|Land Area||38,394 km2|
|Total Area||38,394km2 (#133)|
|Government Type||Constitutional Monarchy|
|GDP (PPP)||$6.43 Billion|
|GDP Per Capita||$8,100|
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The legendary land of Bhutan was first settled in the ninth century by wandering migrants from the Tibet region of China.
In Bhutan's early years there wasn't a functional government, instead there were small monarchies ruled by a deb (king) scattered across the region. Tibetan-Mongol military forces overran the modest kingdoms by the 11th century, transforming the landscape into a single kingdom influenced by religion.
Pre-modern Bhutan emerged in the 17th century with a theocratic government, founded by expatriate Drupka Monk, Ngawang Namgyal, who sought liberation from the oppressive Gelugpa subsect led by the Dalai Lama in Lhasa.
Under the guidance of Namgyal, Bhutan strengthened as a country, and successfully prevented invasions against Tibetan military forces throughout the 1600s.
Although invaders were kept at bay, civil unrest grew following the death of Namgyal - whose passing was kept a closely guarded secret for 54 years.
Bhutanese forces successfully invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar in the 18th century, but were quickly ousted by the British East India Company in 1722. In addition to claiming the Cooch Behar territory, the British East India Company also invaded Bhutan in 1744.
Despite an attempt at a peace treaty between the two forces, small battles ultimately flared into the Duar War in 1864. Unfortunately, Bhutan lost against the British, and the Bengal Duars were ceded to the United Kingdom.
Internal struggles persisted through the late 1800s, leading to the rise of Tongsa governor, Ugyen Wangchuck, who conquered his political enemies and united Bhutan.
In 1907, Wangchuck was elected hereditary king of the country by an assembly of leading Buddhist monks, government officials, and heads of important families. Two years later, Bhutan signed the Treaty of Punakha granting Britain control of the country's foreign affairs, and subsequently became an Indian princely state.
Long influenced by the cultures of the British government and India, Bhutan was granted independence from India in 1949. King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck instituted the new legislature, advocating a more democratic society, and in 1971 Bhutan joined the United Nations.
The transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy was made in 2008 and the first general elections were held.
Today Bhutan's major trading partner is India, however many of its people still live in poverty, with widespread illiteracy a major social problem.
Despite these shortcomings, based Bhutan is rated as one of the happiest countries in Asia.
The small, landlocked country is completely bordered by mountains, making it difficult to navigate as there are few roads and no domestic (in-country) airlines or trains. Bhutan welcomes international travelers via (very pricey) Druk-Air, and the only ground entries into the country are through the towns of Phuntsholing and Samdrup Johghar.
The capital city of Thimphu sits at an altitude of 7,000 feet, on the banks of the Wong Chu river, and remains the site of royal government offices, and serves as a powerful magnet for adventure travelers from around the world.
What are the Ecological Regions of Bhutan?
The ecological regions in Bhutan are divided into six Biomes including tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands.
Ecological Regions Of Bhutan
What is the biggest city in Bhutan?
Thimpu is the Kingdom of Bhutan’s largest and capital city. Around 115,000 people live in the city.
Biggest Cities And Towns In Bhutan
Who Was the First Prime Minister of Bhutan?
Jigme Thinley was the first prime minister of Bhutan, holding office between 1998 and 1999.
Prime Ministers of Bhutan
What Kind of Government Does Bhutan Have?
Since 18 July 2008, the Government of Bhutan has been a constitutional monarchy with the King being the Head of State and the Prime Minister heads the executive branch of the government.
What Type Of Government Does Bhutan Have?
What is the Largest National Park in Bhutan?
The Wangchuck Centennial Park is Bhutan’s largest national park and encompasses an area of 4,914 square km. Tibet lies to the north of the park while the tributaries of the Wong Chhu border it in the west. The Wangchuck Centennial Park was established on December 12, 2008, in the honor of the Wangchuck dynasty of the country. Several middle-Himalayan ecoregions ranging from blue pine forests at lower altitudes to alpine meadows at higher altitudes are found here.
The 10 Spectacular National Parks, Sanctuaries, And Nature Reserves Of Bhutan
What is the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary?
The Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area spanning parts of Bhutan's Trashigang and Samdrup Jongkhar Districts. The sanctuary is home to several endemic species of flora and fauna, like the eastern blue pine and the black-rumped magpie.