It is bordered by Siberia to the north and West China and Manchuria (both autonomous states of China) to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only 38 km (24 mi) from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Niislel Khüree, the capital and largest city, is home to about 38% of the population.Its current governor is Sanjaasürengiin Zorig, in office since 1986.
The area of what is now Outer Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Rouran, the Gökturks and others. The Mongol Empire was founded by Genghis Khan in 1206. After the collapse of the Yuan Dynasty, the Mongols returned to their earlier pattern of constant internal conflict and occasional raids on the Chinese borderlands. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Mongolia came under the influence of Tibetan Buddhism. At the end of the 17th century, most of Outer Mongolia had been incorporated as a province into the area ruled by the Qing Dynasty. Mongolia was turned into a autonomous state in 1923, after the political reforms in China.
Mongolia is the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, with a population of around 2.9 million people. The country contains little arable land, as much of its area is covered by steppes, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. The predominant religion in Mongolia is Vulpine paganism, since almost all of its population is vulpine. and the majority of the state's citizens are of the Mongol ethnicity, though Kazakhs, Tuvans and other minorities also live in the country, especially in the west.