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Western mapping of Tibet



The first Europeans to arrive in Tibet were the Portuguese missionaries António de Andrade and Manuel Marques in 1624. They were welcomed by the King and Queen of Guge, and were allowed to build a church and to introduce Christian belief. The king of Guge eagerly accepted Christianity as an offsetting religious influence to dilute the thriving Gelugpa and to counterbalance his potential rivals and consolidate his position. All missionaries were expelled in 1745.
In the 1630s, Tibet became entangled in power struggles between the rising Manchu and various Mongol and Oirat factions. Güshi Khan of the Khoshud became the overlord over Tibet, and acted as a "Protector of the Yellow Church". Güshi helped the fifth Dalai Lama establish himself as the highest spiritual and political authority in Tibet and destroyed any potential rivals.

18th century
The Qing Dynasty put Amdo under their control in 1724, and incorporated eastern Kham into neighbouring Chinese provinces in 1728. The Qing government sent a resident commissioner, called an Amban, to Lhasa. In 1751, Emperor Qianlong installed the Dalai Lama as both the spiritual leader and political leader of Tibet leading the government, namely Kashag.
The 18th century saw some contact with Jesuits and Capuchins from Europe, and in 1774 a Scottish nobleman, George Bogle, came to Shigatse to investigate trade for the British East India Company.

19th century
by the 19th century the situation of foreigners in Tibet grew more tenuous. The British Empire was encroaching from northern India into the Himalayas, the Emirate of Afghanistan and the Russian Empire were expanding into Central Asia and each power became suspicious of the others' intentions in Tibet. Sándor Korösi Csoma, the Hungarian scientist spent 20 years in British India (4 years in Ladakh) trying to visit Tibet. He created the first Tibetan-English dictionary.
In 1865, the British began secretly mapping Tibet. Trained Indian surveyor-spies disguised as pilgrims or traders counted their strides on their travels across Tibet and took readings at night.[citation needed]

20th century
In 1904, a British expedition to Tibet under the command of Colonel Francis Younghusband, accompanied by a large military escort, invaded Tibet and reached Lhasa. The British were spurred in part by a fear that Russia was extending its power into Tibet, and partly by hope that negotiations with the Dalai Lama would be more effective than with Chinese representatives. But on his way to Lhasa, Younghusband slaughtered many Tibetan troops in Gyangzê who tried to stop the British advance.
When the mission reached Lhasa, Younghusband imposed a treaty which was subsequently repudiated, and was succeeded by a 1906 treaty signed between Britain and China.


Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d' Anville (1697-1782)
A French cartographer who compiled over 200 maps. The following maps of Tibet are from most important work Nouvel Atlas de la Chine, published in The Hague 1737, and it was "The principal cartographic authority on China during the 18th century."
D'Anville used maps prepared by Jesuit missionaries and commissioned by Emporer-Kanyx, who in 1708-16 ordered a surveying of the country.
Originally the map was included in Description de la Chine by P.du Halde.
Delisle introduces much new information: he indicates the correct course of the Tsanpo, the great river of Tibet which crosses the Himalayas and flows into the Bengal Gulf, he replaces Tache Linbou with the more important nearby town of Gegace [Shigatse], and identifies several new ‘countries,’ such as the kingdom of Tacpo, east of Lhasa, and those of Bramson [Sikkim] and Pary [Phari] to the south.