From Matchlocks to Machine Guns: The Modernisation of the Tibetan Army’s Firearms Between Local Production and Import (1895-1950)
Between 1895 and 1950, the Tibetan government took several steps to improve the firearms and artillery of its troops, setting up local factories and negotiating with foreign powers to purchase arms manufactured abroad. These imports were directly related to the political relationship with these countries and required the introduction and diffusion of new knowledge and techniques among Tibetan troops. Based on Tibetan and English sources, this article discusses some of the challenges met by the Tibetan government in this process and gives an overview of the variety of modern firearms that the Tibetan army used in the early twentieth century.
Keywords: Younghusband Expedition • Tibet • British India • Arm production • British Raj • Firearms • Matchlocks • Small arms • Weapons • Tibetan history • Qing China • Arsenal • Arms imports • Artillery