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perjantai 22. heinäkuuta 2016

Bhutan, Cool Facts #128

<= 127. Bangladesh                                                                                                          129. Nepal => 



1. Bhutan's Name 

Bhutan, The Land of the Thunder Dragon. Bhutan is the official English name of the country. The people themselves call their country: 

Druk Yul = Land of Druk, the leaders of the country are called Druk Gyalpo, "Thunder Dragon Kings"
Dru Ü = Country of the Drukpa Lineage, the Dragon People, or the Land of the Thunder Dragon

Names used of Bhutan by others along the history: 

Bottanthis/Bottan/Bottanter = described more likely the area of Kingdom of Tibet instead of modern-day Bhutan in the 1500-1600s 
Boutan/Bootan = The British started using the name of the Druk Desi Kingdom separating it from Panchen Lama's Tibet. The French name Boutan was anglicized as Bootan by general James Rennell
Cambirasi = Portuguese in the 1600s recorded Bhutan with this name
Broukpa = Bhutan appeared for the first time with this name on a western map

Other names: 

Lho Mon = Dark Southland
Lho Tsendenjong = Southland of the Cypress
Lhomen Khazhi = Southland of the Four Approaches
Lho Menjong = Southland of the Herbs

Map of Bhutan
2. How did Bhutan remain independent ? 

Establishment of Bhutan 

Bhutan was established by Ngawang Namgyal, a lama who fled the religious persecutions from Tibet. Namgyal united Bhutan transforming it into a theocracy. When Namgyal died in 1651 his death was kept a secret for 54 years and the true power was scattered between regional chieftains and religious leaders. 

Threats to the sovereignty

In the 1700s Bhutan had mainly two threats, the Tibetans in the north and the Mughal Empire. Bhutan had wars with the Mughal Empire in 1711 and with the Tibetans in 1714, which Bhutan won.
In 1772 Bhutan invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar. The British East India Company assisted Cooch Behar to oust out the Bhutanese and attacked them in 1774. Bhutan had to retreat to its pre-1730 borders and for the next hundred years Bhutan had border skirmishes with the British.

Treaties that protected Bhutan to remain independent

Bhutan lost the Duar War against the British in 1864-1865 for the control of the Bengal Duars. The peace treaty made after the war ended all hostilities between Bhutan and British India.

1910 Treaty of Punakha: The British approved the new monarchy, that Ugyen Wangchuk had established in 1907 after being unanimously chosen as the hereditary King of Bhutan. The treaty gave Great Britain the power to control Bhutan's foreign relations.

1949 Treaty of Friendship: The British colonial Empire had fallen and the British colonies had become independent. Bhutan decided to sign a similar treaty with India in order to seek protection against China. Bhutan agreed to let India guide its foreign policy in return. The ties with India strengthened especially after 1951 when China invaded and occupied Tibet.

Conclusion: 
Bhutan has remained independent since the foundation of the state mainly because of its ability to defend itself in the 1700s and 1800s and the treaties signed with Great Britain and India in the 1900s. 

Ugyen Wangchuk with his councilors at Punakha, Bhutan 1905
Bhutan one of the few countries, that hasn't been colonized 

3. The Kingdom of Bhutan 

Beginning of the royal family
The current royal family of Bhutan has ruled the country since 1907 when Ugyen Wangchuk was chosen as the hereditary king of Bhutan. The decision was made by an assembly of Buddhist monks, government officials and important families. 

Civil War
In the 1870s power struggles between the rival Paro and Tongsa valleys led to a civil war. Wangchuk from Tongsa valley allied with the British and united the country after defeating his political enemies in different rebellions and civil wars between 1882-1885.

