Bhutan

by Hope Ke

Introduction

I am presenting on Bhutan. This is information about the history, travel, the government and the foreign policies, the economy, the social and ethnic groups, religion, language and the flag. Also, there will be information on the traditional holidays and festivals, the traditional clothing and food, and notable people in history.

Geography and Travel

Geography: Bhutan has glaciers, lakes, river systems, valleys, and mountains. Bhutan's glaciers cover 10% of northern Bhutan. There are 59 natural lakes and 2,674 glacial lakes over 16.4 sq mi. The 4 major rivers, the Drangme Chhu, the Puna Tsang Chhu, the Wang Chhu, and the Amo Chhu, flow out of the Himalaya Mountains. The rivers travel south till they meet up with the Brahmaputra River in India. Then the Brahmaputra River moves to the Bay of Bengal. The valleys were carved in to the Himalayan mountains by the rivers. A lot of the population lives in the valleys and the lowlands. The major mountain ranges are the Himalayan Mountains and the Black Mountains. The highest elevation of the Black Mountains is 15,145 feet. Bhutan is at the southern part of the eastern Himalayas.

Travel: Bhutan has one airport, and the county has no railways. If you want to travel any where, the only two ways are by foot or by car or bus. There is a national road, which is 3.5 meters wide, made of tarmac. This road goes from mountains to bridges to sides of cliffs and over high mountain passes. This road is never safe when it rains because it creates mudflows and rockfalls. The road can be blocked easily from snow or landslides. If you are in south Bhutan, you must to go though India because the only available road is routed through India. There are buses, but the winding roads with the ratty bus makes for a very uncomfortable ride. The Department of Tourism suggest riding bikes.

Government/Foreign Policy

Government Policy: The capital of Bhutan is Thimphu. The government of Bhutan was an absolute monarchy, but is now a constitutional monarchy as of 2008, which makes it a limited government. The current leader is King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The law-making body is the National Council of Bhutan. This country has the same three branches of government (Executive branch, Legislative branch, Judicial branch). The national symbol is the thunder dragon, that is named Dirk, and is on the flag.

Foreign Policy: Bhutan is part of the United Nations, but not of NATO. Bhutan tries to strive for cooperation and goodwill of other countries. Also Bhutan works towards world peace and make the national security better by talking with other countries.

Economy

The currencies of Bhutan are the Bhutanese ngultrum and the Indian rupee. If a United States dollar is converted to the Bhutanese ngultrum (BTN), it will equal 61.1595 BTN. If a United States dollar is converted to Indian rupee (IR), it will equal 61.19 IR. Bhutan exports electricity to India. Bhutan also exports ferrosilicon, cement, calcium carbide, copper wire, manganese, and vegetable oil to the world. Bhutan earns $721.8 million from exporting goods (as of 2012). Bhutan imports fuel and lubricants, passenger cars, machinery and parts, fabrics, and rice from all over the world. Bhutan spends $1.28 billion (as of 2012) a year on importing goods. The GDP per capita is $7,000 (as of 2013) a year.

Social and Ethnic Groups

Social Groups: The kids of Bhutan are expected to stay in school until they are 13 years old. Their literacy rate is 52.8% (male 65% and female 38.7%). The median age is 26.2 years old (male 26.8 years and female 25.6 years). Also the population growth rate is 1.13% a year (estimated for 2014).

Ethnic Groups: The 3 main ethnic groups are Ngalop (50%), ethnic Nepalese (35%), and indigenous or migrant tribes (15%). The official language is Dzongkha and makes up 24% of the languages spoken in Bhutan. The main religion is Lamaistic Buddhist and makes up 75.3% of the religions in Bhutan.

Traditional Clothing

A woman's traditional clothing is called a kera and is a dress with a blouse (wonju) held up with a silver buckle (koma). The decorations, colors and the patterns tell of the woman's class and social status. The outfit is topped off with a necklace and a open jacket (toego). A man's traditional clothing is called gho. A gho is a dress for men that is tied at the waist with a small hand-woven belt (kera). A large pocket is formed to carry some traditional things. The outfit is completed with knee-high socks and hand-made traditional boots.

Language

The main languages are Sharchhopka (28%), Dzongkha (official 24%), Lhotshamkha (22%), and other foreign languages (26%). Their are over 19 different languages in Bhutan. All of those languages are part of the Tibeto-Burman family.

Religion

The main religions are Drukpa Kagyupa and Ningmapa Buddhism (70%) and some people follow Hinduism and Buddhism (30%). Both Drukpa Kagyupa and Ningmapa Buddhism are disciplines of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Notable People and History

Trongsa Poenlop Ugyen Wangchuck was elected as the first hereditary king of Bhutan in 1907. The law system that he had set up is still in place today. He was the first Druk Gyalpo, or dragon king, of Bhutan.

History: Bhutan has been populated since 2000 B.C. This has been proven with the finding of stone tools. The country was known by many different names. A dominant area called Bonism ended up as the Bhutan that we have now. Buddhism made its way to the area in the 7th century by the Tedeten king. The county was unified in 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. In 1907, the next king came to power and called himself the dragon king (Druk Gyalpo). In 2008, Bhutan changed their government to a democracy to conserve the citizens rights. November 2008, the fifth Druk Gyalpo was crowned.