Kham (Tibetan : ཁམས་, Wylie : khams; Chinese :康; pinyin :Kāng) is one of the three traditional Tibetan regions, the others being Amdo in the northeast, and Ü-Tsang in central Tibet. The original residents of Kham are called Khampas (Tibetan : ཁམས་པ་, Wylie : khams pa), and were governed locally by chieftains and monasteries. Kham presently covers a land area distributed between five regions in China, most of it in Tibet Autonomous Region and Sichuan, with smaller portions located within Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces.
Densely forested with grass plains, its convergence of six valleys and four rivers supported independent Kham polities of Tibetan warrior kingdoms together with Tibetan Buddhist monastic centers.  The early trading route between Central Tibet and China traveled through Kham,  and Kham is said to be the inspiration for Shangri-La in James Hilton's novel. 
Settled as Tibet's eastern frontier in the 7th century, King Songtsen Gampo built temples along its eastern border. In 1939, an eastern area of Kham was officially established as Xikang Province of China. 
Kham has a rugged terrain characterized by mountain ridges and gorges running from northwest to southeast, and collectively known as the Hengduan Mountains. Numerous rivers, including the Mekong, Yangtze, Yalong River, and the Salween River flow through Kham.
Under the modern administrative division of China, Kham includes a total of 50 contemporary counties, which have been incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan (16 counties), Yunnan (three counties), and Qinghai (6 counties) as well as the eastern portion of the Tibet Autonomous Region (25 counties).
The people of Kham, the Khampas, are reputed warriors renowned for their marksmanship and horsemanship.  References state many Khampas in the Hor States include mention of their Mongolian heritage. 
There are significant differences in traditions and beliefs—even physical appearance—between the peoples of Kham and Lhasa. Most of Kham's residents speak Khams Tibetan while at least one-third of the residents are speakers of Qiangic languages, a family of twelve distinct but interrelated languages that are not closely related to Khams Tibetan.[ citation needed ]
As a frontier region, Kham integrated and "Tibetanized" early Mongolian and Chinese populations.  After Güshri Khan's invasion of Kham in 1639, Mongolian people and Amdo's tribal people resettled to the region. 
The Khampas are known for their great height. Khampa males are on average 180 cm (5 ft 11 in).  
The Pugyal Dynasty (or Yarlung) of the Tibetan Empire sent troops east from Lhasa to the reaches of the Tibetan Plateau, where they interacted with local cultures and languages to establish eastern Tibet, or Do Kham ('Do', the convergence of rivers and valleys; 'Kham', frontier).  Kham was traditionally referred to as Chushi Gangdruk, i.e. 'The Four Rivers and Six Ranges' and 'The Four Great Valleys'.  Responsible for introducing Buddhism to Tibet, King Songtsen Gampo (reign 629–649) built twelve 'border-taming' temples in Kham, and his 4th wife Wencheng Gongzhu is credited with commissioning Buddhist structures while traveling through Kham in 640–641, from her home in China to Central Tibet. 
During the Imperial era, both Nyingma school and Bon monasteries were located, especially in Nyarong Valley, among pastoral and agricultural-based polities ruled by local chieftains, polities which included merchant as well as Mongol and Chinese populations.  Notable Tibetan Buddhist art from this era, dating from 804 or 816, includes carved stone statues of Buddha Vairocana. 
Following a power struggle in the mid-9th century, Tibet separated into independent kingdoms. 
Kham was not controlled by a single king and remained a patchwork of kingdoms, tribes, and chiefdoms whose bases of authority were constantly shifting. A dual system of secular and Buddhist polities continued.  In 1270, the Sakya school's lama Tonstul, a student of Sakya Pandita, established a monastery in Kham while both Kagyu and Sakya monasteries were located in the northern plains, including Gonjo and Lingtsang,  which accompanied the earlier Nyingma and Bon monasteries of Kham.
In 1639, Güshri Khan, a supporter of the Dalai Lama, invaded with Mongolian troops and defeated the powerful King of Beri in Kham.  In 1655, Ngawang Phuntsok, a student of the Dalai Lama, founded Gonsar Monastery, the first of the 13 Gelug monasteries in the Hor States, with the support of the kingdom of Degé.  By 1677, many Gelug monasteries had been built when the 5th Dalai Lama finalized Kham's Sino-Tibetan border location between China and a Tibet then reunified in the Khoshut Khanate, resulting in Kham being ascribed to Tibet's authority. 
