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Cultural/historical, (highlighted) depicted with various competing territorial claims.                              "Greater Tibet" as claimed by Tibetan exile groups                     Tibetan autonomous areas, as designated by China                   Tibet Autonomous Region, within China                  Chinese-controlled, claimed by India as part of Aksai Chin                  Indian-controlled, parts claimed by China as South Tibet                 Other areas historically within the Tibetan cultural sphere
              "Greater Tibet" as claimed by Tibetan exile groups
  Tibetan autonomous areas, as designated by China
  Tibet Autonomous Region, within China
Chinese-controlled, claimed by India as part of Aksai Chin
Indian-controlled, parts claimed by China as South Tibet
Other areas historically within the Tibetan cultural sphere

Tibet (/tɪˈbɛt/ (About this sound listen); Tibetan: བོད་, Lhasa dialect IPA: pʰøː˨˧˩; Chinese: 西藏; pinyin: Xīzàng) is a historical region covering much of the Tibetan Plateau in Central Asia. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Qiang, and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft).[citation needed] The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain, rising 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level.

The Tibetan Empire emerged in the 7th century, but with the fall of the empire the region soon divided into a variety of territories. The bulk of western and central Tibet (Ü-Tsang) was often at least nominally unified under a series of Tibetan governments in Lhasa, Shigatse, or nearby locations; these governments were at various times under Mongol and Chinese overlordship. Thus Tibet remained a suzerainty of the Mongol and later Chinese rulers in Nanjing and Beijing, with reasonable autonomy given to the Tibetan leaders.[1] The eastern regions of Kham and Amdo often maintained a more decentralized indigenous political structure, being divided among a number of small principalities and tribal groups, while also often falling more directly under Chinese rule after the Battle of Chamdo; most of this area was eventually incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the 18th century.[2]

Following the Xinhai Revolution against the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet Area (Ü-Tsang). The region subsequently declared its independence in 1913 without recognition by the subsequent Chinese Republican government.[3] Later, Lhasa took control of the western part of Xikang, China. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following the Battle of Chamdo, Tibet became incorporated into the People's Republic of China, and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising.[4] Today, China governs western and central Tibet as the Tibet Autonomous Region while the eastern areas are now mostly ethnic autonomous prefectures within Sichuan, Qinghai and other neighbouring provinces. There are tensions regarding Tibet's political status[5] and dissident groups that are active in exile.[6] It is also said that Tibetan activists in Tibet have been arrested or tortured.[7]


Linguists generally classify the Tibetan language as a Tibeto-Burman language of the Sino-Tibetan language family although the boundaries between 'Tibetan' and certain other Himalayan languages can be unclear. According to Matthew Kapstein:

From the perspective of historical linguistics, Tibetan most closely resembles Burmese among the major languages of Asia. Grouping these two together with other apparently related languages spoken in the Himalayan lands, as well as in the highlands of Southeast Asia and the Sino-Tibetan frontier regions, linguists have generally concluded that there exists a Tibeto-Burman family of languages. More controversial is the theory that the Tibeto-Burman family is itself part of a larger language family, called Sino-Tibetan, and that through it Tibetan and Burmese are distant cousins of Chinese.[8]

Tibetan family in Kham attending a horse festival

The language has numerous regional dialects which are generally not mutually intelligible. It is employed throughout the Tibetan plateau and Bhutan and is also spoken in parts of Nepal and northern India, such as Sikkim. In general, the dialects of central Tibet (including Lhasa), Kham, Amdo and some smaller nearby areas are considered Tibetan dialects. Other forms, particularly Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Sherpa, and Ladakhi, are considered by their speakers, largely for political reasons, to be separate languages. However, if the latter group of Tibetan-type languages are included in the calculation, then 'greater Tibetan' is spoken by approximately 6 million people across the Tibetan Plateau. Tibetan is also spoken by approximately 150,000 exile speakers who have fled from modern-day Tibet to India and other countries.

