Bhutan

Bhutan



World History
Period 4


By:Chris Murphy
Fact Sheet


Area: 18, 147 square miles
Population: 1,660,000
Capital: Thimphu (pop. 20,000)
Languages: Dzongkha (official) Gurung,
Assamese
Ethnic make-up: Bhote 60%, Napalese 25%
Religion: Buddhist (state religion 75%)
Hindu 25%
Currency: Indian rupee
Literacy rate: 15%
Imports: gasoline, fabrics, light equipment
Exports: timber, rice, coal, fruit
Trading partners: India
(Bhutan, 740)



Climate and Geography

Bhutan is a small country located in the Himalayas. It does have a richly scenic land though. There are broad, grassy valleys; forested mountain ranges, and heavily wooded jungle areas. There are three geographic regions in which the country is divided. Northern Bhutan lies in the Great Himalayas where the mountains reach as high as 24,000 ft. and the weather is cold. Central Bhutan is in the middle of the Himalayan region where there are several fertile valleys. The Duars plain, along the southern border of Bhutan is a hot, humid, and rainy area. This jungle region is filled with malaria infested swamps. (Karan, 224)

Economy

Bhutan is the poorest of all the Himalayan countries. Itís underdeveloped, but has the potential to develop itís economy. Farming is Bhutanís chief economic activity. Different crops are grown depending on itís elevation. Rice and buckwheat are grown up to 5000 ft. Barley and wheat are grown up to 9000 ft. Coal is the only mineral mined. Itís economy hasnít been able to develop due to itís remoteness, lack of convenient markets, qualified technicians, and transportation facilities. In 1974 Bhutan began to welcome tourists. In 1990, more than 1500 tourists visited Bhutan, and tourism was the largest source of foreign exchange. There are no railroads, but by 1990 there were about 2336 km of roads linking many parts of the country. (Karan, 224)


History

Not much is known of Bhutanís historical origins before the late 17th century. Although, Tibetan Buddhism was brought into Bhutan by the mid 16th century; monasteries dot the inner Himalayan valleys. Most of the 17th and 18th century Bhutan had an aggressive policy toward itís neighbors. This eventually brought them into conflict with the British East India Company in 1772. A series of civil wars plagued Bhutan during the late 19th century. A treaty in 1910 between Britain granted Bhutan internal autonomy and an annual subsidy. But the British still had control of the countryís foreign relations. Chinaís territorial claims helped strengthened Bhutanís relationship with India. This was followed by economic aid agreements, military assistance, and diplomatic representations. (Kaminsky, cd-rom)














Government

A Tibetan lama named Sheptoon Lapha proclaimed himself king and Bhutan became itís own political state some 300 years ago. Bhutanís government is a limited monarchy. Jigme Singye Wangchuck is the current king of Bhutan. He is advised by the Royal Advisory Council and he appoints the members of this council. Legislative power is held by the national assembly. 106 of 151 members are elected by the public, the rest are picked by the king or indirectly elected. All of Bhutanís foreign affairs have been handled by India. Now that the United Nations has accepted Bhutan into it, they can start to establish their own diplomatic relations. (Kaminsky, cd-rom)
















Conclusion

Bhutan doesnít really seem the ideal place to live. It might be nice to go check it out for a while, but I wouldnít like to stay there for an extended period of time. I havenít even heard of the languages they speak. I have a hard enough time with Spanish. Being ruled by a king doesnít sound like fun; a democracy is a lot better than a monarchy. I like living in cities and Bhutanís largest city, which is the capital, has only 20,000 people. So to me, Bhutan isnít sound like a good place to settle down in.




















Bibliography


"Bhutan". The 1996 World Almanac,
1983.

"Flags of Bhutan". www.theodora.com/flags/bhutan_flags.html, 5/30/97.

Kaminsky, Arnold P. "Bhutan". Microsoft Encarta 97, 1997.

Karan, P.P. "Bhutan". Lands and Peoples, 1983.

Category: History