The major independent polities included the Chakla, Degé, the Lingtsang, Nangchen and the Lhatok. Other important polities included Chamdo, Batang, Mili, and the Hor States.
In 1717, the Mongol Dzungar Khanate invaded Tibet and other Asian regions. The Qing Chinese army likewise invaded and defeated the Dzungars. This led to the redrawing of the Sino-Tibetan boundary of 1677, which had followed the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The frontier line changed in either 1725 or 1726 to follow the Dri River (Jinsha River, Upper Yangtze), while the Kham region on the eastern bank became Qing domain.  There, hereditary chieftains were bestowed honorific titles of tusi, and obligated to fight alongside the Qing army in other Kham battles between chieftains. 
Earlier in 1724, an area of Qinghai (Kokonor) was established within Do Kham. The eastern Kham Qing domain was later incorporated into neighboring Chinese provinces.  [ verification needed ]
In 1837, a minor chieftain Gompo Namgyal, of Nyarong in eastern Kham, began expanding his control regionally and launched offensives against the Hor States, Litang, Degé, the Chakla and Batang, becoming the paramount power in the region.   China sent troops in against Namgyal which were defeated in 1849,  and additional troops were not dispatched. Chinese military posts were present along the trading route, but "did not have any authority over the native chiefs".  By 1862, Namgyal blocked trade routes from China to Central Tibet, and sent troops into China. 
Local chieftains had appealed to both the Lhasa and the Qing Manchu governments for help against Namgyal. The Tibetan authorities sent an army in 1863, and defeated Namgyal then killed him at his Nyarong fort by 1865. Central Tibet reasserted its authority over the northern parts of Kham and established the Office of the Tibetan High Commissioner to govern.   Tibet also reclaimed Nyarong, Degé and the Hor States north of Nyarong. China recalled their forces.  It appears to have been accepted by the Manchu Tongzhi Emperor.  [ verification needed ]
Then in 1896, the Qing Governor of Sichuan attempted to gain control of Nyarong valley during a military attack. After his defeat, the Qing agreed to the withdrawal of Chinese forces and the "territory was returned to the direct rule of Lhasa". 
From 1904 to 1911, China decided to reassert its control over the previously re-ceded section of Kham, and to push further into the region  soon after the invasion of Tibet by the British army under Francis Younghusband in 1904.  The British invasion alarmed the Qing rulers in China, and they sent Fengquan (鳳全) to Kham to initiate land reforms and reduce the numbers of monks.  An anti-foreigner and anti-Qing uprising in Batang led to Fengquan's death, while Chinese fields were burned. 
The Qing then undertook punitive campaigns in Kham  under Manchu army commander Zhao Erfeng, also the Governor of Xining, where he earned the nickname of "the Butcher of Kham".  In 1905 or 1908   Zhao began executing monks  and destroying many monasteries in Kham and Amdo, implementing an early "sinicization" of the region: 
He abolished the powers of the Tibetan local leaders and appointed Chinese magistrates in their places. He introduced new laws that limited the number of lamas and deprived monasteries of their temporal power and inaugurated schemes for having the land cultivated by Chinese immigrants. Zhao's methods in eastern Tibet uncannily prefigured the Communist policies nearly half a century later. They were aimed at the extermination of the Tibetan clergy, the assimilation of territory and repopulation of the Tibetan plateaus with poor peasants from Sichuan. Like the later Chinese conquerors, Zhao's men looted and destroyed Tibetan monasteries, melted down religious images and tore up sacred texts to use to line the soles of their boots and, as the Communists were also to do later, Zhao Erfeng worked out a comprehensive scheme for the redevelopment of Tibet that covered military training reclamation work, secular education, trade and administration. 
After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Zhao was stripped of his post and executed by the revolutionary commander Yin Changheng.
A year before the collapse of the Qing, the Beijing-appointed amban Zhong Ying invaded Lhasa with the Chinese army in February 1910  in order to gain control of Tibet and establish direct Chinese rule.  The 13th Dalai Lama escaped to British India, and returned before China surrendered via a letter from the amban to the Dalai Lama in the summer of 1912. On 13 February 1913, the Dalai Lama declared Tibet an independent nation, and announced the end of the historic "priest-patron" relationship between Tibet and China.  The amban and Chinese army were expelled, while other Chinese populations were given three years to depart.
