First Nomadic Tribes and States

Although people have inhabited Mongolia since the Stone Age, Mongolia only became politically important after iron weapons entered the area in the 3rd century BC. In general, Mongolia at this point had a similar history to the rest of the nomadic steppe that lies between Siberia Northern Russia to the North, China, and, the Middle East and Central Asia to the South. These steppes usually were inhabited by tribes of nomads, sometimes united in confederations of varying sizes.
The nomads usually herded animals, traded, raided more agricultural peoples and each other. However, every now and then, large nomadic confederations formed that threatened China, and sometimes the Middle East, Europe and beyond. These confederations, while vast and often destructive, rarely lasted, but they did redistribute peoples and disrupt the politics of the regions they attacked. The people in the Mongolia region usually focused their attention on nearby, wealthy China, and their occasional confederations greatly influence Chinese history. These nomadic people were so warlike that they caused the Chinese to build the 2,300 km long Great Wall along their northern border as a barrier to further incursions.

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