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for a chronology of Tibetan history see Timeline of Tibetan history.

Tibetan history, as it has been recorded, is particularly focused on the history of Buddhism in Tibet. This is partly due to the pivotal role this religion has played in the development of Tibetan, Mongol, and Manchu cultures, and partly because almost all native historians of the country were Buddhist monks.


Recent research

The study of Tibetan history has advanced very quickly in recent years. This has been due to four main factors: the discovery of many important ancient Tibetan texts in Dunhuang and other sites around the Taklamakan desert providing the means to check and date many events which previously were only remembered in often undated entries in religious and legendary accounts; the diaspora of Tibetan monks and other scholars and literature with a resultant rapid increase in many countries of interest in Tibetan history with the Tibetan experts available to explain and make them meaningful; the determination amongst the diaspora of Tibetan exiles to preserve and disseminate knowledge of their history and culture, and, finally, the translation of a huge corpus of Tibetan texts into many languages, making them available to people across the world.


Tibet is situated between the two ancient civilizations of China and India, separated from the former by the mountain ranges to the east of the Tibetan Plateau and from the latter by the towering Himalayas. Tibet is nicknamed "the roof of the world" or "the land of snows".

The Tibetan language and its dialects are classified as members of the Tibeto-Burman language family.


Humans inhabited the Tibetan Plateau at least twenty one thousand years ago.[1] This population was largely replaced around 3,000 BP by Neolithic immigrants from northern China. However there is a "partial genetic continuity between the Paleolithic inhabitants and the contemporary Tibetan populations".[1] Some archaeological data suggests humans may have passed through Tibet at the time India was first inhabited, half a million years ago.[2]

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.[3] The Zhang Zhung are considered the original culture of the Bön religion.[4] By the first 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.[5] He was assassinated and Zhang Zhung continued its dominance of the region until it was annexed by Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century.


Archaeological record

Megalithic monuments dot the Tibetan Plateau and may have been used in ancestor worship. It is unknown whether these monuments were built by ancient Tibetans.[4] Prehistoric Iron Age hill forts and burial complexes have recently been found on the Tibetan plateau but the remote high altitude location makes archaeological research difficult.

Mythological origins

The dates attributed to the first Tibetan king, Nyatri Tsenpo (Wylie: Gnya'-khri-btsan-po), vary. Some Tibetan texts give 126 BCE, others 414 BCE.[6] Nyatri Tsenpo is said to have descended from a one-footed creature called the Theurang, having webbed fingers and a tongue so large it could cover his face. Due to his terrifying appearance he was feared in his native Puwo and exiled by the Bön to Tibet. There he was greeted as a fearsome being, and he became king.[3]

The Tibetan kings were said to remain connected to the heavens via a dmu cord (dmu thag) so that rather than dying, they ascended directly to heaven, when their sons achieved their majority[7]. According to various accounts, king Drigum Tsenpo (Dri-gum-brtsan-po) either challenged his clan heads to a fight[8], or provoked his groom Longam (Lo-ngam) into a duel. During the fight the king's dmu cord was cut, and he was killed. Thereafter Drigum Tsenpo and subsequent kings left corpses and the Bön conducted funerary rites.[5][9][10]

In a later myth, first attested in the Maṇi bka' 'bum, the Tibetan people are the progeny of the union of the monkey Pha Tregen Jangchup Sempa and rock ogress Ma Drag Sinmo. But the monkey is in fact a manifestation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (Tib. Spyan-ras-gzigs) and the ogress in fact the goddess Tara (Tib. 'Grol-ma).[11]

Early history

From the 7th century CE Chinese historians referred to Tibet with a phonetic transcription Tǔfān (吐蕃), though 4 distinct characters were used. The first externally confirmed contact with the Tibetan kingdom in recorded Tibetan history occurred when King Namri Löntsän (Gnam-ri-slon-rtsan) sent an ambassador to China in the early 7th century.[12]

Tibetan Empire

The Tibetan Empire at its greatest extent, c. 800.

The power that became the Tibetan state originated when a group convinced Stag-bu snya-gzigs [Tagbu Nyazig] to rebel against Dgu-gri Zing-po-rje [Gudri Zingpoje], who was in turn a vassal of the Zhang-zhung empire under the Lig myi dynasty. The group prevailed against Zing-po-rje. At this point Namri Songtsen (Namri Löntsän) was the leader of a clan which prevailed over all his neighboring clans, one by one, and he gained control of all the area around what is now Lhasa by 630, when he was assassinated. This new-born regional state would later become known as the Tibetan Empire. The government of Namri Songtsen sent two embassies to China in 608 and 609, marking the appearance of Tibet on the international scene.[13]

Traditional Tibetan history preserves a lengthy list of rulers, whose exploits become subject to external verification in the Chinese histories by the seventh century. From the 7th to the 11th century a series of emperors ruled Tibet - see List of emperors of Tibet. Throughout the centuries from the time of the emperor Songtsän Gampo the power of the empire gradually increased over a diverse terrain so that by the reign of the emperor Ralpacan, in the opening years of the ninth century, its influence extended as far south as Bengal and as far north as Mongolia.

The varied terrain of the empire and the difficulty of transportation, coupled with the new ideas that came into the empire as a result of its expansion, helped to create stresses and power blocs that were often in competition with the ruler at the center of the empire. Thus, for example, adherents of the Bön religion and the supporters of the ancient noble families gradually came to find themselves in competition with the recently-introduced Buddhism.

Tibet divided (842-1247)

Upon the death of Langdarma, the last emperor of a unified Tibetan empire, there was a controversy over whether he would be succeeded by his alleged heir Yumtän (Wylie: Yum brtan), or by another son (or nephew) Ösung (Wylie: 'Od-srung) (either 843-905 or 847-885). A civil war ensued, which effectively ended centralized Tibetan administration until the Sa-skya period. Ösung's allies managed to keep control of Lhasa, and Yumtän was forced to go to Yalung, where he established a separate line of kings.[14] In 910 the tombs of the emperors were defiled.

The son of Ösung was Pälkhortsän (Wylie: Dpal 'khor brtsan) (either 893-923 or 865-895). The latter apparently maintained control over much of central Tibet for a time, and sired two sons, Trashi Tsentsän (Wylie: Bkra shis brtsen brtsan) and Thrikhyiding (Wylie: Khri khyi lding), also called Kyide Nyigön [Wylie: Skyid lde nyi ma mgon] in some sources. Thrikhyiding emigrated to the western Tibetan region of upper Ngari (Wylie: Stod Mnga ris) and married a woman of high central Tibetan nobility, with whom he founded a local dynasty.[15]

After the breakup of the Tibetan empire in 842, Nyima-Gon, a representative of the ancient Tibetan royal house, founded the first Ladakh dynasty. Nyima-Gon's kingdom had its centre well to the east of present-day Ladakh. Kyide Nyigön's eldest son became ruler of the Mar-yul (Ladakh) region, and his two younger sons ruled western Tibet, founding the Kingdom of Guge and Pu-hrang. At a later period the king of Guge's eldest son, Kor-re, also called Jangchub Yeshe Ö (Byang Chub Ye shes' Od), became a Buddhist monk. He sent young scholars to Kashmir for training and was responsible for inviting Atisha to Tibet in 1040, thus ushering in the Chidar (Phyi dar) phase of Buddhism in Tibet. The younger son, Srong-nge, administered day to day governmental affairs; it was his sons who carried on the royal line.[16]

Central rule was largely nonexistent over the Tibetan region from 842 to 1247, yet Buddhism had survived surreptitiously in the region of Kham. During the reign of Langdarma three monks had escaped from the troubled region of Lhasa to the region of Mt. Dantig in Amdo. Their disciple Muzu Saelbar (Mu-zu gSal-'bar), later known as the scholar Gongpa Rabsal (Dgongs-pa rab-gsal) (832-915), was responsible for the renewal of Buddhism in northeastern Tibet, and is counted as the progenitor of the Nyingma (Rnying ma pa) school of Tibetan Buddhism. Meanwhile, according to tradition, one of Ösung's descendants, who had an estate near Samye, sent ten young men to be trained by Gongpa Rabsal. Among the ten was Lume Sherab Tshulthrim (Klu-mes Shes-rab Tshul-khrims) (950-1015). Once trained, these young men were ordained to go back into the central Tibetan regions of U and Tsang. The young scholars were able to link up with Atisha shortly after 1042 and advance the spread and organization of Buddhism in Lho-kha. In that region, the faith eventually coalesced again, with the foundation of the Sakya Monastery in 1073.[17] Over the next two centuries, the Sakya monastery grew to a position of prominence in Tibetan life and culture. The Tsurphu Monastery, home of the Karmapa school of Buddhism, was founded in 1155.

The Mongols and the Sakya school (1236-1354)

The first documented contact between the Tibetans and the Mongols occurred when Genghis Khan met Tsangpa Dunkhurwa (Gtsang pa Dung khur ba) and six of his disciples, probably in the Tangut empire, in 1215.[18]

After the death of Genghis Khan in 1227, the Tibetans stopped sending tribute to the Mongol Empire. As a result, in 1240, the grandson of Genghis Khan and second son of Ögedei Khan, Prince Godan (or Köden), invaded Tibet. Prince Godan asked his commanders to search for an outstanding Buddhist lama and, as Sakya Pandita, the leader of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, was considered the most religious, Godan sent him gifts and a letter of "invitation" to come to his capital and formally surrender Tibet to the Mongols. Sakya Pandita arrived in Kokonor in 1246. Prince Godan received various initiation rites and the Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism became the religion of the ruling line of Mongol khans. In return, after a second Mongol invasion in 1247 led to the submission of almost all Tibetan states, Sakya Pandita was appointed Viceroy of Tibet by the Mongol court in 1249, marking one of the occasions on which the Chinese base their claim to the rule of Tibet.

On the other hand, because the Song Dynasty of China in South China had not yet been conquered by the Mongols, Tibetan historians argue that China and Tibet remained two separate units within the Mongol Empire.[2] It may therefore be more accurate to describe this process as first North China, and then Tibet being incorporated into the Mongol Empire, which was later inherited by the Yuan Dynasty founded by Kublai Khan in 1271. Kublai Khan left both the Chinese and Tibetan legal and administrative systems intact.[19] Though most government institutions established by Kublai Khan in his court resembled the ones in earlier Chinese dynasties,[20] Tibet never adopted the imperial examinations or Neo-Confucian policies.

In 1253, Drogön Chögyal Phagpa (1235–1280) succeeded Sakya Pandita at the Mongol court. Phagpa became a religious teacher to Kublai Khan. Kublai Khan appointed Chögyal Phagpa as his Imperial Preceptor in 1260, the year when he became emperor of Mongolia. Phagpa was the first "to initiate the political theology of the relationship between state and religion in the Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhist world".[21][22] With the support of Kublai Khan, Phagpa established himself and his sect as the preeminent political power in Tibet. Through their influence with the Mongol rulers, Tibetan lamas gained considerable influence in various Mongol clans, not only with Kublai, but, for example, also with the Il-Khanids.

In 1265 Chögyal Phagpa returned to Tibet and for the first time made an attempt to impose Sakya hegemony with the appointment of Shakya Bzang-po (a long time servant and ally of the Sakyas) as the Dpon-chen ('great administrator') over Tibet in 1267. A census was conducted in 1268 and Tibet was divided into thirteen myriarchies.

The Sakya hegemony over Tibet continued into the middle of the fourteenth century, although it was challenged by a revolt of the Drikung Kagyu sect with the assistance of Duwa Khan of the Chagatai Khanate in 1285. The revolt was suppressed in 1290 when the Sa-skyas and eastern Mongols burned Drikung Monastery and killed 10,000 people.[23]

Between 1346 and 1354, towards the end of the Yuan dynasty, the House of Pagmodru would topple the Sakya. Tibet would be ruled by a succession of Sakya lamas until 1358, when central Tibet came under control of the Kagyu sect. "By the 1370s the lines between the schools of Buddhism were clear."[24]

The following 80 years or so were a period of relative stability. They also saw the birth of the Gelugpa school (also known as Yellow Hats) by the disciples of Tsongkhapa Lobsang Dragpa, and the founding of the Ganden, Drepung, and Sera monasteries near Lhasa. After the 1430s, the country entered another period of internal power struggles.[25]

Rise of the Phagmodru (1354-1434)

