History of Tibet, as it has been recorded, is particularly focused on the history of Buddhism in Tibet. This is partly due to the pivotal role this religion has played in the development of Tibetan and Mongol cultures and partly because almost all native historians of the country were Buddhist monks. Tibet was situated between the ancient civilizations of China and Nepal and India to its south-west. It is separated from the former by the extensive mountain ranges to the east of the Tibetan Plateau and from the latter two by the towering Himalayas of Nepal and India. Tibet is nicknamed "the roof of the world" or "the land of snows". Tibetan history can be traced over 2,100 thousands of years back. The earliest Tibetan historical texts identify the Zhang Zhung culture as a people who migrated from the Amdo region into what is now the region of Guge in western Tibet. Zhang Zhung is considered to be the original home of the Bon religion. By the 1st century BCE, a neighboring kingdom arose in the Yarlung Valley and the Yarlung King, Drigum Tsenpo, attempted to remove the influence of the Zhang Zhung by expelling the Zhang's Bon priests from Yarlung. He was assassinated and Zhang Zhung continued its dominance of the region until it was annexed by Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. From the 7th century CE Chinese historians referred to Tibet with a phonetic transcription Tufan though 4 distinct characters were used. The first externally confirmed contact with the Tibetan kingdom in recorded Tibetan history occurred when King Namri Lontsan sent an ambassador to China in the early 7th century.
Some archaeological data suggests archaic humans passed through Tibet at the time India was first inhabited, half a million years ago. Modern humans first inhabited the Tibetan Plateau at least twenty-one thousand years ago. This population was largely replaced around 3,000 BC by Neolithic immigrants from northern China. However, there is a "partial genetic continuity between the Paleolithic inhabitants and the contemporary Tibetan populations". Megalithic monuments dot the Tibetan Plateau and may have been used in ancestor worship. Prehistoric Iron Age hill forts and burial complexes have recently been found on the Tibetan Plateau, but the remote high altitude location makes archaeological research difficult.
Tibet's history can be divided into the following periods:
- From the 7th to the 10th century. In the Tang Dynasty: Close Relations between Tibet and Central China
- In the 13th century. In the Yuan Dynasty Tibet Became an administrative Region of China
- From the 14th to the 17th century. The Ming Imperial Court's Administration of Tibet
- From the 17th to the 20th century. The Qing Imperial Court Improving the Administration of Tibet
- From 1912 to 1949. The Nationalist Government Safeguards China's Sovereignty over Tibet
- Peaceful Liberation of Tibet in 1951