Bhutan Tour Specialist from Nepal

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History of Bhutan

Much of early Bhutanese history remains uncertain because of the fire in 1827 that heavily destroyed the ancient capital (Punkha) and most of the  historical records.

Stone tools, weapons, elephants, and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that aboriginal peoples of Bhutan may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600.

Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD by the Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo (reigned 627–649) who had extended the Tibetan Empire into Sikkim and Bhutan, and had ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu (near Paro) in the Paro Valley. But Buddhism was propagated seriously in 746 under King Sindhu Rāja an exiled Indian king who had established a government in Bumthang at Chakhar Gutho Palace.

Buddhist saint Padma Sambhava (Guru Rinpoche) came to Bhutan in 747. Historical records began with the arrival Padmasambhava when he visited Bhutan and started establishing monasteries.

By the 10th century, Bhutan’s political development was heavily influenced by its religious history. And most of the political history until the modern times have been clouded with power struggle between the religious sub-sects and war with the Mongol warlords.

In 1865, Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu with Britian(during the time of British India), under which Bhutan received an annual subsidy in exchange for transfering some border land. Under the British influence, a monarchy was set up in 1907; three years later, a treaty was signed and the British agreed not to interfere in the internal affairs of Bhutan and they were also allowed to direct Bhutanese foreign affairs.

This role is assumed by independent India after 1947. In 1949, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned the areas of Bhutan taken by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India’s responsibilities in defense and foreign relations.

In December 2006, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck enthroned his oldest son, the Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, bestowing upon him the title of the fifth Druk Gyalpo. The official coronation took place in November 2008.