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History of Bhutan



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Bhutan is a deeply Buddhist land and Buddhism has influenced also his history. The country existed as a patchwork of minor feudal kingdom until early 17th century, before Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, a lama and military leader, arriving here from Tibet, unified the area cultivating a distinct Bhutanese identity. In the early 20th century, contact with the British Empire and his colony (India) started and is to be retained until today.

Early history of Bhutan is a mix of Buddhist folklore and mythology and it always features the supernatural. It concentrates above all to Guru Rinpoche, associated with the famous monastery Paro Valley on a sheer cliff, also know as the Tiger's Nest (Paro Taktsang), and also a second Buddha to northwestern Indians. Not much is know about Bhutan before the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism (9th century), when turmoil in that country forced many monks to flee to Bhutan.

Fortresses and castles, warlords, feuds, intrigue and battles where very common in medieval Bhutan, not much different to the Medieval world the European are used to know from their history. The unification of the various Bhutan tribes occurred in the first half of 17th century, when Ngawanag Namgyal established himself has the ruler of the new country. Also with the defeat of foreigner invasion and the codifications of a new system of law and further giving the country a unique identity different from the one of the Tibetans, the Indian or the Nepalese people. Bhutan recent history, in the 20th century, begins with a hereditary monarchy founded in a policy of isolationism.

The hereditary monarchy was established in 1907and not until recently, with the third king, the country emerged from its medieval heritage of seclusion. In 1971, Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations. In 2006 all the King power passed to Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. In 2008 the country's transformation was completed and a democratic form of government occurred.