Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Kingdom of Bhutan is
a small, mountainous nation of southern
Asia, located in the Himalaya Mountains
between India and China. The local
name for the country, Druk Yul,
means "land of the thunder dragon",
as the thunder believed to be the
sound of roaring dragons.
Official language; Dzongkha
King; Jigme Singye Wangchuck
Prime minister; Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji
Area; 47,000 kmē
Independence; - From India, August 8, 1949
Time zone; UTC +6
National anthem; Druk tsendhen
Internet TLD; .BT
Phone Calling Code; 975
A Buddhist theocracy was established
in Bhutan in the early 17th century.
The area, historically close to Tibet
to the north, came under the influence
of the British in India during the
19th century and a protectorate was
established in 1910, with Britain
assuming control of foreign affairs,
but refraining from interference
in internal affairs.
After India itself became
independent in 1947 it in
turn assumed this role and
granted independence to Bhutan
in 1949, though it retains
a protective role.
The current monarchy, originally
established in 1907 adopted a
policy of driving out non-native
Bhutanese, which has caused
approximately 100,000 Nepalese
and Indians to flee to
Head of state is the King or
Druk Gyalpo, presently Jigme
Although his title is hereditary,
he can be removed by a two-thirds
majority vote from the parliament,
the unicameral National
Assembly or Tshogdu. }
This body has 154 seats, and is
composed of locally elected
town representatives (105),
religious representatives (12)
and members nominated by the king (37),
all of whom serve a three-year term.
In his executive work, the monarch
is aided by a council of ministers
or cabinet (Lhengye Shungtsog), with
members appointed by the king,
approved by the National Assembly,
and serving fixed, five-year terms.
Bhutan is divided into 18 districts
(dzongkhag, singular and plural):
Bumthang, Chhukha, Chirang, Daga, Geylegphug,
Ha, Lhuntshi, Mongar, Paro, Pemagatsel,
Punakha, Samchi, Samdrup Jongkhar, Shemgang,
Tashigang, Thimphu, Tongsa, Wangdi Phodrang.
Bhutan is a very mountainous and
landlocked nation, situated
within the eastern Himalayas.
Mountain peaks in the north reach
up to over 7,000 m, the highest
point being the Kula Kangri at 7,553 m.
The southern part of the country has
a lower altitude, and contains several
fertile and densely forested valleys
that flow down into the
Brahmaputra river in India.
The majority of the population
lives in the central highlands.
The country's largest city, the
capital Thimphu (population 27,000),
is located in the western
part of these highlands.
The local climate varies from
tropical in the south to cool
winters and hot summers in the
central valleys, with severe winters
and cool summers
occurring in the Himalayas.
Bhutan has one of the world's
smallest and least developed economy,
it is based on agriculture and
forestry, providing the main
livelihood for more than 90%
of the population.
Agriculture consists largely
of subsistence farming
and animal husbandry.
Rugged mountains dominate
the terrain and make the building
of roads and other
The economy is closely aligned
with India's through strong
trade and monetary links.
The industrial sector is technologically
backward, with most production
of the cottage industry type.
Most development projects, such as
road construction, rely on
Indian migrant labour.
Bhutan's hydropower potential
and its attraction for
tourists are key resources.
Model education, social, and
environment programmes in Bhutan
are underway with support from
organisations, always taking
Bhutan's wish for preservation
of its traditions into account.
The government has made some
progress in expanding the nation's
productive base and improving
social welfare, though detailed
controls and uncertain policies
in many areas continue to hamper
Major hydroelectric projects will
lead expansion of GDP in
2002 by an estimated 6%.
About half of the population
are indigenous Bhutanese, known
as the Ngalop or Bothe, who are
closely related to Tibetan tribes.
Major ethnic groups are the
Lhotshampa, who originate from
Nepal, and the Sharchop (from Assam).
While Dzongkha is the official language,
many local dialects are spoken in
remote mountain villages, some
with only a few speakers.
The official religion of Bhutan
is the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism,
which is adhered to by about three
quarters of the population.
A quarter of the Bhutanese are Hindus.
Bhutan is one of the most secluded
nations in the world, and access
for foreigners is restricted to
certain areas, although
these are expanding.
Most of the population lives in small
rural villages, and supports itself
through agriculture, growing
crops or breeding yaks.
Buddhist religion forms an
important part of life.
Archery is Bhutan's national
sport, with traditional competitions
being held regularly in most villages.
Characteristic for the region is a
type of fortress known as
All text is available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation License.
This information is correct in December 2003. E. & O.E.
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