British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands simply the Virgin Islands, are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles; the British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited; the capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, about 20 km long and 5 km wide. The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom 23,500 lived on Tortola. For the islands, the latest United Nations estimate is 30,661. British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, British Virgin Islanders are deemed to be citizens of the EU by virtue of their British citizenship.
The official name of the territory is still the "Virgin Islands", but the prefix "British" is used. This is believed to distinguish it from the neighbouring American territory which changed its name from the "Danish West Indies" to "Virgin Islands of the United States" in 1917. However, local historians have disputed this, pointing to a variety of publications and public records dating from between 21 February 1857 and 12 September 1919 where the Territory is referred to as the British Virgin Islands. British Virgin Islands government publications continue to begin with the name "The territory of the Virgin Islands", the territory's passports refer to the "Virgin Islands", all laws begin with the words "Virgin Islands". Moreover, the territory's Constitutional Commission has expressed the view that "every effort should be made" to encourage the use of the name "Virgin Islands", but various public and quasi-public bodies continue to use the name "British Virgin Islands" or "BVI", including BVI Finance, BVI Electricity Corporation, BVI Tourist Board, BVI Athletic Association, BVI Bar Association and others.
In 1968 the British Government issued a memorandum requiring that the postage stamps in the territory should say "British Virgin Islands", a practice, still followed today. This was to prevent confusion following on from the adoption of US currency in the Territory in 1959, the references to US currency on the stamps of the Territory; the Virgin Islands were first settled by the Arawak from South America around 100 BC. The Arawaks inhabited the islands until the 15th century when they were displaced by the more aggressive Caribs, a tribe from the Lesser Antilles islands, after whom the Caribbean Sea is named; the first European sighting of the Virgin Islands was by the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus in 1493 on his second voyage to the Americas. Columbus gave them the fanciful name Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Vírgenes, shortened to Las Vírgenes, after the legend of Saint Ursula; the Spanish Empire claimed the islands by discovery in the early 16th century, but never settled them, subsequent years saw the English, French and Danish all jostling for control of the region, which became a notorious haunt for pirates.
There is no record of any native Amerindian population in the British Virgin Islands during this period, although most of the native population on nearby Saint Croix was killed or dispersed. The Dutch established a permanent settlement on the island of Tortola by 1648. In 1672, the English captured Tortola from the Dutch, the English annexation of Anegada and Virgin Gorda followed in 1680. Meanwhile, over the period 1672–1733, the Danish gained control of the nearby islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix; the British islands were considered principally a strategic possession, but were planted when economic conditions were favourable. The British introduced sugar cane, to become the main crop and source of foreign trade, slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugar cane plantations; the islands prospered economically until the middle of the nineteenth century, when a combination of the abolition of slavery in the territory, a series of disastrous hurricanes, the growth in the sugar beet crop in Europe and the United States reduced sugar cane production and led to a period of economic decline.
In 1917, the United States purchased St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix from Denmark for US$25 million, renaming them the United States Virgin Islands; the British Virgin Islands were administered variously as part of the British Leeward Islands or with St. Kitts and Nevis, with an administrator representing the British Government on the islands; the islands gained separate colony status in 1960 and became autonomous in 1967. Since the 1960s, the islands have diversified away from their traditionally agriculture-based economy towards tourism and financial services, becoming one of the wealthiest areas in the Caribbean; the British Virgin Islands comprise around 60 tropical Caribbean islands, ranging in size from the largest, being 20 km long and 5 km wide, to tiny uninhabited islets, altogether about 150 square kilometres in extent. They are located in the Virgin Islands archipelago, a few miles east of the US Virgin Islands, about 95 km from the Puerto Rican mainland. About 150 km east south-east lies Anguilla.
The North Atlantic Ocean lies to the east of the islands, the Caribbean Sea lies to the
Belarus the Republic of Belarus known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres is forested, its major economic sectors are manufacturing. Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence as the Belarusian People's Republic, conquered by Soviet Russia; the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922 and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Belarus lost half of its territory to Poland after the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921.
Much of the borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939, when some lands of the Second Polish Republic were reintegrated into it after the Soviet invasion of Poland, were finalized after World War II. During WWII, military operations devastated Belarus, which lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources; the republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945 the Byelorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR; the parliament of the republic proclaimed the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the country's first president since 1994. Belarus has been labeled "Europe's last dictatorship" by some Western journalists, on account of Lukashenko's self-described authoritarian style of government. Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy.
