Summary: We prove that the cohomology of the moduli stack of $G$-bundles on a smooth projective curve is freely generated by the Atiyah--Bott classes in arbitrary characteristic. The main technical tool needed is the construction of coarse moduli spaces for bundles with parabolic structure in arbitrary characteristic. Using these spaces we show that the cohomology of the moduli stack is pure and satisfies base-change for curves defined over a discrete valuation ring. Thereby we get an algebraic proof of the theorem of Atiyah and Bott and conversely this can be used to give a geometric proof of the fact that the Tamagawa number of a Chevalley group is the number of connected components of the moduli stack of principal bundles.
principal bundle, parabolic bundle, moduli space, stack, cohomology, Tamagawa number