In brief

In the later part of the nineteenth century, the Penlop (governor) of Trongsa Jigme Namgyal emerged as a strong leader out of the internal strife & intrigue embroiled by other power-brokering Penlops. After his death in 1881, he was succeeded by his dynamic son, Ugyen Wangchuck. At the backdrop of widespread desire for political stability & peace, Ugyen Wangchuck with his political acumen further consolidated his power & after the battle of Changlimithang ( Thimphu) in 1885 he emerged as an authority to reckon with.

Finally in 1907, a historic assembly of the clergy, the official administration, & the people unanimously elected Ugen Wangchuck as the first hereditary King of Bhutan. Ugen Wangchuck reigned until his death in 1926, & was succeeded by his son Jigme Wangchuck, who ruled the kingdom until 1952. The reigns of the first two Kings were marked by political stability. It was the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who introduced the process of modernisation. Known as the "Father of the Modem Bhutan", King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck initiated planned development & thus began the dramatic changes in the quality of life of the people. He also enhanced the kingdom’s global role, making Bhutan a member of the United Nations & other international organisations. Bhutan made a giant leap straight from the medieval to the modem age. King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck ruled from 1952 to 1972.

In 1972, taking the reins from his father, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck became the youngest monarch in the world & continued the process of modernisation preserving the culture & traditions. With a strong emphasis on preserving the rich religious & cultural heritage, the dynamic young monarch then steered the kingdom through more than 20 years of development, towards the 21st century. From the pine-clad log cottage of Samteling he gave the world an ideal of modernisation: Gross National Happiness.




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