Tibet is a region in East Asia covering much of the Tibetan Plateau spanning about 2,500,000 km2. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people.
Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,380 m (14,000 ft). Located in the Himalayas, the highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain, rising 8,848.86 m (29,032 ft) above sea level.
The Tibetan Empire emerged in the 7th century. At its height in the 9th century, the Tibetan Empire extended far beyond the Tibetan Plateau, from Central Asian’s Tarim Basin and the Pamirs in the west to Yunnan and Bengal in the southeast.
The region declared its independence in 1913 and maintained its autonomy until 1951. Today, China governs western and central Tibet as the Tibet Autonomous Region while the eastern areas are now mostly ethnic autonomous prefectures within Sichuan, Qinghai and other neighbouring provinces.