WHM: The Dalai Lama in Exile

The Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal head of Tibet, arrives at Tezpur, Assam in India on April 18, 1959. The Dalai Lama, forced into exile after China's suppression of the Tibetan national uprising, made a 300-mile trek over the Eastern Himalayas from Lhasa. He is with attendants who are not identified. (AP Photo)
The Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal head of Tibet, arrives at Tezpur, Assam in India on April 18, 1959. The Dalai Lama, forced into exile after China's suppression of the Tibetan national uprising, made a 300-mile trek over the Eastern Himalayas from Lhasa. He is with attendants who are not identified. (AP Photo)
The Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal head of Tibet, arrives at Tezpur, Assam in India on April 18, 1959. The Dalai Lama, forced into exile after China's suppression of the Tibetan national uprising, made a 300-mile trek over the Eastern Himalayas from Lhasa. He is with attendants who are not identified. (AP Photo)
The Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal head of Tibet, arrives at Tezpur, Assam in India on April 18, 1959. The Dalai Lama, forced into exile after China's suppression of the Tibetan national uprising, made a 300-mile trek over the Eastern Himalayas from Lhasa. He is with attendants who are not identified. (AP Photo)

WHM: The Dalai Lama in Exile

Since the 17th century, the Dalai Lama has been considered the preeminent spiritual and political leader of Tibet. Most Tibetans didn’t accept China’s rule. So in 1959, when rumors spread that the Chinese government was getting ready to take the Dalai Lama out of his palace in Lhasa and bring him to China, where he could be more easily controlled, there was a major uprising. The Chinese put down the uprising but the Dalai Lama managed to escape. On March 31, 1959, he entered India. Historian John Schmidt recalls what happened.