Tibetan Empire
The historic name for the Tibetan Empire is different from Tibet's present name.
"This first mention of the name Bod, the usual name for Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 in the later Tibetan historical sources, is significant in that it is used to refer to a conquered region. In other words, the ancient name Bod originally referred only to a part of the Tibetan Plateau, a part which, together with Rtsaṅ (Tsang, in Tibetan now spelled Gtsaṅ, has come to be called Dbus-gtsaṅ (Central Tibet)."

Traditional Tibetan history preserves a lengthy list of rulers, whose exploits become subject to external verification in the Chinese histories by the seventh century. From the 7th to the 11th century a series of emperors ruled Tibet - see List of emperors of Tibet. Throughout the centuries from the time of the emperor Songtsän Gampo the power of the empire gradually increased over a diverse terrain so that by the reign of the emperor Ralpacan
Ralpacan , born c. 806, the Year of the Dog was, according to traditional sources, the 41st King of Tibet, ruling from the death of his father, Sadnalegs, in c. 815, until 838 CE...

, in the opening years of the ninth century, its influence extended as far south as Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 and as far north as Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...


The varied terrain of the empire and the difficulty of transportation, coupled with the new ideas that came into the empire as a result of its expansion, helped to create stresses and power blocs that were often in competition with the ruler at the center of the empire. Thus, for example, adherents of the Bön religion and the supporters of the ancient noble families gradually came to find themselves in competition with the recently-introduced Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...


Namri Songtsen and Founding of the Dynasty

The power that became the Tibetan state originated at the castle named Taktsé
Taktsé Castle
Taktsé Castle was a castle located in the Chingwa district of Chonggyä in central Tibet. According to legend, it was home to the kings of Tibet before Songtsen Gampo moved his capital to Lhasa. It later became the birthplace of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama , whose aristocratic family had made...

  in the Chingba (Phying-ba) district of Chonggyä (Phyongs-rgyas). There, According to the Old Tibetan Chronicle
Old Tibetan Chronicle
The Old Tibetan Chronicle is a scroll containing 536 lines, however the end is missing. There are Chinese Buddhist texts on the reverse side of the scroll...

 a group convinced Tagbu Nyazig (Stag-bu snya-gzigs) to rebel against Gudri Zingpoje (Dgu-gri Zing-po-rje), who was in turn a vassal of the Zhangzhung empire under the Lig myi dynasty. The group prevailed against Zingpoje. At this point Namri Songtsen
Namri Songtsen
Namri Songtsen , also known as "Namri Löntsen" was, according to tradition, the 32nd King of Tibet , despite the fact he formerly ruled only the Yarlung valley, and later the central part of the Tibetan plateau...

 (also known as Namri Löntsän) was the leader of a clan which one by one prevailed over all his neighboring clans. He gained control of all the area around what is now Lhasa, before his assassination around 618. This new-born regional state would later become known as the Tibetan Empire. The government of Namri Songtsen sent two embassies to the Chinese Sui Dynasty
Sui Dynasty
The Sui Dynasty was a powerful, but short-lived Imperial Chinese dynasty. Preceded by the Southern and Northern Dynasties, it ended nearly four centuries of division between rival regimes. It was followed by the Tang Dynasty....

 in 608 and 609, marking the appearance of Tibet on the international scene.

Reign of Songtsän Gampo (618-650)

Songtsän Gampo
Songtsen Gampo
Songtsän Gampo Songtsän Gampo Songtsän Gampo (Tibetan: སྲོང་བཙན་སྒམ་པོ་, Wylie: Srong-btsan sGam-po, 569–649?/605–649? was the founder of the Tibetan Empire (Tibetan: Bod; ), by tradition held to be the thirty-third ruler in his dynasty. In the Chinese records, his name is given as 'Sōngzàngānbù'...

