The Rinpung government began with Rinpungpa Namkha Gyeltsen, the local leader of the Rinpung fortress and estates within the Pakmodrupa polity. Namkha Gyeltsen took the name of the fortress as his family name. Following the death of Pakmodrupa Drakpa Gyeltsen (1377-1440), Namkha Gyeltsen’s young nephew Norbu Zangpo was appointed the leader of the Pakmodrupa. Namkha Gyeltsen used his influence at court, and by 1434 had shifted power from Pakmodru at Tsetang to Rinpung. The following year, the Rinpung family moved their base to the fortress of Samdrubtse located in present day Zhigatse. The Rinpung family ruled from 1434 until 1565 when Zhingshakpa Tseten Dorje seized Samdrubtse fortress and began Tsangpa rule.