A Political Chronology of Central, South and East Asia

By Ian Preston | Go to book overview

Bhutan

500 BC-AD 600: The state of Lhomon (‘southern darkness’), or Monyul (‘dark land’), is thought to have existed in the area of modern-day Bhutan.

7th century AD: The Tibetan Buddhist King Srongtsen Gampo (627-49) introduced Buddhism to the region.

747: The Indian Buddhist saint Padmasambhava (revered in Bhutan as Guru Rimpoche, patron-saint of the kingdom) arrived in Bumthang (central Bhutan) from Tibet and founded the Nyingmapa school of Mahayana Buddhism.

9th century: Several small, independent monarchies appeared, each of which was ruled by a Deb (king).

late 12th century: A Lhapa school of the Kagyupa Buddhist sect was established at Paro.

13th century: The Tibetan Phajo Drugom Shigpo introduced the Drukpa sub-sect; he confronted and prevailed over the Lhapa school, and founded the first Drukpa monasteries at Phajoding and Tango, in Thimphu valley.

15th century: Drukpa Kinley, who became known as the ‘divine madman’, arrived in western Bhutan. The scholar Pema Lingpa was born in Bumthang.

17th century: The independent theocracy of Druk-yul (‘land of the thunder-dragon’, a reference to the Drukpa Buddhists and the country’s traditional name) emerged.

1616: Ngawang Namgyal, a Tibetan lama of the Drukpa sub-sect, fled to Bhutan from Tibet. Namgyal later took the title of Shabdrung (‘at whose feet one submits’) and founded a state monastic body under an elected spiritual leader, the Je Khenpo (head abbot), and a theocracy under the Desi, or Deb. A State Council (Lhengye Tshokdu) was also created.

1629: Construction of the first dzong, an administrative-temple-fortress complex, began at Simtokha.

1631: Tibetan armies invaded Bhutan but were defeated.

1651: Namgyal died; his death was kept a secret for half a century in an attempt to prevent the disintegration of the newly unified state.

18th century: A theory of triple reincarnations (of physical, oral and mental aspects) of the Shabdrung was established; anyone manifesting these aspects was considered a successor to the Shabdrung as head of state.

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A Political Chronology of Central, South and East Asia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Afghanistan 1
  • Bangladesh 15
  • Bhutan 30
  • The People’s Republic of China 35
  • China (taiwan) 87
  • India 104
  • Japan 135
  • Kazakhstan 158
  • The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (north Korea) 166
  • The Republic of Korea (south Korea) 180
  • Kyrgyzstan 205
  • The Maldives 213
  • Mongolia 217
  • Nepal 226
  • Pakistan 239
  • Sri Lanka 264
  • Tajikistan 286
  • Turkmenistan 295
  • Uzbekistan 302
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