of reindeer herders living in northern Khövsgöl Aimag of Mongolia.

Altogether, among the various tribes or ethnic groups with the Province the Khalkh People (Or Khalka's) are the dominant group which around
The Dukha / Tsataan People's history originates among the many wandering bands roaming the steppes and mountains in the centuries past. A first written mention of their existence begins after the succesful invasion and subjugation of all of current day Mongolia during (and after) the Kangxi Reign (1661 AD - 1722 AD) of the Manchurian (and Chinese) Empire. After the defeat of the Galdan Khan and following initial military and political take-over, the Mongolian lands were slowly integrated in the larger Empire thus eventually resulting in the resettling of the Political Landscape and according borders of Tribal Territories.
Economic integration was equally important, as the Qing Empire wished to extract and levies taxes on the various lucrative trades in Mongolia. At the time, apart from the especially lucrative and important "Horse-Tea Trade", there was also a large trade in Mongolia furs.
As time progressed, more and more administrative districts were established in Mongolia.
The lands of the remotely living and nearly unreachable Dukha were integrated by the year 1755, when at the time identified as "North Taiga band" they were administratively made part of Toja or Uriyankhai banner of which they henceforth were subjects. Ultimately of course, they were subject of the Manchu Emperor ruling from his remote Capital in Beijing, a fact which made the Tsataan (Dukha) rank among the most remote peoples of that multi-cultural Nation.
Although at certain times in the 19th century Russian influence factually outstripped that of the Manchu and Chinese, theoretically this Manchu title of Overlordship lasted until the year 1911, when the last Emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty abdicated, thus setting the Mongolians free from their Manchu and by then Chinese Overlords.
This page was last updated on: May 9, 2017
state more or less created under Russian directions. Not surprisingly, the neighboring Tuva Mongolian People soon saw their newly established state and all its territories annexed by the Russians, who in 1944 added the Tuva Republic to much larger Union of Socialist Republics united in the Communist "Soviet Union".
Although the entire Tuva Republic was absorbed into the Soviet Union, through a twist of fate and a landswap between Nations in the year 1925, the North Taiga band of the Dukha / Tsataan People of reindeer herders then was the only band speaking the Tuvan language left on the Mongolian side of the frontier.
Since in the 1930's political unrest - and conscription- had also driven most of the members of the South Taiga group of the Dukhans and other Uriankhais across the
YouTube Video: The Tsataan (or Dukha) People of Khovsgol in Mongolia in the year 2014.
border from Tuva into Mongolia in the end the Dukha / Tsataan People found themselves reunited within the Khövsgöl Province of Mongolia.
Although in the following decades, the Mongolian government as a perfect stooge of the Dictatorial Soviet Union, repeatedly deported groups of the Southern Band of the Dukha People back across the border to the Tuva Republic where an uncertain fate awaited them, after the death of Stalin in 1953 the ethnic policies were slowly relaxed. By 1956 Mongolian National sentiment had changed enough for the Mongolian Government to reverse the early policies and finally for the Dukha to remain a part of the (then) Peoples' Republic of Mongolia. All Dukha were subsequently granted Mongolian citizenship and eventually the Southern Band was resettled at Tsagaan Nuur Lake on the Shishigt River in the south-west of Khövsgöl Province.

By the time western Documentary makers made their way into the extreme northern and north-western regions of Khövsgöl Province only 44 Dukha families remained, totaling only somewhere between 200 and 400 people. According to the film makers and Documentary material today the Dukha maintain their shamanic beliefs; ride, breed, milk, and live off of their reindeer, and live not in the traditional Mongolian Ger (Russian: Yurt) but in pyramidal structures erected by means of pointing wooden beams or poles together. Small in number and traversing the roughtest regions of Khovsgol Province, the current day tribes continue their nearly autonomous lifestyle without much contact with the outside world. Modern amenities and supplies however have also made their way into the culture of the Tsataan. Among things, solar cells, riffles, practical modern clothing and other items have found their usefelness in the wilderness.  Yet, all families have remained nomadic trailing in the path of their reindeer.

