History of Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (aka Inner Mongolia), which lies south of present-day Mongolia (aka Outer Mongolia), got its name because of the presence of large numbers of Monan ("Southern") Mongols in the area at the time the region became a part of the People's Republic of China. Before that, the territory corresponding to present-day Inner Mongolia became a part of the Republic of China after the fall of the Qing (CE 1644-1911) Dynasty (all of Mongolia had become a part of China by the close of the Qing Dynasty). But Inner Mongolia had not always been "Mongolian".
It was first during the Song (CE 960-1279) Dynasty that a large Mongol tribe appeared in the area. Earlier, i.e., from the Tang (CE 618-907) Dynasty down to the arrival of Genghis Khan (see a short profile of Genghis Khan below) and his Mongol hordes, the territory called Inner Mongolia was inhabited primarily by Turkic tribes. With the rise of the Yuan (CE 1279-1368) Dynasty, the area came under strong central government rule, which in fact was Mongolian rule (the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, it will be remembered, was Kublia Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan), and the numbers of Mongols in present-day Inner Mongolia increased.
Under the Han Chinese Ming (CE 1368-1644) Dynasty, which had overthrown the Mongol Chinese Yuan Dynasty, Inner Mongolia itself was divided into two separate adminsitrative regions, Dada and Wala. "Northern" and "southern" Mongolia, corresponding to present-day Outer and Inner Mongolia, respectively, were always somewhat divided, as the Monan designation indicates, due to the presence the Gobi Desert, a natural barrier which roughly divides the two areas (it overlaps both areas), thus weakening any bond which might exist even on an ethnic basis. During the Manchu Qing Dynasty, Inner Mongolia was re-unified (the Dada and Wala administrative regions were disbanded), though the areas corresponding to present-day Inner and Outer Mongolia remained separate - both administratively and to some extent culturally - with Inner Mongolia becoming more etnically mixed than Outer Mongolia.
This tendency would only increase, such that when the Qing Dynasty fell - leaving the newly-formed Republic of China, on the one hand, and Mongolia on the other hand, to emerge from the ashes of Imperial China - the Republic of China would have its own reasons to retain that portion of Mongolia with which it had closest ties, namely, "southern" Mongolia, which, at the time, was under the administration of three separate provinces: Rehe, Chahaer, and Suiyuan (the name "Inner Mongolia" had not yet been conceived).
When the Republic of China gave way to the People's Republic of China, the territory corresponding to "southern" Mongolia had become such an integral part of China that it was unthinkable to relinquish it, though, in response to the territory's primary ethnic minority make-up (the Han Chinese were already the ethnic majority), it was designated as Inner Mongolia and was soon thereafter - on May 1st, 1947 - made into an autonomous region, the first such ethnic region within the PRC.
Historical Personages of Inner Mongolia: