History of Tibet

The history of Tibet dates back over thousands of years. Evidence of human habitation dating between 12,000 and 11,000 years ago has been found in northwest Tibet, and in south Tibet the Yarlung Zangbo valley was, over the centuries, the focus of ancient trade routes from India, China, and Central Asia. It is said that the earliest Tibetans were nomads who eventually settled the mountainous plateau. That is told in myth; it is not clear where the earliest Tibetans originated, since records are very scarce and archaeological excavation limited. At that time, Tribal states were developed on the Tibetan plateau.

Tibet flourished in 7th century AD and developed as a strong kingdom. Early in the seventh century, Tubo leader Songtsan Gambo annexed together more than 10 separate tribes and established the Tubo Kingdom covering a large part of what later became known as Tibet. He twice sent ministers to the Tang court requesting a member of the imperial family be given to him in marriage, and in 641, Princess Wencheng, a member of Emperor Taizong's family, was chosen for this role. During the reign of Songtsan Gambo, political, economic and cultural relations between the two nations became increasingly friendly and extensive. This pattern of friendly relations was carried on during the next 200 years or more.

The Yuan Dynasty, which included the Mongols, created formal regulations for Tibet. During this period, Genghis Khan was the emperor. The Tibetans acknowledged the Mongol's power and tried to befriend them and make them their allies. They succeeded with this endeavor and became formally part of the Mongol-Chinese Empire. In 1720, the Qing dynasty replaced Mongol rule in Tibet. They took a similar role of that of the earlier Mongols. They could exercise military force for protection of the Dalai Lama in the event of a hostile takeover. They also established laws and regulations during this time in Tibet.

The British expedition to Tibet in 1903 and 1904 was a remarkable historical event to be mentioned. Late in the 19th century, the Qing Central Government was in a state of permanent decline, and its control over some southwestern and northwestern areas suffered accordingly, making possible British and Russian incursions. The aim of the invasion of Tibet by British India forces, is seeking to prevent the Russian Empire from interfering in Tibetan affairs and thus gaining a foothold in one of the buffer states surrounding British India. The Tibetan people blocked the British forces toughly guided by the Dalai Lama. British forces were remarkably successful in achieving their aims militarily, politically. The invasion was very unpopular back in Britain, where it was virtually disowned post-war. The Tibetan fight against British invasion eventually ended in failure, while the outstanding achievements Tibetan people made in resisting imperialistic aggression have been recorded forever.

The Qing Dynasty fell during the revolution that began in 1911. After the formation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, major improvements took place in Tibet. These included transportation (building the first highways adjoining neighboring countries) and communications. These were subsidized by the central government of China. Economic and social reform also improved greatly during this period.

In 1951, Tibet was peacefully liberated. In 1956, the Preparation Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region was set up. In 1959, Tibet carried out democratic reforms and abandoned the cruel and dark feudal serfdom. In 1965, the Tibet Autonomous Region was officially established.

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