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Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft).
All of modern China, including Tibet, is considered a part of East Asia. Historically, some European sources also considered parts of Tibet to lie in Central Asia. Tibet is west of the Central China plain, and within mainland China, Tibet is regarded as "the Western section", meaning "Western China".
Tibet has some of the world's tallest mountains, with several of them making the top ten list. Mount Everest, at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft), is the highest mountain on earth, located on the border with Nepal. Several major rivers have their source in the Tibetan Plateau (mostly in present-day Qinghai Province). These include Yangtze, Yellow River, Indus River, Mekong, Ganges, Salween and the Yarlung Zangbo River (Brahmaputra River). The Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, along the Yarlung Zangbo River, is among the deepest and longest canyons in the world.
The Indus and Brahmaputra rivers originate from a lake (Tib: Tso Mapham) in Western Tibet, near Mount Kailash. The mountain is a holy pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Tibetans. The Hindus consider the mountain to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The Tibetan name for Mt. Kailash is Khang Rinpoche. Tibet has numerous high-altitude lakes referred to in Tibetan as tso or co. These include Qinghai Lake, Lake Manasarovar, Namtso, Pangong Tso, Yamdrok Lake, Siling Co, Lhamo La-tso, Lumajangdong Co, Lake Puma Yumco, Lake Paiku, Lake Rakshastal, Dagze Co and Dong Co. The Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor) is the largest lake in the People's Republic of China.
Humans inhabited the Tibetan Plateau at least 21,000 years ago. 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".
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. Zhang Zhung is considered to be the original home of the Bön religion. By the 1st 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. He was assassinated and Zhang Zhung continued its dominance of the region until it was annexed by Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century.
Prior to Songtsän Gampo, the kings of Tibet were more mythological than factual, and there is insufficient evidence of their existence.
Tibet emerged in the 7th century as a unified empire, but it soon divided into a variety of territories. The bulk of western and central Tibet were often at least nominally unified under a series of Tibetan governments in Lhasa, Shigatse, or nearby locations; these governments were at various times under Mongol and Chinese overlordship.
The first Europeans to arrive in Tibet were the Portuguese missionaries António de Andrade and Manuel Marques in 1624. They were welcomed by the King and Queen of Guge, and were allowed to build a church and to introduce Christian belief. The king of Guge eagerly accepted Christianity as an offsetting religious influence to dilute the thriving Gelugpa and to counterbalance his potential rivals and consolidate his position. All missionaries were expelled in 1745.
Emerging with control over most of mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, the People's Republic of China incorporated Tibet in 1950 and negotiated the Seventeen Point Agreement with the newly crowned 14th Dalai Lama's government, affirming the People's Republic of China's sovereignty but granting the area autonomy. After the Dalai Lama government fled to Dharamsala, India during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion, it established a rival government-in-exile. Afterwards, the Central People's Government in Beijing renounced the agreement and began implementation of the halted social and political reforms. During the Great Leap Forward between 200 thousand and 1 million Tibetans died, and approximately 6,000 monasteries were destroyed around the Cultural Revolution. In 1962 China and India fought a brief war over the disputed South Tibet and Aksai Chin regions. Although China won the war, Chinese troops withdrew north of the McMahon Line, effectively ceding South Tibet back to India.
In 1980, General Secretary and reformist Hu Yaobang visited Tibet, and ushered in a period of social, political, and economic liberalization. At the end of the decade, however analogously to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, monks in the Drepung and Sera monasteries started protesting for independence, and so the government halted reforms and started an anti-separatist campaign. Human rights organisations have been critical of the Beijing and Lhasa governments' approach to human rights in the region when cracking down on separatist convulsions that have occurred around monasteries and cities, most recently in the 2008 Tibetan unrest.
Linguists generally classify the Tibetan language as a Tibeto-Burman language of the Sino-Tibetan language family although the boundaries between 'Tibetan' and certain other Himalayan languages can be unclear.
Crossing over the Himalayas. Mount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comThe Himalayas. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comThe Himalayas. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comThe Himalayas. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comThe Himalayas. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comThe Himalayas. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comThe Yarlung Zangbo River - Brahmaputra. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest seen from Pang La Pass (5120m). South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest seen from Pang La Pass (5120m). South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest. The highest mountain on Earth. Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.comMount Chomolungma – Everest and the Tibetan Buddhist Prayer Flags, The Wind Horses. Everest Base Camp One, the North Face. South-Western Tibet 2011© Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.com

Categories & Keywords
Category:Travel and Places
Subcategory:Asia
Subcategory Detail:Tibet
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