Establishment of Monarchy
Meanwhile, a new crisis loomed beyond the nation’s frontiers. The question of control of the Duars, a narrow tract of country extending along the foot of the lower range of the Himalayan mountains that separated British territory from Bhutan proper, rapidly wore down the goodwill established between the two countries by 18 century British trading mission. These developments led to the Duar War of 1864, during which the British forcibly annexed the eighteen Duars.
By the second half of the 19th century the greatest authority in the l& lay in the h&s of quasi-independent, nonhereditary baronies. The same period saw the powerful British seeking to incorporate Tibet within their sphere of influence-a development that possessed a threat to Bhutan but was overcome by the political acumen of Penlop Ugyen Wangchuck, a dynamic leader who successfully played the role of mediator between British India & Tibet. The inspired maneuver helped in furthering his authority within Bhutan against a background that was characterized by widespread desire for political stability & internal peace, & in 1907 an assembly of the clergy, the government, & the people unanimously elected the first hereditary monarch of Bhutan, with the title of Druk Gyalpo (Precious King of the Thunder dragon)
Ugyen Wangchuck displayed extraordinary qualities as a leader & statesmen. He was a deeply devout & religious man & imbued with a genuine desire to improve the condition of his people. He possessed remarkable administrative & diplomatic skills. With his outst&ing qualities of leadership & statesmanship, he was undoubtedly Bhutan’s man of destiny. By uniting the country & establishing a central authority, he brought peace & stability to the country & laid the foundation for the emergence of modern Bhutan. He was succeeded by Jigme Wangchuck, during whose reign (1926-52) the nation continued to enjoy peace & stability.
The reign of the 3rd monarch King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1952-72) was marked by the progressive opening of the country to the outside world. In 1962 Bhutan joined the Colombo Plan & in 1971 Bhutan became a member of the United Nations. Restructuring of the country’s social, economic & political institutions was also carried out under his wise & enlightened leadership.
The present king, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who has always stressed the need to being great participation of the people in the nation building process, has decentralized the administration & established District Development Committees in all eighteen District of the kingdom. As Bhutan is a small country with a small population, His Majesty the King given topmost priority to building a small, compact & efficient government with a system of administration that is not dependent on individuals or personalities but will function effectively because of inbuilt merits. Due importance is also being given to the promotion of the high values of the country’s rich social & cultural heritage.
At the same time, under the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Bhutan has rapidly established good bilateral relations with many countries both within & outside its region. Over the years, Bhutan has achieved significant success in enhancing its image in the community of nations through the balanced & pragmatic positions it has consistently adopted as an active member of numerous multilateral organizations.
His Majesty the King Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s reign has witnessed the dawn of a new era in Bhutan, an era marked by great political stability, all-round economic progress & development, sought to harmoniously blend the best of the old & new.