The Phagmodru (Phag mo gru) myriarchy centered at Neudong (Sne'u gdong) was granted as an appanage to Hülegü in 1251. The area had already been associated with the Lang (Rlang) family, and with the waning of Ilkhanate influence it was ruled by this family, within the Mongol-Sakya framework headed by the Mongol appointed Pönchen (Dpon chen) at Sakya. The areas under Lang administration were continually encroached upon during the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. Jangchub Gyaltsän (Byang chub rgyal mtshan, 1302–1364) saw these encroachments as illegal and sought the restoration of Phagmodru lands after his appointment as the Myriarch in 1322. After prolonged legal struggles, the struggle became violent when Phagmodru was attacked by its neighbours in 1346. Jangchub Gyaltsän was arrested and released in 1347. When he later refused to appear for trial, his domains were attacked by the Pönchen in 1348. Janchung Gyaltsän was able to defend Phagmodru, and continued to have military successes, until by 1351 he was the strongest political figure in the country. Military hostilities ended in 1354 with Jangchub Gyaltsän as the unquestioned victor. He continued to rule central Tibet until his death in 1364, although he left all Mongol institutions in place as hollow formalities. Power remained in the hands of the Phagmodru family until 1434.[26]

Beginnings of the Dalai Lama lineage

Altan Khan, the king of the Tümed Mongols, first invited Sonam Gyatso, the head of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism (and to be known later as the third Dalai Lama), to Mongolia in 1569. He invited him to Mongolia again in 1578, and this time he accepted the invitation. They met at the site of Altan Khan's new capital, Koko Khotan (Hohhot), and the Dalai Lama gave teachings to a huge crowd there.

Sonam Gyatso publicly announced that he was a reincarnation of the Tibetan Sakya monk Drogön Chögyal Phagpa (1235–1280) who converted Kublai Khan, while Altan Khan was a reincarnation of Kublai Khan (1215–1294), the famous ruler of the Mongols and Emperor of China, and that they had come together again to cooperate in propagating the Buddhist religion.[27] While this did not immediately lead to a massive conversion of Mongols to Buddhism (this would only happen in the 1630s), it did lead to the widespread use of Buddhist ideology for the legitimation of power among the Mongol nobility. Last but not least, the Yonten Gyatso, the fourth Dalai Lama,was a grandson of Altan Khan.[28]

Rise of the Gelug schools

Yonten Gyatso (1589–1616), the fourth Dalai Lama and a non-Tibetan, was the grandson of Altan Khan. He died in 1617 in his mid-twenties. Some people say he was poisoned but there is no real evidence one way or the other.[29]

Lobsang Gyatso (Wylie transliteration: Blo-bzang Rgya-mtsho), the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, (1617–1682) was the first Dalai Lama to wield effective political power over central Tibet.

The fifth 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 Gushi Khan, a powerful Oirat military leader. The Jonang monasteries were either closed or forcibly converted, and that school remained in hiding until the latter part of the twentieth century. With the Gushi 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. The core leadership of this government was also referred to as the Ganden Podrang by metonymy from the name of the Dalai Lama's residence at Drepung, much as the president of the United States and his closest advisors can be referred to as "the White House".

In 1652 the fifth Dalai Lama visited the Manchu emperor, Shunzhi. He was not required to kowtow like other visitors, but still had to kneel before the Emperor; and he received a seal.

The fifth Dalai lama initiated the construction of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, and moved the centre of government there from Drepung.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa

The death of the fifth Dalai Lama in 1680 was kept hidden for fifteen years by his assistant, confidant, Desi Sangay Gyatso (De-srid Sangs-rgyas Rgya-'mtsho). The Dalai Lamas remained Tibet's titular heads of state until 1959.

During the rule of the Great Fifth, two Jesuit missionaries, the German Johannes Gruber and Belgian Albert Dorville, stayed in Lhasa for two months, October and November, 1661 on their way from Peking to Portuguese Goa, in India.[30] They described the Dalai Lama as a "powerful and compassionate leader" and "a devilish God-the-father who puts to death such as refuse to adore him." Another Jesuit, Ippolito Desideri, stayed five years in Lhasa (1716–1721) and was the first missionary to master the language. He even produced a few Christian books in Tibetan. Capuchin fathers took over the mission until all missionaries were expelled in 1745.

In the late seventeenth century, Tibet entered into a dispute with Bhutan, which was supported by Ladakh. This resulted in an invasion of Ladakh by Tibet. KashmirI helped to restore Ladakhi rule, on the condition that a mosque be built in Leh and that the Ladakhi king convert to Islam. The Treaty of Temisgam in 1684 settled the dispute between Tibet and Ladakh, but its independence was severely restricted.

Khoshud, Dzungars, and Manchu

Güshi Khan of the Khoshud in 1641 overthrew the prince of Tsang and made the Fifth Dalai Lama to the highest spiritual and political authority in Tibet.[31] The time of the Fifth Dalai Lama was, however, also a period of rich cultural development.

Tsangyang Gyatso, the Sixth Dalai Lama, was not enthroned until 1697. Tsangyang Gyatso enjoyed a lifestyle that included drinking, the company of women, and writing love songs.[32] In 1705, Lobzang Khan of the Khoshud used the sixth Dalai Lama's escapades as excuse to take control of Tibet. The regent was murdered, and the Dalai Lama sent to Beijing. He died on the way, near Koko Nur, ostensibly from illness. Lobzang Khan appointed a new Dalai Lama who, however, was not accepted by the Gelugpa school. Kelzang Gyatso was discovered near Koko Nur and became a rival candidate.

The Dzungars invaded Tibet in 1717, and deposed and killed Lobzang Khan's pretender to the position of Dalai Lama.

An, expedition sent by Qing Emperor Kangxi expelled the Dzungars from Tibet in 1720 and the troops were hailed as liberators. They brought Kelzang Gyatso with them from Kumbum to Lhasa and he was installed as the seventh Dalai Lama in 1721.[33][34]

Following the Qing withdrawal from central Tibet in 1723, there was a period of civil war.

