From ArticleWorld

The kingdom of Bhutan is situated like a thumbnail just above the Indian state of West Bengal and forms a political boundary between India and China. Most of Bhutan is mountainous with the highest peak rising up to the height of 7000 meters (or 23000 feet). The majority of the Bhutanese people are Buddhists; there is a small Nepalese population who follow their own, Hindu, religion and a handful of Christians. Traditionally, Bhutan is an agricultural country, its income is supplemented by a little forestry and animal husbandry. Lately, Bhutan has emerged as a major hydro electric power exporter in the South Asian region. Bhutan is a monarchy and its present king is Jigme Singye Wangchuk.

Name and history

Though Bhutan has been through many name changes like Lho Mon (Southern Land of Darkness) and Lho Tsendenjong (Southern Land of Sandalwood), the Country was christened Bhutan sometime during the late 19th century. The Tibetans have their own name for it, they call it Druk Yul or the Land of the dragon. The name Bhutan seems to have originated from the Sanskrit word Bhu-Utthan or the highland.

Archaeologists have been led to believe that Bhutan was probably inhabited as early as 2000 B.C and was later occupied by an aboriginal people called the Monpas between 500 B.C. and 600 A.D. Till about the 16th century, Bhutan was ruled by a myriad of rulers belonging at various periods who were either Mongolians or Tibetans. In the beginning of the 17th century Bhutan was to a large extent unified under the Tibetan monk and military leader, Namgyal, who built numerous forts or Dzongs to defend the Nation from attack.

During the 18th century Bhutan made forays into India and occupied an area just south of its boundary. This kingdom of Cooch Behar had pledged allegiance to the English and it was to them that the then ruler of Cooch Behar asked for help. With the help of the British the Bhutanese were eventually pushed back and after many such skirmishes, peace was finally declared after the signing of a treaty between the Bhutanese and the British. After India got its independence in 1947, Bhutan was given the option but chose to remain autonomous and was finally declared an independent nation on August 9th, 1949.