The history of Bhutan | Bhutan before unification | Until the establishment of the state
 
A Bhutanese saint Zoom

Until the establishment of the state

Bhutan was only established as a closed political unit in the 17th century. Before that the area of present-day Bhutan was split up in various small principalities, which were mostly separated from one another by high mountain ridges.

There are very few sources available on the history of Bhutan before the state was established. Texts in Tibetan of that time mainly concern religious themes, and say little about the political and historical situation. Without rendering a clear picture, few hints to those topics can be found in the life histories of famous saints. What can be taken as certain, though, is that, from the eleventh century on, Bhutan’s history was tightly bound with the fate of the various Buddhist schools.

 
 
A Bhutanese saint Zoom

 

Despite the independence of the local realms, central, eastern and western Bhutan were formed by similar social and political setups. Let us therefore look at each of the three regions in turn.

The history of Bhutan
.  Bhutan before ..
.  .  Bhutans early history
.  .  First Buddhist temples
.  .  Until the establishme ..
.  .  .  Central Bhutan
.  .  .  Eastern Bhutan
.  .  .  Western Bhutan
.  Shabdrung Ngawang ..
.  The monarchy
Bhutans religion
Gods and Sacred ..


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The various provinces of Bhutan are mostly separated from one another by massive mountain ranges. The area of Thimphu, the capital, has always been dominated by members of the Nyingmapa school.


Many murals in Bhutan monasteries show great saints whose written life histories shed light on the country's history.
Photo by Françoise Pommaret


Many murals in Bhutanese monasteries show great saints whose written life histories shed light on the country's history.
Photo by Françoise Pommaret