chronology


About 600 King Namri Songtsan of Yarlung, the territory south of the Tsangpo River, begins the unification of Tibet's many kingdoms.

About 627 Songtsan Gampo succeeds his father and continues to consolidate Tibet under his rule.

641 Songtsan Gampo introduces Buddhism to Tibet. Having already married three Tibetans princesses and a Nepalese princess, Brikuthi, he takes a Chinese princess, Wen-Ch'eng, as his bride, thus creating alliances with the countries to the west and east.

670 Warfare breaks out between Tibet and the T'ang dynasty of China. Tibet gains influence along trade route through central Asia.

754 Tritsong Detsan takes the throne.

About 779 Samye, first Buddhist monastic university, fifty miles south of Lhasa, founded by Padmasambhava. The Sanskrit Buddhist sutras and tantras--the Tripitaka--translated into Tibetan; establishment of the tantric meditation system.

821-22 Treaty between Tibet and China commemorated by an inscription carved on a monument that stands in front of the Potala Palace.

About 836 Langdarma succeeds Tritsug Detsan and, under pressure from Bon priests, begins to suppress Buddhism in central Tibet, burning monasteries and driving out monks.

842 Assassination of Langdarma by Buddhist monk. Succession contested. Kingdom dissolves, leaving Tibet in a state of political upheaval.

1207 Tibetan leaders quietly submit to Genghis Khan.

1260 Kublai Khan, as emperor of China's Yuan dynasty, bestows title Ti-shi ("Imperial Preceptor") upon Phakpa, making Sakyapa order most powerful in Tibet.

1270 Kublai Khan converted to Tibetan Buddhism.

1368 Fall of Yuan dynasty frees Tibet from dependence on China. Factions begin to struggle for control over Tibet.

1391 First Dalai Lama, Gedun Drubpa, born (title conferred posthumously, when third Dalai Lama receives title in 1578).

1447 Tashilhunpo monastery, future seat of Panchen Lamas, founded by the first Dalai Lama.

1474 Second Dalai Lama, Gedun Gyatsho, born.

1543 Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatsho, born.

1570 First Panchen Lama, Lozang Chokyi Gyalthen, the teacher of the fifth Dalai Lama, born. Title "Panchen" ("The Great Scholar") conferred by the fifth Dalai Lama. The Panchen Lamas became the second most important religious leaders in Tibet.

1578 Sonam Gyatsho receives title of Dalai Lama ("Ocean of Wisdom") from Mongol ruler Altan Khan.

1589 Fourth Dalai Lama, Yontan Gyatsho, born (great-grandson of Altan Khan).

1617 Fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lozang Gyatsho, born in southern Tibet. One of the greatest Dalai Lamas, he later reestablishes Tibet's independence and extends his authority to outermost Tibetan territories, reopens trade with India, and visits China.

1642 Gushri Khan, ruler of Khoshot Mongols, defeats Karnma Tankyong and installs fifth Dalai Lama as ruler of Tibet.

1683 Sixth Dalai Lama, Tshangyang Gyatsho, born.

1708 Capuchin missionaries found mission to Lhasa. Seventh Dalai Lama, Kalzang Gyatsho, born.

1720 Ch'ing dynasty emperor, K'ang Hsi, establishes his mission in Lhasa.

1723 Chinese withdraw from Tibet.

1728 Pholhawa, as one of a council of ministers who govern Tibet after defeat of the Dzungars, forces out Tibetan nationalist rivals and governs Tibet with Chinese support.

1740 Pholhawa crowned king of Tibet by Chinese emperor.

1758 Eighth Dalai Lama, Jampal Gyatsho, born.

1792 Peace agreement with Gurkhas reached, but power of Chinese representatives (Ambans) in Tibetan government increases.

1806 Ninth Dalai Lama, Tsultrim Gyatsho, born.

1816 Tenth Dalai Lama, Lungtok Gyatsho, born.

1836 Eleventh Dalai Lama, Khedrub Gyatsho, born.

1856 Twelfth Dalai Lama, Trinley Gyatsho, born. Gurkha army invades Tibet.

1876 Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatsho, born (d. 1933).

