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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,


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,


Bhutan is the poorest of all the Himalayan countries. It's underdeveloped, but has the
potential to develop it's economy. Farming is Bhutan's chief economic activity. Different
crops are grown depending on it's 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. It's economy
hasn't been able to develop due to it's 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)


Not much is known of Bhutan's 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 it's 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 country's foreign relations. China's territorial
claims helped strengthened Bhutan's relationship with India. This was followed by economic
aid agreements, military assistance, and diplomatic representations. (Kaminsky, cd-rom)

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