After the rebellion of a Khoshuud Mongol prince near Koko Nur, the Qing made the region of Amdo and Kham into the province of Qinghai in 1724,[35] and incorporated eastern Kham into neighbouring Chinese provinces in 1728.[36] The Qing government sent a resident commissioner (amban) to Lhasa. A stone monument regarding the boundary between Tibet and China, agreed upon by Lhasa and Beijing in 1726, was placed atop a mountain near Bathang, and survived at least into the 19th century.[37] This boundary, which was used until 1910, ran between the headwaters of the Mekong and Yangtse rivers. Territory east of the boundary was governed by Tibetan chiefs who were answerable to China.[38]

Between this time and the beginning of the 18th century, Qing authority over Tibet weakened to the point of being minuscule, or merely symbolic.[39][40][41] In 1727, the government of China began posting two high commissioners, namely Ambans, to Lhasa. Chinese historians argue that the ambans' presence was an expression of Chinese sovereignty, while those favouring Tibetan independence claims tend to equate the ambans with ambassadors. The relationship between Tibet and (Qing) China was that of patron and priest and was not based on the subordination of one to the other, according to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama[42] (The thirteenth Dalai Lama was deposed (1904), reinstated (1908), and deposed (1910) again by the Qing Dynasty government, but these pronouncements were not taken seriously in Lhasa.) [43]

Tibetan factions rebelled in 1750 and killed the ambans. Then, a Manchu Qing army entered and defeated the rebels and installed an administration headed by the Dalai Lama. The number of soldiers in Tibet was kept at about 2,000. The defensive duties were partly helped out by a local force which was reorganized by the resident commissioner, and the Tibetan government continued to manage day-to-day affairs as before. In 1751, the Qing Emperor Qianlong established the Dalai Lama as both the spiritual leader and political leader of Tibet above a ministry(Kashag) with four Kalöns in it.[44]. He also drew on Buddhism to bolster support among the Tibetans. Six thangkas remain portraying the emperor as Manjusri and Tibetan records of the time refer to him by that name.[45][46] Later the Qianlong emperor was disappointed with the results of his 1751 decree and the performance of the ambans. "Tibetan local affairs were left to the willful actions of the Dalai Lama and the shapes [Kashag members]," he said. "The Commissioners were not only unable to take charge, they were also kept uninformed. This reduced the post of the Residential Commissioner in Tibet to name only."[36]; he decided to strengthen the powers of the ambans after the Gurkha invasions.

In 1788, Gurkha forces sent by Bahadur Shah, the Regent of Nepal, invaded Tibet, occupying a number of frontier districts. The young Panchen Lama fled to Lhasa and the Qing Emperor Qianlong sent troops to Lhasa, upon which the Nepalese withdrew agreeing to pay a large annual sum.

In 1791 the Nepalese Gurkhas invaded Tibet a second time, seizing Shigatse and destroying the great Tashilhunpo Monastery. The Panchen Lama was forced to flee to Lhasa once again. The Qianlong Emperor then sent an army of 17,000 men to Tibet. In 1793, with the assistance of Tibetan troops, they managed to drive the Nepalese troops to within about 30 km of Kathmandu before the Gurkhas conceded defeat and returned all the treasure they had plundered.[47]

18th and 19th centuries

The Golden Urn

The 1791 Nepalese invasion and the following defeat by the Qing increased the latter's control over Tibet. From that moment, all important matters were to be submitted to the ambans.[48]

In 1792, the emperor issued a 29-point decree which appeared to tighten Qing control over Tibet. It strengthened the powers of the ambans. The ambans were elevated above the Kashag and the Dalai Lama in responsibility for Tibetan political affairs. The Dalai and Panchen Lamas were no longer allowed to petition the Chinese Emperor directly but could only do so through the ambans. The ambans took control of Tibetan frontier defense and foreign affairs. Tibetan authorities' foreign correspondence, even with the Mongols of KoKonor (present-day Qinghai), had to be approved by the ambans. The ambans were put in command of the Qing garrison and the Tibetan army (whose strength was set at 3000 men). Trade was also restricted and travel could be undertaken only with documents issued by the ambans. The ambans were to review all judicial decisions. The Tibetan currency, which had been the source of trouble with Nepal, was also taken under Beijing's supervision.[49] However, according to Warren Smith, these directives were either never fully implemented, or quickly discarded, as the Qing were more interested in a symbolic gesture of authority than actual sovereignty; the relationship between Qing and Tibet remained one of two states.[50] On the other hand, other sources such as The Cambridge History of China state that Tibet and Xinjiang had became territories of the Qing dynasty by 1760,[51] and Stephen G. Haw also writes that after the conquest of Tibet in 1720, the control of Tibet by the Qing was further strengthened in 1750 and 1790s.[52]

It also outlined a new method to select both the Dalai and Panchen Lama by means of a lottery administered by the ambans in Lhasa. In this lottery the names of the competing candidates were written on folded slips of paper which were placed in a golden urn.[53] The emperor wanted to play this part in choosing reincarnations because the Gelukpa School of the Dalai Lamas was the official religion of his court.[54] There is general agreement that the ninth, thirteenth, and fourteenth Dalai Lamas were not chosen by the golden urn method but rather selected by the appropriate Tibetan officials with the selection being approved after the fact by the Emperor.[55] In such cases the Emperor would also issue an order waiving the use of the urn. The tenth Dalai Lama was actually selected by traditional Tibetan methods, but in response to the amban's insistence, the regent publicly announced that the urn had been used.[56] The eleventh was selected by the golden urn method.[55] The twelfth Dalai Lama was selected by the Tibetan method but was confirmed by means of the lottery.[57][58] The ninth, thirteen, and fourteenth Dalai Lamas, however, were selected by the previous incarnation's entourage, or labrang.[59]

Nepal was a tributary state to China from 1788 to 1908.[60][61] In a treaty signed in 1856, Tibet and Nepal agreed to "regard the Chinese Emperor as heretofore with respect."[62] Michael van Walt van Praag, legal advisor to the 14th Dalai Lama,[63] claims that 1856 treaty provided for a Nepalese mission, namely Vakil, in Lhasa which later allowed Nepal to claim a diplomatic relationship with Tibet in its application for United Nations membership in 1949.[64]. However, the status of Nepalese mission as diplomatic is disputed [65] and the Nepalese Vakils stayed in Tibet until the 1960s when Tibet had been part of PRC for a decade.[66][67]

European influences in Tibet

The first Europeans to arrive in Tibet were Portuguese missionaries who first arrived in 1624 led by António de Andrade, and were welcomed by the Tibetans who allowed them to build a church. The 18th century brought more Jesuits and Capuchins from Europe who gradually met opposition from Tibetan lamas who finally expelled them from Tibet in 1745.