By late 1913, Kham and Amdo remained largely occupied by China. Tibet proposed re-establishing the border between Tibet and China at the Dri River during the Simla Conference with Britain and China, while Britain countered with another proposal which was initialed but not ratified.
In 1917, the Tibetan army defeated China in battles at Chamdo, west of the Dri River, which were halted after Britain refused to sell Tibet additional armements. 
The official position of the British Government was it would not intervene between China and Tibet and would only recognize the de facto government of China within Tibet at this time.  In his history of Tibet, Bell wrote that "the Tibetans were abandoned to Chinese aggression, an aggression for which the British Military Expedition to Lhasa and subsequent retreat [and consequent power vacuum within Tibet] were primarily responsible". 
In 1932, an agreement signed between Chinese warlord Liu Wenhui and Tibetan forces formalized the partition of Kham into two regions: Eastern Kham, which was administered by Chinese forces, and Western Kham, which was administered by Tibet. Eastern Kham subsequently became the actual area of control of China's Xikang province. The border between eastern and western Kham is the Upper Yangtze - Dri Chu in Tibetan and Jinsha Jiang respectively, in Chinese.
Tenpay Gyaltsan, a Khampa who was 5 years old, was selected as the fifth Jamyang Hutuktu in 1921. 
The Kham Pandatsang family led the 1934 Khamba rebellion against the Tibetan government in Lhasa. The Kuomintang reached out to the Khampas, whose relationship with the Dalai Lama's government in Lhasa were deteriorating badly. The Khampa revolutionary leader Pandatsang Rapga founded the Tibet Improvement Party to overthrow the Tibetan government and establish a Tibetan Republic as part of China. In addition to using the Khampa's against the Tibetan Government in Lhasa, the Chinese Kuomintang also used them against the Communists during the Chinese Civil War.
The Kuomintang formulated a plan where three Khampa divisions would be assisted by the Panchen Lama to oppose the Communists. 
Kuomintang intelligence reported that some Tibetan tusi chiefs and the Khampa Su Yonghe controlled 80,000 troops in Sichuan, Qinghai, and Tibet. They hoped to use them against the Communist army. 
The Chinese Kuomintang (Nationalists) also enlisted Khampas to join their military. 
The Chinese Kuomintang also sought the Khampas help in defending Sichuan from Japan during World War 2, since the temporary capital was located there.  A Khampa member of the Mongolian Tibetan Academy was Han Jiaxiang. 
300 "Khampa bandits" were enlisted into the Kuomintang Consolatory Commission military in Sichuan, where they were part of the effort of the central government of China to penetrated and destabilize the local Han warlords such as Liu Wenhui. The Chinese government sought to exercise full control over frontier areas against the warlords. The Consoltary Commission forces were used to battle the Communist Red Army but were defeated when their religious leader was captured by Communist forces. 
The Republic of China government also used Khampa traders to operate secret transports between different places. 
Kesang Tsering was sent by the Chinese to Batang to take control of Xikang, where he formed a local government. He was spread there for the purpose of propagating the Three People's Principle to the Khampa. 
In 1950, following the defeat of the Kuomintang rulers of China by communist forces in the Chinese Civil War, the People's Liberation Army invaded western Kham. Western Kham was then set up as a separate Qamdo Territory[ citation needed ], then merged into Tibet Autonomous Region in 1965. Meanwhile, Xikang, comprising eastern Kham, was merged into Sichuan in 1955. The border between Sichuan and Tibet Autonomous Region has remained at the Yangtze River.
Tibet is a region in Asia, covering much of the Tibetan Plateau and spanning about 2,500,000 km2 (970,000 sq mi). It is the homeland of the Tibetan people. Also resident on the plateau are some other ethnic groups such as the Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa and Lhoba peoples and, since the 20th century, considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui settlers. Since the 1951 annexation of Tibet by the People's Republic of China, the entire plateau has been under the administration of the People's Republic of China. Tibet is divided administratively into the Tibet Autonomous Region, and parts of the Qinghai and Sichuan provinces.