Elections under Lukashenko's rule have been criticized as unfair. Belarus is the last country in Europe using the death penalty. Belarus's Democracy Index rating is the lowest in Europe, the country is labelled as "not free" by Freedom House, as "repressed" in the Index of Economic Freedom, is rated as by far the worst country for press freedom in Europe in the 2013–14 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Belarus 157th out of 180 nations. In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation. Over 70% of Belarus's population of 9.49 million resides in urban areas. More than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Russian; the Constitution of Belarus does not declare any official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The second-most widespread religion, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following.
Belarus is a member of the United Nations since its founding, the Commonwealth of Independent States, CSTO, EEU, the Non-Aligned Movement. Belarus has shown no aspirations for joining the European Union but maintains a bilateral relationship with the organisation, participates in two EU projects: the Eastern Partnership and the Baku Initiative; the name Belarus is related with the term Belaya Rus', i.e. White Rus'. There are several claims to the origin of the name White Rus'. An ethno-religious theory suggests that the name used to describe the part of old Ruthenian lands within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, populated by Slavs, Christianized early, as opposed to Black Ruthenia, predominantly inhabited by pagan Balts. An alternate explanation for the name comments on the white clothing worn by the local Slavic population. A third theory suggests that the old Rus' lands that were not conquered by the Tatars had been referred to as "White Rus'"; the name Rus is conflated with its Latin forms Russia and Ruthenia, thus Belarus is referred to as White Russia or White Ruthenia.
The name first appeared in Latin medieval literature. In some languages, including German and Dutch, the country is called "White Russia" to this day; the Latin term "Alba Russia" was used again by Pope Pius VI in 1783 to recognize the Society of Jesus there, exclaiming "Approbo Societatem Jesu in Alba Russia degentem, approbo." The first known use of White Russia to refer to Belarus was in the late-16th century by Englishman Sir Jerome Horsey, known for his close contacts with the Russian Royal Court. During the 17th century, the Russian tsars used "White Rus" to describe the lands added from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; the term Belorussia first rose in the days of the Russian Empire, the Russian Tsar was styled "the Tsar of All the Russias"
Aruba is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, located about 1,600 kilometres west of the main part of the Lesser Antilles and 29 kilometres north of the coast of Venezuela. It measures 32 kilometres long from its northwestern to its southeastern end and 10 kilometres across at its widest point. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, Aruba forms. Collectively and the other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are called the Dutch Caribbean. Aruba is one of the four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten. Aruba has no administrative subdivisions, for census purposes, is divided into eight regions, its capital is Oranjestad. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has an arid, cactus-strewn landscape; this climate has helped tourism. It has a land area of 179 km2 and is densely populated, with a total of 102,484 inhabitants at the 2010 Census, it lies outside Hurricane Alley. The name Aruba may have different origins: From the Spanish Oro hubo which means "there was gold" From the Indian word Oruba which means "well-placed" From the Indian words Ora and Oubao Aruba's first inhabitants are thought to have been Caquetío Amerindians from the Arawak tribe, who migrated there from Venezuela to escape attacks by the Caribs.
Fragments of the earliest known Indian settlements date back to 1000 AD. As sea currents made canoe travel to other Caribbean islands difficult, Caquetio culture remained more associated with that of mainland South America. Europeans first learned of Aruba following the explorations for Spain by Amerigo Vespucci and Alonso de Ojeda in the summer of 1499. Both described Aruba as an "island of giants", remarking on the comparatively large stature of the native Caquetíos compared to Europeans. Gold was not discovered on Aruba for another 300 years. Vespucci returned to Spain with stocks of cotton and brazilwood from the island and described houses built into the ocean. Vespucci and Ojeda's tales spurred interest in Aruba, Spaniards soon colonized the island; because it had low rainfall, Aruba was not considered profitable for the plantation system and the economics of the slave trade. Aruba was colonized by Spain for over a century. Simas, the Cacique, or chief, in Aruba, welcomed the first Catholic priests in Aruba, who gave him a wooden cross as a gift.
