November 4, 2008 / 5:49 AM / 10 years ago

TIMELINE: Key events in Bhutan's recent history

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.

December 14, 2006 - Wangchuck abdicates to make way for his Oxford-educated son.

March 2008 - Bhutan votes in its first ever parliamentary elections.

July 2008 - The king ratifies Bhutan’s first constitution, formally ending a century of royal rule and establishing a parliamentary democracy with the monarch as head of state.

Compiled by Matthias Williams; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee

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