However, at the time not all Europeans were banned from the country — in 1774 a Scottish nobleman, George Bogle, came to Shigatse to investigate trade for the British East India Company, introducing the first potatoes into Tibet.[68]

By the early 19th century the situation of foreigners in Tibet grew more precarious. The British Empire was encroaching from northern India into the Himalayas and Afghanistan and the Russian Empire of the tsars was expanding south into Central Asia and each power became suspicious of intent in Tibet. In 1840, Sándor Kőrösi Csoma arrived in Tibet, hoping that he would be able to trace the origin of the Magyar ethnic group. By the 1850s Tibet had banned all foreigners from Tibet and shut its borders to all outsiders.

In 1865 Great Britain began secretly mapping Tibet. Trained Indian surveyor-spies disguised as pilgrims or traders counted their strides on their travels across Tibet and took readings at night. Nain Singh, the most famous, measured the longitude and latitude and altitude of Lhasa and traced the Yarlung Tsangpo River.

British invasions of Tibet (1904-1911)

The authorities in British India renewed their interest in Tibet in the late 19th century, and a number of Indians entered the country, first as explorers and then as traders. Treaties regarding Tibet were concluded between Britain and China in 1886,[69] 1890,[70] and 1893,[71] but the Tibetan government refused to recognize their legitimacy[72] and continued to bar British envoys from its territory. During "The Great Game", a period of rivalry between Russia and Britain, the British desired a representative in Lhasa to monitor and offset Russian influence.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the British and Russian Empires were competing for supremacy in Central Asia. To forestall the Russians, in 1904, a British expedition led by Colonel Francis Younghusband was sent to Lhasa to force a trading agreement and to prevent Tibetans from establishing a relationship with the Russians. In response, the Chinese foreign ministry asserted that China was sovereign over Tibet, the first clear statement of such a claim.[73]

A treaty was imposed which required Tibet to open its border with British India, to allow British and Indian traders to travel freely, not to impose customs duties on trade with India, a demand from British that Lhasa had to pay 2.5 million rupees as indemnity and not to enter into relations with any foreign power without British approval.[74]

The Anglo-Tibetan treaty was followed by a Sino-British treaty in 1906 by which the "Government of Great Britain engages not to annex Tibetan territory or to interfere in the administration of Tibet. The Government of China also undertakes not to permit any other foreign State to interfere with the territory or internal administration of Tibet."[75] Moreover, Beijing agreed to pay London 2.5 million rupees which Lhasa was forced to agree upon in the Anglo-Tibetan treaty of 1904.[76] In 1907, Britain and Russia agreed that in "conformity with the admitted principle of the suzerainty of China over Thibet"[77] both nations "engage not to enter into negotiations with Tibet except through the intermediary of the Chinese Government."[77]

Qing control reasserted

The Qing put Amdo under their rule in 1724, and incorporated eastern Kham into neighbouring Chinese provinces in 1728.[78][79][80] Chinese government ruled these areas indirectly through the Tibetan noblemen.

Tibetans claimed that Tibetan control of the Batang region of Kham in eastern Tibet appears to have continued uncontested from the time of an agreement made in 1726[37] until soon after the British invasion, which alarmed the Qing rulers in China. They sent an imperial official to the region to begin reasserting Qing control, but the locals revolted and killed him.

The Qing government in Beijing then appointed Zhao Erfeng, the Governor of Xining, "Army Commander of Tibet" to reintegrate Tibet into China. He was sent in 1905 (though other sources say this occurred in 1908)[81] on a punitive expedition. His troops destroyed a number of monasteries in Kham and Amdo, and a process of sinification of the region was begun.[82][83]

After the Dalai Lama's title's had been restored in November 1908 and he was about to return to Lhasa from Amdo in the summer of 1909, the Chinese decided to send military forces to Lhasa to keep control over him. The Dalai Lama once again fled, this time to India, and was once again deposed by the Chinese[84]. The situation was soon to change, however, as, after the fall of the Qing dynasty in October 1911, Zhao's soldiers mutinied and beheaded him.[85][86]

In 1909 came the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin back from his 3 years long expedition to Tibet, in which he mapped and described large part of inner Tibet with surprising precision. In an interview in connection to a meeting with the Russian czar he describes the situation as follows. "Currently, Tibet is in the cramp-like hands of China´s government. The Chinese realize that if they leave Tibet for the Europeans, it will end its isolation in the East. That is why the Chinese prevent those who wish to enter Tibet. Dala Lama in is currently also in the hands of the Chinese Government"..."Mongols are fanatics. They adore the Dalai Lama and obey him blindly. If he tomorrow orders them go to war against the Chinese, if he urges them to a bloody revolution, they will all like one man follow him as their ruler. China's government, which fears the Mongols, hooks on to the Dalai Lama."..."There is calm in Tibet. No ferment of any kind is perceptible."(translated from Swedish) Sven Hedin had as a European in parts of his travels in Tibet been forced to camouflage himself to a Tibetan shepherd and he also visited the 9th Panchen Lama.[87]

1912-1950: de facto independence

The Dalai Lama returned to Tibet from India in July 1912 (after the fall of the Qing dynasty), and expelled the Amban and all Chinese troops.[88] In 1913, the Dalai Lama issued a proclamation that stated that the relationship between the Chinese emperor and Tibet "had been that of patron and priest and had not been based on the subordination of one to the other."[42] "We are a small, religious, and independent nation," the proclamation continued.[42] For the next thirty-six years, Tibet enjoyed de facto independence while China endured its Warlord era, civil war, and World War II. Some Chinese sources argue that Tibet was still part of China throughout this period.[89] Tibet continued in 1913-1949 to have very limited contacts with the rest of the world and Lhasa was for foreigners the prohibited city. Very few governments did anything resembling a normal diplomatic recognition of Tibet. The Chinese governments continued, from time to time, to assert their right to suzerainty in Tibet.[90]

Rule of the Chinese Communist government

In 1949, seeing that the Communists were gaining control of China, the Kashag expelled all Chinese connected with the Chinese government, over the protests of both the Kuomingtang and the Communists.[91] The Chinese Communist government led by Mao Zedong which came to power in October lost little time in asserting a new Chinese presence in Tibet. In October 1950, the People's Liberation Army invaded the Tibetan area of Chamdo, defeating sporadic resistance from the Tibetan army. In 1951, Tibetan representatives participated in negotiations in Beijing with Chinese government. This resulted in a Seventeen Point Agreement which formalised China's sovereignty over Tibet.[92]

From the beginning, it was obvious that incorporating Tibet into Communist China would bring two opposite social systems face-to-face.[93] In Tibet, however, the Chinese Communists opted not to place social reform as an immediate priority. To the contrary, from 1951 to 1959, traditional Tibetan society with its lords and manorial estates continued to function unchanged.[93] Despite the presence of twenty thousand PLA troops in Central Tibet, the Dalai Lama's government was permitted to maintain important symbols from its de facto independence period.[93]

The Tibetan region of Eastern Kham, previously Xikang province, was incorporated in the province of Sichuan. Western Kham was put under the Chamdo Military Committee. In these areas, land reform was implemented. This involved communist agitators designating "landlords" — sometimes arbitrarily chosen — for public humiliation in thamzing (Wylie: ‘thab-‘dzing; Lhasa dialect IPA: [tʰʌ́msiŋ]) or "Struggle Sessions," torture, maiming, and even death.[94][95][96]

By 1956 there was unrest in eastern Kham and Amdo, where land reform had been implemented in full. These rebellions eventually spread into western Kham and Ü-Tsang.

