The Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatso, was born in the year of the Fire Bird on 5 May 1876 at Lhoka Dagpo in south Tibet to Kunga Rinchen and Lobsang Dolma, a peasant couple.
In 1878, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama following predictions from the state oracles and auspicious signs at his birth. He was escorted to Lhasa where he was ordained into monk-hood by the Panchen Lama, Tenpai Wangchuk, and was given the name “Ngawang Lobsang Thupten Gyatso Jigdral Chokley Namgyal”. In 1879, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was enthroned at the Potala Palace.
On 8 August 1895, he assumed political power and was thrown into the thick of the Great Game being played out by Czarist Russia and British India on the fringes of their sprawling empires. He went through the British invasion of Tibet in 1904 and the Chinese invasion of his country in 1909 and survived both experiences, with his authority enormously enhanced.
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