This essay focuses on the political, economic, and cultural history of three Himalayan regions – Bhutan, Tibet, and Yunnan. Bhutan is an independent kingdom, closely allied with India, whereas Tibet and Yunnan are parts of the Peoples’ Republic of China. I wrote these lectures for a Bushtracks expedition in the Himalayan region in March -April 2008 and for a Stanford Travel/Study program in Bhutan in October-November 2011.
I first discuss the peopling of Bhutan, why the Guru Rimpoche (8th century) is revered today, and how the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal unified Bhutan (17th century). I next examine how British imperialism influenced Bhutan’s monarchy (19th-20th centuries) and how Bhutan has evolved since the country emerged from isolation in 1950. I then look at Tibetan culture and agriculture, how the early Tibetan Empire (605-842) rose and fell, how Tibet fared under rule by the Dalai Lamas (16th-20th
centuries), and how China’s Tibet policy has evolved since 1950. Lastly, I analyze the differing strategies for Yunnan of the Han and Tang Chinese dynasties, the transformation of Yunnan under the Yuan and Ming dynasties, and how Qing and Republican leaders ruled Yunnan. I append a time line, a bibliography, and a description of sites that I visited in the Himalayan region.
Bhutan Suitcase Seminar, Thimpu, Bhutan, Bumthang,Trongsa, Punakha, Paro, Legendary Cultures By Private Jet, Lijiang, Yunnan, China, The Himalayas By Air, Putao and Pagan, Burma, Myanmar, Zhongdian, Yunnan, China, Chengdu, Sichuan, China,