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.
Guru Rimpoche visits Bhutan; founds Nyingmapa sect several
Independent monarchies develop.
Tibetan Buddhist religion and culture firmly established.
Bhutan occupied by Tibetan-Mongol military forces.
Gelukpa sect monks flee to Bhutan from Tibet.
Drukpa monk Ngawang Namgyal arrives from Tibet, seeking
freedom from Dalai Lama.
First Westerners--Portuguese Jesuits--visit Bhutan.
Successive Tibetan invasions of Bhutan end in withdrawal or
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.
Bhutanese forces invade Sikkim.
Tibetan-Mongolian invasion thwarted.
Civil war accompanies struggle for succession struggle to
Bhutan aids Raja of Cooch Behar against Indian Mughals.
Cooch Behar becomes de facto Bhutanese dependency; Assam Duars
come under Bhutanese control.
Bhutan-Cooch Behar forces invade Sikkim.
Cooch Behar seeks protection from British East India Company.
British forces invade Bhutan.
Bhutan signs peace treaty with British East India Company.
Boundary disputes plague Bhutanese-Indian relations.
Border tensions between Bhutan and British increase after
British seize Lower Assam, threaten Assam Duars.
British invade Bhutan.
British take control of Bhutanese portion of Assam Duars and
begin annual compensation payments to Bhutan.
Bhutan raids Sikkim and Cooch Behar.
Civil war waged in Bhutan; British seek peace relationship
with both sides.
Duar War waged between Britain and Bhutan.
Treaty of Sinchula signed; Bhutan Duars territories ceded to
Britain in return for annual subsidy.
Period of civil war and rebellion leads to a united Bhutan
under Ugyen Wangchuck.
Ugyen Wangchuck helps secure Anglo-Tibetan Convention on
behalf of Britain.
Theocracy ends; hereditary monarchy, with Ugyen Wangchuck as
Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King), established.
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
Ugyen Wangchuck dies and is succeeded by Jigme Wangchuck.
British rule of India and British association with Bhutan end.
Treaty of Friendship signed with India, essentially continuing
1910 agreement with British.
Third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, enthroned.
National Assembly established as part of government reform.
First five-year plan introduced.
Indian troops retreat through Bhutan during Sino-Indian border
Jigme Palden Dorji assassinated; factional politics emerge.
Assassination attempt on Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Thimphu made year-round capital.
Druk Gyalpo decrees that sovereign power resides in himself
and National Assembly.
Bhutan admitted to United Nations.
Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, succeeds upon
New monetary system established separate from India's.
One thousand illegal foreign laborers-- mostly Nepalese--
Unrest among Nepalese minority brings government efforts to
ameliorate differences between ethnic communities as well as
additional government restrictions.
Antigovernment terrorist activities initiated; ethnic Nepalese
protesters in southern Bhutan clash with Royal Bhutan Army;
violence and crime increase; citizen militias formed in
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