Although spoken Tibetan varies according to the region, the written language, based on Classical Tibetan, is consistent throughout. This is probably due to the long-standing influence of the Tibetan empire, whose rule embraced (and extended at times far beyond) the present Tibetan linguistic area, which runs from northern Pakistan in the west to Yunnan and Sichuan in the east, and from north of Qinghai Lake south as far as Bhutan. The Tibetan language has its own script which it shares with Ladakhi and Dzongkha, and which is derived from the ancient Indian Brāhmī script.[9]

Starting in 2001, the local deaf sign languages of Tibet were standardized, and Tibetan Sign Language is now being promoted across the country.

The first Tibetan-English dictionary and grammar book was written by Alexander Csoma de Kőrös in 1834.[10]


Early history

Humans inhabited the Tibetan Plateau at least 21,000 years ago.[11] This population was largely replaced around 3,000 BP by Neolithic immigrants from northern China, but there is a partial genetic continuity between the Paleolithic inhabitants and contemporary Tibetan populations.[11]

The earliest Tibetan historical texts identify the Zhang Zhung culture as a people who migrated from the Amdo region into what is now the region of Guge in western Tibet.[12] Zhang Zhung is considered to be the original home of the Bön religion.[13] By the 1st century BCE, a neighboring kingdom arose in the Yarlung valley, and the Yarlung king, Drigum Tsenpo, attempted to remove the influence of the Zhang Zhung by expelling the Zhang's Bön priests from Yarlung.[14] He was assassinated and Zhang Zhung continued its dominance of the region until it was annexed by Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. Prior to Songtsen Gampo, the kings of Tibet were more mythological than factual, and there is insufficient evidence of their existence.[15]

Tibetan Empire

Map of the Tibetan Empire at its greatest extent between the 780s and the 790s CE

The history of a unified Tibet begins with the rule of Songtsen Gampo (604–650 CE), who united parts of the Yarlung River Valley and founded the Tibetan Empire. He also brought in many reforms, and Tibetan power spread rapidly, creating a large and powerful empire. It is traditionally considered that his first wife was the Princess of Nepal, Bhrikuti, and that she played a great role in the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet. In 640 he married Princess Wencheng, the niece of the powerful Chinese emperor Taizong of Tang China.[16]

Under the next few Tibetan kings, Buddhism became established as the state religion and Tibetan power increased even further over large areas of Central Asia, while major inroads were made into Chinese territory, even reaching the Tang's capital Chang'an (modern Xi'an) in late 763.[17] However, the Tibetan occupation of Chang'an only lasted for fifteen days, after which they were defeated by Tang and its ally, the Turkic Uyghur Khaganate.

The Kingdom of Nanzhao (in Yunnan and neighbouring regions) remained under Tibetan control from 750 to 794, when they turned on their Tibetan overlords and helped the Chinese inflict a serious defeat on the Tibetans.[18]

In 747, the hold of Tibet was loosened by the campaign of general Gao Xianzhi, who tried to re-open the direct communications between Central Asia and Kashmir. By 750, the Tibetans had lost almost all of their central Asian possessions to the Chinese. However, after Gao Xianzhi's defeat by the Arabs and Qarluqs at the Battle of Talas (751) and the subsequent civil war known as the An Lushan Rebellion (755), Chinese influence decreased rapidly and Tibetan influence resumed.

At its height in the 780's to 790's the Tibetan Empire reached its highest glory when it ruled and controlled a territory stretching from modern day Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan.

In 821/822 CE Tibet and China signed a peace treaty. A bilingual account of this treaty, including details of the borders between the two countries, is inscribed on a stone pillar which stands outside the Jokhang temple in Lhasa.[19] Tibet continued as a Central Asian empire until the mid-9th century, when a civil war over succession led to the collapse of imperial Tibet. The period that followed is known traditionally as the Era of Fragmentation, when political control over Tibet became divided between regional warlords and tribes with no dominant centralized authority. An Islamic invasion from Bengal took place in 1206.

Yuan dynasty

The Mongol Yuan dynasty, c. 1294.

