Country of the World Bhutan

About the country Bhutan, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.

NATIONS AND THEIR RULER

BHUTAN

NITTY-GRITTY

Lay of the Land: Bhutan is an isolated kingdom nestled in the eastern Himalayas of south central Asia.

The land rises steeply from an elevation of a few hundred feet on the southern border--the plains of Assam--to peaks of 24,000 ft. along the Himalayan crest that forms the border with Tibet. Most of the population is concentrated in the valleys of the country's powerful rivers, which generally run north to south.

Because the weather of Bhutan is notably violent, the people of Bhutan call their country Druk-Yul, "Land of the Thunder Dragon."

Size: 18,000 sq. mi. (46,600 sq. km.).

Population: 1.2 million.

Who Rules: Bhutan is a kingdom, ruled by a Druk Gyalpo, or "Dragon King." After 1953, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and his son, the present Druk Gyalpo, gradually established a representative government in the form of the national Tshogdu. The 150-member Tshogdu is actually empowered to vote the Druk Gyalpo out of office.

Who REALLY Rules: The Tshogdu consists of 10 representatives of the Drukpa Buddhist monastic orders, elected by monks; 30 government officials; and representatives of the people. However, elections are held only in the southern section of the country, where ethnic Nepalis (15% of the population) live. In the remainder, representatives are chosen by "consensus." This method guarantees continued dominance by Bhutan's theocratic elite.

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