chapter  I
25 Pages

First Contacts

1766–1792
WithAlastair Lamb

The Dalai Lama was by no means an unrestrained autocrat. In 1751 the Chinese had recognized the Dalai Lama as the temporal head of the Tibetan state, and they do not seem to have given a constitutional position to the Tashi Lama - the term Panchen is more correct, but Tashi will, in the main, be used as it was the name by which until the end of the nineteenth century, the British were accustomed to refer to this dignitary. The influence of Tibet extended, and still extends, far beyond its political frontiers. The influence of Tibet extended, and still extends, far beyond its political frontiers. The reasons why Hamilton could not repeat Bogle’s journey are good enough instances of the basic insecurity of British relations with Tibet at that time. British diplomacy during the second Tibeto-Nepalese crisis was no more successful than it had been during the first outbreak of hostilities in 1788–89.