Bhutan History and Politics
The first people settle in Bhutan
It is estimated that Bhutan’s first settlement was around 2000 BC. Began. It was then that the first people came to today’s national territory and settled permanently. This point in time was determined after archaeologists found finds such as stone tools and jewelry and then thoroughly examined them.
Legends instead of knowledge
The first inhabitants of the country are called Thepu. There are no written records of the lives of the people of that time, the more legends are told.
Influences from Tibet
From the 8th century, the area of today’s Bhutan came under Tibetan rule. At that time it was not yet a separate state. Perhaps you have already read here that most of the people in Bhutan follow Buddhism. He was introduced to Bhutan in the 8th century by a man named Padmasambhava, which means “lotus-born”. This guru is considered the founder of Buddhism in Tibet and then also in Bhutan.
More and more people from Tibet now settled in what is now Bhutan. They mingled with the Thepu and so the people of the Bhotia emerged, which is synonymous with the term “Bhutanese”. They founded smaller principalities all over the place. The respective princes fought each other again and again. However, this quarrel would come to an end after a while when a clergyman from Tibet named Ngawang Namgyal united all the principalities and they began to rule according to the Tibetan model.
From Britain and India to independence
From 1910, Bhutan paid the United Kingdom, which ruled neighboring India, to protect Bhutan from other surrounding states. When Britain lost control of India, India took over. In 1907 Bhutan became a kingdom.
In 1969 the absolute monarchy was transformed into a constitutional one. So the population had a little more say. In 1972 Bhutan finally became an independent state. India continues to influence the country.
Bhutan is the last country in the world to receive television
If you like to watch TV sometimes, you would have had a tough time in Bhutan until 1999. Because only then was television introduced in the country. As a country located in Asia according to politicsezine, Bhutan was the last country in the world to introduce television. But why? Don’t Bhutanese like to watch TV? That’s not the reason. Rather, the Bhutanese kings were afraid of the country’s “alienation” and the loss of Bhutanese culture towards the end of the 1980s.
One reason for this was that a large number of Nepalese immigrated during the 20th century and made up 45 percent of the population. So the king simply decided to kick out all Nepalese who immigrated after 1958. But these have lived there for many generations and have become at home in Bhutan. Clashes, violence and the displacement of many Nepalese from Bhutan broke out.
Tourists were also rarely allowed in the country, as the king believed they would alienate Bhutanese culture. For the same reason, there was no television for a long time.
Democracy for everyone! Or do they not want to?
You might think that it’s nice when as many people as possible can have a say in a state. In this way, the needs of various people, who are all part of the population, are taken into account. This seems fairer than if only one or a few decide over many. Logical? Well, the Bhutanese see it a little differently.
They worship the royal family like saints and were not too enthusiastic when the king himself made possible elections to the National Council in 2007. Since then, Bhutan has been a democratic constitutional monarchy. If the population had been asked whether they would like to be asked, they would probably have mostly said no. But that is how the monarchy in Bhutan determined democracy. Perhaps the king no longer felt like deciding everything himself.
The land of the thunder kite or the end of Tibet?
The Bhutans didn’t even baptize their state themselves. Instead, the British immigrants called it “Bhot-anta”, which means “the end of Tibet”. Simply because it is beyond Tibet, at least according to the direction the English came from.
The Bhutanese themselves named their country “Druk Yul” – the land of the thunder kite – much earlier. Today we don’t really know why, but it sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it?