How a Russian Invader Became the Khan of Mongolia
In 1911, after 300 long years under the rule of the Qing Dynasty of China, Mongolia declared itself independent under the leadership of Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, who was a Tibetan Buddhist monk. However, in 1920, China reoccupied Mongolia and dethroned Khutuktu from the seat of the Khan.
In 1921, in the midst of the civil war in Russia, a general for the White Army (the Tsar’s military) named Roman von Ungern-Sternberg marched down from Siberia to Mongolia. Roman von Ungern-Sternberg was also known as Baron Ungern, after his noble title. Ungern’s army occupied Mongolia and Ungern called himself the new Great Khan of Mongolia.
Ungern was born in 1886 in Austria-Hungary, to Germanic parents, who moved to Russia in 1888. Ungern also had some Hungarian-Mongolian ancestry, which he claimed to be from Batu Khan, the Grandson of Ghenghis Khan. Ungern later…