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The people of Bhutan are called Drukpas, derived from the name of the country, DRUK YUL, land of the Thunder Dragon. The Drukpas consist of a variety of ethnicity who are mainly categorized into three broad ethnic groups.

The Sharchops are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan. Apparently Indo-Mongoloid in origin, the question of their exact origin or how they reached Bhutan, remains unsolved. Today the Sharchops live largely in the eastern regions. The second group, known as the Ngalops, are the descendants of Tibetan immigrants who migrated to Bhutan since the ninth century onwards, settling primarily in the west. The third section of the population are the nepalese, who began to settle in the south towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Dance in front of a Dzong in BhutanRugged, mountainous terrain and extremes of climate have made the Bhutanese a hardy, well-built people, accustomed to hard work. Despite the strong martial spirit which has enabled them to retain their national independence and sovereignty over the centuries, they are peaceful and fun-loving.

As much as 85% of Bhutan's population live on subsistence farming, scattered throughout the countryside in sparsely populated villages across rugged mountainous terrain. In the lower valleys rice remains the staple diet whereas maize, wheat, buckwheat are more common in higher valleys. The people farm on narrow terraces cut into the slopes of the mountains. Topography largely determines the settlement patterns.

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Tags: People of Bhutan, Drukpas, Bhutanese, Drukpa culture, Drukpa Community

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