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(or Oirots), a designation that in the past applied to the western Mongols (Dorbet, Bait, Torgut, Khoshut, Zakhchin, and others).

In the 13th century, a group of Mongol-speaking tribes, the Oirats, at first resisted Genghis Khan but soon pledged obedience to him. In the 17th century, some Oirats migrated to the region of Koko Nor, another group migrated into Russia where they came to be known as the Kalmyks, and a third group made up the main population of the Oirat Khanate. The term “Oirat” has virtually lost its meaning in the Mongolian People’s Republic. The western Mongol groups that are consolidated with the Khalkha Mongols are known there as Dorbets, Baits, Zakh-chins, and so on, and they live mainly in the Ubsa Nor and Kobdo aimaks (total population, 89,200; 1970 census). The Mongols in the People’s Republic of China include significant groups of Oirats.


Isloriia Mongol’skoi Narodnoi Respubliki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1967.
Zlatkin, I. Ia. Istoriia Dzhungarskogo khanstva (1635–1758). Moscow, 1964.