It is believed that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 B.C. due to presence of early stone implements discovered in the region.
The kingdom was originally known by many names including Lho Jong ‘Valleys of the South’, Lho Mon Kha Shi ‘The Southern Mon Kingdom of Four Approaches’, Lho Jong Men Jong ‘The Southern Valleys of Medicinal Herbs and Lho Mon Tsenden Jong ‘The Southern Mon Valleys where Sandalwood grows’. Mon was a term used by the Tibetans to refer to Mongoloid, non-Buddhist people that populated the Southern Himalayas.
The kingdom came to be known as Druk Yul or ‘Land of the Drukpas’ sometime in the 17th century. Name refers to the Drukpa sect of Buddhism that has been dominant religion in the region since that period.
Initially Bonism was dominant religion in the region that would come to be known as Bhutan. Buddhism was introduced in the 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo and further strengthened by arrival of Guru Rimpoche, a Buddhist Master who is widely considered to be the Second Buddha.
The kingdom was first unified in 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. After arriving in Bhutan from Tibet he consolidated his power, defeated three Tibetan invasions and established a comprehensive system of law and governance. His system of rule eroded after his death and the kingdom fell into in-fighting and civil war between various local rulers. This continued until the Trongsa Poenlop Ugyen Wangchuck was able to gain control and with the support of people, establish himself as Bhutan’s first hereditary King in 1907. His Majesty Ugyen Wangchuck became the first Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) and set up Wangchuck Dynasty that still rules today.
In 2008 Bhutan enacted its Constitution and converted to a democracy in order to better safeguard the rights of its citizens. Later in November 2008, currently reigning 5th Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was crowned.