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Bhutan History Timeline

600 - 660
  • (600-650) Parts of Bhutan under Indian control
  • (627-649) King Srongtsen Gampo introduced Buddhism, ordered construction of two temples
  • (659) Kyichu Lhakhang monastery built
800 - 1400
  • (807) Indian Buddhist sage, Guru Padmasambhava, visited Bhutan
  • (809) Independence monarchies developed
  • (824) King Tritsun Desten went to war and drove out Indian ruler in Bhutan
  • (836) King Tritsun Desten murdered by agents of his brother
  • (1000) Tibetan-Mongol forces occupied Bhutan
  • (1360) Tibetan Gelugpa monks fled to Bhutan
1600 - 1800s
  • (1616) Tibetan Buddhist lama, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, facing arrest in Tibet, established new base in Bhutan
  • (1629) Invasion by Tibet failed
  • (1631) Second invasion by Tibet failed
  • (1634) Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal prevailed in Battle of Five Lamas over Tibetan and Bhutanese forces; first to unite Bhutan into single country
  • (1643) Mongol-Tibetan forces intruded, defeated in Bhutan lowlands
  • (1651) Shabdrung Ngawang Namgya died; death kept secret for 54 years to keep Bhutan from disintegrating
  • (1680) Bhutan invaded Sikkim
  • (1714) Tibetan and Mongol forces invaded Bhutan, failed to gain control
  • (1772) British forces drove Bhutanese garrisons out of Cooch Behar, a Bhutanese dependency
  • (1774) Treaty of Peace signed with British East India Company. Bhutan returned to pre-1730 boundaries, British allowed to harvest timber in Bhutan
  • (1784) British turned over control of Bengal Duars territory to Bhutan
  • (1838) Bhutan rejected British treaty offer of debt settlement
  • (1841) British annexed Assam Duars, paid annual compensation to Bhutan
  • (1842) Bhutan ceded control of Bengal Duars to Britain
  • (1862) Forces from Bhutan raided Sikkim, Cooch Behar; British withheld compensation payments, demanded release of captives and return of stolen property
  • (1864) Peace mission sent to Bhutan by Britain was rejected
  • (1864) Duar War took place - Britain declared war on Bhutan, Bhutan was defeated, ceded significant amount of territory in Treaty of Sinchula
  • (1885) Governor of Trongsa put down civil unrest in Bhutan, consolidated power, cultivated close ties with British Indi
1900s
  • (1907) Ugyen Wangchuck elected Bhutan's first hereditary ruler after politically unifying the country
  • (1910) Treaty of Punakha gave Britain control over Bhutan's foreign relations
  • (1947) British left India and ended direct political control over Bhutan
  • (1949) India and Bhutan signed Treaty of Peace and Friendship agreeing Bhutan would be guided by India in foreign policy
  • (1949) India ceded to Bhutan some of the territories lost to Britain in 1865 Treaty of Sinchula
  • (1952) King Jigme Sangchuck died, succeeded by son Jigme Dorji Wangchuck
  • (1952) National Assembly established, post of Chief Minister abolished
  • (1958) Slavery was abolished
  • (1959) Chinese annexed Bhutanese enclaves in western Tibet, several thousand refugees given asylum in Bhutan
  • (1964) Prime Minister Dorji assassinated
  • (1964) Post of Prime Minister abolished until 1998
  • (1965) Unsuccessful attempt to assassinate King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck occurred
  • (1966) Capital moved from Punakha to Thimphu
  • (1968) Council of Ministers established, High Court created to review King's decisions, Bank of Bhutan founded
  • (1971) Bhutan joined United Nations
  • (1972) King Jigme Dori Wangchuck died, succeeded by his son Jigme Singye Wangchuck
  • (1986) Law passed granting citizenship based on length of residence in Bhutan
  • (1988) Following a census, government evicted illegal immigrants
  • (1989) Nepoli ceased to be the language of instruction in schools


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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.