 (Srong-brtsan Sgam-po) (born ca. 604, died 650) was the first great emperor who expanded Tibet's power beyond Lhasa and the Yarlung Valley, and is traditionally credited with introducing Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 to Tibet.
When his father Namri Songtsen died by poisoning (circa 618,) Songtsän Gampo took control, after putting down a brief rebellion. Songtsän Gampo proved adept at diplomacy as well as combat. The emperor's minister, Myang Mangpoje (Myang Mang-po-rje Zhang-shang), defeated the Sumpa
The Sumpa were a tribe living in northeastern Tibet from ancient times. According to historical sources they descended from the Qiang people, and they likely spoke a Tibetan dialect. Their territory was absorbed by the Tibetan Empire in the late 7th century, after which point they gradually lost...

 people ca. 627. Six years later (c. 632-33) Myang Mangpoje was accused of treason and executed. He was succeeded by minister Gar Songtsän (Mgar-srong-rtsan).

The Chinese records mention an envoy in 634. On that occasion, the Emperor requested marriage to a Chinese princess but was refused. In 635-36 the Emperor attacked and defeated the Tuyuhun (Tibetan
Tibetan language
The Tibetan languages are a cluster of mutually-unintelligible Tibeto-Burman languages spoken primarily by Tibetan peoples who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the northern Indian subcontinent in Baltistan, Ladakh,...

: ‘A zha), who lived around Lake Koko Nur, and who controlled important trade routes into China. After a Tibetan campaign against China in 635-6, the Chinese emperor agreed (only because of the threat of force, according to Tibetan sources) to provide a Chinese princess to Songtsän Gampo.

Circa 639, after Songtsän Gampo had a dispute with his younger brother Tsänsong (Brtsan-srong), the younger brother was burnt to death by his own minister Khäsreg (Mkha’s sregs) (presumably at the behest of his older brother the emperor).

The Chinese Princess Wencheng
Princess Wencheng
Princess Wencheng was a niece of the powerful Emperor Taizong of China's Tang Dynasty, who left China in 640, according to records, arriving the next year in Tibet to marry the thirty-seven year old Songtsän Gampo the thirty-third king of the Yarlung Dynasty of Tibet, in a marriage of...

 (Tibetan: Mung-chang Kung-co) departed China in 640 to marry Songtsän Gampo's son. She arrived a year later. This is traditionally credited with being the first time that Buddhism came to Tibet, but it is very unlikely Buddhism extended beyond foreigners at the court.

Songtsän Gampo’s sister Sämakar (Sad-mar-kar) was sent to marry Lig-myi-rhya, the king of Zhangzhung in what is now Western Tibet. However, when the king refused to consummate the marriage, she then helped her brother to defeat Lig myi-rhya and incorporate Zhangzhung into the Tibetan Empire. In 645, Songtsän Gampo overran the kingdom of Zhangzhung.

Songtsän Gampo died in 650. He was succeeded by his infant grandson Trimang Lön (Khri-mang-slon). Real power was left in the hands of the minister Gar Songtsän.

There is some confusion as to whether Central Tibet conquered Zhangzhung during the reign of Songtsän Gampo or in the reign of Trisong Detsän, (r. 755 until 797 or 804 CE). The records of the Tang Annals do, however, seem to clearly place these events in the reign of Songtsän Gampo for they say that in 634, Zhangzhung and various Qiang tribes "altogether submitted to him." Following this, he united with the country of Zhangzhung to defeat the Tuyuhun, then conquered two more Qiang tribes before threatening the Chinese region of Songzhou with a very large army (according to Tibetan sources 100,000, according to the Chinese more than 200,000 men). He then sent an envoy with gifts of gold and silk to the Chinese emperor to ask for a Chinese princess in marriage and, when refused, attacked Songzhou. According to the Tang Annals, he finally retreated and apologised and later the emperor granted his request,

It is recorded in the tradition of Tibet, that after Songtsen Gampo died in 650 A.D., the Chinese Tang dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 attacked and took control of Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

, "but they could not sustain their presence there in the hostile environment, so they soon returned to China."

Reign of Mangsong Mangtsän (650-676)

After having incorporated Tuyuhun into Tibetan territory, the powerful minister Gar Songtsän died in 667.

