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The British Empire was the largest empire in world history, ruling almost a quarter of the world’s land area and population at its height in the mid-twentieth century. The British achieved hegemony in India after the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and soon came to rule large areas of the Himalayas, including Kashmir and Ladakh. Several small Himalayan kingdoms, including Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim, were allowed to maintain semi-independence as buffer-states against Qing-controlled Tibet. The British briefly invaded Tibet in 1903–1904. After the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, the British became a major cultural and military influence on the Ganden Podrang government in Lhasa. India achieved independence in 1947, ending British rule in the Himalayas.