The Mongol Yuan dynasty, through the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, or Xuanzheng Yuan, ruled Tibet through a top-level administrative department. One of the department's purposes was to select a dpon-chen ('great administrator'), usually appointed by the lama and confirmed by the Mongol emperor in Beijing.[20] The Sakya lama retained a degree of autonomy, acting as the political authority of the region, while the dpon-chen held administrative and military power. Mongol rule of Tibet remained separate from the main provinces of China, but the region existed under the administration of the Yuan dynasty. If the Sakya lama ever came into conflict with the dpon-chen, the dpon-chen had the authority to send Chinese troops into the region.[20]

Tibet retained nominal power over religious and regional political affairs, while the Mongols managed a structural and administrative[21] rule over the region, reinforced by the rare military intervention. This existed as a "diarchic structure" under the Yuan emperor, with power primarily in favor of the Mongols.[20] Mongolian prince Khuden gained temporal power in Tibet in the 1240s and sponsored Sakya Pandita, whose seat became the capital of Tibet. Drogön Chögyal Phagpa, Sakya Pandita's nephew became Imperial Preceptor of Kublai Khan, founder of the Yuan dynasty.

Yuan control over the region ended with the Ming overthrow of the Yuan and Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen's revolt against the Mongols.[22] Following the uprising, Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen founded the Phagmodrupa Dynasty, and sought to reduce Yuan influences over Tibetan culture and politics.[23]

Phagmodrupa, Rinpungpa and Tsangpa Dynasties

Between 1346 and 1354, Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen toppled the Sakya and founded the Phagmodrupa Dynasty. The following 80 years saw the founding of the Gelug school (also known as Yellow Hats) by the disciples of Je Tsongkhapa, and the founding of the important Ganden, Drepung and Sera monasteries near Lhasa. However, internal strife within the dynasty and the strong localism of the various fiefs and political-religious factions led to a long series of internal conflicts. The minister family Rinpungpa, based in Tsang (West Central Tibet), dominated politics after 1435. In 1565 they were overthrown by the Tsangpa Dynasty of Shigatse which expanded its power in different directions of Tibet in the following decades and favoured the Karma Kagyu sect.

Rise of Ganden Phodrang

The Khoshut Khanate, 1642–1717.
Tibet in 1734. Royaume de Thibet ("Kingdom of Tibet") in la Chine, la Tartarie Chinoise, et le Thibet ("China, Chinese Tartary, and Tibet") on a 1734 map by Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville, based on earlier Jesuit maps.
Tibet in 1892 during the Qing dynasty.

In 1578, Altan Khan of the Tümed Mongols gave Sonam Gyatso, a high lama of the Gelugpa school, the name Dalai Lama, Dalai being the Mongolian translation of the Tibetan name Gyatso "Ocean".[24]

The 5th Dalai Lama is known for unifying the Tibetan heartland under the control of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, after defeating the rival Kagyu and Jonang sects and the secular ruler, the Tsangpa prince, in a prolonged civil war. His efforts were successful in part because of aid from Güshi Khan, the Oirat leader of the Khoshut Khanate. With Güshi Khan as a largely uninvolved overlord, the 5th Dalai Lama and his intimates established a civil administration which is referred to by historians as the Lhasa state. This Tibetan regime or government is also referred to as the Ganden Phodrang.

Qing dynasty

Potala Palace

Qing dynasty rule in Tibet began with their 1720 expedition to the country when they expelled the invading Dzungars. Amdo came under Qing control in 1724, and eastern Kham was incorporated into neighbouring Chinese provinces in 1728.[25] Meanwhile, the Qing government sent resident commissioners called Ambans to Lhasa. In 1750 the Ambans and the majority of the Han Chinese and Manchus living in Lhasa were killed in a riot, and Qing troops arrived quickly and suppressed the rebels in the next year. Like the preceding Yuan dynasty, the Manchus of the Qing dynasty exerted military and administrative control of the region, while granting it a degree of political autonomy. The Qing commander publicly executed a number of supporters of the rebels and, as in 1723 and 1728, made changes in the political structure and drew up a formal organization plan. The Qing now restored the Dalai Lama as ruler, leading the governing council called Kashag,[26] but elevated the role of Ambans to include more direct involvement in Tibetan internal affairs. At the same time the Qing took steps to counterbalance the power of the aristocracy by adding officials recruited from the clergy to key posts.[27]

For several decades, peace reigned in Tibet, but in 1792 the Qing Qianlong Emperor sent a large Chinese army into Tibet to push the invading Nepalese out. This prompted yet another Qing reorganization of the Tibetan government, this time through a written plan called the "Twenty-Nine Regulations for Better Government in Tibet". Qing military garrisons staffed with Qing troops were now also established near the Nepalese border.[28] Tibet was dominated by the Manchus in various stages in the 18th century, and the years immediately following the 1792 regulations were the peak of the Qing imperial commissioners' authority; but there was no attempt to make Tibet a Chinese province.[29]

