The recorded history dates as far back as the 6th century A.D., while the real historical period started with the introduction of Buddhism from 7th century A.D. Since then, Buddhism has largely shaped the history of Bhutan and the way of life of its people.
Little is known about the early history of Bhutan. From the available artifacts preserved in a small number of ancient monasteries, we find that Bonism, shamanistic ritual, was followed in Bhutan prior to the advent of Buddhism.
The real historical period of Bhutan, however, starts with the introduction of Buddhism in the 7 th century A. D. Since then, Buddhism has always played an important role both in the history of Bhutan and in the ways of life of its people.
The person who had the greatest impact on the history of Bhutan was Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyel (1594-1651).
Though Bhutanese society under the theocracy established by Shabdrung can generally be described as feudalistic, it was neither hereditary nor oppressive in the medieval Europe sense and was characterized by an absence of strong social stratification.
When did Bhutan first appear on a western map? When did Europe first become aware of Bhutan’s existence?
The question of control of the Duars, a narrow tract of country extending along the foot of the lower range of the Himalayan mountains that separated British territory from Bhutan proper, rapidly wore down the goodwill established between the two countries by eighteen-century British trading mission.