In 1959, China's military crackdown on rebels in Kham and Amdo led to the "Lhasa Uprising." Full-scale resistance spread throughout Tibet. Fearing capture of the Dalai Lama, unarmed Tibetans surrounded his residence, and the Dalai Lama fled[97] to India.[98]

In 1965, the area that had been under the control of the Dalai Lama's government from the 1910s to 1959 (Ü-Tsang and western Kham) was renamed the Tibet Autonomous Region or TAR. Autonomy provided that head of government would be an ethnic Tibetan; however, actual power in the TAR is held by the First Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, who has never been a Tibetan.[99] The role of ethnic Tibetans in the higher levels of the TAR Communist Party remains very limited.[100]

The destruction of most of Tibet's more than 6,000 monasteries happened between 1959 and 1961.[101] During the mid-1960s, the monastic estates were broken up and secular education introduced. During the Cultural Revolution, Red Guards[102] inflicted a campaign of organized vandalism against cultural sites in the entire PRC, including Tibet's Buddhist heritage.[103] According to at least one Chinese source, only a handful religiously or culturally most important monasteries remained without major damage,[104] and thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns were killed, tortured or imprisoned.[105]

In 1989, the Panchen Lama died of a massive heart attack at the age of 50.[106]

"Police Attention: No distributing any unhealthy thoughts or objects." Nyalam, Tibet, 1993.

The PRC continues to portray its rule over Tibet as an unalloyed improvement, but foreign governments continue to make protests about aspects of PRC rule in Tibet as groups such as Human Rights Watch report alleged human rights violations. Most governments, however, recognize the PRC's sovereignty over Tibet today, and none have recognized the Government of Tibet in Exile in India.

Widespread protests against Chinese rule flared up again in 2008. The Chinese government reacted strongly, imposing curfews and strictly limiting access to Tibetan areas. The international response was likewise immediate and robust, with a number of leaders condemning the crackdown and large protests (including some in support of China's actions) in many major cities.

Tibetans in Exile

Following the Lhasa uprising and the Dalai Lama's flight from Tibet in 1959, the government of India accepted the Tibetan refugees. India designated land for the refugees in the mountainous region of Dharamshala, India, where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile are now based.

The plight of the Tibetan refugees garnered international attention when the Dalai Lama, spiritual and religious leader of the Tibetan government in exile, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Prize on the basis of his unswerving commitment to peaceful protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

He is highly regarded as a result and has since been received by government leaders throughout the world. Among the most recent ceremonies and awards, he was given the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush in 2007, and in 2006 he was one of only three people to ever receive an honorary Canadian citizenship (see Honorary Canadian citizenship. The PRC consistently protests each official contact with the exiled Tibetan leader.

The community of Tibetans in exile established in Dharamshala and Karnataka, South India, has expanded since 1959. Tibetans have duplicated Tibetan monasteries in India and now house tens of thousands of monks. They have also created Tibetan schools and hospitals, and founded the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives — all aimed at continuing Tibetan tradition and culture. Tibetan festivals such as Lama dances, celebration of Losar (the Tibetan New Year), and the Monlam Prayer Festival, continue in exile.

In 2006, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has declared that "Tibet wants autonomy, not independence."[107] However, the Chinese distrust him, believing that he has not really given up the quest for Tibet independence.[108]

Talks between representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government began again in May, 2008 with little result, but more are scheduled to be held in June.[109]