In 1834 the Sikh Empire invaded and annexed Ladakh, a culturally Tibetan region that was an independent kingdom at the time. Seven years later a Sikh army led by General Zorawar Singh invaded western Tibet from Ladakh, starting the Sino-Sikh War. A Qing-Tibetan army repelled the invaders but was in turn defeated when it chased the Sikhs into Ladakh. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Chushul between the Chinese and Sikh empires.[30]

Putuo Zongcheng Temple, a Buddhist temple complex built between 1767 and 1771. The temple was modeled after the Potala Palace.

As the Qing dynasty weakened, its authority over Tibet also gradually declined, and by the mid-19th century its influence was minuscule. Qing authority over Tibet had become more symbolic than real by the late 19th century,[31][32][33][34] although in the 1860s the Tibetans still chose for reasons of their own to emphasize the empire's symbolic authority and make it seem substantial.[35]

This period also saw some contacts with Jesuits and Capuchins from Europe, and in 1774 a Scottish nobleman, George Bogle, came to Shigatse to investigate prospects of trade for the British East India Company.[36] However, in the 19th century the situation of foreigners in Tibet grew more tenuous. The British Empire was encroaching from northern India into the Himalayas, the Emirate of Afghanistan and the Russian Empire were expanding into Central Asia and each power became suspicious of the others' intentions in Tibet.

In 1904, a British expedition to Tibet, spurred in part by a fear that Russia was extending its power into Tibet as part of The Great Game, invaded the country, hoping that negotiations with the 13th Dalai Lama would be more effective than with Chinese representatives.[37] When the British-led invasion reached Tibet on December 12, 1903, an armed confrontation with the ethnic Tibetans resulted in the Massacre of Chumik Shenko, which resulted in 600 fatalities amongst the Tibetan forces, compared to only 12 on the British side.[38][39] Afterwards, in 1904 Francis Younghusband imposed a treaty known as the Treaty of Lhasa, which was subsequently repudiated and was succeeded by a 1906 treaty[40] signed between Britain and China.

In 1910, the Qing government sent a military expedition of its own under Zhao Erfeng to establish direct Manchu-Chinese rule and, in an imperial edict, deposed the Dalai Lama, who fled to British India. Zhao Erfeng defeated the Tibetan military conclusively and expelled the Dalai Lama's forces from the province. His actions were unpopular, and there was much animosity against him for his mistreatment of civilians and disregard for local culture.

Post-Qing period

Rogyapas, an outcast group, early 20th century. Their hereditary occupation included disposal of corpses and leather work.

After the Xinhai Revolution (1911–12) toppled the Qing dynasty and the last Qing troops were escorted out of Tibet, the new Republic of China apologized for the actions of the Qing and offered to restore the Dalai Lama's title.[41] The Dalai Lama refused any Chinese title and declared himself ruler of an independent Tibet.[42] In 1913, Tibet and Mongolia concluded a treaty of mutual recognition.[43] For the next 36 years, the 13th Dalai Lama and the regents who succeeded him governed Tibet. During this time, Tibet fought Chinese warlords for control of the ethnically Tibetan areas in Xikang and Qinghai (parts of Kham and Amdo) along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.[44] In 1914 the Tibetan government signed the Simla Accord with Britain, ceding the South Tibet region to British India. The Chinese government denounced the agreement as illegal.[45][46]

When in the 1930s and 1940s the regents displayed negligence in affairs, the Kuomintang Government of the Republic of China took advantage of this to expand its reach into the territory.[47]

From 1950 to present

Emerging with control over most of mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, the People's Republic of China incorporated Tibet in 1950 and negotiated the Seventeen Point Agreement with the newly enthroned 14th Dalai Lama's government, affirming the People's Republic of China's sovereignty but granting the area autonomy. Subsequently, on his journey into exile, the 14th Dalai Lama completely repudiated the agreement, which he has repeated on many occasions.[48][49] The Chinese used the Dalai Lama to be able to have control of the military's training and actions.[50]

