Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th century, when the lama and military leader ShabdrungNgawang Namgyal, fleeing religious persecution in Tibet, unified the area and cultivated a distinct Bhutanese identity. Later, in the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire and retained strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. In 2006, based on a global survey, Business Week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world.
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (Dzongkha: འཇིགས་མེད་གེ་སར་རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་ཕྱུག་, born 21 February 1980) is the son of Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the 5th and current reigning Dragon King (Druk Gyalpo) of the Kingdom of Bhutan. He became King on 14 December 2006. A public coronation ceremony was held on 6 November 2008, an auspicious year that marked 100 years of Monarchy in Bhutan.