From the 6th century, Buddhism spread with
Tibetan monks in the area that is today Bhutan. Under
the name Druk-Yul, a kingdom was founded in the 17th
century under the Tibetan monk Ngawang Namgyal. He took
the title of shabdrung and the kingdom came to exist for
300 years. In 1903, a monarchy with hereditary throne
was introduced and the shabdrung was deposed. From 1910,
Britain became the country's protective power. In 1947,
India took over that role.
Bhutan may have been inhabited as early as 2000–1500
BC, but there is little knowledge of the country's early
history. In the 6th century AD, monks from Tibet began
to mission in the area and Buddhism then had a major
influence on the development.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Bhutan, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
The Tibetan monk Ngawang Namgyal united the country
in the 17th century and gave the kingdom the name
Druk-Yul (Land of the Thunder Dragon). Under Namgyal, a
two-part administration was established, with partly an
administration for religious issues and one for worldly
affairs. Both were subjugated to Namgyal, who took the
title of shabdrung ("the man submitting himself"). This
system came to exist for almost 300 years.
During the late 19th century the power of the central
government weakened. When the last shabdr died in 1903,
clergy, officials, and the country's most influential
families agreed to establish a monarchy with an
inherited succession. Ugyen Wangchuck was elected 1907
as the country's first king.
In a 1910 agreement, Britain promised not to
interfere with Bhutan's domestic policy. In return,
Bhutan would be guided by Britain in foreign policy
matters. When India became independent in 1947, the
country assumed the role of Bhutan's protective power.
In 1953 a legislative assembly was established.