  1. ^ a b 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: 21230–21235. doi:10.1073/pnas.0907844106 PMID 19955425
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  3. ^ a b Norbu 1989, pp. 127–128
  4. ^ a b Helmut Hoffman in McKay 2003 vol. 1, pp. 45–68
  5. ^ a b Karmey 2001, p. 66ff
  6. ^ Norbu 1995, p. 220
  7. ^ Geoffrey Samuel, Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington 1993 p.441
  8. ^ Rolf A.Stein, Tibetan Civilization, Faber, London 1972 pp.48f.Samuel, ibid p.441
  9. ^ Haarh, The Yarluṅ Dynasty. Copenhagen: 1969.
  10. ^ Beckwith 1987, pg. 13.
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  12. ^ Beckwith, C. Uni. of Indiana Diss., 1977
  13. ^ Beckwith 1987, pg. 17.
  14. ^ Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa, Tibet, a Political History (New Haven: Yale, 1967), 53.
  15. ^ Petech, L. The Kingdom of Ladakh. (Serie Orientale Roma 51) Rome: Instituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, 1977: 14-16
  16. ^ Hoffman, Helmut, "Early and Medieval Tibet", in Sinor, David, ed., Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 388, 394. Shakabpa, 56.
  17. ^ Grunfeld 1996, p37-38. Hoffman, 393. Shakabpa, 54-55.
  18. ^ Petech, L. Central Tibet and The Mongols. (Serie Orientale Roma 65). Rome: Instituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente 1990: 6. Shakabpa, 61.
  19. ^ Schirokauer, Conrad. A Brief History of Chinese Civilization. Thomson Wadsworth, (c)2006, p 174
  20. ^ Rossabi, M. Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times, p56
  21. ^ Laird 2006, pg. 115.
  22. ^ F. W. Mote. Imperial China 900-1800. Harvard University Press, 1999. p.501.
  23. ^ Wylie, Turnell V. (1977) "The First Mongol Conquest of Tibet Reinterpreted," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 37.1: 103-133.
  24. ^ Laird 2006, p. 124
  25. ^ Karenina Kollmar-Paulenz, Kleine Geschichte Tibets, München 2006, p. 98-104
  26. ^ Petech, L. Central Tibet and The Mongols. (Serie Orientale Roma 65). Rome: Instituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente 1990: 85-143
  27. ^ Laird 2006, p. 145
  28. ^ Michael Weiers, Geschichte der Mongolen, Stuttgart 2004, p. 175ff.
  29. ^ Laird 2006, pp. 147, 149
  30. ^ Wessels, C. Early Jesuit Travellers in Central Asia 1603-1721. Books Faith, India. pp. 188. ISBN 8173031053. 
  31. ^ Rene Grousset, The Empire of the Steppes, New Brunswick 1970, p. 522
  32. ^ Karenina Kollmar-Paulenz, Kleine Geschichte Tibets, München 2006, pp. 109-122.
  33. ^ Richardson, Hugh E. (1984). Tibet and its History. Second Edition, Revised and Updated, pp. 48-9. Shambhala. Boston & London. ISBN 0-87773-376-7 (pbk)
  34. ^ Schirokauer, 242
  35. ^ Stein 1972, p. 88
  36. ^ a b Wang Lixiong, "Reflections on Tibet", New Left Review 14, March-April 2002
  37. ^ a b Abbé Huc. The Land of the Lamas. Taken from: Travels in Tartary, Thibet and China, 1844-1846 by MM. Huc and Gabet, translated by William Hazlitt, p. 123.
  38. ^ Chapman, F. Spencer. (1940). Lhasa: The Holy City, p. 135. Readers Union Ltd., London.
  39. ^ Goldstein 1989, p44
  40. ^ Brunnert, H. S. and Hagelstrom, V.V. _Present Day Political Organization of China_, Shanghai, 1912. p. 467.
  41. ^
  42. ^ a b c "Proclamation Issued by H.H. The Dalai Lama XIII"
  43. ^ Tibet, China and the United States: Reflections on the Tibet Question by Melvyn C. Goldstein
  44. ^ Wang 2001, pp. 170–3
  45. ^ Shirokauer, A Brief History of Chinese Civilization, Thompson Higher Education, (c) 2006, 244
  46. ^ Stein 1972, pg. 88
  47. ^ Teltscher 2006, pp. 244-246
  48. ^ Chambers' Encyclopedia, Pergamon Press, New York, 1967, p637
  49. ^ Smith 1997, pp134-135
  50. ^ Smith 1997, pg. 137
  51. ^ The Cambridge History of China, Volume 9, pg. 7
  52. ^ Stephen, 2008, pg. 229
  53. ^ Goldstein 1989, p44, n13
  54. ^ Mullin 2001, p. 358
  55. ^ a b Grunfeld 1996, p47
  56. ^ Smith 1996, pg. 138
  57. ^ Smith 1997, p. 140, n, 59
  58. ^ Mullin 2001, pp. 369-370
  59. ^ Smith 1996, pg. 151
  60. ^ Ashley Eden, British Envoy and Special Commissioner to Sikkim, dispatch to the Secretary of the Government of Bengal, April 1861, quoted in Taraknath Das, British Expansion in Tibet, p12, saying "Nepal is tributary to China, Tibet is tributary to China, and Sikkim and Bhutan are tributary to Tibet"
  61. ^ Wang 2001, pp. 239-240
  62. ^ Treaty Between Tibet and Nepal, 1856
  63. ^ History of Tibet Justice Center
  64. ^ Walt van Praag, Michael C. van. The Status of Tibet: History, Rights and Prospects in International Law, Boulder, 1987, pp. 139-40
  65. ^ Grunfeld 1996, p257
  66. ^ Li, T.T., The Historical Status of Tibet, King's Crown Press, New York, 1956
  67. ^ Sino-Nepal Agreement of 1956
  68. ^ Teltscher 2006, p. 57
  69. ^ Tibet Justice Center - Legal Materials on Tibet - Treaties and Conventions Relating to Tibet - Convention Relating to Burmah and Thibet (1886)
  70. ^ Tibet Justice Center - Legal Materials on Tibet - Treaties and Conventions Relating to Tibet - Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet (1890) ...
  71. ^ Project South Asia
  72. ^ Powers 2004, pg. 80
  73. ^ Michael C. Van Walt Van Praag. The Status of Tibet: History, Rights and Prospects in International Law, p. 37. (1987). London, Wisdom Publications. ISBN 978-0813303949.
  74. ^ Convention Between Great Britain and Thibet (1904)
  75. ^ Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting Tibet (1906)
  76. ^ Melvyn C. Goldstein, Tibet, China and the United States: Reflections on the Tibet Question., 1995
  77. ^ a b Convention Between Great Britain and Russia (1907)
  78. ^ The Times Atlas of World History, 1989, p. 175
  79. ^ Schirokauer, Conrad. A Brief History of Chinese Civilization, 2006, p. 242
  80. ^ Wang 2001, pp. 162-6
  81. ^ FOSSIER Astrid, Paris, 2004 "L’Inde des britanniques à Nehru : un acteur clé du conflit sino-tibétain."
  82. ^ Karenina Kollmar-Paulenz, Kleine Geschichte Tibets, München 2006, p. 140f
  83. ^ Goldstein 1989, p. 46f
  84. ^ Goldstein 1989, p. 49ff
  85. ^ Hilton 2000, p. 115
  86. ^ Goldstein 1989, p. 58f
  87. ^ The Swedish newspaper Fäderneslandet, 1909-01-16
  88. ^ Shakya 1999, pg. 5
  89. ^ Tibet during the Republic of China (1912-1949)
  90. ^ TIBET (AUTONOMY) HC Deb 21 June 1950 vol 476 c1267
  91. ^ Shakya 1999, pp. 7-8
  92. ^ Goldstein 1989, pp. 812-813
  93. ^ a b c Goldstein 2007, p541
  94. ^ Craig (1992), pp. 76-78, 120-123.
  95. ^ Shakya (1999), pp. 245-249, 296, 322-323.
  96. ^ Guangming Daily. "Unforgettable History - Old Tibet Serfdom System" (in zh). Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  97. ^ "Witness: Reporting on the Dalai Lama's escape to India." Peter Jackson. Reuters. Feb 27, 2009.[1]
  98. ^ The CIA's secret war in Tibet, Seattle Times, January 26, 1997, Paul Salopek I
  99. ^ Dodin (2008), pp. 205.
  100. ^ Dodin (2008), pp. 195-196.
  101. ^ Craig (1992), p. 125.
  102. ^ Shakya (1999), p. 320.
  103. ^ Shakya (1999), pp. 314-347.
  104. ^ Wang 2001, pp212-214
  105. ^ See International Commission of Jurists' reports at
  106. ^ "Panchen Lama Poisoned arrow". BBC. 2001-10-14. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  107. ^ Bower, Amanda (April 16, 2006). "Dalai Lama: Tibet Wants Autonomy, Not Independence". Retrieved 2008-04-25.  (originally in TIME Magazine)
  108. ^ "Commentary: Dalai Lama clique's deeds never square with its words". China View. March 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  109. ^ "Dalai Lama's Envoys To Talk With Chinese. No Conditions Set; Transparency Calls Are Reiterated." By PETER WONACOTT, Wall Street Journal May 1, 2008.[2]

