The historical experience of constructing the borders of the Mongolian community in the 17th century

Т. Д. Скрынникова


The paper deals with the polysemantic term “ulus” and its meaning used in the political practices of the historical period under review. Some original Mongolian sources of the 17th century often show uncertainty of the term “ulus” that can be interpreted as “people” or “nation” and simultaneously as a form of a community – “polity”. The borders of the latter were marked differently. First of all, it is necessary to keep in mind the description of the all-Mongolian identity. The connection between revived Mongolia and Genghis Khan’s Empire is marked. Mongolia of the “Six tumens” is described as the Great ulus established by the eminent ancestors. At the same time the sources mention the historical name of Mongolia. Both the forty-tumens’ Mongolian ulus and six-tumens’ ulus are the objects of external influence: they can be divided or even destroyed. All the variants of the term “ulus” usage show that its meaning depended on the way it was used by a governor or a claimant for possession over the community. This allows saying with sufficient degree of confidence that this term was not used for “state” in institutional sense as the texts show that the term did not designate a political subject.


Mongolian cultural identity; history of Mongolia; ulus


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