A chronology of key events:
7th-9th century – Namri Songzen and descendants begin to unify Tibetan-inhabited areas and conquer neighbouring territories, in competition with China.
822 – Peace treaty with China delineates borders.
1244 – Mongols conquer Tibet. Tibet enjoys considerable autonomy under Yuan Dynasty.
1598 – Mongol Altan Khan makes high lama Sonam Gyatso first Dalai Lama.
1630s-1717 – Tibet involved in power struggles between Manchu and Mongol factions in China.
1624 – First European contact as Tibetans allow Portuguese missionaries to open church. Expelled at lama’s insistence in 1745.
1717 – Dzungar (Oirot) Mongols conquer Tibet and sack Lhasa. Chinese Emperor Kangxi eventually ousts them in 1720, and re-establishes rule of Dalai Lama.
1724 – Chinese Manchu (Qing) dynasty appoints resident commissioner to run Tibet, annexes parts of historic Kham and Amdo provinces.
1750 – Rebellion against Chinese commissioners quelled by Chinese army, which keeps 2,000-strong garrison in Lhasa. Dalai Lama government appointed to run daily administration under supervision of commissioner.
1774 – British East India Company agent George Bogle visits to assess trade possibilities.
1788 and 1791 – China sends troops to expel Nepalese invaders.
1793 – China decrees its commissioners in Lhasa to supervise selection of Dalai and other senior lamas.
1850s – Russian and British rivalry for control of Central Asia prompts Tibetan government to ban all foreigners and shut borders.
1865 – Britain starts discreetly mapping Tibet.
1904 – Dalai Lama flees British military expedition under Colonel Francis Younghusband. Britain forces Tibet to sign trading agreement in order to forestall any Russian overtures.
1906 – British-Chinese Convention of 1906 confirms 1904 agreement, pledges Britain not to annex or interfere in Tibet in return for indemnity from Chinese government.
1907 – Britain and Russia acknowledge Chinese suzerainty over Tibet.
1908-09 – China restores Dalai Lama, who flees to India as China sends in army to control his government.
1912 April – Chinese garrison surrenders to Tibetan authorities after Chinese Republic declared.
1912 – 13th Dalai Lama returns from India, Chinese troops leave.
1913 – Tibet reasserts independence after decades of rebuffing attempts by Britain and China to establish control.
1935 – The man who will later become the 14th Dalai Lama is born to a peasant family in a small village in north-eastern Tibet. Two years later, Buddhist officials declare him to be the reincarnation of the 13 previous Dalai Lamas.
1949 – Mao Zedong proclaims the founding of the People’s Republic of China and threatens Tibet with “liberation”.
1950 – China enforces a long-held claim to Tibet. The Dalai Lama, now aged 15, officially becomes head of state.
1951 – Tibetan leaders are forced to sign a treaty dictated by China. The treaty, known as the “Seventeen Point Agreement”, professes to guarantee Tibetan autonomy and to respect the Buddhist religion, but also allows the establishment of Chinese civil and military headquarters at Lhasa.
Mid-1950s – Mounting resentment against Chinese rule leads to outbreaks of armed resistance.
1954 – The Dalai Lama visits Beijing for talks with Mao, but China still fails to honour the Seventeen Point Agreement.
1959 March – Full-scale uprising breaks out in Lhasa. Thousands are said to have died during the suppression of the revolt. The Dalai Lama and most of his ministers flee to northern India, to be followed by some 80,000 other Tibetans.
1963 – Foreign visitors are banned from Tibet.
1965 – Chinese government establishes Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).
1966 – The Cultural Revolution reaches Tibet and results in the destruction of a large number of monasteries and cultural artefacts.
1971 – Foreign visitors are again allowed to enter the country.
Late 1970s – End of Cultural Revolution leads to some easing of repression, though large-scale relocation of Han Chinese into Tibet continues.
1980s – China introduces “Open Door” reforms and boosts investment while resisting any move towards greater autonomy for Tibet.
1987 – The Dalai Lama calls for the establishment of Tibet as a zone of peace and continues to seek dialogue with China, with the aim of achieving genuine self-rule for Tibet within China.
1988 – China imposes martial law after riots break out.
1989 – The Dalai Lama is awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
1993 – Talks between China and the Dalai Lama break down.
1995 – The Dalai Lama names a six-year-old boy, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, as the true reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism. The Chinese authorities place the boy under house arrest and designate another six-year-old boy, Gyancain Norbu, as their officially sanctioned Panchen Lama.
2002 – Contacts between the Dalai Lama and Beijing are resumed.
2006 July – A new railway linking Lhasa and the Chinese city of Golmud is opened. The Chinese authorities hail it as a feat of engineering, but critics say it will significantly increase Han Chinese traffic to Tibet and accelerate the undermining of traditional Tibetan culture.
