Arcadia Bhutan Travels | History
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History

 

According to archeologists’ presence of early stone implements discovered in Bhutan, it was inhabited as early as 2000 B.C.

 

Bhutan was known by many names including 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 Sandlewood Grows’. Mon was a term used by the Tibetans to refer to Mongoloid, non-Buddhist peoples that populated the Southern Himalayas.

 

The Bhutan later became 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 until Guru Rimpoche, a Buddhist Master widely considered to be the Second Buddha, introduced Buddhism in the 7th century.

 

Then, in early 17th century the whole region was unified as one country by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, who came from Tibet, destined to be the founding father of Bhutan. 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 eroded after his death and the country fell into in fighting and civil war between the various local rulers. This continued until the beginning of 20th century, when 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. Trongsa penlop Ugyen Wangchuck then 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 current reigning 5th Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was crowned.