While the Tibetan plateau has been inhabited since pre-historic times, most of Tibet's history went unrecorded until the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism around the 6th century. Tibetan texts refer to the kingdom of Zhangzhung as the precursor of later Tibetan kingdoms and the originators of the Bon religion. While mythical accounts of early rulers of the Yarlung Dynasty exist, historical accounts begin with the introduction of Buddhism from India in the 6th century and the appearance of envoys from the unified Tibetan Empire in the 7th century. Following the dissolution of the empire and a period of fragmentation in the 9th-10th centuries, a Buddhist revival in the 10th–12th centuries saw the development of three of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
Amdo is one of the three traditional Tibetan regions, the others being U-Tsang in the west and Kham in the east. Ngari in the north-west was incorporated into Ü-Tsang. Amdo is also the birthplace of the 14th Dalai Lama. Amdo encompasses a large area from the Machu to the Drichu (Yangtze). Amdo is mostly coterminous with China's present-day Qinghai province, but also includes small portions of Sichuan and Gansu provinces.
Xikang was a nominal province formed by the Republic of China in 1939 on the initiative of prominent Sichuan warlord Liu Wenhui and continued by the early People's Republic of China. Thei idea was to form a single unified province for the entire Kham region under direct Chinese administration, in effect annexing the western Kham region that was then under Tibetan control. Kham was entirely populated by Tibetan people called Khampas. The then independent Tibet controlled the portion of Kham west of the Upper Yangtze River. The nominal Xikang province also included in the south the Assam Himalayan region that Tibet had recognised as a part of British India by the 1914 McMahon Line agreement. The eastern part of the province was inhabited by a number of different ethnic groups, such as Han Chinese, Yi, Qiang people and Tibetan, then known as Chuanbian (川邊), a special administrative region of the Republic of China. In 1939, it became the new Xikang province with the additional territories belonging to Tibetan and British control added in. After the People's Republic of China invaded and occupied Tibet, the earlier nationalist imagination of Xikang came to fruition.
Ngawang Lobsang Thupten Gyatso Jigdral Chokley Namgyal, abbreviated to Thubten Gyatso was the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet, enthroned during a turbulent era and the collapse of the Qing Empire. Referred to as "the Great Thirteenth", he is also known for redeclaring Tibet's national independence, and for his reform and modernization initiatives.
Lobsang Trinley Lhündrub Chökyi Gyaltsen was the tenth Panchen Lama, officially the 10th Panchen Erdeni, of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. According to Tibetan Buddhism, Panchen Lamas are living emanations of the buddha Amitabha. He was often referred to simply as Choekyi Gyaltsen.
Kelzang Gyatso, also spelled Kalzang Gyatso, Kelsang Gyatso and Kezang Gyatso, was the 7th Dalai Lama of Tibet, recognized as the true incarnation of the 6th Dalai Lama, and enthroned after a pretender was deposed.
Zhao Erfeng (1845–1911), courtesy name Jihe, was a late Qing Dynasty official and Han Chinese bannerman, who belonged to the Plain Blue Banner. He was an assistant amban in Tibet at Chamdo in Kham. He was appointed in March, 1908 under Lien Yu, the main amban in Lhasa. Formerly Director-General of the Sichuan-Hubei Railway and acting viceroy of Sichuan province, Zhao was the much-maligned Chinese general of the late imperial era who led military campaigns throughout Kham, earning himself the nickname "the Butcher of Kham" and "Zhao the Butcher".
The 1959 Tibetan uprising began on 10 March 1959, when a revolt erupted in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, which had been under the effective control of the People's Republic of China since the Seventeen Point Agreement was reached in 1951. The initial uprising occurred amid general Chinese-Tibetan tensions and a context of confusion, because Tibetan protesters feared that the Chinese government might arrest the 14th Dalai Lama. The protests were also fueled by anti-Chinese sentiment and separatism. At first, the uprising mostly consisted of peaceful protests, but clashes quickly erupted and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) eventually used force to quell the protests, some of the protesters had captured arms. The last stages of the uprising included heavy fighting, with high civilian and military losses. The 14th Dalai Lama escaped from Lhasa, while the city was fully retaken by Chinese security forces on 23 March 1959. Thousands of Tibetans were killed during the 1959 uprising, but the exact number of deaths is disputed.
Tibet was a de facto independent state in East Asia that lasted from the collapse of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty in 1912 until its annexation by the People's Republic of China in 1951.
