The Kingdom of Bhutan carries with it a long historical significance. There are archeological evidences that indicate settlements in Bhutan dating back to 2000-1500 BC. By the tenth century, Bhutan’s political development started to get influenced by its religious history which came into effect from 8th century. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche aka Padmasambhava made his way in the country and started spreading Buddhism. Guru Rimpoche is known as the father of tantric Buddhism in Bhutan. It is also believed that Buddhism was initially introduced to parts of Bhutan during the 2nd century. Most historians believe that the first Buddhist temples were built in the 17th century. In the past Bhutan went through different names in the course of time. In the 17th century the country was known as Druk Yul or the land of the thunder dragon. The current name ‘Bhutan’ is derived from a Sanskrit term Bhu-Uttan. The etymological meaning of the words Bhu means high and Uttan means land.
Bhutan has been an independent nation throughout the history. It has never been ruled, governed or conquered by an outside power. During 1907, Ugyen Wangchuk was crowned as the hereditary ruler of Bhutan. Later on he was installed as the head of state and termed as Druk Gyalpo which means Dragon King. After his demise his son Jigme Wangchuk took over the helm and became the next reigning monarch in 1926. He was succeeded by his son Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in 1952. During his regime Bhutan began to emerge from being an isolated country. The king started to implement programs of planned development during his regime. In 1972 Jigme Singye Wangchuk ascended the throne when he was just 20 years old. He made the radical change in the development of Bhutan. He emphasized on modern education, decentralization of governance, development of hydroelectricity, promotion of tourism, and improvements in rural development sector. In the modern time, Jigme Singye Wangchuck is well known nationally and internationally for his overarching development philosophy of ‘gross national happiness.’ He got abdicated in 2006. After the formation of the new constitution, and declaration of democracy in 2008, his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, became the King. Based on the newly formed constitution, the king has been called as the head of the state, and the county was known as Democratic Constitutional Monarchy.
Until the 1960s, the county was reeling through internal conflicts and political turmoil. There were no telephones, no schools, no hospitals, no postal services and not even the national currency. The development started to flourish in Bhutan after Jigme Singye Wangchuk took over the regime. Airport, roads and national system of health care was initiated. The country picked up on the pace of modernization but still maintained polices of careful and controlled growth in an effect to preserve the national identity.
The country became the member of United Nations in 1971. Bhutan is a county with a strong ancient Buddhist cultures. The country did not have any foreign influence as no tourists were allowed in the countries for many centuries. However, slowly Bhutan thought of promoting the country through tourism so it opened up its borders to the outsiders in the 1970s. Coming to the 1991, Tourism was privatized by the Royal Government of Bhutan but with restrictions. Still, no tourists are allowed to venture the country on their own rather they have to be associated with a pre-arranged packages tour or with a registered travel agency.