The Dalai Lama had a strong following as many people from Tibet looked at him as their leader from not just a political point of view but, also from a spiritual perspective.[51] After the Dalai Lama's government fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion, it established a rival government-in-exile. Afterwards, the Central People's Government in Beijing renounced the agreement and began implementation of the halted social and political reforms.[52] During the Great Leap Forward, between 200,000 and 1,000,000 Tibetans died,[53] and approximately 6,000 monasteries were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, thus the vast majority of historic Tibetan architecture was destroyed.[54] In 1962 China and India fought a brief war over the disputed South Tibet and Aksai Chin regions. Although China won the war, Chinese troops withdrew north of the McMahon Line, effectively ceding South Tibet to India.[46]

In 1980, General Secretary and reformist Hu Yaobang visited Tibet and ushered in a period of social, political, and economic liberalization.[55] At the end of the decade, however, before the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, monks in the Drepung and Sera monasteries started protesting for independence, and so the government halted reforms and started an anti-separatist campaign.[55] Human rights organisations have been critical of the Beijing and Lhasa governments' approach to human rights in the region when cracking down on separatist convulsions that have occurred around monasteries and cities, most recently in the 2008 Tibetan unrest.


Tibet is located on the Tibetan Plateau, the world's highest region.
Himalayas, on the southern rim of the Tibetan plateau

All of modern China, including Tibet, is considered a part of East Asia.[56] Historically, some European sources also considered parts of Tibet to lie in Central Asia. Tibet is west of the Central China plain, and within mainland China Tibet is regarded as part of 西部 (Xībù), a term usually translated by Chinese media as "the Western section", meaning "Western China".

Tibet is often called the "roof of the world, because it is a very high plateau.
Tibetan Plateau and surrounding areas above 1600 m – topography.[57][58]

Tibet has some of the world's tallest mountains, with several of them making the top ten list. Mount Everest, located on the border with Nepal, is, at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft), the highest mountain on earth. Several major rivers have their source in the Tibetan Plateau (mostly in present-day Qinghai Province). These include the Yangtze, Yellow River, Indus River, Mekong, Ganges, Salween and the Yarlung Tsangpo River (Brahmaputra River).[59] The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, along the Yarlung Tsangpo River, is among the deepest and longest canyons in the world.

Tibet has been called the "Water Tower" of Asia, and China is investing heavily in water projects in Tibet.[60][61]

The Indus and Brahmaputra rivers originate from a lake (Tib: Tso Mapham) in Western Tibet, near Mount Kailash. The mountain is a holy pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Tibetans. The Hindus consider the mountain to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The Tibetan name for Mt. Kailash is Khang Rinpoche. Tibet has numerous high-altitude lakes referred to in Tibetan as tso or co. These include Qinghai Lake, Lake Manasarovar, Namtso, Pangong Tso, Yamdrok Lake, Siling Co, Lhamo La-tso, Lumajangdong Co, Lake Puma Yumco, Lake Paiku, Como Chamling, Lake Rakshastal, Dagze Co and Dong Co. The Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor) is the largest lake in the People's Republic of China.

The atmosphere is severely dry nine months of the year, and average annual snowfall is only 18 inches (46 cm), due to the rain shadow effect. Western passes receive small amounts of fresh snow each year but remain traversible all year round. Low temperatures are prevalent throughout these western regions, where bleak desolation is unrelieved by any vegetation bigger than a low bush, and where wind sweeps unchecked across vast expanses of arid plain. The Indian monsoon exerts some influence on eastern Tibet. Northern Tibet is subject to high temperatures in the summer and intense cold in the winter.

Cultural Tibet consists of several regions. These include Amdo (A mdo) in the northeast, which is administratively part of the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan. Kham (Khams) in the southeast encompasses parts of western Sichuan, northern Yunnan, southern Qinghai and the eastern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Ü-Tsang (dBus gTsang) (Ü in the center, Tsang in the center-west, and Ngari (mNga' ris) in the far west) covered the central and western portion of Tibet Autonomous Region.[62]

Tibetan cultural influences extend to the neighboring states of Bhutan, Nepal, regions of India such as Sikkim, Ladakh, Lahaul, and Spiti, Northern Pakistan baltistan or Balti-yul in addition to designated Tibetan autonomous areas in adjacent Chinese provinces.

