A sovereign kingdom in the Himalayas, Bhutan was governed by a spiritual ruler and a temporal ruler—the Dharma and Deb Raja—from the 17th century. The interior was organized into districts controlled by governors and fort commanders. These officials formed the electoral council appointing the Deb Raja. During the 19th century civil wars were fought between district governors for the office of the Deb Raja. The election became a formality and the governors of Tongsa and Paro were the most frequently chosen because they were the strongest. In 1863 a British attempt to bring stability to Bhutan led to war on the frontier with India.
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