Zhemgang District (Dzongkha: གཞམས་སྒང་རྫོང་ཁག་; Wylie transliteration: Gzhams-sgang rdzong-khag; previously "Shemgang"), is one of the 20 dzongkhags (districts) comprising Bhutan. It is bordered by Sarpang, Trongsa, Bumthang, Mongar and Samdrup Jongkhar Districts, and borders Assam in India to the south. Administrative center of the district is Zhemgang.
The dominant language in Zhemgang is Khengkha. Historically, Khengkha and its speakers have had close contact with speakers of Kurtöpkha, Nupbikha, and Bumthangkha to the north, to the extent that they may be considered part of a wider collection of "Bumthang languages." The term Ngalop may subsume several related linguistic and cultural groups, such as the Kheng people and speakers of Bumthang language. S.R. Chakravarty asserts that Kheng are one of the earliest inhabitants that language spread upwards from Kheng into Bumthang and Kurtöp. By all accounts the Kheng are more closely related to the people of central Bhutan than they are to their neighbors in eastern Bhutan, who are primarily Sharchops. The Kheng still retain special trade relations with the Bumthang, including providing winter pasture rights for Bumthang yaks. SIL International estimates there are 50,000 Kheng speakers.
Starting in the 1990s, the United Liberation Front of Assam maintained guerrilla bases in the forests of southern Zhemgang from which they would launch attacks on targets in India and then return across the border. In late 2003 the King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck led a military operation which largely swept the guerrillas out of the region. Because of the risk of attack, foreign tourists are not yet allowed to visit Zhemgang.
Most of Zhemgang District is part of the protected areas of Bhutan. Zhemgang's environmentally protected areas include Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (the gewog of Trong) and Royal Manas National Park (the gewogs of Ngangla, Pangkhar and Trong), which occupy much of the west. These parks connect to Phrumsengla National Park in the north (the gewogs of Nangkor and Shingkhar) via a biological corridor that bisects Zhemgang.
- Schicklgruber, Christian (1998). Françoise Pommaret-Imaeda (ed.). Bhutan: Mountain Fortress of the Gods. Shambhala. pp. 50, 53.
- van Driem, George (2007). "Endangered Languages of Bhutan and Sikkim: East Bodish Languages". In Moseley, Christopher (ed.). Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages. Routledge. p. 295. ISBN 0-7007-1197-X.
- van Driem, George (2007). Matthias Brenzinger (ed.). Language diversity endangered. Trends in linguistics: Studies and monographs, Mouton Reader. 181. Walter de Gruyter. p. 312. ISBN 3-11-017050-7.
- "Bumthangkha". Ethnologue Online. Dallas: SIL International. 2006. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
- "Chiwogs in Zhemgang" (PDF). Election Commission, Government of Bhutan. 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "Parks of Bhutan". Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation online. Bhutan Trust Fund. Retrieved 2011-03-26.
- Wangchhuk, Lily (2008). Facts About Bhutan: The Land of the Thunder Dragon. Thimphu: Absolute Bhutan Books. ISBN 99936-760-0-4.
- Rigden, Tenzin; Pelgen, Ugyen (1999). "Khenrig Namsum: A Historical Profile of Zhemgang Dzongkhag". Zhemgang, Bhutan: Integrated Sustainable Development Programme (ISDP): 106.
- Office of the Census Commissioner (2006). Results of population & housing census of Bhutan, 2005 / ('Brug gi mi rlobs dang khyim gyi grangs rtsis, 2005). Thimphu: Government of Bhutan. ISBN 99936-688-0-X.
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