Tibet <<tih BEHT>> is a land in south-central Asia that has been part of China since the 1950′s. The rest of China lies along Tibet’s northern and eastern border. India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar (formerly called Burma) all touch its southern border.
Tibet is often called the “Roof of the World.” Its mountains, the Himalaya, are the highest in the world. The world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, rises on Tibet’s border with Nepal. Lhasa, in southern Tibet, is the capital and largest city.
A high, cold region called the Plateau <<plah TOH>> of Tibet covers much of the land. High mountains surround the plateau. The snowy Himalaya mountains rise along the south edge of the plateau.
Large areas of Tibet are covered by gravel, rock, and sand. There are a few grasslands and forests, and some valleys have good farmland.
Tibetans are very religious Buddhists. Since the 1500′s, they have looked to the Dalai <<dah LY>> Lama, or High Lama, as the ruler of Tibet and the highest holy leader. There have been 14 Dalai Lamas. The current Dalai Lama lives in exile, in India.
Most Tibetans live in homes with stone or brick walls and flat roofs. Both men and women wear long robes with long sleeves and a high collar.
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Nomads raise sheep and hairy oxen called yaks in the northern grasslands. Nomads are people who move from place to place to find food for their livestock.
Craftworkers weave cloth and make carpets. Tibetans sell wool, furs, mules, and ponies to other countries.
From the early 1700′s to 1911, Tibet was controlled by China. In 1911, Tibetans forced the Chinese to leave, but China still thought of Tibet as part of China.
In 1950, Chinese soldiers entered Tibet. The next year, the Tibetans agreed to be part of China. However, they kept the right to rule themselves and follow their religion. In 1956, China tightened its control of Tibet. Chinese people took over most government and teaching jobs. The Chinese forced Tibetan farmers to grow wheat to feed Chinese soldiers instead of barley for themselves.
In 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India. While living away from Tibet, the Dalai Lama worked to end China’s control over Tibet by peaceful methods. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
Throughout the 1950′s and 1960′s, Tibetans fought against Chinese rule. In the 1980′s, the Chinese government loosened some of its control over Tibet. The farmers were allowed to grow the crops of their choice.
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