Cities, towns and villages

Looking across the square at Jokhang temple, Lhasa

There are over 800 settlements in Tibet. Lhasa is Tibet's traditional capital and the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. It contains two world heritage sites – the Potala Palace and Norbulingka, which were the residences of the Dalai Lama. Lhasa contains a number of significant temples and monasteries, including Jokhang and Ramoche Temple.

Shigatse is the second largest city in the Tibet AR, west of Lhasa. Gyantse and Qamdo are also amongst the largest.

Other cities and towns in cultural Tibet include Shiquanhe (Ali), Nagchu, Bamda, Rutog, Nyingchi, Nedong, Coqên, Barkam, Sakya, Gartse, Pelbar, Lhatse, and Tingri; in Sichuan, Kangding (Dartsedo); in Qinghai, Jyekundo (Yushu), Machen, and Golmud; in India, Tawang, Leh, and Gangtok , In Pakistan Skardu , Khapulu

Tibetan Buddhism

Buddhist monks practicing debate in Drepung Monastery

Religion is extremely important to the Tibetans and has a strong influence over all aspects of their lives. Bön is the indigenous religion of Tibet, but has been almost eclipsed by Tibetan Buddhism, a distinctive form of Mahayana and Vajrayana, which was introduced into Tibet from the Sanskrit Buddhist tradition of northern India.[63] Tibetan Buddhism is practiced not only in Tibet but also in Mongolia, parts of northern India, the Buryat Republic, the Tuva Republic, and in the Republic of Kalmykia and some other parts of China. During China's Cultural Revolution, nearly all Tibet's monasteries were ransacked and destroyed by the Red Guards.[64][65][66] A few monasteries have begun to rebuild since the 1980s (with limited support from the Chinese government) and greater religious freedom has been granted – although it is still limited. Monks returned to monasteries across Tibet and monastic education resumed even though the number of monks imposed is strictly limited.[64][67][68] Before the 1950s, between 10 and 20% of males in Tibet were monks.[69]

Tibetan Buddhism has four main traditions (the suffix pa is comparable to "er" in English):

  • Gelug(pa), Way of Virtue, also known casually as Yellow Hat, whose spiritual head is the Ganden Tripa and whose temporal head is the Dalai Lama. Successive Dalai Lamas ruled Tibet from the mid-17th to mid-20th centuries. This order was founded in the 14th to 15th centuries by Je Tsongkhapa, based on the foundations of the Kadampa tradition. Tsongkhapa was renowned for both his scholasticism and his virtue. The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelugpa school, and is regarded as the embodiment of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.[70]
  • Kagyu(pa), Oral Lineage. This contains one major subsect and one minor subsect. The first, the Dagpo Kagyu, encompasses those Kagyu schools that trace back to Gampopa. In turn, the Dagpo Kagyu consists of four major sub-sects: the Karma Kagyu, headed by a Karmapa, the Tsalpa Kagyu, the Barom Kagyu, and Pagtru Kagyu. The once-obscure Shangpa Kagyu, which was famously represented by the 20th-century teacher Kalu Rinpoche, traces its history back to the Indian master Niguma, sister of Kagyu lineage holder Naropa. This is an oral tradition which is very much concerned with the experiential dimension of meditation. Its most famous exponent was Milarepa, an 11th-century mystic.
  • Nyingma(pa), The Ancient Ones. This is the oldest, the original order founded by Padmasambhava.
  • Sakya(pa), Grey Earth, headed by the Sakya Trizin, founded by Khon Konchog Gyalpo, a disciple of the great translator Drokmi Lotsawa. Sakya Pandita 1182–1251 CE was the great grandson of Khon Konchog Gyalpo. This school emphasizes scholarship.

