TIMELINE: Key events in Bhutan's recent history

Tue Nov 4, 2008 12:47am EST
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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Bhutan will crown its fifth king Thursday, ending a two-year wait for an auspicious date for the 28-year-old Oxford-educated King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to don the Raven Crown. Here is a chronology of key events in Bhutan's recent history:

1972 - King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck dies and is succeeded by his son, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, then aged 16.

1974 - Bhutan establishes its own monetary system, separate from India's, and introduces the ngultrum currency; the country also opens up to foreign tourists.

Early 1990s - Thousands of ethnic Nepalis in southern Bhutan flee to Nepal after they are declared illegal immigrants and for demanding greater democracy and respect for Nepali rights.

1998 - The king relinquishes absolute rule, dismisses a fully nominated cabinet and agrees to include members of a new national assembly, elected by village bodies, in a council of ministers.

1999 - Television arrives; the first Internet cafe opens in the capital Thimphu the next year, as an ancient, traditional kingdom ajars a window on the world.

November 2004 - Bhutan becomes the first country in the world to ban sales of tobacco products.

March 2005 - Bhutan unveils the draft of its first constitution that aims to set up a two-party democracy.

December 17, 2005 - King Jigme Wangchuck announces he will hand over power to his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and hold the country's first multi-party democratic elections in 2008.   Continued...