Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC. Stone tools, weapons and large stone structures from that period have been unearthed here. Theoretically, historians guess that the state of Lhomon (meaning ‘Southern Darkness’) or Monyul (meaning ‘Dark Land’ believed to be inhabited by aboriginals of Bhutan known as Monpa) may have existed here between 500 BC and 600 AD. Ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles also mention the names of Lhomon Tsendenjong (meaning ‘Sandalwood Country’) and Southern Mon (meaning ‘Country of Four Gateways’ or Lhomon Khashi. The earliest notable event that has been recorded in Bhutan is the passage of Guru Rinpoche, also known as the Buddhist saint Padmasambhava, in the 8th century.
Little is known about ancient Bhutan or the early history of the nation as most of the records about it were destroyed in the major fire in 1827 in Punakha, which was the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan. By the 10th century, the heavy influence of religion on Bhutan's political scenario was plainly visible. Mongol and Tibetan overlords in the area embraced various sub-sects of Buddhism and as Mongols saw their decline in the 14th century, the competition between these sub-sects to lead the political and religious environment of Bhutan, escalated. By the 16th century, Drukpa sub sect emerged as the clear winner and its supremacy was established in the country.