Lhotshampa

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Dzongkha · Nepali

Hinduism · Buddhism

Nepali Indian · Tamang[2] · Gurung[2]
Rai · Limbu

Lhotshampa, or Lhotsampa, (Tibetan: ལྷོ་མཚམས་པ་Wylie: lho-mtshams-pa) means "southerners" in Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan. The term refers to the heterogeneous ethnic Nepalese population of Bhutan.

Contents

History

The first small groups of Nepalese emigrated primarily from eastern Nepal under Indian auspices in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[3] [1] The beginning of Nepalese immigration largely coincided with Bhutan's political development: in 1885, Druk Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck consolidated power after a period of civil unrest and cultivated closer ties with the British in India.[1] In 1910, the government of Bhutan signed a treaty with the British in India, granting them control over Bhutan's foreign relations.[1][4] Immigrants from Nepal and India continued to enter Bhutan with a spurt from the 1960s when Bhutan's first modern 5-year plan began, many arriving as construction workers. By the late 1980s, the Bhutanese government estimated 28 percent of the Bhutanese population were of Nepalese origin.[3] Unofficial estimates of the ethnic Nepalese population ran as high as 30 to 40 percent, constituting a majority in the south.[3] The number of legal permanent Nepalese residents in the late 1980s may have been as few as 15 percent of the total population, however.[3]

The government traditionally attempted to limit immigration and restrict residence and employment of Nepalese to the southern region.[3] Liberalization measures in the 1970s and 1980s encouraged intermarriage and provided increasing opportunities for public service.[3] The government allowed more internal migration by Nepalese seeking better education and business opportunities.[3] However, the most divisive issue in Bhutan in the 1980s and early 1990s was the accommodation of the Nepalese Hindu minority.[3]

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