In 1508, the Spanish Crown appointed Alonso de Ojeda as its first Governor of Aruba, as part of Nueva Andalucía. Arawaks spoke the "broken Spanish". Another governor appointed by Spain was Juan Martínez de Ampiés. A cédula real decreed in November 1525 gave Ampiés, factor of Española, the right to repopulate Aruba. In 1528, Ampiés was replaced by a representative of the House of Welser of Augsburg; the Netherlands seized Aruba from Spain in 1636 in the course of the Thirty Years' War. Since 1636, Aruba has been under Dutch administration governed by Peter Stuyvesant appointed to New Amsterdam. Stuyvesant was on a special mission in Aruba in November and December 1642; the island was included under the Dutch West India Company administration, as "New Netherland and Curaçao", from 1648 to 1664. In 1667 the Dutch administration appointed an Irishman as "Commandeur" in Aruba; the Dutch took control 135 years after the Spanish, leaving the Arawaks to farm and graze livestock, used the island as a source of meat for other Dutch possessions in the Caribbean.
Aruba's proximity to South America resulted in interaction with cultures of the coastal areas more than a century after independence of Netherlands from Spain. Dutch was not spoken on the island outside of colonial administration. Students on Curaçao, Bonaire were taught predominantly in Spanish until the late 18th century, when the British took Curaçao, Bonaire. Teaching of Spanish was restored when Dutch rule resumed in 1815. Efforts were made to introduce bilingual popular education in Dutch and Papiamentu in the late 19th century. During the Napoleonic wars, the British Empire took control over the island, between 1799 and 1802, between 1804 and 1816, before handing it back to the Dutch. During World War II with the occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 the oil facilities in Aruba came under the administration of the Dutch government-in-exile in London, Aruba continued to supply oil to the British and their allies. In August 1947, Aruba presented its first Staatsreglement, for Aruba's status aparte as an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
By 1954, the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was established, providing a framework for relations between Aruba and the rest of the Kingdom. In 1972, at a conference in Suriname, Betico Croes, a politician from Aruba, proposed a sui-generis Dutch Commonwealth of four states: Aruba, the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, each to have its own nationality. C. Yarzagaray, a parliamentary member representing the AVP political party, proposed a referendum so that the people of Aruba could choose whether they wanted total independence or Status Aparte as a full autonomous state under the Crown. Croes worked in Aruba to prepare the people of Aruba for independence. In 1976, he appointed a
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a country in the West Indies in the Americas, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major islands and Barbuda, a number of smaller islands; the permanent population numbers about 81,800 and the capital and largest port and city is St. John's on Antigua. Lying near each other and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles at 17°N of the equator; the island of Antigua was explored by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and named for the Church of Santa María La Antigua. Antigua was colonized by Britain in 1632. Antigua and Barbuda joined the West Indies Federation in 1958. With the breakup of the federation, it became one of the West Indies Associated States in 1967. Following by self-governing on its internal affairs, independence was granted from United Kingdom on 1 November 1981. Antigua and Barbuda remains a member of the Commonwealth and Elizabeth II is the country's queen and head of state. Antigua is Spanish for "ancient" and barbuda is Spanish for "bearded".
The island of Antigua was called Wadadli by Arawaks and is locally known by that name today. Christopher Columbus, while sailing by in 1493 may have named it Santa Maria la Antigua, after an icon in the Spanish Seville Cathedral. Antigua was first settled by archaic age hunter-gatherer Amerindians called the Ciboney. Carbon dating has established the earliest settlements started around 3100 BC, they were succeeded by the ceramic age pre-Columbian Arawak-speaking Saladoid people who migrated from the lower Orinoco River. The Arawaks introduced agriculture, among other crops, the famous Antigua black pineapple, sweet potatoes, guava and cotton; the indigenous West Indians made excellent seagoing vessels which they used to sail around on the Atlantic and the Caribbean. As a result and Arawaks were able to colonize much of South America and the Caribbean Islands, their descendants still live there, notably in Brazil and Colombia. Most Arawaks left Antigua around 1100 AD. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Caribs' superior weapons and seafaring prowess allowed them to defeat most of the West Indian Arawak nations, enslaving some and cannibalising others.