Between 665-670 Khotan
Hotan , or Hetian , also spelled Khotan, is the seat of the Hotan Prefecture in Xinjiang, China. It was previously known in Chinese as 于窴/於窴 and to 19th-century European explorers as Ilchi....

 was defeated by the Tibetans, and a long string of conflicts ensued with the Chinese Tang Dynasty. In the spring of 670, Tibet attacked the remaining Chinese territories in the western Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The...

. With troops from Khotan they conquered Aksu, upon which the Chinese abandoned the region, ending two decades of Chinese control. They thus gained control over all of the Chinese Four Garrisons of Anxi
Four Garrisons of Anxi
The Four Garrisons of Anxi were Chinese military garrisons installed by Tang Dynasty between 648 and 658 that stationed at the city and capital of the Indo-European statelet Kucha, Khotan, Kashgar and Karashahr, the capital of Kucha was also the seat of Protectorate General to Pacify the West...

 in the Tarim Basin in 670 and held them until 692, when the Chinese finally managed to regain these territories.

Emperor Mangsong Mangtsen
Mangsong Mangtsen
Mangsong Mangtsen, Trimang Löntsen or Khri-mang-slon-rtsan succeeded to the throne after the death of his grandfather, Songtsän Gampo, and was the second emperor of the newly created Tibetan Empire....

 (Trimang Löntsen or Khri-mang-slon-rtsan) married Thrimalö (Khri-ma-lod), a woman who would be of great importance in Tibetan history. The emperor died in the winter of 676-677, and Zhangzhung revolts occurred thereafter. In the same year the emperor's son Tridu Songtsen (Khri 'dus-srong btsan or Khri-'dus-srong-rtsan) was born.

Reign of Tridu Songtsän (677-704)

Emperor Tridu Songtsän ruled in the shadow of his powerful mother Thrimalö on the one hand and the influential Gar (Mgar) clan on the other hand.

In 685 the minister Gar Tännyädombu (Mgar Bstan-snyas-ldom-bu) died and his brother, Gar Thridringtsändrö (Mgar Khri-‘bring-btsan brod) was appointed to replace him. In 692, the Tibetans lost the Tarim Basin to the Chinese. Gar Thridringtsändrö defeated the Chinese in battle in 696, and sued for peace. Two years later in 698 emperor Tridu Songtsän invited the Gar clan (over 2000 people) to a hunting party and had them executed. Gar Thridringtsändrö then committed suicide, and his troops joined the Chinese. This brought to end the power of the Gar family.

From 700 until his death the emperor remained on campaign in the north-east, absent from Central Tibet, while his mother Thrimalö administrated in his name. In 702 China and Tibet concluded peace. At the end of that year, the Tibetan imperial government turned to consolidating the administrative organization khö chenpo (mkhos chen-po) of the north-eastern Sumru area, which had been the Sumpa country conquered 75 years earlier. Sumru was organized as a new "horn" of the empire.

During the summer of 703, Tridu Songtsän resided at Öljag (‘Ol-byag) in Ling (Gling), which was on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

, before proceeding with an invasion of Jang (‘Jang), which may have been either the Mosuo
Known to many as the Mosuo , but known often to themselves as the Na, the Mosuo are a small ethnic group living in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in China, close to the border with Tibet...

 or the kingdom of Nanzhao. In 704, he stayed briefly at Yoti Chuzang (Yo-ti Chu-bzangs) in Madrom (Rma-sgrom) on the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

. He then invaded Mywa, which was at least in part Nanzhao (the Tibetan term mywa likely referring to the same people or peoples referred to by the Chinese as Man or Miao
Miao people
The Miao or ม้ง ; ) is an ethnic group recognized by the government of the People's Republic of China as one of the 55 official minority groups. Miao is a Chinese term and does not reflect the self-designations of the component nations of people, which include Hmong, Hmu, A Hmao, and Kho Xiong...

) but died during the prosecution of that campaign.

