Long isolated from the outside world, Sikkim was settled by Tibetans in the 16th century and became a British protectorate in 1890. Sikkim was passed on to India in 1949 and became a state of the country in 1975.
Sikkim's people are predominantly of Nepalese extraction; the minority Bhotias (Tibetan in origin) and aboriginal Lepchas are mainly pastoral nomads. Although the Nepalese practice Hinduism, Buddhism was professed by the former chogyal ("king under the religious laws") and the official class, and Sikkim is noted for its Buddhist monasteries. Tibeto-Burmese languages and dialects are spoken widely.
Sikkim is India's smallest state in terms of population and second smallest in area after Goa. It is the shrine of the third highest mountain in the world i.e. Mt. Kanchendzonga (28,208 Ft asl). The main source of revenue has been tourism for this small land locked on all sides. It shares its border with Bhutan to the east, Nepal to its west, Tibet (China) to the north and Indian mainland to its south.