Concise Tibet History

A long time ago, Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region was an area with a warm, humid climate of subtropical zone of grassland with a low altitude that provided a profitable condition for -- based on scientific survey -- ancient human beings who lived and multiplied in this land. The earliest cultural remains have been discovered mainly in the west and north of Tibet.

Before the 7th century, there were many tribes in Tibet. Wars broke out as the tribes tried to expand their territories. Among them, the Tubo tribe owned a large amount of land in the Yarlung Valley at its flourishing period. The earliest capital city of Tubo was in the present day Nedong County of Shannan.

After Namri Songtsen, the thirty-second generation of Tubo princes, inherited power, he fortified and developed the Tubo's territory. He moved the capital from Nedong to the Gyama area (today's Medro Gongkar County). Later, to avoid internal opposition from the tribes, Namri Songsten built the Gyama palace.

In the early 7th century, Songtsen Gampo, the son of Namri Songtsen, inherited power. He completed his father's cause and realized the unification of the Tibet plateau and set up the central slave regime -- the Tubo Kingdom (629-846).

To consolidate the newly emerging power, Songtsen Gampo adopted a series of important measures. In 633, he moved the capital of the Tubo Kingdom toLhasa, built thePotala Palaceon the summit of the Red Hill, and rebuilt the road and some houses around the Potala Palace. Step by step, Lhasa became the economic, political, and cultural center of the Tubo Kingdom.

To consolidate his regime, Songtsen Gampo advocated the advanced methods of theTang Dynasty(618-907) and set up a system for civil and military officials. He also appointed officials to control the garrisons in other areas and created administrative regions and so on.

He divided the administrative areas into 18 big areas and established five big "Ruchen" (Ru was a Tibetan pronunciation at the time). Every Ruchen was divided into upper and lower parts of Ru; every branch of "Ru" had 5,000 families who are the common herdsman in times of peace, but soldiers in times of war.

Meanwhile, Songsten Gampo strengthened the system of discussing official business with political alliances. He also remitted taxes, developed agricultural production, and promoted economic prosperity. In addition, he sent people to ancient India to learn scripts and created the Tibetan written language and calendar, thus making great contribution to Tubo's culture development.

During Songtsen Gampo's time, the development of the Tubo Kingdom entered a period of great prosperity. To develop the relationship between Tubo and the neighboring countries, he sent envoys to Nepal and the Tang Court of China to make an offer of marriage respectively.

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