Reign of Tride Tsuktsän (704-754)

Gyältsugru (Rgyal-gtsug-ru), later to become King Tride Tsuktsän (Khri-lde-gtsug-brtsan), generally known now by his nickname Me Agtsom ("Old Hairy"), was born in 704. Upon the death of Tridu Songtsen, his wife Thrimalö ruled as regent for the infant Gyältsugru. The following year the elder son of Tridu Songtsen, Lha Balpo (Lha Bal-pho) apparently contested the succession of his one-year-old brother, but was "deposed from the throne" at Pong Lag-rang.

Thrimalö had arranged for a royal marriage to a Chinese princess. The Princess Jincheng (金成) (Tibetan: Kyimshang Kongjo) arrived in 710, but it is somewhat unclear whether she married the seven year old Gyältsugru or the deposed Lha Balpo. Gyältsugru also married a lady from Jang (Nanzhao) and another born in Nanam.

Gyältsugru was officially enthroned with the royal name Tride Tsuktsän in 712, the year that dowager empress Thrimalö died.

The Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 and Göktürks
The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

 became increasingly prominent during 710-720. The Tibetans were allied with both. Tibet and China fought on and off in the late 720s. At first Tibet (with Göktürk allies) had the upper hand, but then they started losing battles. After a rebellion in southern China and a major Tibetan victory in 730, the Tibetans and Göktürks sued for peace.

In 734 the Tibetans married their princess Dronmalön (‘Dron ma lon) to the Göktürk Qaghan. The Chinese allied with the Caliphate to attack the Göktürks. After victory and peace with the Göktürks, the Chinese attacked the Tibetan army. The Tibetans suffered several defeats in the east, despite strength in the west. The Göktürk empire collapsed from internal strife. In 737, the Tibetans launched an attack against the king of Bru-za (Gilgit
Gilgit is a city in northern PakistanGilgit may refer to other terms related with the area of the city:* Gilgit River* Gilgit Valley* Gilgit District* Gilgit Agency * Gilgit Airport...

), who asked for Chinese help, but was ultimately forced to pay homage to Tibet. In 747, the hold of Tibet was loosened by the campaign of general Gao Xianzhi
Gao Xianzhi
Gao Xianzhi, or Ko Sōnji, was a Tang general of Korean descent. He was known as a great commander during his lifetime. He is most well known for taking part in multiple military expeditions to conquer the Xiyu region over the infamous Pamir Mountains, all the way to the Aral Sea and the Caspian...

, who tried to re-open the direct communications between Central Asia and Kashmir.

By 750 the Tibetans had lost almost all of their central Asian possessions to the Chinese. In 753, even the kingdom of "Little Balur" (modern Gilgit) was captured by the Chinese. However, after Gao Xianzhi's defeat by the Caliphate and Qarluqs at the Battle of Talas
Battle of Talas
The Battle of Talas in 751 AD was an especially notable conflict between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty for control not only of the Syr Darya region, but even more...

 (751), Chinese influence decreased rapidly and Tibetan influence began to increase again. Tibet conquered large sections of northern India during this time.

In 755 Tride Tsuktsän was killed by the ministers Lang and ‘Bal. Then Tagdra Lukong (Stag-sgra Klu-khong) presented evidence to prince Song Detsän (Srong-lde-brtsan) that they were disloyal and causing dissension in the country, and were about to injure him also. Subsequently, Lang and ‘Bal really did revolt. They were killed by the army and their property was confiscated."

Reign of Trisong Detsän (756-797 or 804)

In 756 prince Song Detsän was crowned Emperor with the name Trisong Detsän
Trisong Detsen
Trisong Detsän or Trisong Detsen ཁྲི་སྲོང་ལྡེ་བཙན , was the son of Me Agtsom and one of the emperors of Tibet and ruled...

 (Khri sron lde brtsan) and took control of the government when he attained his majority at 13 years of age (14 by Western reckoning) after a one-year interregnum
An interregnum is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order...

 during which there was no emperor.

