The Treasury of Lives

In 1904, the British Younghusband expedition invaded central Tibet, and the Thirteenth Dalai Lama escaped to Mongolia. In 1907, Bhutan became a monarchy with Ugyen Wangchuck installed as King. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama returned to Tibet in 1909, only to escape again, this time to India, in 1910. The Chinese Republic was founded in 1912 after the fall of the Manchu empire in 1911. Returning to Lhasa in 1913, after the Chinese forces were defeated and driven out of the capital, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama issued a proclamation of Tibet's independence. In 1921, the Mongolian People’s Republic was established leading to the persecution of Buddhism and the execution of monastics. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama died in 1933; his reincarnation, Tenzin Gyatso, was born in 1935 in Amdo. In 1950 Mao Zedong proclaimed Tibet to be part of the new Communist Chinese State and began assimilating Tibetan regions into China. The Dalai Lama was installed as head of state that year, and a year later in 1951, the Seventeen Point Agreement, which ended Tibet's independence, was signed in Beijing. Relations between Tibet and China deteriorated as monasteries in Kham and Amdo, viewed as centers of resistance to direct Chinese control, were attacked and destroyed. The Four Rivers, Six Ranges guerilla movement, which would gain clandestine support from the CIA, was formed around 1957. An uprising in Lhasa during the 1959 Monlam festival turned violent, leading the Fourteenth Dalai Lama to flee into exile, repudiating the 17 Point Agreement just before reaching India. Tens of thousands of Tibetan followed, settling in India, Nepal, and around the world. Following the destruction of most Tibetan monasteries during the 1950s and 1960s, a process which accelerated during the Cultural Revolution, branch monasteries were established in India and Nepal. Since the reforms of the 1980s, many monasteries have been rebuilt in Tibet. Lamas have established Tibetan Buddhist and Bon centers in many nations, rekindling Buddhism in China and spreading the religion widely in the West.


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