History

Guru-Padmasambhava.JPGThe early history suggests that the Bhutanese civilization existed as far back as 2000 B.C. However, recorded Bhutanese history dates back to 747 A.D (8th Century). During this century, a Buddhist saint Guru Padmasambhava (Lotus Born) visited Bhutan from India. He introduced Buddhism in the country. The animism, Bonism and nature worship pre-existed the advent of Buddhism. They served as bedrock of some unique social, cultural and ecological traditions and institutions.

The country remained as constellate of disunited provinces and fiefdoms. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, a great Buddhist saint, created a unified state. He established theocracy (1652) and introduced a dual system (choesid) of governance. Under this regime, the spiritual power was vested in Je Khenpo and secular in Desi. A similar system exists today: the King is head of the state and Je Khenpo, the head of religion. Zhabdrung Rinpoche introduced the unified code of law. He built several Dzongs as he defended the nation against several Tibetan invasions. These Dzongs today serves as the monasteries and centres of administration.

After Zhabdrungd’s rule (1616-1651), the country again saw divisions and dissensions until the monarchy was established in 1907.