2007 November – The Dalai Lama hints at a break with the centuries-old tradition of selecting his successor, saying the Tibetan people should have a role.
2007 December – The number of tourists travelling to Tibet hits a record high, up 64% year on year at just over four million, Chinese state media say.
2008 March – Anti-China protests escalate into the worst violence Tibet has seen in 20 years, five months before Beijing hosts the Olympic Games.
Pro-Tibet activists in several countries focus world attention on the region by disrupting progress of the Olympic torch relay.
2008 October – The Dalai Lama says he has lost hope of reaching agreement with China about the future of Tibet. He suggests that his government-in-exile could now harden its position towards Beijing.
2008 November – The British government recognises China’s direct rule over Tibet for the first time. Critics say the move undermines the Dalai Lama in his talks with China.
China says there has been no progress in the latest round of talks with aides of the Dalai Lama, and blames the Tibetan exiles for the failure of the discussions.
A meeting of Tibetan exiles in northern India reaffirms support for the Dalai Lama’s long-standing policy of seeking autonomy, rather than independence, from China.
2008 December – Row breaks out between European Union and China after Dalai Lama addresses European MPs. China suspends high-level ties with France after President Nicolas Sarkozy meets the Dalai Lama.
2009 January – Chinese authorities detain 81 people and question nearly 6,000 alleged criminals in what the Tibetan government-in-exile called a security crackdown ahead of the March anniversary of the 1959 flight of the Dalai Lama.
2009 March – China marks flight of Dalai Lama with new “Serfs’ Liberation Day” public holiday. China promotes its appointee as Panchen Lama, the second-highest-ranking Lama, as spokesman for Chinese rule in Tibet. Government reopens Tibet to tourists after a two-month closure ahead of the anniversary.
2009 April – China and France restore high-level contacts after December rift over President Sarkozy’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, and ahead of a meeting between President Sarkozy and China’s President Hu Jintao at the London G20 summit.
2009 August – Following serious ethnic unrest in China’s Xinjiang region, the Dalai Lama describes Beijing’s policy on ethnic minorities as “a failure”. But he also says that the Tibetan issue is a Chinese domestic problem.
2009 October – China confirms that at least two Tibetans have been executed for their involvement in anti-China riots in Lhasa in March 2008.
2009 January – Head of pro-Beijing Tibet government, Qiangba Puncog, resigns. A former army soldier and, like Puncog, ethnic Tibetan, Padma Choling, is chosen to succeed him.
2010 April – Envoys of Dalai Lama visit Beijing to resume talks with Chinese officials after a break of more than one year.
2011 March – A Tibetan Buddhist monk burns himself to death in a Tibetan-populated part of Sichuan Province in China, becoming the first of 12 monks and nuns in 2011 to make this protest against Chinese rule over Tibet.
2011 April – Dalai Lama announces his retirement from politics. Exiled Tibetans elect Lobsang Sangay to lead the government-in-exile.
2011 July – The man expected to be China’s next president, Xi Jinping, promises to “smash” Tibetan separatism in a speech to mark the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist takeover of Tibet. This comes shortly after US President Barack Obama receives the Dalai Lama in Washington and expresses “strong support” for human rights in Tibet.
2011 November – The Dalai Lama formally hands over his political responsibilities to Lobsang Sangay, a former Harvard academic. Before stepping down, the Dalai Lama questions the wisdom and effectiveness of self-immolation as a means of protesting against Chinese rule in Tibet.
2011 December – An exiled Tibetan rights group says a former monk died several days after setting himself on fire. Tenzin Phuntsog is the first monk to die thus in Tibet proper.
2012 May – Two men set themselves on fire in Lhasa, one of whom died, the official Chinese media said. They are the first self-immolations reported in the Tibetan capital.
2012 August – Two Tibetan teenagers are reported to have burned themselves to death in Sichuan province.
2012 October – Several Tibetan men burn themselves to death in north-western Chinese province of Gansu, Tibetan rights campaigners say.
2012 November – UN human rights chief Navi Pillay calls on China to address abuses that have prompted the rise in self-immolations.
On the eve of the 18th Communist Party of China National Congress, three teenage Tibetan monks set themselves on fire.
2013 February – The London-based Free Tibet group says further self-immolations bring to over 100 the number of those who have resorted to this method of protest since March 2011.
2013 June – China denies allegations by rights activists that it has resettled two million Tibetans in “socialist villages”.
2014 February – US President Obama holds talks with the Dalai Lama in Washington. China summons a US embassy official in Beijing to protest.
2014 April – Human Rights Watch says Nepal has imposed increasing restrictions on Tibetans living in the country following pressure from China.
2014 June – The Tibetan government-in-exile launches a fresh drive to persuade people across the world to support its campaign for more autonomy for people living inside the region.