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What are some facts about Bhutan?

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Quick Answer

The Kingdom of Bhutan, governed from its capital city of Thimphu, is a country in Asia bordered to the north by China and to the south by India. As a land-locked country of almost 14,824 square miles, Bhutan is comparable in size to Switzerland.

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Full Answer

The name Bhutan may be derived from the Sanskrit word Bhotant meaning "the end of Tibet" or from the word Bhu-uttan meaning "high land." The indigenous people call the land, Druk Yul or "land of the thunder dragon," and deem themselves the Drukpa people. The first recorded inhabitants of Bhutan settled the region around the year 600 A.D. They migrated from northern Burma and northeast India bringing with them their Buddhist religion.

Despite increasing modernization, the majority of people in Bhutan still reside in sparsely populated villages dispersed among the Himalayan landscape. Although populations and towns only maintain loose ties with each other due to poor transportation, the Buddhist faith unites the country culturally. Only Bhutan still maintains the tantric form of Mahayana Buddhism as its official religion. Dzongkha is the nation's official language, although the isolated villages maintain their own unique dialects.

Beginning in the 17th century, the government of Bhutan consisted of a monarchy that presided over multiple dzongkhags or states managed by a governor. In 2008, King Jingme Singme Wangchuk abdicated the throne, and the government transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.

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