1903-04 Colonel Francis Younghusband marches with 3,000 British troops to Gyaum. The 13th Dalai Lama flees from the approaching army and shelters in Mongolia and in China. The British withdraw after signing the Anglo-Tibetan Convention which allows them to have Trade Agents at Gyantse and at Gartok in Western Tibet.

1906 British accept a vaguely defined Chinese suzerainty over Tibet after invasion of eastern Tibet by Chinese troops.

1909 The Dalai Lama returns from exile. Chinese troops occupy parts of Kham (Eastern Tibet) and the Dalai Lama appeals to Great Britain for assistance.

1910 The Chinese Army, with 2,000 troops led by Zhao Erfeng (Chao Erh-Feng), invades Tibet and enters Lhasa. The Dalai Lama flees to India. Tibetans continue to fight Chinese until they are expelled.

1911 Ch'ing dynasty falls. In Beijing the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty is overthrown and the Republic of China is established under Yuan Shikai (Yuan Shih-Kai), who declares Tibet, Xinjiang (East Turkestan) and Mongolia to be provinces of China.

1912 Tibet expels the Chinese. Thirteenth Dalai Lama returns to Tibet. Throughout the country Tibetans rise up against the Chinese. 12th August: the Chinese sign a Surrender Agreement with the Tibetans, and are obliged to return to China via India.

1913 Thirteenth Dalai Lama proclaims Tibetan independence. Conference at Simla, India, among the British, Chinese and Tibetans divides Tibet into two parts: Inner Tibet, far eastern provinces to be controlled by China; and Outer Tibet, to remain "autonomous." Chinese expelled from central Tibet but do not sign agreement. Britain and Tibet sign, canceling pro-Chinese provisions.

1914 Tibet, Great Britain and China attend the Simla Convention as equal powers and initial an agreement to settle the Sino-Tibetan border dispute.

1918 Tibetan troops advance to the East and defeat the Chinese.

1920 Sir Charles Bell is sent to Lhasa as British representative to reassure the Tibetans of British support for its self-rule and self-defence.

1923 The Panchen Lama, long distrusted for his close relations with the Chinese, disputes his tax liability to the Tibetan Government and flees to China.

1935 Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatsho, born.

1940 Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is enthroned at Lhasa.

1941-44 Tibet remains neutral during the Second World War and refuses permission for the Americans or the Chinese nationalists to transport military supplies through Tibetan territory.

1947 Tibet sends a Delegation to discuss trade and to open formal relations abroad, to India, China, Britain and the USA.

1949 In China the People's Liberation Army overcome the Nationalists (KMT) and, on October 1st, Mao Zedong proclaims the People's Republic of China. The 10th Panchen Lama, then 11 years old, telegrams Mao Tsetung asking him to "unify the motherland" . The PLA announces its intention to "liberate Tibet from foreign imperialists".

1950 The 14th Dalai Lama, then 15 years old, takes over the running of the Government.

October 7th: the Chinese cross the Yangtse into Central Tibet and destroy the small garrison force at Chando, claiming Tibet had always been Chinese territory. India objects. Tibet files protest with United Nations. Security Council approves British proposal to let the parties negotiate among themselves.

1951 May 23rd: The Tibetans, led by Ngapo Ngawang Jigme, sign the 17-Point Agreement, promising cultural and political autonomy but relinquishing independence and making Tibet a "national autonomous region" of China.

October 24th: the agreement is ratified by the Dalai Lama and the National Assembly.

1954 April 29th: India and China signs a treaty enunciating the 'Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence", and recognising China's claim to Tibet. Revolt grows in Eastern Tibet when the Chinese begin destroying monasteries and imposing collectivisation. Birth of the Tibetan resistance movement and of the Voluntary National Defence Army.

