Jigme Wangchuck

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Jigme Wangchuk
Druk Gyalpo
Dragon King of Bhutan
Reign26 August 1926 – 30 March 1952
Coronation14 March 1927[1]
PredecessorUgyen Wangchuck
SuccessorJigme Dorji Wangchuck
Thinley Rabten Palace
Died(1952-03-30)30 March 1952 (aged 46-47)
Kuenga Rabten Palace, Dragteng Gewog, Trongsa[2]
Cremated at Kurjey Lhakhang
Spouse1st consort-Phuntsho Choden
2nd consort-Pema Dechen
IssueKing Jigme Dorji Wangchuck
Princess Choki Wangmo Wangchuck
Prince Namgyel Wangchuck
Princess Deki Yangzom Wangchuck
Princess Pema Choden Wangchuck
HouseHouse of Wangchuck
FatherUgyen Wangchuck
MotherTsundue Pema Lhamo
Picture of King Jigme Wangchuck at Paro International Airport
Picture of Dragon King Jigme Wangchuck at Paro International Airport

Jigme Wangchuck (Dzongkha: འཇིགས་མེད་དབང་ཕྱུག, Wylie: ’jigs med dbang phyug; 1905 – 30 March 1952) was the 2nd Druk Gyalpo or king of Bhutan from 26 August 1926, until his death. He pursued legal and infrastructural reform during his reign. Bhutan continued to maintain almost complete isolation from the outside world during this period; its only foreign relations were with the British Raj in India, which they were referred as a protected state, similar to Sikkim. He was succeeded by his son, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

Early life[edit]

Jigme Wangchuck was born in 1905, at the Thinley Rabten Palace in Wangdue Phodrang District. He received his education at Wangdecholing Palace, where he learned English and Hindi and received a religious education.[3] As the first son of Ugyen Wangchuck, Jigme was expected to succeed his father; accordingly, he was given the title Penlop of Trongsa in 1923.[4]


Jigme Wangchuck ascended to the throne in 1926, after the death of Ugyen Wangchuck; he received his formal coronation in Punakha on March 14, 1927.[1] He primarily focused his energies on internal construction and infrastructure projects: for instance, Jigme oversaw the renovation of dzongs and monasteries in eastern Bhutan,[5] and founded and renovated several schools in the country.[6] He also built several royal residences, including the Kuenga Rabten winter palace in Trongsa and additional residences at Samdrupcholing and Domkhar.[7] Jigme was interested in other infrastructural projects, such as improving roads and modernizing medical facilities, but was unable to pursue those projects due to a lack of revenue.[8] Jigme also paid close attention to the administration of Bhutan's laws. He discouraged capital punishment for all crimes besides murder, reduced the judicial fees on the citizenry, and allowed citizens to call on him to appeal the judgments of lower officials.[9]

Jigme was primarily an isolationist in foreign policy, though he followed his father in maintaining friendly relations with the British Raj. When World War II broke out, Jigme sent 100,000 rupees to the Raj as a gesture of goodwill, and as a ruler within the British Raj and the wider British Empire as a whole. In return, the Raj protected Bhutan's isolation by preventing Westerners from visiting the country.[10] After the war ended in 1945, the United Kingdom not able to maintain a presence in the subcontinent, decided to withdraw the entire Indian subcontinent, thus appointed Lord Mountbatten to oversee the transfer of power, but Bhutan refused to accede to the Union of India, thus was given its own independence, After India became independent, Jigme sent a delegation to initiate diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan; this meeting led to the 1949 friendship treaty between the two nations, in which Bhutan agreed to let India "guide" its foreign policy. This treaty also saw India paying an annual subsidy to Bhutan and handing over 32 square miles of land in Dewangiri.[11]

Early in 1952, Jigme fell ill, and witnessed omens that convinced him he would die. Consequently, he resolved to spend his last days practicing archery, which was one of his favorite pastimes; however, his condition deteriorated during this time, and after ten days he had become too sick to continue with archery. He retired to the Kuenga Rabten Palace, where he died on March 30, a month and a half after Britain's King George VI (who was, in practice the last Emperor of India and it's princely states, including Bhutan) also passed on 6 February.. before [12]


The Second King, Jigme Wangchuck, had five children with his two cross cousins, Ashi Phuntsho Choden and her sister, Ashi Pema Dechen:

  • The Third King (Druk Gyalpo) Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (by his first wife).
  • Princess (Druk Gyalsem) Choki Wangmo Wangchuck (by his second wife).
  • Prince (Druk Gyalsey) Namgyel Wangchuck, 26th Penlop of Paro (by his second wife).
  • Princess (Druk Gyalsem) Deki Yangzom Wangchuck (by his second wife).
  • Princess (Druk Gyalsem) Pema Choden Wangchuck (by his second wife).

Princess Choki Wangmo Wangchuck had two daughters, Ashi Deki Choden and Ashi Sonam Yulgyal.

Princess Pema Choden Wangchuck had four children; Ashi Namden, Dasho Namgyel Dawa (Tulku Namgyel Rinpoche), Dasho Wangchen Dawa (Kathok Situ Rinpoche) and Dasho Leon Rabten.

Princess Deki Yangzom Wangchuck had six children; Ashi Lhazen Nizal Rica, Dasho Jigme Namgyal, Dasho Wangchuck Dorji Namgyal, Ashi Yiwang Pindarica, Ashi Namzay Kumutha and the late Ashi Dechen.


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lham Dorji, p. 32
  2. ^ www.bhutanculturalatlas.org
  3. ^ Lham Dorji, p. 30
  4. ^ Lham Dorji, p. 31
  5. ^ Lham Dorji, p. 35
  6. ^ Lham Dorji, p. 39
  7. ^ Lham Dorji, p. 33
  8. ^ Lham Dorji, p. 38
  9. ^ Lham Dorji, pp. 44–45
  10. ^ Lham Dorji, pp. 36–37
  11. ^ Lham Dorji, pp. 37–38
  12. ^ Lham Dorji, p. 45
  13. ^ London Gazette, 3 June 1930
  14. ^ "Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood" (PDF). London Gazette. Vol. 33256. 1927-03-11. p. 1601. Retrieved 2011-08-11.

Further reading[edit]

Jigme Wangchuck
Born: 1905 Died: 30 March 1952
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Bhutan
Succeeded by