Modern influences aside, the biggest current day threat to the life and ways of the Tsataan is no doubt the severe climate changes and water scarcities the regions have faced over the last 10 to 15 years. 
Reportedly the reindeer population as counted among the Tsataan People has dropped from approximately 2000 in the 1970s when it was an estimated 2000 to less than 600 at the end of the 1980s. Since, the environmental situation faced by the Tsataan has only worsened. In addition, the Mongolian Tstaan have at times encountered international political woes which threaten the replenishment of reindeer herds with animals from Siberia, and so directly endanger the Dukha way of life.
Although reportedly, initially after the democratization of Mongolia no governmental programs were in place in order to support the Tsataan today the minority is recognized for its unique cultural heritage and has received attention from the Government and International donors. Their situation however remains precarious.
Modern History of the Tsataan (Dukha) People:
Technically, the Mongolians had freed themselves just previous to the abdication of the Qing Emperor in Beijing with the officially declared Mongolian independence of 29 December of 1911 at which time the banner of the Dukha People became part of the independent Republic of the Tuva Mongolians, a puppet
70% of the population is a member of and who are by now pre-dominant in most of Mongolia except for parts in the extreme west, north and north-east.

Of the remaining "minorities" the Darkhad are by far the largest group who, with some 16 to 17 thousand members (16,268 in the year 2000) make up some 13.8% of the total population. By comparison the second largest ethnic group among the population, the Khotgoid count only 1/3 of the total number of Darkhad Mongolians. With 6229 counted in total in the year 2000 they make up a mere 5.3% of the populace of Khovsgol Province. Third in the list are the Uriankhai with some 3000+ members and counting some 2.6% of the total population. The Buriad (Buryat) and even more so the Tsataan (Dukha) are regarded splinter groups. With some 0.84% and 0.23% of the population respectively they are a rarity in Khovsgol Province.
Naturally members of the Buryat Ethnicity can be found north of the border in the Buryatia Republic of the Russian Federation. However, the Tsataan have virtually no counterparts and are considered a critically endagered nomadic culture, especially so due to their unusual reliance on reindeer as their main animal.

Other splinter groups are the the Uulds or better Oöled and the Durvuds.
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The Uulds (Oöled), are today a minor tribe today frequently mistaken as part of the Durvud-Oirats (Dorbet) with whom they share an ancient common ancestry but for centuries they have regarded themselves as a different albeit closely related people. Both tribes are historically part of the larger grouping of Tribes identified as the Oirats with Oirats considered to be the native tribes of Western Mongolia.

The Dorbets are said to have first merged in the early 15th century, becoming a large tribe with was one of the four Tribes forming the Oirat (West Mongolian) Alliance. The name of the tribe is probably derived from the term 4 - "döröv", which in the regional language is transduced to "dörbe". The Dorbet thus called themselves the fourth branch.
Throughout the 16th to 20th century, the Dorbet were in close connection with the peoples of the Siberian Taiga and the Trans-Baikal.
The Dorbet in Mongolia were a large tribe until the war against the Manchu Invasion in which many clans and clansmen were obliterated. Today they are however still the largest sub-group of Mongolians in Mongolia, excluding the Buryat and Kalmyk who mostly live in Siberia. Dörbet is spoken in half of the sums of Uvs Province and in Dörgön in Khovd Province.

The Ooled in turn are another originally clearly distinct Tribe which made up the Dzungar Alliance and Khanate in the 17th and 18th Century until its final destruction. One of the most powerful tribes the warring Ooled suffered a near complete destruction during the war with the Manchu Qing Dynasty and acquired allies. Today Ooled Language is only spoken in Erdeneburen Sum of Khovd Aimag.
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soldiers and other travelers, or at the hands of brutal Manchu and Chinese invaders with their minds set on substantial economic gain and territorial expansion.
After what has been dubbed a campaign to exterminate the Dzungar People, in particular the Uulds and other Oirats suffered additionally as the Manchu Government desired to break them away from their previous peers and ordered the resettling of the surviving tribes people in succession to Bayankhongor Province and then ultimately back to Uvs Nuur and Uvs Province in the year 1755 AD.
As for the Uulds; it is known that already in the year 1764 many Oolods migrated south-westward to Khovd Province in Mongolia in support of the Manchu
Armies there and so supplied corvee services for the Khovd (Town) garrison of the Qing, who had moved the original town from the Khovd River to the Buyant River in 1757 AD and built a large fortress.

