Alternate History

Bhutan (1983: Doomsday)

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Kingdom of Bhutan
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday
Flag of Bhutan
Flag of Bhutan
(and largest city)
Other cities Jakar, Phuentsholing
Language Dzongkha
Area 38 394 km²
Population 697 000 
Independence from Nepal
  declared 1997 (beginning of revolution)
  recognized 2004 (end of revolution)
Currency Ngultrum

Bhutan is a nation in southern Asia, bordering Tibet, India, and two Indian breakaway states (Arunachal Pradesh and Bodoland). Bhutan is a Himalayan country and is very isolated.



Before Doomsday, Bhutan was isolated as it is today. Such was its isolation that television was banned, and it has always been a hereditary absolute monarchy. There was also Tibetan influence on the country, leading to a Buddhist majority of the population.


Bhutan, being a minor nation, was not hit on September 26, 1983. In fact, Doomsday did not alter the lives of most of the population significantly right away.


Eviction of the Lohtsampa

Even more isolated by the events of the nuclear war, however, the Bhutanese began an ethnic cleansing. In 1986, groups of Lohtsampas, of Nepali origin, were evicted from Bhutan into neighbouring regions. Many of them went west into Nepal. The government there was strained by the influx of people.

War with Nepal

In 1988, the Nepali government declared that Bhutan should stop evicting the Lohtsampas, or face war. The Bhutan government did not stop, and on October 22, 1988 Nepal declared war on Bhutan. However, Bhutan and Nepal did not share a border; they were separated by the Indian state of Sikkim. This state had a large ethnic Nepali population, so the inhabitants let the Nepali army through, against the will of the government of India, which was trying to mediate the situation. When India tryed to punish the state government of Sikkim, the state broke away from India, joining other breakaway states. Sikkim became a valuable Nepali ally in their war against Bhutan. Bhutan was overrun with Nepali troops, as Nepal had not been as isolated as Bhutan and had superior technology, as well as a larger population. The war ended on June 6, 1989.

Nepali Occupation

After the war, Bhutan became occupied by Nepali troops. Some Lohtsampa who were evicted resettled in Bhutan, however others stayed in Nepal or Sikkim. Those who returned were treated with mistrust and oppression by the Bhutanese, who blamed them for the war and subsequent occupation. Nepal offered protection and monetary aid to those who resettled Bhutan, in order to create a friendly population for the occupiers.

Until now, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the king of Bhutan, had still been on the throne. He was a figurehead, but still gave the Bhutanese some form of illusionary independance. In 1997, eight years after the war ended, the king died. The Nepali occupiers said that he had died of a heart attack, but as the king was only forty-two, this was doubted by many. The Nepali occupiers believed that they could replace the king with their own candidate who would be loyal to them without trouble, however the Bhutanese did not take the death of the king at face value. A resistance group was able to uncover evidence that Jigme Singye Wangchuck did not die naturally, but was assassinated by the occupiers. When this was made public, the occupiers faced open rebellion.

Liberation of Bhutan

The Union Interim Parliament of India decided early on to be neutral towards any liberation attempts made by the Bhutanese for two reasons. One, they were preoccupied with breakaway states and with Pakistan, and two, they did not want to antagonise their neighbour Nepal. So, it seemed that Bhutan would have to face the occupiers alone. However, Bhutan was able to find a fellow Buddhist country to be an ally, Tibet. The following war involved Nepal and Sikkim on one side, and Bhutan and Tibet on the other. India was neutral throughout the war.

In the Battle of Kathmandu in 2004, the Bhutanese and Tibetans were victorious. Bhutan was liberated; however in the following Treaty of Thimpu, Bhutan had to agree to not restart their policy of ethnic cleansing that had begun the war. This began a period of peace in the region that continues to the present day, except for the annexation of Sikkim to India in 2009.


The majority of Bhutanese are Buddhists (two-thirds to three-quarters of the population). The Lohtsampa, who are of Nepali origin, mainly practise Hinduism. Other religious groups have negligible influence in this country.

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