See also


  1. Ram, N (2 September 2000). "TIBET - A REALITY CHECK" (18). Frontline. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  2. Goldstein, Melvyn, C.,Change, Conflict and Continuity among a Community of Nomadic Pastoralist: A Case Study from Western Tibet, 1950–1990, 1994: "What is Tibet? – Fact and Fancy", pp. 76-87
  3. Clark, Gregory, "In fear of China", 1969, saying: ' Tibet, although enjoying independence at certain periods of its history, had never been recognised by any single foreign power as an independent state. The closest it has ever come to such recognition was the British formula of 1943: suzerainty, combined with autonomy and the right to enter into diplomatic relations. '
  4. "Q&A: China and the Tibetans". BBC News. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  5. Lee, Peter (2011-05-07). "Tibet's only hope lies within". The Asia Times. Retrieved 2011-05-10. Robin [alias of a young Tibetan in Qinghai] described the region as a cauldron of tension. Tibetans still were infuriated by numerous arrests in the wake of the 2008 protests. But local Tibetans had not organized themselves. 'They are very angry at the Chinese government and the Chinese people,' Robin said. 'But they have no idea what to do. There is no leader. When a leader appears and somebody helps out they will all join.' We ... heard tale after tale of civil disobedience in outlying hamlets. In one village, Tibetans burned their Chinese flags and hoisted the banned Tibetan Snow Lion flag instead. Authorities ... detained nine villagers ... One nomad ... said 'After I die ... my sons and grandsons will remember. They will hate the government.' 
  6. "Regions and territories: Tibet". BBC News. 2010-12-11. 
  7. Wong, Edward (2009-02-18). "China Adds to Security Forces in Tibet Amid Calls for a Boycott". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  8. Kapstein 2006, pg. 19
  9. Kapstein 2006, pg. 22
  10. Essay towards a Dictionary, Tibetan and English. Prepared, with assistance of Bandé Sangs-rgyas Phuntshogs ... by Alexander Csoma de Kőrös, etc., Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1834.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Zhao, M; Kong, QP; Wang, HW; Peng, MS; Xie, XD; Wang, WZ; Jiayang, Duan JG; Cai, MC; Zhao, SN; Cidanpingcuo, Tu YQ; Wu, SF; Yao, YG; Bandelt, HJ; Zhang, YP (2009). "Mitochondrial genome evidence reveals successful Late Paleolithic settlement on the Tibetan Plateau". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 106 (50): 21230–21235. doi:10.1073/pnas.0907844106. PMC 2795552Freely accessible. PMID 19955425. 
  12. Norbu 1989, pp. 127–128
  13. Helmut Hoffman in McKay 2003 vol. 1, pp. 45–68
  14. Karmey 2001, p. 66ff
  15. Haarh, Erik: Extract from "The Yar Lun Dynasty", in: The History of Tibet, ed. Alex McKay, Vol. 1, London 2003, p. 147; Richardson, Hugh: The Origin of the Tibetan Kingdom, in: The History of Tibet, ed. Alex McKay, Vol. 1, London 2003, p. 159 (and list of kings p. 166-167).
  16. Forbes, Andrew ; Henley, David (2011). 'The First Tibetan Empire' in: China's Ancient Tea Horse Road. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. ASIN: B005DQV7Q2
  17. Beckwith 1987, pg. 146
  18. Marks, Thomas A. (1978). "Nanchao and Tibet in South-western China and Central Asia." The Tibet Journal. Vol. 3, No. 4. Winter 1978, pp. 13–16.
  19. 'A Corpus of Early Tibetan Inscriptions. H. E. Richardson. Royal Asiatic Society (1985), pp. 106–43. ISBN 0-947593-00-4.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Dawa Norbu. China's Tibet Policy, pp. 139. Psychology Press.
  21. Wylie. p.104: 'To counterbalance the political power of the lama, Khubilai appointed civil administrators at the Sa-skya to supervise the mongol regency.'
  22. Rossabi 1983, p. 194
  23. Norbu, Dawa (2001) p. 57
  24. Laird 2006, pp. 142–143
  25. Wang Jiawei, "The Historical Status of China's Tibet", 2000, pp. 162–6.
  26. Kychanov, E.I. and Melnichenko, B.I. Istoriya Tibeta s drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei [History of Tibet since Ancient Times to Present]. Moscow: Russian Acad. Sci. Publ., p.89-92
  27. Goldstein 1997, pg. 18
  28. Goldstein 1997, pg. 19
  29. Goldstein 1997, pg. 20
  30. The Sino-Indian Border Disputes, by Alfred P. Rubin, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 1. (Jan., 1960), pp. 96–125.
  31. Goldstein 1989, pg. 44
  32. Goldstein 1997, pg. 22
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Further reading

