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Tibet

Tibet

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 (Ü-Tsang) was 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 eastern regions of Kham and Amdo often maintained a more decentralized indigenous political structure, being divided among a number of small principalities and tribal groups, while also often falling more directly under Chinese rule; most of this area was eventually incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the 18th century.

Following the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet Area (Ü-Tsang). The region subsequently declared its independence in 1913, without recognition by the following Chinese Republican government. Later Lhasa took control of the western part of Xikang Province, China. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following the Invasion of Tibet, Tibet became unified into the People's Republic of China, and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising. Today, the P.R. China governs western and central Tibet as the Tibet Autonomous Region; while eastern areas are mostly within Sichuan, Qinghai and other neighbouring provinces, as ethnic autonomous prefectures. There are tensions regarding Tibet's political status and dissident groups which are active in exile.

It is also said that Tibetan activists in Tibet have been arrested or tortured. The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism has become a growing industry in Tibet in recent decades. The dominant religion in Tibet is Tibetan Buddhism, in addition there is Bön which was the indigenous religion of Tibet before the arrival of Buddhism in the 7th century CE (Bön is now similar to Tibetan Buddhism though there are also Muslim and Christian minorities. Tibetan Buddhism is a primary influence on the art, music, and festivals of the region. Tibetan architecture reflects Chinese and Indian influences. Staple foods in Tibet are roasted barley, yak meat, and butter tea.

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