1955 Preparatory Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region is set up with the Dalai Lama as Chairman and Panchen Lama and Zhang Guohua as deputy chairmen.

1956 Dalai Lama goes to India for the Buddha Jayanfi and tells Nehru he wants to stay; Zhou Enlai and Mao promise that there will be no forced reforms and he returns to Lhasa.

1959 10th March: thousands of Tibetans take to the streets in Lhasa.

March 17th: The Dalai Lama flees to India; 80,000 other Tibetans follow him.

March 19th: Tibetan troops join the uprising against the Chinese.

March 23rd: Uprising suppressed. The Chinese dissolve the Tibetan local Government and impose military Government, fronted by the Panchen Lama, and in April begin "democratic reforms'. Thousands of Tibetans are executed, imprisoned, or sent to labor camps. Destruction of monasteries begins.

1959-1961 The Great Leap Forward leads to widespread famine, with up to 30 million believed to have died in China and many thousands in Tibet.

1962 October 20th: War between China and India over disputed border claims in Tibet.

1965 September 9th: The Tibet Autonomous Region is formally established. The Cultural Revolution begins, destroying 90% of the remaining monasteries and outlawing most Tibetan cultural customs and religion. The UN passes a resolution supporting the Tibetan people's right to self-determination.

1967 During Chinese Cultural Revolution, Tibetan temples, monasteries, libraries, and scared monuments destroyed or made into state museums.

1976 The Cultural Revolution ends with the death of Mao. The Chinese acknowledge "past mistakes in Tibet", blaming them on the Cultural Revolution and on the ultra-leftist policies of the Gang of Four.

1979 Deng Xiaoping initiates a policy of opening up to the outside world. They invite the Dalai Lama to return from exile, on condition he remains in Beijing. He is allowed to send a fact-finding mission to Tibet. The delegates are greeted by demonstrations calling for independence and the return of the Dalai Lama; many demonstrators are imprisoned.

1980 Party Secretary Hu Yaobang visits Tibet and initiates liberalisations allowing some private trade, outward display of religious activities, and the recall of several thousand Chinese cadres.

1983 Dalai Lama sends negotiating team to Beijing, but talk collapses in 1984.

1987 The Dalai Lama proposes the Five Point Peace Plan during a visit to the US Congress in Washington.

September 27th: pro-independeuce demonstration led by 21 monks in Lhasa

October 1st: Police open fire on crowd of 2-3,000 demonstrators, killing at least 9. Foreign journalists and tourists expelled.

1988 March 5th: Major demonstration on last day of Monlam Festival in Lhasa; hundreds of arrests follow. Chinese policeman and several Tibetans killed.

June: Dalai Lama puts forward the Strasbourg Proposal, offering the Chinese control of Tibetan foreign policy and defence in return for full internal autonomy. The Chinese promise to negotiate with him.

1989 January 29th: Panchen Lama dies whilst visiting Shigatse

March 5th: police open fire on a small group of demonstrators in Lhasa. The demonstrations spread involving over 10,000 people. Up to 200 people are believed killed by security forces before martial law is declared in Lhasa on March 7th. At least 400 are arrested. The PLA takes over the city and all foreign tourists, journalists and diplomats are expelled.

October 5th: Dalai Lama wins Nobel Peace Prize.

1990 April: expulsion of politically suspect monks and nuns from monasteries.

May 1st: martial law is lifted. Varying-restrictions on foreign visitors and journalists remain in force. Small demonstrations continue in the capital but most are dealt with rapidly by increased presence of armed police.

July: Chinese Party Secretary and President Jiang Zemin visits Tibet, calls for dual policy of "security and development", ushers in "active" or low-profile policing. He is accompanied by Chi Haotian, chief of Defence Staff, suggesting that the visit has military objectives.

October: first foreign official allowed to visit a Tibetan prison.

In exile Dalai Lama is officially received by Swedish, Dutch, and French Governments, and privately by Czech and German Presidents.

