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Bhutan: Table B. Bhutan: Chronology of Important Events
Country Study > Table B. Bhutan: Chronology of Important Events


ca. 500 B.C. - State of Monyul established; continues to A.D. 600.

ca. A.D. 630-640 - Early Buddhist temples built.

747 - Guru Rimpoche visits Bhutan; founds Nyingmapa sect several years later.

ca. 810 - Independent monarchies develop.

830s-840s - Tibetan Buddhist religion and culture firmly established.

eleventh century - Bhutan occupied by Tibetan-Mongol military forces.

1360s - Gelukpa sect monks flee to Bhutan from Tibet.

1616 - Drukpa monk Ngawang Namgyal arrives from Tibet, seeking freedom from Dalai Lama.

1629 - First Westerners -- Portuguese Jesuits -- visit Bhutan.

1629-47 - Successive Tibetan invasions of Bhutan end in withdrawal or defeat.

1651 - Ngawang Namgyal dies; theocratic Buddhist state rules unified Bhutan (then called Drukyul) and joint civil-religious administration established; summer capital established at Thimphu, winter capital at Punakha. Drukpa subsect emerges as dominant religious force.

1680s-1700 - Bhutanese forces invade Sikkim.

1714 - Tibetan-Mongolian invasion thwarted.

1728 - Civil war accompanies struggle for succession struggle to throne.

1730 - Bhutan aids Raja of Cooch Behar against Indian Mughals.

1760s - Cooch Behar becomes de facto Bhutanese dependency; Assam Duars come under Bhutanese control.

1770 - Bhutan-Cooch Behar forces invade Sikkim.

1772 - Cooch Behar seeks protection from British East India Company.

1772-73 - British forces invade Bhutan.

1774 - Bhutan signs peace treaty with British East India Company.

1787 - Boundary disputes plague Bhutanese-Indian relations.

1826-28 - Border tensions between Bhutan and British increase after British seize Lower Assam, threaten Assam Duars.

1834-35 - British invade Bhutan.

1841 - British take control of Bhutanese portion of Assam Duars and begin annual compensation payments to Bhutan.

1862 - Bhutan raids Sikkim and Cooch Behar.

1864 - Civil war waged in Bhutan; British seek peace relationship with both sides.

1864-65 - Duar War waged between Britain and Bhutan.

1865 - Treaty of Sinchula signed; Bhutan Duars territories ceded to Britain in return for annual subsidy.

1883-85 - Period of civil war and rebellion leads to a united Bhutan under Ugyen Wangchuck.

1904 - Ugyen Wangchuck helps secure Anglo-Tibetan Convention on behalf of Britain.

1907 - Theocracy ends; hereditary monarchy, with Ugyen Wangchuck as Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King), established.

1910 - China invades Tibet, laying claim to Bhutan, Nepal, and Sikkim; Treaty of Punakha signed with Britain, stipulating annual increase of stipend and Bhutan's control of own internal affairs.

1926 - Ugyen Wangchuck dies and is succeeded by Jigme Wangchuck.

1947 - British rule of India and British association with Bhutan end.

1949 - Treaty of Friendship signed with India, essentially continuing 1910 agreement with British.

1952 - Third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, enthroned.

1953 - National Assembly established as part of government reform.

1961 - First five-year plan introduced.

1962 - Indian troops retreat through Bhutan during Sino-Indian border war.

1964 - Jigme Palden Dorji assassinated; factional politics emerge.

1965 - Assassination attempt on Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

1966 - Thimphu made year-round capital.

1968 - Druk Gyalpo decrees that sovereign power resides in himself and National Assembly.

1971 - Bhutan admitted to United Nations.

1972 - Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, succeeds upon father's death.

1974 - New monetary system established separate from India's.

1986 - One thousand illegal foreign laborers -- mostly Nepalese -- expelled.

1989 - Unrest among Nepalese minority brings government efforts to ameliorate differences between ethnic communities as well as additional government restrictions.

1990 - Antigovernment terrorist activities initiated; ethnic Nepalese protesters in southern Bhutan clash with Royal Bhutan Army; violence and crime increase; citizen militias formed in progovernment communities.

1991 - Jigme Singye Wangchuck threatens to abdicate in face of hard- line opposition in National Assembly to his efforts to resolve ethnic unrest; cancels participation in annual three-day South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference because of unrest at home; attends abbreviated one-day SAARC session in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Data as of September 1991

Last Updated: September 1991

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bhutan was first published in 1991. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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