In 755 China had been greatly weakened by the An Shi Rebellion
An Shi Rebellion
The An Lushan Rebellion took place in China during the Tang Dynasty from CE December 16, 755 to CE February 17, 763, beginning when general An Lushan declared himself emperor, establishing the rival Yan Dynasty in Northern China...

, which would last until 763. In contrast, Trisong Detsän's reign was characterized by the reassertion of Tibetan influence in Central Asia. Early in his reign regions to the West of Tibet paid homage to the Tibetan court. From that time onward the Tibetans pressed into the territory of the Tang emperors, reaching the Chinese capital Chang'an (modern Xian) in late 763. Tibetan troops occupied Chang'an for fifteen days and installed a puppet emperor while Emperor Daizong
Emperor Daizong of Tang
Emperor Daizong of Tang , personal name Li Yu , né Li Chu , was an emperor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty....

 was in Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...

. Nanzhao (in Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

 and neighbouring regions) remained under Tibetan control from 750 to 794, when they turned on their Tibetan overlords and helped the Chinese inflict a serious defeat on the Tibetans.

In 785, Wei Kao, a Chinese serving as an official in Shuh repulsed Tibetan invasions of the area.>

In the meantime, the Kyrgyz negotiated an agreement of friendship with Tibet and other powers to allow free trade in the region. An attempt at a peace treaty between Tibet and China was made in 787, but hostilities were to last until the Sino-Tibetan treaty of 821 was inscribed in Lhasa in 823 (see below). At the same time, the Uyghurs
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

, nominal allies of the Tang emperors, continued to make difficulties along Tibet's Northern border. Toward the end of this king's reign Uyghur victories in the North caused the Tibetans to lose a number of their allies in the Southeast.

Recent historical research indicates the presence of Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in as early as the sixth and seventh centuries, a period when the Hephthalites had extensive links with the Tibetans. A strong presence existed by the eighth century when Patriarch Timothy I
Patriarch Timothy I of Constantinople
Timothy I or Timotheus I was a Christian priest who was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople by the Byzantine emperor Anastasius I in 511.-Early career:Timothy was Christian priest and keeper of the ornaments of the cathedral...

 (727-823) in 782 calls the Tibetans one of the more significant communities of the eastern church and wrote of the need to appoint another bishop in ca. 794.

There is a stone pillar (now blocked off from the public), the Lhasa Shöl rdo-rings, Doring Chima or Lhasa Zhol Pillar
Lhasa Zhol Pillar
The graceful stone pillar, the Lhasa Zhöl rdo-rings or Lhasa Zhol Pillar, also known as the Doring Chima, stood in the village of Shöl or Zhöl below the Potala Palace, in Lhasa, Tibet, dates as far back as circa 764 CE, "or only a little later," and is inscribed with what may be the oldest known...

, in the ancient village of Shöl in front of the Potala in Lhasa, dating to c. 764 CE during Trisong Detsen's reign. It also contains an account of the conquest of large swathes of northwestern China including the capture of Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

, the Chinese capital, for a short period in 763 CE, during the reign of Emperor Daizong.

Reign of Muné Tsenpo (c. 797-799?)

Trisong Detsen is said to have had four sons. The eldest, Mutri Tsenpo, apparently died young. When Trisong Detsen retired he handed power to the eldest surviving son, Muné Tsenpo
Muné Tsenpo
Muné Tsenpo was the 39th Emperor of Tibet . This period of Tibetan history, towards the end, and after the reign of Trisong Detsen is very murky and the sources give conflicting stories and dates....

 (Mu-ne btsan-po). Most sources say that Muné's reign lasted only about a year and a half. After a short reign, Muné Tsenpo was supposedly poisoned on the orders of his mother.

After his death, Mutik Tsenpo
Mutik Tsenpo
Mutik Tsenpo or Murug Tsenpo is sometimes considered to have been one of the emperors of Tibet. This is, however, very questionable. Moreover, the whole period between the reigns of Trisong Detsen and Sadnalegs is very unclear, with several conflicting reports.Trisong Detsen is said to have had...

 was next in line to the throne. However, he had been apparently banished to Lhodak Kharchu (lHo-brag or Lhodrag) near the Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

ese border for murdering a senior minister.

