Till well into the 17th Century, Bhutan was split up
into small independent principalities. After the
arrival of Buddhism, during the seventh century, the
various Buddhist schools began sharing the power in
the country with the old aristocratic families.
The cleric Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel united the
independent principalities into one state. After his
death the theocracy disintegrated and the provincial
lords fought to gain control over the central power.
Only the establishment of the monarchy in 1907
brought peace again. Today the fourth King of Bhutan
is leading his country into modern times.