1991 May 23rd: Chinese organise obligatory celebrations throughout Tibet of the 40th Anniversary of the "Peaceful Liberation", choosing the 1951 signing of the 17 Point Agreement as the representative moment to remember, rather than the invasion.

Tibet declared "open" to foreign investment, although this appears to focus on investment from inland China and overseas Chinese.

1992 March: Deng Xiaoping's "spring tide" or call for high speed implementation of economic reforms to introduce the "socialist market economy" reaches Tibet and by June waverers have been out- maneuvered by the pro-fast reform faction.

From April: reportedly migration of Chinese entrepreneurs and petty traders increases noticeably

1993 May 13th: Tourist guide and human rights activist Gendun Rinchen arrested to prevent contact with high level EC Ambassadors fact-finding visit to Tibet. The visit dissolves into confusion as Chinese first deny the arrest and then refuse to release the tourist guide

May 24th: Major demonstration by about 1,000 Tibetans in Lhasa over price rises becomes a pro-independence protest, largest since 1989; police use tear gas not firearms to disperse crowd, with some injuries.

July: For first time since 1984 exile Tibetan official is allowed to join a delegation to discuss negotiations with Beijing, accompanied by the Dalai Lama's brother. Delegation asked to request the Dalai Lama for help with the Panchen Lama search.

September: relations between the Dalai Lama and Beijing abruptly come to an end, and the Dalai Lama publishes his correspondence with Deng Xiaoping

1994 January: Gendun Rinchen released in apparent concession to international pressure

April: Wei Jingsheng, China's leading dissident, re-arrested in Beijing during visit by US Secretary of State

May 26th: Clinton announces dropping of all human rights conditions attached to China-US trade

July: Chinese leaders hold the "Third National Work Conference on Tibet" in Beijing to rubber stamp implementation of even faster economic development for the "three rivers" area around Lhasa and to impose restrictions on spread of religion.

August 9th: Chinese stage celebrations to mark the re-opening of the Potala after 5 years of renovations

November 26th: UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance arrives in Lhasa, the first UN human rights visit to China. He meets Yulu and issues highly critical report, calling on China to change its constitution and release all monks and nuns in prison. On the same day official statements orders ban on unauthorised construction of monasteries and on more people becoming monks or nuns.

1995 January to March: 16 demonstrations in Lhasa calling for independence, and over 100 arrests of political activists, more than in the whole of the previous year.

January 30th: polemical denunciation campaign initiated against the personal standing of "the Dalai"

March: Over 60 monks expelled from Nalaridra monastery north of Lhasa after officials are sent to "reorganise" the monastery.

May 17th: Chinese arrest Chadrel Rinpocile, abbot of Tashilhunpo who headed the search team for the child Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima. The child and his family are removed under escort from their home, apparently to a holding place in Beijing. A reported 5,000 troops moved to Shigatse

July 13th: Up to 30 monks arrested from Tashilhunpo monastery after protesting against the denunciation of Chadrel Rinpoche. All foreign tourists expelled from Shigatse.

September lst: Chinese hold celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region amid tight security and without any foreigners present. November 11th: Chinese press announce that leading lamas at a closed meeting in Beijing have agreed to reject Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the Panchen Lama and to select a different child as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama.

December: The Chinese install 5-year old Gyaltsen Norbu as the Panchen Lama. Gendun Choekyi Nyima, who was sanctioned by the Dalai Lama as the Panchen Lama, is condemned by China's official press for having once drowned a dog. His whereabouts is unknown.

1996 January 18th: bomb explodes at the house of Sengchen Lobsang Gyaltsen, main supporter of the Chinese in the Panchen Lama succession dispute.

1997 Gendun Choeki Nyima is held under house arrest in Beijing.

November: President Jiang Zemin of China arrives in the U.S. for his first official state visit. Many demonstrations are planned by groups protesting human rights abuses by China, in particular, the repression of religion and other freedoms in Tibet.



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