• S. H. Steinberg
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


Tibet, extending from Kashmir in the west to China on the east, forms a narrow enclave, between the Himalayas and the Kunlun mountains to the north. Its area is about 470,000 square miles; its population is estimated to be about 3 million. The capital is Lhasa. In the past it was not an exclusive and isolated region as it is to-day; a regular route from China to Nepal passed through it. Tibet became a powerful kingdom in the 7th century a.d., and in the following century exacted tribute from China. King Song-tsen Gam-po introduced Buddhism from India; an alphabet based on Sanskrit was elaborated, thus making it possible to translate Indian Buddhist sacred books into Tibetan. Some ten centuries later the Manchu Empire, taking advantage of dissensions between Mongols and Tibetans regarding the succession to the 6th Dalai Lama, sent an army to Lhasa which established, along with the 7th Dalai Lama, effective Chinese rule at Lhasa. From that time until the Chinese revolution in 1912 the Manchu dynasty maintained officers at Lhasa, though their authority decreased to a merely nominal suzerainty.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1951

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  • S. H. Steinberg

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