The youngest brother, Tride Songtsän, was definitely ruling by 804 CE.

Reign of Tride Songtsän (799-815)

Under Tride Songtsän (Khri lde srong brtsan - generally known as Sadnalegs
Sadnalegs or Tridé Songtsen , was the youngest son of King Trisong Detsen of Tibet ....

) there was a protracted war with the Abbasid Caliphate. It appears that Tibetans captured a number of Caliphate troops and pressed them into service on the eastern frontier in 801. Tibetans were active as far west as Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 and Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

. Caliphate forces began to gain the upper hand, and the Tibetan governor of Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 submitted to the Caliphate and became a Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 about 812 or 815. The Caliphate then struck east from Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, but were held off by the Tibetans. In the meantime, the Uyghur Khaganate attacked Tibet from the northeast. Strife between the Uyghurs and Tibetans continued for some time.

Reign of Tritsu Detsen (815-838)

Tritsu Detsen (Khri gtsug lde brtsan), best known as Ralpacan
Ralpacan , born c. 806, the Year of the Dog was, according to traditional sources, the 41st King of Tibet, ruling from the death of his father, Sadnalegs, in c. 815, until 838 CE...

, is important to Tibetan Buddhists as one of the three Dharma Kings who brought Buddhism to Tibet. He was a generous supporter of Buddhism and invited many craftsmen, scholars and translators from neighbouring countries. He also promoted the development of written Tibetan
Standard Tibetan
Standard Tibetan is the most widely used spoken form of the Tibetan languages. It is based on the speech of Lhasa, an Ü-Tsang dialect belonging to the Central Tibetan languages. For this reason, Standard Tibetan is often called Central Tibetan...

 and translations, which were greatly aided by the development of a detailed Sanskrit-Tibetan lexicon called the Mahavyutpatti which included standard Tibetan equivalents for thousands of Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...


Tibetans attacked Uyghur territory in 816 and were in turn attacked in 821. After successful Tibetan raids into Chinese territory, Buddhists in both countries sought mediation.

Ralpacan was apparently murdered by two pro-Bön ministers who then placed his anti-Buddhist brother, Langdarma
Langdarma was the last emperor of the unified Tibetan empire, who most likely reigned from 838 to 841 CE. Early sources named him Tri Darma meaning "King Darma"; "Lang" is a nickname meaning "ox". He was also called tsenpo or lhase Au Dunten...

, on the throne.

Tibet continued to be a major Central Asian empire until the mid-9th century. It was under the reign of Ralpacan that the political power of Tibet was at its greatest extent, stretching as far as Mongolia and Bengal, and entering into treaties with China on a mutual basis.

A Sino-Tibetan treaty was agreed on in 821/822 under Ralpacan, which established peace for more than two decades. A bilingual account of this treaty is inscribed on a stone pillar which stands outside the Jokhang
The Jokhang, , also called the Qokang Monastery, Jokang, Jokhang Temple, Jokhang Monastery or Zuglagkang , is located on Barkhor Square in Lhasa. For most Tibetans it is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. It is in some regards pan-sectarian, but is presently controlled by the Gelug school...

 temple in Lhasa. The full text of the treaty with its remarkable imagery describing the relationship between the Tibetan King and Chinese Emperor as one of "nephew and uncle" can be found at http://www.tpprc.org/documents/agreements/821-822.pdf

Reign of Langdarma (838-842)

The reign of Langdarma
Langdarma was the last emperor of the unified Tibetan empire, who most likely reigned from 838 to 841 CE. Early sources named him Tri Darma meaning "King Darma"; "Lang" is a nickname meaning "ox". He was also called tsenpo or lhase Au Dunten...

(Glang dar ma), regal title Tri Uidumtsaen (Khri 'U'i dum brtsan), was plagued by external troubles. The Uyghur state to the north collapsed under pressure from the Kyrgyz in 840, and many displaced people fled to Tibet. Langdarma himself was assassinated, apparently by a Buddhist hermit, in 842.

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