The Catholic Encyclopedia makes it clear that the European invaders had difficulty differentiating between the various groups of the native peoples they encountered. As a result, the number and types of ethnic/tribal groups in existence at that time may have been much more varied and numerous than just the two mentioned in this article. European and African diseases and slavery killed most of the Caribbean's native population. Smallpox was the greatest killer; some historians believe that the psychological stress of slavery may have played a part in the massive number of deaths amongst enslaved natives. Others believe the abundant but starchy, low-protein diet may have contributed to their severe malnutrition as they were used to a diet fortified with protein from the sea; the Spaniards did not colonise Antigua. The English settled on Antigua in 1632. Slavery, established to run sugar plantations around 1684, was abolished in 1834; the British ruled from 1632 to 1981, with a brief French interlude in 1666.
The islands became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981, with Elizabeth II as the first Queen of Antigua and Barbuda. Vere Cornwall Bird Sr became the first Prime Minister. Most of Barbuda was devastated in early September 2017 by Hurricane Irma, which brought winds with speeds reaching 295 km/h; the storm damaged or destroyed 95% of the island's buildings and infrastructure, leaving Barbuda "barely habitable" according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Nearly everyone on the island was evacuated to Antigua. Antigua and Barbuda both are low-lying islands whose terrain has been influenced more by limestone formations than volcanic activity; the highest point on Antigua is the remnant of a volcanic crater rising 402 metres. The shorelines of both islands are indented with beaches and natural harbours; the islands are rimmed by shoals. There are few. Both islands lack adequate amounts of fresh groundwater. Rainfall averages 990 mm per year, with the amount varying from season to season.
In general the wettest period is between November. The islands experience low humidity and recurrent droughts. Temperatures average 27 °C, with a range from 23 °C to 29 °C in the winter to from 25 °C to 30 °C in the summer and autumn; the coolest period is between February. Hurricanes strike on an average of once a year, including the powerful Category 5 Hurricane Irma, on 6 September 2017, which damaged 95% of the structures on Barbuda; some 1,800 people were evacuated to Antigua. An estimate published by Time indicated that over $100 million would be required to rebuild homes and infrastructure. Philmore Mullin, Director of Barbuda's National Office of Disaster Services, said that "all critical infrastructure and utilities are non-existent –
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina, known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, located within the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is largest city. Bosnia and Herzegovina is an landlocked country – it has a narrow coast at the Adriatic Sea, about 20 kilometres long surrounding the town of Neum, it is bordered by Croatia to the north and south. In the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, the northeast is predominantly flatland; the inland, Bosnia, is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip, has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography. Bosnia and Herzegovina traces permanent human settlement back to the Neolithic age and after which it was populated by several Illyrian and Celtic civilizations. Culturally and the country has a rich history, having been first settled by the Slavic peoples that populate the area today from the 6th through to the 9th centuries.
In the 12th century the Banate of Bosnia was established, which evolved into the Kingdom of Bosnia in the 14th century, after which it was annexed into the Ottoman Empire, under whose rule it remained from the mid-15th to the late 19th centuries. The Ottomans brought Islam to the region, altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country; this was followed by annexation into the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted up until World War I. In the interwar period and Herzegovina was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and after World War II, it was granted full republic status in the newly formed Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the republic proclaimed independence in 1992, followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995. Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina has grown at double digit rates in recent years. Bosnia and Herzegovina is regionally and internationally renowned for its natural environment and cultural heritage inherited from six historical civilizations, its cuisine, winter sports, its eclectic and unique music and its festivals, some of which are the largest and most prominent of their kind in Southeastern Europe.
The country is home to three main ethnic groups or constituent peoples, as specified in the constitution. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second, Croats third. A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnicity, is identified in English as a Bosnian. Minorities, defined under the constitutional nomenclature "Others", include Jews, Poles and Turks. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. However, the central government's power is limited, as the country is decentralized and comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with a third unit, the Brčko District, governed under local government; the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of 10 cantons. Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks in terms of human development, has an economy dominated by the industry and agriculture sectors, followed by the tourism and service sectors; the country has a social security and universal healthcare system, primary- and secondary-level education is tuition-free.
It is a member of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, PfP, CEFTA, a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean upon its establishment in July 2008. The country is a potential candidate for membership to the European Union and has been a candidate for NATO membership since April 2010, when it received a Membership Action Plan; the first preserved acknowledged mention of Bosnia is in De Administrando Imperio, a politico-geographical handbook written by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII in the mid-10th century describing the "small land" of "Bosona". The name is believed to have derived from the hydronym of the river Bosna coursing through the Bosnian heartland. According to philologist Anton Mayer the name Bosna could derive from Illyrian *"Bass-an-as"), which would derive from the Proto-Indo-European root "bos" or "bogh"—meaning "the running water". According to English medievalist William Miller the Slavic settlers in Bosnia "adapted the Latin designation Basante, to their own idiom by calling the stream Bosna and themselves Bosniaks ".