  • Allen, Charles (2004). Duel in the Snows: The True Story of the Younghusband Mission to Lhasa. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5427-6.
  • Bell, Charles (1924). Tibet: Past & Present. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Dowman, Keith (1988). The Power-Places of Central Tibet: The Pilgrim's Guide. Routledge & Kegan Paul. London, ISBN 0-7102-1370-0. New York, ISBN 0-14-019118-6.
  • Feigon, Lee. (1998). Demystifying Tibet: unlocking the secrets of the land of the snows. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. ISBN 1-56663-196-3. 1996 hardback, ISBN 1-56663-089-4
  • Gyatso, Palden (1997). The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk. Grove Press. NY, NY. ISBN 0-8021-3574-9
  • Human Rights in China: China, Minority Exclusion, Marginalization and Rising Tensions, London, Minority Rights Group International, 2007
  • Le Sueur, Alec (2013). The Hotel on the Roof of the World – Five Years in Tibet. Chichester: Summersdale. ISBN 978-1-84024-199-0. Oakland: RDR Books. ISBN 978-1-57143-101-1
  • McKay, Alex (1997). Tibet and the British Raj: The Frontier Cadre 1904–1947. London: Curzon. ISBN 0-7007-0627-5.
  • Norbu, Thubten Jigme; Turnbull, Colin (1968). Tibet: Its History, Religion and People. Reprint: Penguin Books (1987).
  • Pachen, Ani; Donnely, Adelaide (2000). Sorrow Mountain: The Journey of a Tibetan Warrior Nun. Kodansha America, Inc. ISBN 1-56836-294-3.
  • Petech, Luciano (1997). China and Tibet in the Early XVIIIth Century: History of the Establishment of Chinese Protectorate in Tibet. T'oung Pao Monographies, Brill Academic Publishers, ISBN 90-04-03442-0.
  • Rabgey, Tashi; Sharlho, Tseten Wangchuk (2004). Sino-Tibetan Dialogue in the Post-Mao Era: Lessons and Prospects (PDF). Washington: East-West Center. ISBN 1-932728-22-8. 
  • Samuel, Geoffrey (1993). Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies. Smithsonian ISBN 1-56098-231-4.
  • Schell, Orville (2000). Virtual Tibet: Searching for Shangri-La from the Himalayas to Hollywood. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-4381-0.
  • Smith, Warren W. (1996). History of Tibet: Nationalism and Self-determination. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3155-2. 
  • Smith, Warren W. (2004). China's Policy on Tibetan Autonomy – EWC Working Papers No. 2 (PDF). Washington: East-West Center. 
  • Smith, Warren W. (2008). China's Tibet?: Autonomy or Assimilation. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7425-3989-1. 
  • Sperling, Elliot (2004). The Tibet-China Conflict: History and Polemics (PDF). Washington: East-West Center. ISBN 1-932728-13-9. ISSN 1547-1330.  – (online version)
  • Thurman, Robert (2002). Robert Thurman on Tibet. DVD. ASIN B00005Y722.
  • Van Walt van Praag, Michael C. (1987). The Status of Tibet: History, Rights, and Prospects in International Law. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.
  • Wilby, Sorrel (1988). Journey Across Tibet: A Young Woman's 1,900-mile (3,060 km) Trek Across the Rooftop of the World. Contemporary Books. ISBN 0-8092-4608-2.
  • Wilson, Brandon (2004). Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith. Pilgrim's Tales. ISBN 0-9770536-6-0, ISBN 0-9770536-7-9. (second edition 2005)
  • Wang Jiawei (2000). The Historical Status of China's Tibet. ISBN 7-80113-304-8.
  • Tibet wasn't always ours, says Chinese scholar by Venkatesan Vembu, Daily News & Analysis, February 22, 2007
  • Wylie, Turrell V. "The First Mongol Conquest of Tibet Reinterpreted", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (Volume 37, Number 1, June 1977)
  • Zenz, Adrian (2014). Tibetanness under Threat? Neo-Integrationism, Minority Education and Career Strategies in Qinghai, P.R. China. Global Oriental. ISBN 9789004257962. 


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