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Historic Timeline

Introducing Bhutan - Kingdom in Himalaya

Useful and fun facts on Bhutan

1907

The Wangchuck dynasty begins! Sir Ugyen Wangchuck is chosen as the hereditary ruler and becomes Bhutan’s first Druk Gyalpo or “Dragon King.”

1910

A treaty was signed with Britain disallowing them to interfere in Bhutan’s internal administration, though excellent relations were still maintained.

1926

Jigme Wangchuck, 24 years old, became the second King after his father Ugyen Wangchuck dies. Known for refining the taxation and administrative systems, he brings the entire country under his control.

1949

Treaty signed with the newly-independent India, addressing their relationship and maintaining Bhutan as a sovereign nation.

1952

At the demise of his father, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck became the third King. He emphasizes the importance of bringing in reform, while maintaining culture and tradition. Establishing the National Assembly, Royal Bhutan Army, Police force, and High Court, he also abolishes slavery.

1961

First paved road comes to Bhutan!

1967

The National Library was established.

1971

Bhutan joins the United Nations.

1972

The 3rd King dies and the throne turns over to Jigme Singye Wangchuck, age 17, who later leads the country forward with a cautious policy of modernization and later abdicates the throne to his son. Responsible for establishing the concept of GNH, or Gross National Happiness, he also is responsible for bringing democracy to Bhutan.

1974

Foreign tourists allowed to enter Bhutan for the first time.

1983

Bhutan’s first airport, Paro International Airport, is constructed.

1985

The Royal Government of Bhutan invokes laws which strive to maintain the Bhutanese identity in the forms of mandated dress, language, and architectural style.

1986

The Kuensel, Bhutan’s first newspaper began publishing.

1988

Many illegal settlers are found in southern Bhutan and asked to leave if they could not provide proper citizenship papers.

1989

The telephone is introduced to Bhutan.

1990

Ethnic unrest and violence begin as the illegal Bhutan People’s Party wreak havoc in southern Bhutan, causing thousands of ethnic Nepalis to flee to Nepal.

1992

Leader of Bhutan’s People’s Party sentenced to life imprisonment.

1998

The Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck establishes the four pillars of GNH – sustainable economic development, conservation of the environment, promotion of national culture, and of good governance.

1998

Taktsang Monastery or “Tiger’s Nest” is severely damaged by fire.

1999

Television and Internet access are introduced to Bhutan!

2003

The Royal Government of Bhutan, led by His Majesty the Fourth King himself, flush out a camp of Indian military separatist rebels trying to establish ground in Bhutan.

2004

Bhutan becomes the first nation in the world to ban cigarettes and other tobacco products.

2005

Proposed constitution is unveiled proposing parliamentary democracy and the freedoms of thought and speech. His Majesty also announces his plan to abdicate in 2008 when the first elections are held.

2006

After more than 3 decades of service, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo surprised the country by abdicating the throne early to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Fifth King.

2007

Mock elections are staged to familiarize people with voting.

2008

The first parliamentary elections are held with Druk Phuensum Tshogpa winning by a landslide. His Majesty the Fifth King becomes Head of State and DPT’s President Jigme Y. Thinley becomes the Prime Minister.

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