Bhutan

Bhutan

Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefs until the early 17th century, when the lama and military leader Ngawang Namgyal, the 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, who was fleeing religious persecution in Tibet, unified the area and cultivated a distinct Bhutanese identity. Later, in the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire and retained strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. In 2006, based on a global survey, Business Week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world.[10]

Bhutans landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, where some peaks exceed 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). Its total area was reported as approximately 46,500 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in 1997[11] and 38,394 square kilometres (14,824 sq mi) in 2002.[1][2] Bhutans state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism and the population, now (as of 2012/2013) estimated to be nearly three-quarters of a million,[3] is predominantly Buddhist. Hinduism is the second-largest religion.

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