Bhutan

Map

Bhutan Terrain: mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna;

Natural Resources: timber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate;

Natural Hazards: violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country’s name, which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season;

Population: 725,296 (July 2013 est.)
note: the Factbook population estimate is consistent with the first modern census of Bhutan, conducted in 2005; previous Factbook population estimates for this country, which were on the order of three times the total population reported here, were based on Bhutanese government publications that did not include the census

Factbook

Quick Facts About Bhutan

Population

699,847
note: the Factbook population estimate is consistent with the first modern census of Bhutan, conducted in 2005; previous Factbook population estimates for this country, which were on the order of three times the total population reported here, were based on Bhutanese government publications that did not include the census (July 2010 est.)

Age Structure

0-14 years: 29.5% (male 105,512/female 101,279)
15-64 years: 64.8% (male 240,549/female 213,202)
65 years and over: 5.6% (male 20,768/female 18,537) (2010 est.)

Religions

Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%

Languages

Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects

Internet Users

40,000 (2008)

Country Name

conventional long form: Kingdom of Bhutan
conventional short form: Bhutan
local long form: Druk Gyalkhap
local short form: Druk Yul

Government Type

constitutional monarchy

Capital

name: Thimphu
geographic coordinates: 27 29 N, 89 36 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Military Branches

Royal Bhutan Army (includes Royal Bodyguard and Royal Bhutan Police) (2009)

Dependency Status

*

Background

In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding some border land to British India. Under British influence, a monarchy was set up in 1907; three years later, a treaty was signed whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role was assumed by independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned the areas of Bhutan annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India”s responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. A refugee issue of over 100,000 Bhutanese in Nepal remains unresolved; 90% of the refugees are housed in seven United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camps. In March 2005, King Jigme Singye WANGCHUCK unveiled the government”s draft constitution – which would introduce major democratic reforms – and pledged to hold a national referendum for its approval. In December 2006, the King abdicated the throne to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel WANGCHUCK, in order to give him experience as head of state before the democratic transition. In early 2007, India and Bhutan renegotiated their treaty to allow Bhutan greater autonomy in conducting its foreign policy, although Thimphu continues to coordinate policy decisions in this area with New Delhi. In July 2007, seven ministers of Bhutan”s ten-member cabinet resigned to join the political process, and the cabinet acted as a caretaker regime until democratic elections for seats to the country”s first parliament were completed in March 2008. The king ratified the country”s first constitution in July 2008.

Area – Comparative

about one-half the size of Indiana

Area

total: 38,394 sq km
land: 38,394 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Terrain

mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna

Climate

varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas

Natural Hazards

violent storms from the Himalayas are the source of the country”s name, which translates as Land of the Thunder Dragon; frequent landslides during the rainy season