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KATHMANDU, NEPAL, December 25, 2000: The world's most famous Sherpa was really not a Sherpa at all. Tenzing Norgay, along with Edmund Hillary, were the first to conquer Mt. Everest in 1953. He was a Tibetan and not a Nepali, according to a new book. "Snow in the Kingdom," by American mountaineer Ed Webster claims Tenzing was born in Tibet and spent much of his childhood there. When Tenzing climbed Everest in 1953, both Nepal and India saw great propaganda value in claiming him, a humble-born Asian achieving global fame, as their own. Throughout his life, Tenzing remained vague about his background. This caution was partly explained by political wrangling. After climbing Everest, he was invited to England but lacked a passport. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru personally ensured the issuance of an Indian Passport which upset the Nepalese authorities. Nehru was also instrumental in the establishment of a mountaineering school in Darjeeling, which Tenzing helped to run. Tenzing died in 1986.