Travels in Tibet:

Tibet Trekking (17 days)
On the Roof of the World

Quick Facts:





2.5 million km²; 960,000 sq mi


Tibetan; Chinese


Renminbi (CNY)

Population figure:

2006 estimate: 13,500,000


Historically, the population of Tibet consisted of primarily ethnic Tibetans. The Tibetan Government-in-Exile says that the People's Republic of China has actively swamped Tibet with Han Chinese migrants in order to alter Tibet's demographic makeup, while the People's Republic of China has denied this.


Tibetan Buddhis; in cities also Muslims

Government type:

Autonomous region within the People's Republic of China


Tibet first enters history in the Geography of Ptolemy under the name batai, a Greek transcription of the indigenous name Bod. Tibet next appears in history in a Chinese text where it is referred to as fa. The history of Tibet begins with the reign of Songts?n Gampo (604?650 CE) who united parts of the Yarlung River Valley and ruled Tibet as a kingdom. A series of emperors ruled Tibet from the 7th to the 11th century. At times Tibetan rule extended as far south as Bengal and as far north as Mongolia. In 1240, the Mongols marched into central Tibet and attacked several monasteries. The Mongol khans had ruled northern China since 1215. They were the emperors of the Yuan Dynasty. Kublai Khan was a patron of Tibetan Buddhism and appointed the Sa-skya Lama his "Imperial preceptor," or chief religious official. Later, Tibet was invaded by Chinese troops several times. In February 1912 the Qing Dynasty Emperor abdicated and the new Republic of China was formed. In April 1912 the Chinese garrison of troops in Lhasa surrendered to the Tibetan authorities. In 1913, Tibet and Mongolia signed a treaty proclaiming mutual recognition and their independence from China. The subsequent outbreak of World War I and Chinese Civil War caused the Western powers and the infighting factions of China proper to lose interest in Tibet, and the 13th Dalai Lama ruled undisturbed until his death in 1933. In 1935 the 14th Dalai Lama was born in Amdo in eastern Tibet and was recognized as the latest reincarnation. He was taken to Lhasa in 1937 where he was later given an official ceremony in 1939. Although the Panchen Lama remained a virtual prisoner, the Chinese set him as a figurehead in Lhasa, claiming that he headed the legitimate Government of Tibet since the Dalai Lama had fled to India after the failed Tibetan uprising in 1959, and they established him as the traditional head of the Tibetan government. In 1965, the area that had been under the control of the Dalai Lama's government from the 1910s to 1959 (U-Tsang and western Kham) was set up as an Autonomous Region.

Geography and Geography

Tibet is located on the Tibetan Plateau, the world's highest region. Most of the Himalaya mountain range, one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world at only 4 million years old, lies within Tibet. Its most famous peak, Mount Everest, is on Nepal's border with Tibet. The average altitude is about 3,000 m in the south and 4,500 m in the north.
The atmosphere is severely dry nine months of the year, and average snowfall is only 18 inches, due to the rain shadow effect whereby mountain ranges prevent moisture from the ocean from reaching the plateaux. Western passes receive small amounts of fresh snow each year but remain traversable all year round. Low temperatures are prevalent throughout these western regions, where bleak desolation is unrelieved by any vegetation beyond the size of low bushes, 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.

This article is partly based on a free article of the encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is subject to GNU-licence for free documentation. A list of authors is available on Wikipedia


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