The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It was created in 1965 on the basis of Tibet's absorption into the PRC in 1951.
Within the People's Republic of China, Tibet is identified with the Autonomous Region. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the 18th century and include about half of ethno-cultural Tibet. The Tibet Autonomous Region is the second-largest province-level division of China by area, spanning over , after Xinjiang, and mostly due to its harsh and rugged terrain, is the least densely populated provincial-level division of the PRC.
Modern scholars still debate on whether the Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) had sovereignty over Tibet prior to the Mongol conquest of Tibet in 1642. While Tibet has formally been a protectorate of China since 1644 as part of the Qing Dynasty, from 1912 to 1950 Tibet was dissolved of suzerainty under China proper as a result of the 1911 Revolution and Japanese occupation during WW2. Other parts of ethno-cultural Tibet (eastern Kham and Amdo) have also been under the administration of the Chinese dynastic government since the mid-eighteenth century; today they are distributed among the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan. (See also: Xikang province)
In 1950, the People's Liberation Army defeated the Tibetan army in a battle fought near the city of Chamdo. In 1951, the Tibetan representatives signed a seventeen-point agreement with the Chinese Central People's Government affirming China's sovereignty over Tibet. The agreement was ratified in Lhasa a few months later. Although the 17-point agreement had provided for an autonomous administration led by the Dalai Lama, a "Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet" (PCART) was established in 1955 to create a parallel system of administration along Communist lines. The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 and renounced the 17-point agreement. Tibet Autonomous Region was established in 1965, thus making Tibet an administrative division on the same legal footing as a Chinese province.