We Sherpas are nomadic people who first settled in the Solukhumbu District (Khumbu) Nepal then gradually moved westward along salt trade routes. According to our oral history, four groups migrated out of Solukhumbu at different times, giving rise to the four main Sherpa clans: Minyagpa, Thimmi, Sertawa and Chawa. These four groups have since split into the more than 20 different clans that exist today. About 1840 our ancestors migrated from Khan. Mahayana Buddhism religious conflict may have contributed to the migration in the 15th and 16th centuries. Sherpa migrants travelled through region and Tsang, before crossing the Himalaya. By the 1800s, Khumbu Sherpa people attained autonomy within the newly formed Nepali state. In the 1960s, as tension with China increased, Nepali government influence on the Sherpa people grew. In 1976, Khumbu became a national park and tourism became a major economic force.
According to Oppitz (1968), Sherpas migrated from the Kham region in eastern Tibet to Nepal within the last 300–400 years. On the other hand, Gautam (1994) concluded that Sherpa migrated from Tibet approximately 600 years ago, through the Nangpa La pass. It is presumed that the group of people from Kham region, east of Tibet, was called “Shyar Khamba” (People who came from eastern Kham), and the place where they settled was called “Shyar Khumbu”. As the time passed the “Shyar Khamba”, inhabitants of Shyar Khumbu, were called Sherpa. A recent Nepal Ethnographic Museum (2001) study postulated that Sherpas were not migrants who crossed the border of Tibet to Nepal, since the modern political entity of Nepal was not in existence then. After the unification by Prithivi Naryan Shah in 1768, the Himalay
an region of present day Nepal became an integral part of the Kingdom of Nepal. Since ancient times Sherpas, like other indigenous Kirat Nepalese tribes, would move from one place to another place within the Himalayan region as Alpine pastoralists and traders. Genetic evidence shows that the majority of Sherpa have a Tibeto-Burman origin; considerable genetic components from Indian Subcontinent have been observed in Sherpa people living in Tibet. Now living on the southern side of the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal, the Indian state of Sikkim, Europe and United State of America (USA).
In modern time Sherpas have achieved renown as high altitude and expert guides on Himalayan mountaineering expeditions.