Kingdom of Bhutan, Druk-Yul

People:
Population (1991 est.): 1,598,000. Age distrib. (%): 0–14: 39.8; 15–59: 53.8; over 60: 6.4 Pop. density: 88 per sq. mi. Ethnic groups: Bhote 60%, Napalese 25%. Languages: Dzongkha (official), Gurung, Assamese. Religions: Buddhist (state religion) 75%, Hindu 25%.

Geography: Area:
18,147 sq. mi., the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. Location: In eastern Himalayan Mts. Neighbors: India on W (Sikkim) and S, China on N. Topography: Bhutan is comprised of very high mountains in the N, fertile valleys in the center, and thick forests in the Duar Plain in the S. Capital: Thimphu (Paro Dzong is administrative capital). City (1987 est.): Thimphu 20,000.

Government:
Type: Monarchy. Head of state: King Jigme Singye Wangchuk; b. Nov. 11, 1955; in office: July 21, 1972. Local divisions: 18 districts.

Economy: Industries:
Handicrafts, chemicals. Chief crops: Rice, corn, wheat. Other resources: Timber. Arable land: 2%. Labor force: 93% agric.

Finance:
Monetary unit: Ngultrum (Mar. 1992: 25.89 = 1 US) (Indian Rupee also used). Gross domestic product (1989): $273 mln. Per capita GDP (1989): $199. Tourism (1989): 2.0 mln. Imports (1991): $138 mln.; partners: India 67%. Exports (1989): $70 mln.; partners: India 93%.

Communications: Radios:
1 per 64 persons. Telephones in use: 1 per 675 persons.

Health:
Life expectancy at birth (1991): 50 male; 48 female. Births (per 1,000 pop. 1991): 37. Deaths (per 1,000 pop. 1991): 17. Natural increase: 2.0%. Hospital beds: 1 per 1,457 persons. Physicians: 1 per 9,736 persons. Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births 1991): 139.

Education (1989):
Literacy: 15%. School attendance: 25%.

Major International Organizations:
UN (IMF, World Bank).

The region came under Tibetan rule in the 16th century. British influence grew in the 19th century. A monarchy, set up in 1907, became a British protectorate by a 1910 treaty. The country became independent in 1949, with India guiding foreign relations and supplying aid.

Links to India have been strengthened by airline service and a road network. Most of the population engages in subsistence agriculture.

Bhutan, monarchy, southern Central Asia, in the eastern Himalaya, bounded on the north and northwest by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and on the east, south, and southwest by India. It has a total area of 47,000 sq km (18,147 sq mi).

Land and Resources
Bhutan is almost entirely mountainous. A narrow strip along the southern border, the Duars Plain, is the country's only area of flat land. Ranges of the Himalaya rise abruptly from the plain and generally increase in elevation to the north, rising to maximum elevation of Kula Kangri (7554 m/24,784 ft) on the Chinese border. Bhutan's rivers, none of which is navigable, flow south to the Brahmaputra River in India.

Climate varies from subtropical on the Duars Plain to a temperate climate, with cool winters and warm summers, in the mountain valleys. It becomes increasingly harsh at higher elevations. Average annual precipitation is generally heavy, ranging from about 1520 mm (about 60 in) in the mountain valleys to more than 5080 mm (about 200 in) in the Duars Plain. More than two-thirds of the country is forested. Wildlife is diverse and includes elephants, leopards, deer, and bear. Known mineral resources include copper, gypsum, iron ore, limestone, lead, coal, and dolomite; commercial exploitation is minimal.

Population, Education, and Government
The largest ethnic group in Bhutan, constituting more than 60% of the population, is the Bhote, or Bhotia, who live mostly in the east. Nepalese constitute the largest minority. The total population (1989 estimate) was 1,250,000. Thimphu (1985, 20,000) is the capital and largest town. The official language is Dzongkha, a Tibetan dialect. The official religion is a Lamaistic form of Mahayana Buddhism; monasteries are numerous in Bhutan, and monks number some 6000. Although all children are entitled to 11 years of primary and secondary education, few attend school. Less than 20% of the population is literate.

Bhutan is a limited monarchy. The king is advised by the Royal Advisory Council, whose members he appoints. In theory, legislative power is held by the Tsongdu (national assembly), 106 of whose 151 members are elected by the public; the rest are chosen by the king or indirectly elected.

Economy
The economy of Bhutan is overwhelmingly agricultural. Much of the cultivated land is terraced and irrigated. The principal crops are rice, wheat, corn, and potatoes. Cardamom and fruit, including apples, pears, and plums, are grown for export. Livestock such as cattle, yaks, and sheep are raised. Some light industry has been established, producing textiles, cement, matches, and alcoholic beverages. In the late 1980s Bhutan produced about 21 million kwh of electricity annually, 38% of it hydroelectric.

In 1974 Bhutan began to welcome tourists. No railroads exist, but some 2275 km (about 1415 mi) of roads link many parts of the country. The monetary unit of Bhutan is the ngultrum (16.43 ngultrums equal U.S.$1; 1990).