See also


  • Beckwith, Christopher I (1987). The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia. A History of the Struggle for Great Power among Tibetans, Turks, Arabs, and Chinese during the Early Middle Ages Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02469-3
  • Craig, Mary. (1992). Tears of Blood: A Cry for Tibet. INDUS an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Calcutta. Second impression, 1993. ISBN 0-00-627500-1
  • Dodin, Thierry. (2008). "Right to Autonomy". In: Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China's 100 Questions. Edited by Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24464-1 (cloth); ISBN 978-0-520-24928-8 (paper).
  • Goldstein, Melvyn C., with the help of Gelek Rimpche. A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State, University of California edition (1989), hardcover ISBN 0520061403; trade paperback, ISBN 0-520-07590-0; Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers (1993), hardcover, 898 pages, ISBN 81-215-0582-8.
  • Goldstein, Melvyn C. The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama (1997) University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21951-1
  • Goldstein, Melvyn C. (2007). A History of Modern Tibet, Volume 2: The Calm Before the Storm: 1951-1955. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520249417. 
  • Grunfeld, A. Tom. The Making of Modern Tibet (1996) East Gate Book. ISBN 978-1563247132
  • Hilton, Isabel (2000). The Search for the Panchen Lama. Penguin. ISBN 0140246703, 9780140246704. 
  • Laird, Thomas. The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama (2006) Grove Press. ISBN 0802118275
  • McKay, Alex (ed.) (2003). The Early Period: to c. AD 850 The Yarlung Dynasty. New York: RoutledgeCurzon. 
  • McKay, Alex, ed. History of Tibet (Curzon in Association With Iias, 9) (2003) RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0700715088
  • Mullin, Glenn H.The Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnations (2001) Clear Light Publishers. ISBN 1-57416-092-3
  • Norbu, Namkhai. The necklace of gZi: A Cultural History of Tibet (1989) Narthang.
  • Norbu, Namkhai. Drung, deu, and Bön: narrations, symbolic languages, and the Bön traditions in ancient Tibet (1995) Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. ISBN 8185102937, 9788185102931
  • Powers, John. History as Propaganda: Tibetan Exiles versus the People's Republic of China (2004) Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195174267
  • Shakya, Tsering. The Dragon In The Land Of Snows (1999) Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11814-7; paperback (2000) Penguin. ISBN 0-14-019615-3.
  • Shirokauer, Conrad. A Brief History of Chinese Civilization Thompson Higher Education, (c) 2006. ISBN 0-534-64305-1
  • Smith, Warren W., Jr. Tibetan Nation: A History Of Tibetan Nationalism And Sino-tibetan Relations (1997) Westview press. ISBN 978-0813332802
  • Sperling, Elliot (2004). The Tibet-China Conflict: History and Polemics. Washington: East-West Center. ISBN 1932728139.  - (online version)
  • Stein, Rolf Alfred. Tibetan Civilization (1972) Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804709017; first published in French (1962). English translation by J. E. Stapelton Driver. Reprint: Stanford University Press (with minor revisions from 1977 Faber & Faber edition), 1995. ISBN 0-8047-0806-1 (hbk).
  • Stephen G. Haw. A Travellers History of China (2008) Interlink Books. ISBN 1566564867
  • Teltscher, Kate. The High Road to China: George Bogle, the Panchen Lama and the First British Expedition to Tibet (2006) ISBN 0374217009; ISBN 978-0-7475-8484-1; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York. ISBN 978-0-374-21700-6
  • Wang Jiawei; Nyima Gyaincain (2001). The Historical Status of China's Tibet. China Intercontinental Press. ISBN 7-80113-304-8. 
  • Willard J. Peterson, John King Fairbank, Denis C. Twitchett The Cambridge history of China: The Ch'ing empire to 1800 (2002) Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521243343
  • Wylie, Turnell V. (1977) "The First Mongol Conquest of Tibet Reinterpreted" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 37.1: 103-133.

Further reading

  • Bell, Charles: Tibet Past & Present. Reprint, New Delhi, 1990 (originally published in Oxford, 1924).
  • Bell, Charles: Portrait of the Dalai Lama, Collins, London, 1946.
  • Rabgey, Tashi; Sharlho, Tseten Wangchuk (2004). Sino-Tibetan Dialogue in the Post-Mao Era: Lessons and Prospects. Washington: East-West Center. ISBN 1932728228. 
  • Petech, Luciano (1997). China and Tibet in the Early XVIIIth Century: History of the Establishment of Chinese Protectorate in Tibet.. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 9004034420. 
  • Samuel, Geoffrey (1993). Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies. Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 1560982314. 
  • Shakabpa, Tsepon W.D [Wangchuk Deden (dbang phyug bde ldan)]: Tibet. A Political History, Potala Publications, New York, 1984.
  • Smith, Warren W. (1996). History of Tibet: Nationalism and Self-determination. Westview Press. ISBN 0813331552. 
  • Smith, Warren W. (2004) (PDF). China's Policy on Tibetan Autonomy - EWC Working Papers No. 2. Washington: East-West Center. 
  • Smith, Warren W. (2008). China's Tibet?: Autonomy or Assimilation. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 9780742539891. 
  • McGranahan, C. “Truth, Fear, and Lies: Exile Politics and Arrested Histories of the Tibetan Resistance,” Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 20, Issue 4 (2005) 570-600.
  • Knaus, J.K. Orphans of the Cold War: America and the Tibetan Struggle for Survival (New York: Public Affairs, 1999).
  • Bageant, J. “War at the Top of the World,” Military History, Vol. 20, Issue 6 (2004) 34-80.

External links


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