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date: 22 August 2019

Bhutanlocked

  • Sara Nuttall

Extract

Country in Asia. Its system of government is a hereditary monarchy; it is the last independent Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas. Bhutan shares its southern border with India, on the edge of the Brahmaputra plain, and its northern border with the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China in the high mountain ranges of the eastern Himalayas.

One of the most striking features of Bhutan is its isolation. Until the 20th century there was virtually no contact with people to the south of the country. The easier routes to travel had always been to the north and therefore Tibetan culture has had the most influence on Bhutan’s religious and ethnic make-up over the centuries. The Drukpas, people who mostly live in the western half of Bhutan, have origins connected with Tibet. Another significant group, the Sharchop people in eastern Bhutan, are thought to be descendants of peoples who pre-date the Tibetan influxes. Around 95% of the population practises subsistence farming, which mainly consists of growing rice in terraces. The capital city, Thimphu, in the western part of the country and halfway between India and Tibet, is at an altitude of ...

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