The name Herzegovina originates from Bosnian magnate Stjepan Vukčić Kosača's title, "Herceg of Hum and the Coast". Hum Zahumlje, was an early medieval principality, conquered by the Bosnian Banate in the first half of the 14th century; the region was administered by the Ottomans as the Sanjak of Herzegovina within the Eyalet of Bosnia up until the formation of the short-lived Herzegovina Eyalet in the 1830s, which remerged in the 1850s, after which the entity became known as Bosnia and Herzegovina. On initial proclamation of independence in 1992, the country's official name was the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina but following the 1995 Dayton Agreement and the new constitution that accompanied it the official name was changed to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia has been inhabited by humans since at least the Neolithic age; the earliest Neolithic population became known in the Antiquity as the Illyrians. Celtic migrations in the 4th century BC were notable. Concrete historical e
Cambodia the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest; the sovereign state of Cambodia has a population of over 16 million. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, practised by 95 percent of the population; the country's minority groups include Vietnamese, Chams and 30 hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political and cultural centre of Cambodia; the kingdom is an elective constitutional monarchy with a monarch Norodom Sihamoni, chosen by the Royal Throne Council as head of state. The head of government is the Prime Minister Hun Sen, the longest serving non-royal leader in Southeast Asia, ruling Cambodia since 1985. In 802 AD, Jayavarman II declared himself king, uniting the warring Khmer princes of Chenla under the name "Kambuja"; this marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire, which flourished for over 600 years, allowing successive kings to control and exert influence over much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth.
The Indianised kingdom facilitated the spread of first Hinduism and Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia and undertook many religious infrastructural projects throughout the region, including the construction of more than 1,000 temples and monuments in Angkor alone. Angkor Wat is designated as a World Heritage Site. After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, a reduced and weakened Cambodia was ruled as a vassal state by its neighbours. In 1863, Cambodia became a protectorate of France, which doubled the size of the country by reclaiming the north and west from Thailand. Cambodia gained independence in 1953; the Vietnam War extended into the country with the US bombing of Cambodia from 1969 until 1973. Following the Cambodian coup of 1970 which installed the right-wing pro-US Khmer Republic, the deposed king gave his support to his former enemies, the Khmer Rouge; the Khmer Rouge emerged as a major power, taking Phnom Penh in 1975 and carrying out the Cambodian genocide from 1975 until 1979, when they were ousted by Vietnam and the Vietnamese-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea, supported by the Soviet Union in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.
Following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, Cambodia was governed by a United Nations mission. The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90 percent of the registered voters cast ballots; the 1997 factional fighting resulted in the ousting of the government by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party, who remain in power as of 2018. Cambodia is a member of the United Nations since 1955, ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, the WTO, the Non-Aligned Movement and La Francophonie. According to several foreign organisations, the country has widespread poverty, pervasive corruption, lack of political freedoms, low human development and a high rate of hunger. Cambodia has been described by Human Rights Watch's Southeast Asian Director, David Roberts, as a "vaguely communist free-market state with a authoritarian coalition ruling over a superficial democracy". While per capita income remains low compared to most neighboring countries, Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, with growth averaging 7.6 percent over the last decade.
Agriculture remains the dominant economic sector, with strong growth in textiles, construction and tourism leading to increased foreign investment and international trade. The US World Justice Project's 2015 Rule of Law Index ranked Cambodia 76 out of 102 countries, similar to other countries in the region; the "Kingdom of Cambodia" is the official English name of the country. The English "Cambodia" is an anglicisation of the French "Cambodge", which in turn is the French transliteration of the Khmer កម្ពុជា kampuciə. Kampuchea is the shortened alternative to the country's official name in Khmer ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា prĕəh riəciənaacak kampuciə; the Khmer endonym Kampuchea derives from the Sanskrit name कम्बोजदेश kambojadeśa, composed of देश deśa and कम्बोज kamboja, which alludes to the foundation myths of the first ancient Khmer kingdom. The term Cambodia was in use in Europe as early as 1524, since Antonio Pigafetta cites it in his work Relazione del primo viaggio intorno al mondo as Camogia.
