The small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has a rich and diverse history that has its root dating back to the ancient time. Bhutan is known to the outside world as ‘The Last Shangrila’ This small land-locked Himalayan kingdom co-existed with the nature and its environment harmoniously for eons.
Bhutan was originally known by many names such as Lho Jong, ‘The Valleys of the South’, Lho Mon Kha Shi, ‘The Southern Mon Country of Four Approaches’, Lho Jong Men Jong, ‘The Southern Valleys of Medicinal Herbs and Lho Mon Tsenden Jong, ‘The Southern Mon Valleys where Sandalwood Grows’.
Mon was a term used by the Tibetans to refer to Mongoloid, non-Buddhist peoples that populated the Southern Himalayas. Bhutan came to be known as Druk Yul or ‘The Land of the Drukpas’ sometime in the 17th century. The name refers to the Drukpa sect of Buddhism that has been the dominant religion in the region since that period.
Initially Bonism was the dominant religion in the region that would come to be known as Bhutan. Buddhism was introduced in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo and further strengthened by the arrival of Guru Rimpoche, a Buddhist Master that is widely considered to be the Second Buddha.
There have been numerous invasions both from British India and Tibet, However, Bhutan remained un-conquered throughout its history. Neither were the English able to colonized Bhutan nor were the Tibetans able to impose their supremacy over Bhutan. Thus Bhutan remain sovereign and independent nation It was during this time that a man known as Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel came to Bhutan from Tibet
The country was first unified in 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. After arriving in Bhutan from Tibet he consolidated his power, defeated three Tibetan invasions and established a comprehensive system of law and governance. His system of rule collapsed after his death and the country fell into in-fighting and civil war between the various local rulers. Civil wars ragged Bhutan after his death. There were adversaries between the regional power blocks to impose their supremacy and gain control over the country.
This continued until the Trongsa Poenlop Ugyen Wangchuck was able to gain control and with the support of the people establish himself as Bhutan’s first hereditary King in 1907. His Majesty Ugyen Wangchuck became the first Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) and set up the Wangchuck Dynasty that still rules today.In 2008 Bhutan enacted its Constitution and converted to a democracy in order to better safeguard the rights of its citizens. Later in November of the same year, the currently reigning 5th Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was crowned.