Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Tibet, a Chinese dependency of Central Asia, lying between China and India, and between the Kuen Lun and Himalaya mountains. On the E. and S.E. Tibet has for boundary the mountains that separate China and Indo-China, thus forming a huge territory shut in by mountains. The mountains rise from table-lands, which are themselves from 17,000 to 10,000 feet high. The loftiest heights are in the W. and N., sloping to the S. and E., and the lowest parts are where the Indus and Sanpo make their way. Most of the country is unexplored. It is divided into six provinces: (1) Chaidam, containing the Koko-Nur Lake and much marshy land; (2) Katchi, the great northern plain of steppes; (3) Nari, the Himalayan district, in which the Indus and Sanpo rise, a land of pastures, and containing a sacred lake; (4) Manasarowa; (5) Little Tibet, partly belonging to Cashmere and to India; (6) Yu-Tsang, the most populous and important province; (7) Kham, all the upper waters of the Chinese and Indo-Chinese rivers. Some of the country is in a great degree independent, and some under the direct rule of China. The most populous district is the Sanpo Valley. By this river merchandise is carried down in boats made of hides stretched upon a framework of wood, and, after discharging their cargo, the boats are taken to pieces, and brought back by yaks. The climate is cold and dry, and, after the short hot summer, the cold is extreme. In the N. and W. there are no trees, and the animal life consists of wild yaks, antelopes, horses, asses, and goats. The S. table-lands are inhabited by a nomad pastoral people. Among the minerals are gold, silver, iron, copper, zinc, and mercury. The people are good blacksmiths and cutlers, and they take their goods to fairs and markets upon yaks. Formerly there was a good trade with India, but the Chinese ascendency has destroyed it. China only interferes in foreign affairs and in military matters, and has two commissioners residing at Lhassa. The government is much in the hands of the priests, and the Dalai Lama is a kind of Pope, who, however, delegates his power to the king, who is aided by four ministers. The Dalai Lama originally received his power from Kubla Khan, who, after conquering the country, was converted to Buddhism. Lhassa was founded in 961 by a king who introduced Buddhism, and the Chinese conquest took place in 1720.