(Druk Yul). State of Central Asia (38,394 km²). Capital: Thimphu. Administrative division: districts (20). Population: 683,406 (2009 estimate). Language: dzongkha (official), Nepali dialects, Tibetan dialects. Religion: Buddhists 74.6%, Hindus 25.4%. Currency unit: ngultrum (100 chetrum) and Indian rupee, quoted at par. Human Development Index: 0.619 (132nd place). Borders: Tibet (China) (N), India (E, S, W). Member of: UN.
TERRITORY: HUMAN GEOGRAPHY
The population, whose density is 18 residents / km², is concentrated above all in the valley bottoms and in the duar (doors), that is, in those gorges of communication between the southern territories and the high Bhutanese valleys. Of the two main ethnic groups, one is of Tibetan origin (bothia, 50% of the total population), the other of Indian origin, but there are also large groups of Nepalese (35%), mostly concentrated in the southern regions, the which form a large minority. In the last years of the twentieth century, the Nepalese minority was excluded from the population census, which would therefore amount to over two million residents. (instead of 691,000, according to official estimates). Government policy, tending to protect and strengthen the Bhutanese identity, has created considerable tensions with this minority, also influencing relations with its country of origin, which in turn hosts Bhutanese of Nepalese culture. In fact, starting from 1990 Bhutan had to face a serious crisis, determined by the claims, until then dormant, of the minority ethnic group of Nepalese origin against the Tibetan one, more numerous. During the protests, organized in September 1990, the Nepalese ethnic group claimed the right to have a more important role in political and economic decisions and declared itself against the policy pursued by the Bhutanese authorities, aimed at strengthening national identity with a view to exalting the Tibetan cultural aspects, to the detriment of the Nepalese ones: an example of this political strategy was the proclamation of the Tibetan language dzongkha is the country’s only official language. Following the protests of September 1990, thousands of dissidents fled Bhutan, taking refuge in camps located in Southeast Nepal.. The problem of these refugees, whose number has grown, has not yet found a solution, despite the numerous meetings held between the delegations of Nepal and Bhutan: Nepal is firm in its belief that all refugees living in the camps should have the right to be able to return to Bhutan, while the Bhutanese authorities argue that this right should be granted only to those who were forced to leave the country against their will and not to those who did so spontaneously. However, the population of Bhutan continues to be among the poorest in the world and to suffer from the lack of adequate facilities, especially in the health and education sectors. In fact, the number of doctors and hospitals is completely lacking and malaria and tuberculosis are still very widespread, even if, World Health Organization, as early as 1990 it was possible to complete the vaccination program for children; however, the infant mortality rate is still very high. The distribution of the population on the territory shows how most of the residents live in villages built around ancient fortresses (dzong), buildings of extraordinary grandeur, built on the hills to defend the Tibetan incursions; they are still the fulcrum of the political and social life of Bhutan (the same administrative division is based on the dzong), as they house public and religious offices. In addition, there are no real cities in the country: the capital (Thimphu) plays above all a religious role, as well as administrative functions; the second center of the country by number of residents is Paro, where schools, houses and markets have been built around an ancient restored monastery. Phuntsholing, further south, is the largest industrial center. Visit baglib for Bhutan land of the thunderdragon.
The vegetation is very rich: the forests occupy about three quarters of the territory and more than a quarter of the country is a protected area. In the lower and humid valleys, tropical essences predominate, with a thick undergrowth; the broad-leaved forest grows in the medium-sized mountains, with oaks, chestnuts and birches, followed by coniferous trees between 3000 and 4000 m. The local fauna includes endangered species such as the langur nemaeus, the tiger, the snow leopard and the red panda. In order to protect this wealth, 4 national parks and 2 wildlife oases have been created which cover a total of 24.6% of the territory; a 1995 law requires forests to cover at least 60% of the country.