Tibet (/tɪˈbɛt/ (listen); Tibetan: བོད་, Lhasa dialect: [pʰøː˨˧˩] Böd; Chinese: 西藏; pinyin: Xīzàng) is a region in East Asia, covering much of the Tibetan Plateau and spanning about 2,500,000 km2 (970,000 sq mi). 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 home to considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people settlers. 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. But once the process of fragmentation began, the empire divided into a variety of territories. The bulk of western and central Tibet (Ü-Tsang) was often at least nominally unified under a series of Tibetan governments in Lhasa, Shigatse, or nearby locations. The eastern regions of Kham and Amdo often maintained a more decentralized indigenous political structure, being divided among a number of small principalities and tribal groups, while also often falling more directly under Chinese rule; most of this area was eventually annexed into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the 18th century.