The Historical Status of China’s Tibet
China is a unified country with 56 nationalities. As a major member of this big family, the Tibetans are found in large numbers throughout the Tibet Autonomous Region, most parts of Qinghai Province, southern Gansu Province, northwest Sichuan Province and northwest Yunnan Province.
At the time of the unification of the Tibetan race, its various tribes maintained close ties with the Han and several other nationalities in western and northwestern China. During the first part of the 7th century, Tubo King Songtsan Gambo unified the various Tibetan tribes on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and formed the Tubo Kingdom, which later maintained frequent contact with the Central Government of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The marriages of Songtsan Gambo to Princess Wen Cheng and Tride Zhotsan to Princess Jin Cheng indicate that the Tibetan and the Han nationalities had gradually formed close political, economic and cultural ties. In the mid-9th century, the unified Tubo Kingdom collapsed. This was followed by the rise of many local warring factions in the Tibetan areas of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. When the Song Dynasty (960-1279) was founded in the Han-dominated areas of China, some of these local Tibetan forces (Tibetan tribes formerly subject to rule by the Tubo Kingdom) pledged allegiance to the Song court. The relations between the Tibetans and the Han became even closer during this period.
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(c) Washington Institute of China Studies
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