Bhutan for centuries was a feuding nation until the 19th century when the first hereditary King Ugyen Wangchuck unified the nation under one jurisdiction. It remained isolated from rest of the world whether geographically or self-imposed, of the fact, she was much careful from threat around her if exposed. However, British-India & Tibet invaded Bhutan several times but never colonized.
A country with a mosaic cultures, languages, lifestyles & belief systems opened its door to independent India in 1949 & the outside world in the 1960s. From then modernization picked its pace and witnessed unprecedented development, coupled with the Gross National Happiness philosophy under their Majesty Kings’ reign.
In March 2005, His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck released a draft constitution that outlined plans for democratization. Following the year at the age of 51, he abdicated in favor of his son, then the crowned Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. The crowned prince assumed the powers vested in him and formally enthroned on November 2008 at the age of 28 as the fifth King of Bhutan.
After so much of deliberation, discussions, and initiatives at various levels, in 2008 Bhutan became the youngest Democratic Nation in the world marking a new era. Its shift from Absolute Monarchy to Democratic Constitutional Monarchy was unsolicited by much Bhutanese but applauded by many other Nations. Bhutan now stands at the second democratic phase with the new government in place after the first smooth political transition.
World’s smallest economy, Bhutan’s economy has achieved a greater height transforming from predominantly subsistence agrarian to a modern trading economy. Regional & global bilateral ties upholding its need in the change of the economy has given Bhutan a scale of its size economy growth.
Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructures difficult and expensive, giving the dependency on the agricultural side, the concrete life styles for many Bhutanese. Today, almost 60 percent of the total population depends on agriculture as their main source of income.
The economy is closely aligned with India through strong trade and monetary links and depends much on India’s financial assistance. Though there are few macro & micro industries plying their business, most production in the industrial sector is of the cottage industry type.
Most development projects, such as in construction sector, rely on Indian migrant labor. Sectors like education, social, and environment programs largely depend on the support & aid from multilateral & international development organizations. Any economic program takes into account the government’s desire to protect the country’s environment and cultural traditions.
Despite being a landlocked country Bhutan is blessed with abundant renewable natural resources. Tapping of energies from water, wind & sun (solar) has already started generating and contributing to the total GDP of the country.
The government’s prerogative of harnessing 10,000MW of power by 2020 at the moment has a mix economy influx. Today, the five hydro powers which are at the production stage generate 1480MW at an average contributing to the economy. Few hydropower houses are in line to commence its generation half a decade years from now. Bhutan’s hydropower potential and its attraction for tourists are key resources.
The Bhutan’s GDP as of 2011 stands at USD 1055.48 Million with the population strength 738677. 63 and 12 percents are Bhutan’s literacy rate and poverty rate respectively for the year 2012.
The year 2008 marked the major transition & transformation where the world witnessed the history of Bhutan. Marking hundred years of Monarchical system, the coronation of the fifth King to the golden throne, and the country’s peaceful march to Democracy has further presented emolument of the Bhutanese as a wise and sovereign Nation.
Beginning 1907 to 2008, the hereditary Kings of Bhutan have shown their exemplary record of kingship, noble men and true leader giving the people the best. Discontented for the love of future Bhutan, the farsighted fourth King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated in favor of his young prince and institutionalized the youngest democratic process in Bhutan, providing people a platform for wider choices.
Eventually, in 2008, the democratization has taken its base and roots. Druk Phunsum Tshogpa a new democratically elected Government ended its five years term into power in mid-2013 generously. Today, the second government elect has started its term upholding power until the mid-2018, the next general Election.
The Government of Bhutan is a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy and the king is head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Lhengye Zhungtshog, or Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. Legislative power is vested in the two-house Parliament, both the upper National Council and the lower National Assembly.
Bhutan, a small Himalayan constitutional monarchy that made the transition from absolute monarchy to parliamentary democracy in March 2008 is one of the world’s smallest and developing Nations. The sovereign Kingdom of Bhutan is located in the Himalayas mountain range fairly sandwiched between the world most popular nations, the People’s Republic of China on the north and the Republic of India on the south.
Ranked 142nd in the world, Bhutan lies on the geographical coordinates 27′ 30’N and 90’ 30’E. The Nation’s territory totals an approximate 38,394 square kilometers. Being a landlocked country, it doesn’t have any port or marine controls. However, Bhutan has luxuries of nature’s flowing rivers and 60 percent all time forest cover as the Constitution mandates.
The Himalayan mountain peaks of Bhutan dominate the northern part of the country, where the highest peak is marked at 7,570 meters (Gangkar Puensum) and the lowest being the Drangme Chu at 97meters above sea level. The Southern part of the country bordering the North India has notable plains.
Bhutan is divided into 20 Dzongkhag (districts), and further into 205 Gewogs (county).
Bhutan’s climate is as varied as its altitudes and, like most of Asia, is affected by monsoons. The climate is humid and subtropical in the southern plains and foothills, temperate in the inner Himalayan valleys of the southern and central regions, and cold in the north, with year-round snow on the main Himalayan summits.
Temperatures in Thimphu, located at 2,320 meters in west-central Bhutan, range from approximately 15°C to 26°C (59°F to 78.8 °F) during the monsoon season of June through September but drop to between about -4°C and 16 °C (24.8°F and 60.8 °F) in January. Most of the central portion of the country experiences a cool, temperate climate year-round. In the south, a hot, humid climate helps maintain a fairly even temperature range of between 15°C and 30 °C (59°F and 86 °F) year-round, although temperatures sometimes reach 40 °C (104 °F) during the summer. Thimphu experiences dry winter months (December through February) and almost no precipitation until March.
Bhutan’s dry spring starts in early March and lasts until mid-April. Summer weather begins in mid-April with occasional showers and continues through the pre-monsoon rains of late June. The summer monsoon lasts from late June through late September with heavy rains from the southwest. The monsoon weather, blocked from its northward progress by the Himalayas, brings heavy rains, high humidity, flash floods and landslides, and numerous misty, overcast days. Autumn, from late September or early October to late November, follows the rainy season. It is characterized by bright, sunny days and some early snowfalls at higher elevations. From late November until March, winter sets in, with frost throughout much of the country and snowfall common above elevations of 3,000 meters.
Weather is extreme in the mountains: the high peaks have perpetual snow, and the lesser mountains and hewn gorges have high winds all year round, making them barren brown wind tunnels in summer, and frozen wastelands in winter.