Colloquially, Cambodians refer to their country as either ស្រុកខ្មែរ srok khmae, meaning "Khmer's Land", or the more formal ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា prɑteih kampuciə "Country of Kampuchea". The name "Cambodia" is used most in the Western world while "Kampuchea" is more used in the East. There exists sparse evidence for a Pleistocene human occupation of present-day Cambodia, which includes quartz and quartzite pebble tools found in terraces along the Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, in Kampot Province, although their dating is unreliable; some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited the region during Holocene: the most ancient archaeological discovery site in Cambodia is considered to be the cave of L'aang Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the Hoabinhian period. Excavations in its lower
Bhutan the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north, the Sikkim state of India and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet in the west, the Arunachal Pradesh state of India in the east, the states of Assam and West Bengal in the south. Bhutan is geopolitically in East Asia and is the region's second least populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center; the independence of Bhutan has endured for centuries and it has never been colonized in its history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road between Tibet, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Bhutanese state developed a distinct national identity based on Buddhism. Headed by a spiritual leader known as the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the territory was composed of many fiefdoms and governed as a Buddhist theocracy. Following a civil war in the 19th century, the House of Wangchuck reunited the country and established relations with the British Empire.
Bhutan fostered a strategic partnership with India during the rise of Chinese communism and has a disputed border with China. In 2008, Bhutan transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and held the first election to the National Assembly of Bhutan; the National Assembly of Bhutan is part of the bicameral parliament of the Bhutanese democracy. The country's landscape ranges from lush subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan mountains in the north, where there are peaks in excess of 7,000 metres. Gangkhar Puensum is the highest peak in Bhutan, it may be the highest unclimbed mountain in the world; the wildlife of Bhutan is notable for its diversity. In South Asia, Bhutan ranks first in economic freedom, ease of doing business, peace. However, Bhutan continues to be a least developed country. Hydroelectricity accounts for the major share of its exports; the government is a parliamentary democracy. Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with 52 countries and the European Union, but does not have formal ties with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
It is a member of SAARC, BIMSTEC and the Non-Aligned Movement. The Royal Bhutan Army maintains a close relationship with the Indian Armed Forces. Bhutan is notable for pioneering the concept of gross national happiness; the precise etymology of "Bhutan" is unknown, although it is to derive from the Tibetan endonym "Bod" used for Tibet. Traditionally, it is taken to be a transcription of the Sanskrit Bhoṭa-anta "end of Tibet", a reference to Bhutan's position as the southern extremity of the Tibetan plateau and culture. Since the 17th century the official name of Bhutan has been Druk yul and Bhutan only appears in English-language official correspondence. Names similar to Bhutan — including Bohtan, Bottanthis and Bottanter — began to appear in Europe around the 1580s. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's 1676 Six Voyages is the first to record the name Boutan. However, in every case, these seem to have been describing not modern Bhutan but the Kingdom of Tibet; the modern distinction between the two did not begin until well into the Scottish explorer George Bogle's 1774 expedition — realizing the differences between the two regions and states, his final report to the East India Company formally proposed labelling the Druk Desi's kingdom as "Boutan" and the Panchen Lama's as "Tibet".
The EIC's surveyor general James Rennell first anglicized the French name as Bootan and popularized the distinction between it and greater Tibet. Locally, Bhutan has been known by many names. One of the earliest Western records of Bhutan, the 1627 Relação of the Portuguese Jesuits Estêvão Cacella and João Cabral, records its name variously as Cambirasi and Mon; the first time a separate Kingdom of Bhutan appeared on a western map, it did so under its local name as "Broukpa". Others including Lho Mon, Lho Tsendenjong, Lhomen Khazhi and Lho Menjong. Stone tools, weapons and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that the state of Lhomon, or Monyul may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600; the names Lhomon Tsendenjong, Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon, have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles. Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD.
Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo, a convert to Buddhism, who had extended the Tibetan Empire into Sikkim and Bhutan, ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu in the Paro Valley. Buddhism was propagated in earnest in 746 under King Sindhu Rāja, an exiled Indian king who had established a government in Bumthang at Chakhar Gutho Palace. Much of early Bhutanese history is unclear because most of the records were destroyed when fire ravaged the ancient capital, Punakha, in 1827. By the 10th century, Bhutan's political development was influenced by its