Today, many centuries onward the Durvuds remain mostly concentrated in Uvs Province.
It is unclear just how many Uulds people still reside in Khovsgol Province.
It seems that today the remaining Uulds should be found far to the south and west in Khovd Province where today they are the 5th largest ethnic group among the population accounting for some 7.5% of that Provinces total population. Accoring to various Internet sources most Uulds (Ooled) are concentrated in Erdenebüren Sum of Khovd Aimag and also in the Ölziit Sum of Arkhangay Aimag.
According to Government statistics, the number of Uulds in Mongolia reached 9,100 in 1989 with 5622 of them living in Khovd Province. More recently, in the official Government Census of the year 2010, 15,520 people claimed "Ööled" ancestry in Mongolia.
The culturally most original remaining group of Ooled are the tribes living in Erdenebüren Sum, which retain their own Oirat Language and culture. The smaller group of Ooled found in Arkhangay are said to have integrated with the surrounding Khalka Tribes thus losing much of their distinct culture while adopting the more practical Khalka language.

Completing the brief history of the local tribes and according language area's; in the decades and centuries after the defeat of the Oirat Tribes and the fall of Dzungar Khanate, the land and space previously taken up by the perished Ooled and other tribes was slowly repopulated from both the eastern and western directions. In the new political situation, the Khalka - who were Buddhist - found themselves favored by geographical, economical and political circumstance allowing their influnce to folk to move westward shifting the language and cultural divide withing Mongolia in a western direction.
Today, the Khalka Language area extends southward and southwestward from Khovsgol Lake whereas the Kazakh and other Islamic Tribes are concentrated in Provinces and District further to the West.
History of Dorbed and Ooled:
Today, the history of the Oöled (Oolod) or Uulds People is a mere fragment of the larger story of a competition for ultimate rule over large parts of Central Asia including Tibet, a protracted conflict which was ultimately won by the Manchu Qing Dynasty (1644 AD - 1911 AD).
Having been alligned with the larger conglomerate of western Mongolians today usually identified as the Dzungar People as one of its three major founding Tribes, in the 17th and 18th century, the Oöled found themselves in a protracted conflict not only with the neighboring Kalkha Mongolians but also with the armies of the Manchu Qing Dynasty.
Notably, Khalkha Mongolians were generally Buddhist, whereas the Oirats as descendants of Central Asian tribes adhered to Islam thus splitting what today is Mongolia into an Eastern and Western half with different ancestry, cultures, faiths and alliances. Already having conquered Manchuria and with China (1644 AD) most of East Asia, the arising neighboring Empire of the Manchu found creative ways to manage the resulting political situation into further conflict among Mongolians in so doing preparing the way before military invasions. At first defeating, then coopting the Khalkha of East Mongolia, as they advanced further into Mongolia under their Kangxi Emperor (Reign: 1661 - 1722 AD) and successors eventually all Mongolian Tribes would be subjected to the Manchu Throne.
As one may find, subsequently the Mongolian lands were annexed by the Manchu as part of the larger multi-ethnic Nation, a Manchu ruled Empire which included the Chinese heartlands but much more, heroically as the Kangxi Emperor declared it; "for the first time uniting the regions south and north of the Great Wall of China" (which has thus made redundant however lasting as the marker of the still official cultural border between Mongolian and Chinese territory). Henceforth, according to the newfound ideology proclaimed by the Manchu Qing all would be united as brethren in a new super-large nation much of which still forms the basis of the Peoples Republic of China today.

In the great conflict of three parties Khalka, Oirat and Manchu, the three main tribes of the Oöled, the Dorbet (Durvud, but also written Derbet) and the Khoit found themselves united and as such their identities fused into the Dzungar alliance of Islamic Tribes (Or Turkmen) in defense of West Mongolia. Although the alliance later on also included the the Khoshut and Torghut tribes the key Dzungar Tribes of west Mongolia were the Oöled and the closely related Durvud (or Dorbet) with which they already shared a common ancestry, oral history and substantial culture.
As the losing side in a much larger conflict, after the capitulation to the Manchu Throne in 1753 both the Uulds and Durvud Peoples found themselves punished in various ways.

The humiliation of the three Oirat Tribes ended a protracted war in the north-west of Mongolia and so was a major victory for the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing (Reign: 1735 AD - 1799 AD).
In the aftermath of war and crushing defeat all Dzungars and their allies suffered greatly.
Many Dzungar including Durvud-Oirats and Uulds died from smallpox, a disease traveling with flees on