Tea is one of the most popular beverages across the world and is made exclusively from cultivars of Camellia sinensis. Many wild relatives of the genus Camellia that are closely related to C. sinensis are native to Southwest China. In this study, we first identified the distinct genetic divergence between C. sinensis and its wild relatives and provided a glimpse into the artificial selection of tea plants at a genome-wide level by analyzing 15,444 genomic SNPs that were identified from 18 cultivated and wild tea accessions using a high-throughput genome-wide restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-Seq) approach. Six distinct clusters were detected by phylogeny inferrence and principal component and genetic structural analyses, and these clusters corresponded to six Camellia species/varieties. Genetic divergence apparently indicated that C. taliensis var. bangwei is a semi-wild or transient landrace occupying a phylogenetic position between those wild and cultivated tea plants. Cultivated accessions exhibited greater heterozygosity than wild accessions, with the exception of C. taliensis var. bangwei. Thirteen genes with non-synonymous SNPs exhibited strong selective signals that were suggestive of putative artificial selective footprints for tea plants during domestication. The genome-wide SNPs provide a fundamental data resource for assessing genetic relationships, characterizing complex traits, comparing heterozygosity and analyzing putatitve artificial selection in tea plants.