History
Scholars believe that princes of Indian origin ruled Bhutan until the 9th century, when they were driven out by the forebears of today's dominant ethnic group, the Bhotia (derived from Bod, the ancient name for Tibet). Lamaistic Buddhism was then brought into Bhutan, and by the mid-16th century fortified monasteries (dzongs) dotted the inner Himalayan valleys. From 1300 to 1600 Bhutan's history reflected the conflict among various elites until finally power accrued to a dharma raja (who served as spiritual leader) and a deb raja (who handled civic affairs). For much of the 17th and 18th centuries aristocratic families squabbled, and Bhutan followed an aggressive policy toward its neighbors—eventually bringing it into conflict with the expanding British East India Company in 1772. The British annexation of Assam in 1826 heightened border tensions, but an uneasy truce prevailed until 1864, when a war broke out. At the conclusion of peace in 1865 Bhutan was forced to cede certain border areas to British India and was given an annual subsidy in return. In the late 19th century a series of civil wars plagued the country. Bhutan remained an important buffer state for British India. The 1910 treaty between the British and the newly established (1907) monarchy granted Bhutan internal autonomy and an annual subsidy but allowed British control over the country's foreign relations, as did the 1949 treaty with newly independent India. China's territorial claims and disputes over Tibetan refugees (1959) further strengthened Bhutan's relationship with India, followed by new economic-aid agreements, military assistance, and diplomatic representation. Bhutan became a member of the United Nations (1971) and of the Non-Aligned Movement (1973).

Bhutan, monarchy, southern Central Asia, in the eastern Himalaya, bounded on the north and northwest by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and on the east, south, and southwest by India. It has a total area of 47,000 sq km (18,147 sq mi).

Land and Resources
Bhutan is almost entirely mountainous. A narrow strip along the southern border, the Duars Plain, is the country's only area of flat land. Ranges of the Himalaya rise abruptly from the plain and generally increase in elevation to the north, rising to maximum elevation of Kula Kangri (7554 m/24,784 ft) on the Chinese border. Bhutan's rivers, none of which is navigable, flow south to the Brahmaputra River in India.

Climate varies from subtropical on the Duars Plain to a temperate climate, with cool winters and warm summers, in the mountain valleys. It becomes increasingly harsh at higher elevations. Average annual precipitation is generally heavy, ranging from about 1520 mm (about 60 in) in the mountain valleys to more than 5080 mm (about 200 in) in the Duars Plain. More than two-thirds of the country is forested. Wildlife is diverse and includes elephants, leopards, deer, and bear. Known mineral resources include copper, gypsum, iron ore, limestone, lead, coal, and dolomite; commercial exploitation is minimal.

Population, Education, and Government
The largest ethnic group in Bhutan, constituting more than 60% of the population, is the Bhote, or Bhotia, who live mostly in the east. Nepalese constitute the largest minority. The total population (1989 estimate) was 1,250,000. Thimphu (1985, 20,000) is the capital and largest town. The official language is Dzongkha, a Tibetan dialect. The official religion is a Lamaistic form of Mahayana Buddhism; monasteries are numerous in Bhutan, and monks number some 6000. Although all children are entitled to 11 years of primary and secondary education, few attend school. Less than 20% of the population is literate.

Bhutan is a limited monarchy. The king is advised by the Royal Advisory Council, whose members he appoints. In theory, legislative power is held by the Tsongdu (national assembly), 106 of whose 151 members are elected by the public; the rest are chosen by the king or indirectly elected.

Economy
The economy of Bhutan is overwhelmingly agricultural. Much of the cultivated land is terraced and irrigated. The principal crops are rice, wheat, corn, and potatoes. Cardamom and fruit, including apples, pears, and plums, are grown for export. Livestock such as cattle, yaks, and sheep are raised. Some light industry has been established, producing textiles, cement, matches, and alcoholic beverages. In the late 1980s Bhutan produced about 21 million kwh of electricity annually, 38% of it hydroelectric.

In 1974 Bhutan began to welcome tourists. No railroads exist, but some 2275 km (about 1415 mi) of roads link many parts of the country. The monetary unit of Bhutan is the ngultrum (16.43 ngultrums equal U.S.$1; 1990).

History
Scholars believe that princes of Indian origin ruled Bhutan until the 9th century, when they were driven out by the forebears of today's dominant ethnic group, the Bhotia (derived from Bod, the ancient name for Tibet). Lamaistic Buddhism was then brought into Bhutan, and by the mid-16th century fortified monasteries (dzongs) dotted the inner Himalayan valleys. From 1300 to 1600 Bhutan's history reflected the conflict among various elites until finally power accrued to a dharma raja (who served as spiritual leader) and a deb raja (who handled civic affairs). For much of the 17th and 18th centuries aristocratic families squabbled, and Bhutan followed an aggressive policy toward its neighbors—eventually bringing it into conflict with the expanding British East India Company in 1772. The British annexation of Assam in 1826 heightened border tensions, but an uneasy truce prevailed until 1864, when a war broke out. At the conclusion of peace in 1865 Bhutan was forced to cede certain border areas to British India and was given an annual subsidy in return. In the late 19th century a series of civil wars plagued the country. Bhutan remained an important buffer state for British India. The 1910 treaty between the British and the newly established (1907) monarchy granted Bhutan internal autonomy and an annual subsidy but allowed British control over the country's foreign relations, as did the 1949 treaty with newly independent India. China's territorial claims and disputes over Tibetan refugees (1959) further strengthened Bhutan's relationship with India, followed by new economic-aid agreements, military assistance, and diplomatic representation. Bhutan became a member of the United Nations (1971) and of the Non-Aligned Movement (1973).