According to Countryaah, Bhutan is located in the heart of the Himalayas. The first explorers and envoys from the British government called the country Bootan, the booters’ country, or Bhotan. Bhutan’s mighty neighbors, India and China, and the world’s highest mountains, almost automatically led to isolation from the outside world. Not even in our time has the roots been found for the name of the country, but perhaps it is a derivation from the Sanskrit word Bhotante, which means the border of Tibet, or from another Sanskrit word, Bhu’nthan, the mountain country. The people call the land Druk or Druk-Yul, the land of the Order of the Thunder.
In the 12th century, after a long period of rivalry between different groups, the country was united under a Lama Drukpa Kargyud named Ngawang Namgyal. The country’s name Druk derives from the Mahaja-Buddhist Kargyad religion, which is the official country. Namgyal, commonly known as Shabdung, “the one whose feet one is throwing”, was the spiritual and political leader of the country. The subsequent Shabdung’s power was gradually reduced, and on December 17, 1907, the country was united during the Wangchuk Week, which founded the first succession monarchy Bhutan.
British colonial rule in India made a number of important agreements with Bhutan in 1774 and 1865. The subsequent signing of the Punakha Treaty in 1910 stipulated that the British did not intervene in Bhutan’s internal politics but made the country a protectorate in which the British were responsible for foreign affairs.. A treaty, signed in 1949 with the independent India, does not differ significantly from the Phukana Treaty.
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During the 1960s, Bhutan sought to escape the isolation that began to ensue. That led to the entry into the Colombo Plan in 1962, and later membership in the International Post Union in 1969. A year later, a Foreign Ministry was created, which in 1971 was converted into a ministry. In the same year, Bhutan became a member of the UN and an embassy was established in New Delhi and a permanent representation in the UN in New York. Bhutan is also a member of the Organization of Alliance Free States.
The current king, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, the fourth in a row, was crowned in 1972. His father, King Jigme Dorij Wangchuk, is considered to be the creator of modern Bhutan. During his reign, the political apparatus and administration were restructured and modernized, and a system of five-year plans was introduced. At the same time, land reform was implemented, which divided the king’s land among the population.
From the time the country abandoned its isolation, the first priority was to create an economic infrastructure. After China closed the Tibetan border in 1960, it became important to have a road network that was first and foremost oriented towards the Indian border.
Rivers and waterfalls are used to produce hydropower. The large Chhukha project, which is built along the main road between Phuntsholing and Thimbu, has a capacity of 8,000 megawatts and supplies not only the country itself but also areas in neighboring India. Areas in southern Bhutan were connected to the Indian electricity grid, but yet 80% of Bhutan’s residents do not have access to electricity.
Bhutan’s first chemical plant, Bhutan Carbide and Chemichals Ltd., began production in June 1988. The same year, Bhutan Development Finance Corporation, BDFC, was established to encourage rapid expansion in the private sector. An agricultural credit program, launched in 1982 in support of the Royal Ministry of Finance, was transferred to BDFC.