Tibet was invaded by China in 1949-50. Tibet existed as an independent sovereign state prior to Chinese rule. As recently as 1914, a peace convention was signed by Britain, China, and Tibet that again formally recognized Tibet as a fully independent country. But having no representation in the United Nations, the world largely stood by and allowed China’s occupation and destruction to happen.
Tibetan people accept as true that they originated from a union between a monkey and a Rakshasi(devil). In Tibet, the Shannan region is Mount Gongpori which is considered as the place where the couple once lived according to the legend handed down through generations. The original inhabitants began to live in the highlands as early as the Paleolithic age. In about 237 BC, a tribe by the Yarlung Tsangpo River was unified by Nyatri Tsenpo, the first king of Tibet.
Tubo Kingdom (the 7th century 877)
King Songsten Gompo the 33rd the Tsenpo of the Yarlong and his tribe established the Tubo kingdom and built the first Buddhism chapel in Tibet. Songtsen Gompo married princesses of Nepal and China’s Tang Dynasty (618-907), the latter being the famous princess Wencheng of China.
After Songtsen Gampo’s death in 650, his most outstanding successors Detsen (742-798) and King Tri Ralpa Chen (804-836), followed the Buddhist religion and built the first Buddhist temple which symbolized Buddhism formal recognition in Tibet. Severe demolitions of Buddhist monasteries and persecutions against monks in the following years eventually provoked massive revolt and the assassination of Lang Dharma.
Sakya and Pagdu Period
In Tibet after 100 years and the Lang Dharma blow, Buddhism revived. An East Indian Buddhist sage came to Tibet in 1042. The second transmission of Buddhism was so powerful that in the early 13th century the leader realized relying solely on religious influences could accelerate the unification of Tibet. In 1246, Godan Khan met Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen (1182-1251) in Liangzhou and approved the local power to this prestigious scholar and abbot of the Sakya monastery, in exchange for Tibet’s submission. In 1260 when Kublai Khan (1215-1294) succeeded to the throne, Choy gal Phakpa (1235-1280), was appointed Imperial Preceptor and took charge of national Buddhism affairs of the Mongol Empire and the local administration of Tibet. In 1265, Choy gal Phakpa recognized the Sakya Kingdom, which was later incorporated as part of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
In 1354, the Sakya Dynasty stumbled in the latter period of the Yuan Dynasty and was reinstated by the Pagdu Dynasty. It was under the support of the Pagdu Dynasty that Tsong Khapa (1357-1419), much prejudiced by Atisha, and established the Gelugpa Order. The title of ‘Dalai Lama’ was first bestowed in 1578. The title of ‘Dalai Lama’ was formally created by the Ming Dynasty. Initially given by Gushri Khan, chief of the Qosot Mongols, the title of ‘Panchen Lama’ started with Lob sang Choekyi Gyaltsen (1567-1662), the fourth Panchen Lama, with the former three being posthumously admitted.
Ganden Podrang Regime and the Autonomous Region of Tibet (Since 1642)
In 1618, the Pagdu Dynasty was finished by the Karma Regime. The fifth Dalai Lama conquered the king and in 1642 established the Ganden Podrang Regime. In 1653, Lob sang Gyatso acknowledged the title of ‘Dalai Lama’ from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In 1713 upon the commotion caused by the death of the fifth Dalai Lama, Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) conferred the title of ‘Panchen Erdeni’ on the fifth Panchen Lama (1663-1737).
In 1717, the Dzungar Mongols occupied Tibet, sacked the monasteries and deposed the Sixth Dalai Lama. In 1904, Britain invaded Tibet and the 13th Dalai Lama fled first to Mongolia and then to Qinghai Province under an arrangement by the Qing Government. From 1912 until 1949, the Republic of China took charge of the local administration of Tibet and the conferment of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. The Tibet Autonomous Region was established in 1965, starting a new chapter of Tibetan history.