History of Nepal


History OF Nepal

           Nepal is a land locked country in-south Asia located in the Himalaya bordering with the Tibet Autonomous Region,People’s Republic of China in the north and surrounded by India in the east,south and west. Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multiracial, multi- religious and multilingual county. Nepal is the identity of natural beauty and has its own cultures. It has more than 70 ethnic groups and more than 60 different languages are spoken in different parts of Nepal. “Nepali” is the national language of Nepal. As English is an international language educated people communicate in English language also. As well there are different regional languages like Nepalbhasa, Maithili, Tharu, Bhojpuri etc. Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. The population of Nepal is 30 million.  Nepal is the only country in the world with triangular flag. Nepal is roughly trapezoidal shape, 800 kilometer long and 200 kilometer wide with an area of 1, 47,181 sq.km. Nepal was formally renamed as the“Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal” ending the 200 years shah dynasty.

              After Lichhavis period another important era of Nepalese history is the Malla dynasty who ruled around 13th century A.D. During their 550 years of rule, the Mallas built numerous temples and splendid palaces with picturesque square, idols and carving that are preserved in the valley, speak of the excellence in the art and architecture during that period. It was also during their rule that society and the cities became well organized; religious festivals were introduced and literature,music and art were encouraged. After the death of Yaksha Malla, the valley was divided into three kingdoms; Kathmandu (kantipur), Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon), and Patan (Lalitpur). Recently, Nepal was divided into about 46 independent principalities. In this sense Nepal has a long and a glorious history.

               Around 300 A.D, the Licchavis ruled over the country from the northern India and overthrew the Kirantis. We have to be content with various Legends about the earlier periods until more authentic documents are found. Then came rulers of Lichhavis dynasty who improved the economy and making great contributions for the development in theart of building, temples, images and places. One of the Legacies of the Lichhavis is the Changu Narayan Temple near Bhaktapur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (culture), which dates back to the 5th century. In the early 7th century, Amshuvarma, the first Thakuri King took over the throne from his father-in-law who was a Lichhavi. He married off his daughter Bhrikuti to the famous Tibetan King Tsong Tsen Gampo hence establishing good relation with Tibet. The Lichhavis brought art and architecture to the valley but the golden age of creativity arrived in 1200 A.D. with the reign of Malla dynasty.

            The Hindu Kingdom of Nepal is also known as the Kingdom of Gorkha. The founder of modern Nepal is The Great King Prithvi Narayan shah who captured small principalities and annexed them into Gorkha. He had taken the strategic hilltop fort of Nuwakot in 1744 and had blockaded the valley, after fighting off reinforcements from the British East India Company. An ambitious King of Gorkha named Prithvi Narayan Shah started on a conquering mission that led to the defeat all the Kingdoms in the Valley(Kathmandu, Bhadgaon, Patan and including Kirtipur which has an independent state) by 1769 and almost half of present Nepal leading most of battles by himself. Sen Kingdoms and Kirat Kingdoms of south east and east (Makwanpur,Chadandi, Bijayapur) etc. were unified into Nepal. Instead of annexing the newly acquired states to his Kingdom of Gorkha, Prithvi Narayan Shah decided to move his capital to Kathmandu establishing the Shah Dynasty which ruled unified Nepal from 1769 to 2008.

            The history of the Gorkha state goes back to 1559 when Dravya shah established a Kingdom in an area chiefly inhabited by Magars. During the 17th and early 18th centuries, Gorkha continued a slow expansion, conquering various states will forging alliances with others. King Prithvi Narayan dedicated himself at an early age to the conquest of the Kathmandu Valley. Recognizing the threat of the British Raj in India, he dismissed European missionaries from the country and for more than a century Nepal remained in isolation .Most of Kathmandu Valley’s history around this time was recorded by Capuchin friars who lived in the valley on their way in and out of Tibet. By 1767 A.D. the Great Prithvi Narayan Shah of Shah Dynasty conquered various warring principalities and laid the foundation of modern Nepal. He spent most of his 32 years of rule in the battlefield.

            After Prithvi Narayan Shah the campaign of the unification was given continuation by his younger Son BahadurShah and Mukhtiyar Bhimsen Thapa until 1806AD which extended Nepal all the way from Teesta River in the east, to Kangara in the west covering more than 2,50,000 square km area in the rough Himalayan terrain. The expanding Nepali boundaries, by this time stretching all the way from Kashmir to Sikkim, eventually put it on a Collison course with the world’s most powerful empire, the British Raj. Despite early treaties with the British, disputes over the Terai led to the first Anglo- Nepali war in which Nepalese fought with great courage and bravery because of which British were so impressed by Nepalese Gorkhalis that they decided to incorporate Gurkha mercenaries onto their own army. In 1816 Sugauli treaty called a halt to Nepal’s expansion and laid down its modern boundaries. Nepal lost Sikkim, Kumaon, Garhwal and much of the Terai, though some of this land was restored to Nepali in 1858 in return for support given to the British during the Indian Mutiny (Indian war of Independence).

           During the mid-19th century Jung Bahadur Rana became Nepal’s first Rana Prime Minister to wield absolute power consigning the shah King to mere figure heads. He embarked a hereditary reign of the Rana Prime Ministers that lasted for 104 years. The Ranas became a second “Royal Family” within the Kingdom and held the reins of power- the shah Kings required permission even to leave their palace. The symbol of modernization began on Kathmandu with opening of the Bir-Hospital in 1889. The first piped water system, limited electricity and the construction of the huge Singha Durbar Palace. The arrival of the Indian railway line at the Nepali border greatly aided the transportation of goods. The construction of Nepal’s 1st educational institution Durbar High School, Tri-Chandra College was also followed on Rana regime. The Ranas were overthrown in a democracy movements of the early 1950s with support from the-then monarch of Nepal, King Tribhuvan was rehabilitated as the Head of the State. In early 1959,Tribhuvan’s son King Mahendra issued a new constitution, and the first democratic elections for a national assembly were held. The Nepali congress was victorious and their leader Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala formed a government and served as Prime Minister. By 1960, King Mahendra had changed his mind and dissolved parliament dismissing the first democratic government.


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  After many years of struggle when the political  parties were banned, they finally mustered enough   courage to start a people’s movement in 1990. For democracy, the then- King Birendra accepted constitutional renovates and established a multiparty parliament with King as the Head of state and an executive Prime Minister. In May 1991, Nepal held its first parliamentary elections. In February 1996, the Maoist parties declared people’s war against monarchy and the elected government. On 1st June 2001, a horrific tragedy assassinated nine members of the royal family including King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya with many of their closes relatives. As per tradition, King Birendra’s brother, Gyanendra Shah and his family surviving, he was crowned the King. King Gyanendra abided by the elected government for same time and then dismissed the elected Parliament to wield absolute power.

          In April 2006, another people’s movement was launched jointly by the democratic parties focusing most energy in Kathmandu which led to a 19 days curfew. Eventually, King Gyanendra abdicated his power and reinstated the parliament. EX- King Gyanendra Shah left the palace on 11th June 2008. Nepal has been declared as Federal Democratic Republic by the First Constitution Assembly on 28th May 2008, abolishing the 240 years old monarchy. Ram Baran Yadav of the Nepali congress became the first president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal on 23rd July 2008. These days, Nepal has a president as Head of state and a Prime Minister heading the Government.


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