Evolution of the Kingdom
1953 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk established a National Assembly of 130 members to promote a more democratic form of governance
1965 Wangchuck set up a Royal Advisory Council
1968 Wangchuk formed a Cabinet
1971 Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations
1999 The government lifted the ban on television and internet
2005 A new constitution in Bhutan 
2008 Bhutan abolished absolute monarchy becoming a parliamentary monarchy and Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck ascended to the throne 


King and Queen of Bhutan

4. Conflict with Nepal 

In the 1990s Bhutan caused a lot of controversy when it expelled most of its ethnic Lhotshampa population. The Lhotshampa people, who are referred as the Southerners lived in southern Bhutan, are a homogenous population of Nepalese ancestry.

The decision to expel them was motivated by concerns that the fast-growing Nepali minority would revolt in some point and demand for a separate independent state. Similar events happened in India, when the nearby kingdom of Sikkim collapsed in 1975.

These expelled people haven't got citizenship from the Nepalese government so many of them have become stateless. In the year 2008 over a hundred thousand refugees stayed in refugee camps but many of them have moved to Australia, Canada, UK, USA and Norway as refugees.

One of the problems of the conflict were also that the Lhotshampa population protested against the compulsion of using the Bhutanese national costume in public places and the fact that they didn't get education in their own language.

Bhutanese refugees
5. Uniqueness of Bhutan 

- In 1999 the government lifted the ban on television and internet - Bhutan was the first country to ban the sale of tobacco products in 2004
- First country to measure the Gross National Happiness of the population 
- The only country to have zero net greenhouse emissions
- All of Bhutan's nature conservation areas are connected to each others by biological corridors
- Bhutan has no railways
- Bhutan's most popular sport is archery 

The Buddhist Tiger's Nest temple in 900m in Bhutan

Timeline

700s Buddhism was introduced in Bhutan
1600s Ngawang Namgyal, a lama who had fled religious persecution in Tibet, was able to unite the small communities of Bhutan creating a uniform legislation and central government. Namgyal took the title Shabdrung and Bhutan was a theocracy, which built fortified monasteries to defend from the Tibetan conquest attempts
1651 Namgyal died but his death was kept secret for 54 years as they claimed that the Shabdrung had retreated to meditate
1700-1800s The British East India Company became a threat to the Bhutanese sovereignty besides the Tibetans
1711 Bhutan went into war with the Mughal Empire
1714 Tibetans attacked Bhutan unsuccessfully
1772 Bhutan invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar, which appealed to the British East India Company to assist them ousting out the Bhutanese and later attacking them in 1774. A peace treaty was made in which Bhutan agreed to retreat to its pre-1730 borders but the border skirmishes with the British continued still for a hundred years
1827 A fire in Punakha destroyed a lot of the records of the Bhutanese history, which is why the early Bhutanese history is unclear
1864-1865 Bhutan lost the Duar War against the British for the control of the Bengal Duars. The peace treaty after the war ended all hostilities between Bhutan and British India
1870s Power struggles between the rival valleys of Paro and Tongsa led to civil war
1882-1885 Ugyen Wangchuk from Tongsa valley defeated his political enemies in several civil wars and rebellions and united the country after having allied himself with the British
1907 Ugyen Wangchuk was unanimously chosen as the hereditary king of Bhutan by an assembly of Buddhist monks, government officials and heads of important families
1910 The British signed the Treaty of Punakha with Bhutan in which Britain approved the new monarchy by gaining power over Bhutan's foreign relations. The treaty had little real effect because of Bhutan's isolation 
1949 India became independent and India started now handling Bhutan's foreign relations
1951 China occupied Tibet breaking the commercial and cultural ties with China and Tibetan refugees arrived to Bhutan. The ties to India strengthened
1953 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk established a 130-member National Assembly to promote a more democratic form of governance
1965 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk set up a Royal Advisory Council
1968 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk formed a Cabinet
1971 Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations
1972 Jigme Singye Wangchuk ascended to the throne at the age of 16 after his father died
1999 The government lifted the ban on television and internet
2005 A new constitution was introduced in Bhutan
2008 Jigme Singye Wangchuk's son Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk became the king in Bhutan which had become a parliamentary monarchy from being formerly an absolute monarchy 

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