Monetary units of Tibet

The history of monetary units in Tibet is complex and spans centuries, reflecting the region's economic interactions with neighboring cultures, political changes, and cultural influences. Here's an overview of the monetary units and their historical context:

Pre-Imperial Tibet: Before the rise of the Tibetan Empire in the 7th century, Tibet had a barter-based economy with no standardized currency. Trade was conducted using various forms of commodity money, such as salt, livestock, and textiles. The value of goods was determined through negotiation and local customs.

Tibetan Empire: During the Tibetan Empire (7th to 9th centuries), the region began to adopt metallic currencies influenced by neighboring civilizations such as China and India. Coins known as "Tangka" were introduced, which were typically made of silver and had inscriptions in Tibetan and sometimes Chinese characters.

Sakya Dynasty: In the 13th century, during the rule of the Sakya Dynasty, Tibet issued coins known as "sho" or "sho-brgyad" (iron coins). These coins were made of iron and served as a standardized currency within the region.

Yuan Dynasty Influence: In the 13th and 14th centuries, Tibet came under the influence of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty of China. The Yuan Dynasty introduced paper currency known as "chao" or "tam" for use in Tibet, alongside metallic coins.

Ganden Phodrang Government: During the rule of the Ganden Phodrang government in the 17th century and later, Tibet continued to use a combination of metallic coins, including silver and copper coins, and paper currency. These currencies were issued by local authorities and monasteries.

Chinese Influence: In the 18th and 19th centuries, Tibet experienced increased influence from the Qing Dynasty of China. Chinese silver coins, such as the "yuanbao," circulated alongside Tibetan currencies, reflecting Tibet's integration into the wider Chinese economic system.

Modern Period: In the early 20th century, Tibet's monetary system underwent significant changes with the arrival of Western influences and modernization efforts. The Tibetan government issued its own paper currency, known as "sang" or "srang," which was pegged to the Indian rupee.

Chinese Occupation: Following the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 and the subsequent incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China, the Tibetan monetary system was gradually replaced by the Chinese renminbi (yuan) as the official currency.

Overall, the history of monetary units in Tibet reflects a blend of indigenous Tibetan traditions, influences from neighboring civilizations, and political changes throughout the region's history.

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