Kingdom of Bhutan


CAPITAL : Thimphu (Tashi Chho Dzong)

FLAG : The flag is divided diagonally into an orange-yellow field above and a crimson field below. In the center is a wingless white Chinese dragon.

ANTHEM : Gyelpo Tenjur, beginning "In the Thunder Dragon Kingdom, adorned with sandalwood."

MONETARY UNIT : The ngultrum ( N ) is a paper currency of 100 chetrum. There are coins of 5, 10, 25, and 50 chetrum and 1 ngultrum, and notes of 1, 5, 10, and 100 ngultrum. The ngultrum is at par with the Indian rupee ( R ), which also circulates freely. N 1 = $0.0213 (or $1 = N 46.97) as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard, but some traditional units are still in common use.

HOLIDAYS : King's Birthday, 11–13 November; National Day, 17 December. Movable Buddhist holidays and festivals are observed.

TIME : 5:30 PM = noon GMT.


Four main languages are spoken in Bhutan. The official language is Dzongkha, a Tibetan dialect spoken mainly by Ngalop in the northern and western parts of the country. Bumthangkha, an aboriginal language, is spoken in central Bhutan, while Sharchopkha is spoken in eastern Bhutan. Both of these are used in primary schools in areas where their speakers predominate. The Nepalese largely retain their own language, Nepali.


The armed forces consist of the Royal Bhutan Army, the National Militia, the Royal Bhutan Police, body guards, and a paramilitary force. The army is trained and equipped by India. In 2001 military expenditures were $9.3 million, or 1.9% GDP.


The government has established a hatchery and started a program of stocking Bhutan's rivers and lakes with brown trout. Freshwater fish are found in most waterways. The total catch was 330 tons in 2000.


About 64% of Bhutan's land area was covered with forests in 2000. Although lack of transportation facilities has hampered forest development, timber has become a major export. Roundwood production in 2000 totaled 4.2 million cu m (148 million cu ft), about 99% of which was used for fuel.


Royal Bhutan Polytechnic College, founded in 1974 in Deothang, offers courses in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. The Royal Technical Institute in Phuntsholing offers courses in electronics, mechanics, and motor mechanics. Sherubtse Degree College, founded in 1983 in Tashigang, offers science courses.


Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (1928–72) instituted numerous social reforms during his reign as king of Bhutan. He was succeeded by his son Jigme Singye Wangchuk (b.1955).


Bhutan has no territories or colonies.


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