The Sino-Tibetan War(Chinese: 康藏糾紛; pinyin: Kāngcáng jiūfēn, lit. Kham–Tibet dispute), or Second Sino-Tibetan War was a war that began in May and June of 1930 when the Tibetan Army under the 13th Dalai Lama invaded the Chinese-administered eastern Kham region, and the Yushu region in Qinghai, in a struggle over control and corvee labor in the Dajin Monastery; the Tibetan army -with the support of the UK- defeated easily the Sichuan army who was focused in internal fights. Ma clique warlord Ma Bufang secretly sent a telegram to Sichuan warlord Liu Wenhui and the leader of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek, suggesting a joint attack on the Tibetan forces.
The Amdo- Ma clique conflicts (1917–1949) were a series of military campaigns against unconquered Amchok and Ngolok (Golok) tribal Tibetan areas of Qinghai (Amdo), undertaken by two Hui commanders, Gen. Ma Qi and Gen. Ma Bufang, on behalf of the Beiyang and Kuomintang governments of the Republic of China. The campaigns lasted between 1917 and 1949. The conflict was spurred by multiple factors, notably for economic and socio-political reasons rather than by any racial or religious enmity.
The Battle of Chamdo occurred from 6 to 24 October 1950. It was a military campaign by the People's Republic of China (PRC) to take the Chamdo Region from a de facto independent Tibetan state. The campaign resulted in the capture of Chamdo and the annexation of Tibet by the People's Republic of China.
The Batang uprising was an uprising by the Khampas of Kham against the assertion of authority by Qing China.
Pandatsang Rapga was a Khamba revolutionary during the first half of the 20th century in Tibet. He was pro-Kuomintang and pro-Republic of China, anti-feudal, anti-communist. He believed in overthrowing the Dalai Lama's feudal regime and driving British imperialism out of Tibet, and acted on behalf of Chiang Kai-shek in countering the Dalai Lama. He was later involved in rebelling against communist rule.
The Tibetan Army was the military force of Tibet after its de facto independence in 1912 until the 1950s. As a ground army modernised with the assistance of British training and equipment, it served as the de facto armed forces of the Tibetan government.
The Ganden Phodrang or Ganden Podrang was the Tibetan system of government established by the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642; it operated in Tibet until the 1950s. Lhasa became the capital of Tibet again early in this period, after the Oirat lord Güshi Khan conferred all temporal power on the 5th Dalai Lama in a ceremony in Shigatse in 1642. The Ganden Phodrang accepted China's Qing emperors as overlords after 1720, and the Qing became increasingly active in governing Tibet starting in the early 18th century. After the fall of the Qing empire in 1912, the Ganden Phodrang government lasted until the 1950s, when the People's Republic of China (PRC) invaded Tibet. During most of the time from the early Qing period until the end of Ganden Phodrang rule, a governing council known as the Kashag operated as the highest authority in the Ganden Phodrang administration.
Tibet under Qing rule refers to the Qing dynasty's relationship with Tibet from 1720 to 1912. The political status of Tibet during this period has been the subject of political debate. The Qing called Tibet a fanbang or fanshu, which has usually been translated as "vassal state." Chinese authorities referred to Tibet as a vassal state up until the 1950s and then as an "integral" part of China. The de facto independent Tibetan government (1912–1951) and Tibetan exiles promote the status of independent nation with only a "priest and patron" relationship between the Dalai Lama and the Qing emperor. Western historians such as Melvyn Goldstein, Elliot Sperling, and Jaques Gernet have described Tibet during the Qing period as a protectorate, vassal state, tributary, or something similar.
Nyarong is a Tibetan historical river valley region located in Eastern Kham. It is generally equated with modern Xinlong County, which is called Nyarong in Tibetan, though the traditional region also includes parts of Litang County and Baiyü County.
Gonpo Namgyal (1799–1865), also known as Bulungwa, was a Tibetan rebel leader from the Nyarong who unified the region, then all of Kham in a series of campaigns from the 1840s to the 1860s, warring against the Qing Dynasty and the Ganden Phodrang. While he was initially successful in evading his powerful enemies, he was eventually captured and killed, putting an end to his state of Nyarong.
Coordinates: 30°36′6.01″N96°50′29.59″E / 30.6016694°N 96.8415528°E