Almost completely cut off for centuries, it has tried to let in some aspects of the outside world while fiercely guarding its ancient traditions.
The Bhutanese name for Bhutan, Druk Yul, means “Land of the Thunder Dragon” and it only began to open up to outsiders in the 1970s.
The Wangchuck hereditary monarchy has wielded power since 1907. But Bhutan became a two-party parliamentary democracy after elections in March 2008.
- Kingdom of Bhutan
- Capital: Thimphu
- Population 750,000
- Area 38,364 sq km (14,812 sq miles)
- Major language Dzongkha
- Major religions Buddhism (official), Hinduism
- Life expectancy 66 years (men), 70 years (women)
- Currency ngultrum