Perhaps the best-known of the Central Asian nomads, they are certainly among the best documented. The Mongols arose as a complex group of closely related tribes dwelling in the steppes and semi-arid regions south of the Yakut taiga, adjacent to the Gobi Desert. Ethnographically, their origins are obscure; the best scholarship tends to the view that they are a composite of remnants of the Hsiung-Nu (Huns) combined with proto-Turks -- there are certainly some strains of early Manchu and Tungus as well. They emerge into history from the 12th century onward, and in the 13th century they established what is perhaps the largest single Empire the world has yet seen (both the Mongol Empire at it's greatest extent, c. 1245, and the British Empire together with the Commonwealth at it's greatest extent c. 1920, covered about 14, 000, 000 sq. miles (33,400,000 sq. km.) -- about 25 % of the world's land surface - and interestingly enough, there is very little overlap between the two).
Presently this covers: the Gaoche, the Golden Horde, the Jadirat, the Keraits, the Khalka, the Merkits, Mongolia, the Naimans, the Nogai, the Ordos, the Qaidu, Qara Khitai, the Sechen, Sibir (the White Horde), the Tatar, the Tumed, T'umen', and the Tushtietu.