The official name is the Kingdom of Bhutan (Druk Yul). Located in the eastern part of the Himalayas, in the north of the Hindustan peninsula. The area is 47 thousand km2, the population is 2.1 million people. (2000, UN data; 690 thousand people, 2002, according to national sources). The official language is Dzongke. The capital is Thimphu (30 thousand people). Public holiday – National Day, the establishment of a hereditary monarchy on December 17 (since 1907). The monetary unit is the ngultrum (equivalent to the Indian rupee).
Member of 150 international organizations, including the UN (since 1971), ADB (since 1982), WTO (observer), etc.
Geography of Bhutan
Located between 88°45′ and 92°10′ east longitude and 26°45′ and 28°10′ north latitude, between China (border – 470 km) and India (border – 605 km).
It occupies the southern part of the Eastern Himalayas. In the north – the Great Himalayas; in the center – the Lesser Himalayas, cut through by deep river valleys; in the south is a plain. Major river systems: Drangme, Sankosh, Wang and Amo. More than 20 mountain peaks above 7 km. The highest point is Mount Kula-Kangri (7553 m), the lowest is 97 m.
Climate: cold in the north, tropical in the south. The valleys of the Lesser Himalayas have cold winters and hot summers. 70% of the territory is covered with forests (in the south – semi-tropical), above 3500 m there are alpine meadows. 10% – the kingdom of eternal snows and glaciers. Elephants, leopards, rhinos, tigers, monkeys, buffaloes, panthers are common in the south. Musk deer, wild boars, foxes, Himalayan bears are found in mountain forests. At high altitudes, snow leopards, argali sheep, and antelopes live in the mountains.
Main minerals: gypsum, calcium carbide. There are small reserves of iron ore, coal, dolomite, mica, and graphite. Lots of valuable timber. Large reserves of hydropower.
Population of Bhutan
According to Countryaah, natural annual population growth 2.3% (1975-2000). Birth rate 35.26% (2002, estimate), mortality 13.74%, infant mortality 60.5 pers. per 1000 newborns. The average life expectancy is 62 years (women – 63.2, men – 60.8).
Men make up 50.5% of the population. The proportion of young people (up to 15 years of age) is 42.7%, over 65 years old – 4.2%. Urban population 7.1% (2000). Among the population older than 15 years, 47% are literate (women – less than 20%) (2000).
50% of the population of Bhutan are Bhotiya, 15% are tribes related to them. They speak languages close to Tibetan. 35% are immigrants from Nepal and India who speak Indo-Aryan languages. From the beginning 1990s the number of the latter decreased due to the violent actions of the authorities. There are 134,000 refugees from Bhutan living in special camps in Nepal and India (2003).
Local authorities divide the population into people from Tibet – “Ngalungs” (“Drukpas”), who speak the Dzong-ke language, people from northern Burma and Northeast India – “Sharchops”, who speak the languages of the Tibeto-Burmese group, and people from Nepal – “Lhotshampov”.
75% are Buddhists (Lamaists), 25% (immigrants from Nepal and India) are Hindus. Proselytism is prohibited (including for Hindus). The import of non-Buddhist religious literature is prohibited.
Science and culture of Bhutan
In 2000 there were approx. 120 thousand students. 1 college (3 years of study). Every year 50 students go to study in India.
The first known architectural monuments (in Bumthang and in the Paro Valley) were built in the 7th century. Tibetans. Numerous massive dzongs built in the 17th century have survived. in Thimphu (there are ancient paintings), Punakha, Tongse. Famous Buddhist monasteries in Thimphu, the ancient royal palace in Punakha. There is a School of Painting in Thimphu where they teach the art of thangka. Numerous examples of this painting, created in the Middle Ages, have been preserved. There is the National Museum of Bhutan. Of the modern works, the most famous are the original stamps of Bhutan.