Regions with significant populations
 Mongolia 26,654 [1]

Oirat, Mongolian


Tibetan Buddhism, Shamanism , Atheism

Related ethnic groups

Oirads, Mongols

Map of the Jütgelt Gün's hoshuu (banner) of the Altai Uriankhai in western Mongolia.
Tuvans or Tagnu Uriankhai

"Uriankhai" (originally Uriyangkhai), also known as Urianhai or Uryangkhai, is a term applied to several neighboring ethnic groups. The name is mentioned several times in the Secret History of the Mongols.

In the 13th century Rashid-al-Din Hamadani described the Forest Uriyangkhai as extremely isolated Siberian forest people living in birchbark tents and hunting with skis. Despite the similarity in name to the famous Uriyankhan clan of the Mongols, Rashid states that they had no connection.[2]

By the early 17th century the term Uriankhai was a general Mongolian term for all the dispersed bands to the north-west, whether Samoyed, Turkic, or Mongolian in origin.[3] In 1757 the Qing Dynasty organized its far northern frontier into a series of Uriankhai banners: the Khovsgol Nuur Uriyangkhai, Tagnu Uriankhai, Kemchik, Salchak, and Tozhu (all Tuvans) and Altan-nuur Uriyangkhai. Tuvans in Mongolia are called Monchoogo Uriankhai (cf. Tuvan Monchak < Kazakh monshak "necklace") by Mongolians. Another group of Uriankhai in Mongolia (in Bayan-Ölgii and Khovd aimags) are called Altai Uriankhai. These were apparently attached to the Oirats. A third group of Mongolian Uriankhai were one of the 6 tumens of Dayan Khan in Eastern Mongolia. These last two Uriankhai groups are said to be descendants of the Uriankhan tribe from which came Jelme and his more famous cousin Subutai.

A variation of the name, Uraŋxai, was an old name for the Sakha.[4] Russian Pavel Nebolsin documented the Urankhu clan of Volga Kalmyks in the 1850s.[5] Another variant of the name, Orangkae (오랑캐), was traditionally used by the Koreans to refer indiscriminately to "barbarians" who inhabited the lands to their north.[citation needed]


  1. ^ National Census 2010
  2. ^ C.P.Atwood-Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p.9
  3. ^ C.P.Atwood-Encyclopedia of Mongolia, p.9
  4. ^ POPPE, Nicholas (1969). "Review of Menges "The Turkic Languages and Peoples"". Central Asiatic Journal 12 (4): 330. 
  5. ^ Mänchen-Helfen, Otto (1992) [1931]. Journey to Tuva. Los Angeles: Ethnographic Press University of Southern California. p. 180. ISBN 187898604-X.