Bhutan: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government in the country of Bhutan

BHUTAN

NITTY GRITTY

Location--In the eastern Himalayan mountains between China and India, bordered by Tibet on the north, India's Assam-Bengal plain on the south, Sikkim on the west, and Assam on the south and east.

How Created--Knowledge of Bhutan's early history is meager, and research has always been made even more difficult due to the country's long isolation, which ended only recently. Early in the 17th century a Tibetan refugee established himself as monarch and set up an enduring administrative system; this event is generally accepted as Bhutan's birth as a separate nation. Until quite recently the borders were not usually clearly defined and were generally disputed by Bhutan's neighbors.

Size--18,000 sq. mi. (47,000 sq. km.), a little larger than Switzerland.

Population--1,150,000: Tibetan (Bhutias), 51.5%; Gurung, 17.6%; Assamese, 14.7%; Toba, 4.4%; other, 11.8%. 75% Buddhist, 25% Hindu.

Who Rules--Bhutan is a monarchy ruled by a King. An advisory council appointed by the King and an assembly, the Tsongdu, 3/4 of which is chosen by the villages and 1/4 by the King, assist the King in enacting legislation.

Who REALLY Rules--Because of Bhutan's strategic location between India and China in an area vital to India's defense, the King's authority in domestic affairs is overshadowed in other respects by India's influence, which decides matters pertaining to defense and foreign policy.

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