Short History of Bhutan,

Government and Monarchy

Little is known about the prehistoric period of Bhutan. Its early history is unclear because its most of records were destroyed in a fire in its ancient capital Punakha, in 1827. Britain entered into an agreement with Bhutan to grant an annual subsidy in exchange for surrendering some border land in 1865. Britain also prompted an assembly of eminent Buddhist monks, government officials and heads of important families to unanimously select Ugyen Wangchuck as the hereditary king of Bhutan, in 1907. Subsequently Bhutan agreed to allow Britain to guide its foreign relations with an exception to its traditional relations with Tibet.

Following independence of India from the United Kingdom on August 15' 1947, India not only assumed the role of Britain in Bhutan but also signed a formal indo – Bhutanese treaty in 1949 wherein India returned the land of Bhutan amassed by Britain. At the same time India agreed to grant annual subsidies the country received from Britain and formalised its own responsibilities in defence and foreign relations of Bhutan.

The third king of Bhutan, Druk Gyalpo(the title of Bhutan King) Jigme Dorji Wangchuk constituted a 130 member National Assembly to introduced a mock democratic form of government in 1953 he also discarded the policy of self-imposed isolation in international affairs. Subsequently Bhutan became members of regional and international organization. His successor King Jigme Singye Wangchuck transformed an absolute monarchy into a constitutional democracy empowering the National Assembly to impeach the King by a two-third majority. Following the first parliamentary elections in December 2007 and March 2008, he crowned his eldest son, Jigme Kesar Namgyal Wangchuk as the fifth King of Bhutan with the title of Druk Gyalpo in November 2008. The fifth king has been educated in Boston, Oxford and the premier military academy of India.

It may be interesting to note that the fourth king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck took an unique initiative to introduce the objective of national development was not primarily increasing the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) but Gross National Happiness(GNH)in 1970s. He sincerely believed that the economic development alone not necessarily brought about happiness. His policy has also been followed by his successor King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, popularity known as King Khesar.

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