31
Mar
09

On This Day, March 31: Dalai Lama Flees Tibet

March 31, 1959

Dalai Lama begins exile

The Dalai Lama, fleeing the Chinese suppression of a national uprising in Tibet, crosses the border into India, where he is granted political asylum.

Born in Taktser, China, as Tensin Gyatso, he was designated the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940, a position that eventually made him the religious and political leader of Tibet. At the beginning of the 20th century, Tibet increasingly came under Chinese control, and in 1950 communist China invaded the country. One year later, a Tibetan-Chinese agreement was signed in which the nation became a “national autonomous region” of China, supposedly under the traditional rule of the Dalai Lama but actually under the control of a Chinese communist commission. The highly religious people of Tibet, who practice a unique form of Buddhism, suffered under communist China’s anti-religious legislation.

After years of scattered protests, a full-scale revolt broke out in March 1959, and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee as the uprising was crushed by Chinese troops. On March 31, 1959, he began a permanent exile in India, settling at Dharamsala in Punjab, where he established a democratically based shadow Tibetan government. Back in Tibet, the Chinese adopted brutal repressive measures against the Tibetans, provoking charges from the Dalai Lama of genocide. With the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China, the Chinese suppression of Tibetan Buddhism escalated, and practice of the religion was banned and thousands of monasteries were destroyed.

Although the ban was lifted in 1976, protests in Tibet continued, and the exiled Dalai Lama won widespread international support for the Tibetan independence movement. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of his nonviolent campaign to end the Chinese domination of Tibet.

“Dalai Lama begins exile.” 2009. The History Channel website. 31 Mar 2009, 10:38 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4879.

On This Day

1776 – Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John that women were “determined to foment a rebellion” if the new Declaration of Independence failed to guarantee their rights.

1854 – The U.S. government signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with Japan. The act opened the ports of Shimoda and Hakotade to American trade.

1870 – In Perth Amboy, NJ, Thomas P. Munday became the first black to vote in the U.S.

1917 – The U.S. purchased and took possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million.

1918 – For the first time in the U.S., Daylight Saving Time went into effect.

1933 – The U.S. Congress authorized the Civilian Conservation Corps to relieve rampant unemployment.

1939 – Britain and France agreed to support Poland if Germany threatened invasion.

1948 – The Soviets in Germany began controlling the Western trains headed toward Berlin.

1980 – U.S. President Carter deregulated the banking industry.

2004 – Google Inc. announced that it would be introducing a free e-mail service called Gmail.

March 31, 1492

Jews to be expelled from Spain

In Spain, a royal edict is issued by the nation’s Catholic rulers declaring that all Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity will be expelled from the country. Most Spanish Jews chose exile rather than the renunciation of their religion and culture, and the Spanish economy suffered with the loss of an important portion of its workforce. Many Spanish Jews went to North Africa, the Netherlands, and the Americas, where their skills, capital, and commercial connections were put to good use. Among those who chose conversion, some risked their lives by secretly practicing Judaism, while many sincere converts were nonetheless persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish Muslims, or Moors, were ordered to convert to Christianity in 1502.

“Jews to be expelled from Spain.” 2009. The History Channel website. 31 Mar 2009, 10:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4877.

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