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History of Nepal

Nepal is multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural, multi religious and multi racial country. Nepal and the life style is influenced by the high standing Himalayas in the north and flat fertile land in the south. Nepal shares neighborhood with two giant nations: China and India. Nepal has a long and significant history and all the languages, ethnicities; cultures are derivations of the history of Nepal. History of Nepal extends from the ages Before Christ to the current 21st century. However, the age of modern Nepal extends from 18th century only. Before that Kathmandu valley was only considered as Nepal and along with unification of small kingdoms and annexation of Kathmandu valley, Nepal led a new history as a sovereign kingdom being recently revolutionized as a Federal Republic. There were multiple attempts of foreign invasion but Nepal stood strong. Nepal was certainly narrowed in terms of territory but remained independent and sovereign state.

History of Nepal

Events from 6th century BC are also found in the accounts of the history of Nepal. That was the time when the Gautam Buddha was born. Nepal is well known as birth place of Gautam Buddha and it all started from 6th century BC. 268 BC appears as another significant year as Ashoka had established empire in North India and his account extended till 231 BC. Travelling direct to the timeline, 4th century had accounts of Samudragupta establishing his empire while during 400 Licchavi kingdom came into power and ruled in Kathmandu Valley for about 350 years. Further, Nepal had various rulers with transitional kingdom in power in Kathmandu Valley till 1200.

From 1200, Malla Dynasty rose in terms of power. They ruled over the Kathmandu valley, called Nepal then. Aridev Malla led the dynasty as the first king and he ruled in Kathmandu valley till 1216. Nepal was divided into small kingdoms then and Mallas were more powerful towards the western Nepal. Kings often led raids in other kingdoms to extend their territory. Several raids were led in Kathmandu Valley too which include 1312 raid by Ripumalla and 1345 raid by Sultan Shams ud-din Ilyas of Bengal. Even the Kathmandu Valley was also divided into small kingdoms but from 1382 to 1395, Jayasthitimalla was the sole ruler and was king of united Malla kingdom in Kathmandu valley. 15th century also had significant accounts of Malla reign as they grew to height. It was then, when the Malla kingdom in Kathmandu valley was divided into three: Bhadgaon, Kathmandu and Patan.

Gorkha kingdom came into existence from 16th century. This was the point when unification of Nepal was envisioned. Gorkha Kingdom experienced their first expansion in 17th century with Ram Shah ruling as the king. In 1743, Prithvi Narayan Shah ascended to throne of Gorkha. He was a far sighted ruler and had a keen desire to unite all the small kingdoms into a big and strong state. His dream took significant turn with unification of Kathmandu in 1768. His expansion continued further with victories over Chaudandi and Majh Kirant states. However, the expansion had to be halted after defeat in Tibet.

History of Nepal accounts of significant political events too. Gorkha Empire was in power during 19th century and they were in full swing when it came to territorial expansion. Bhimsen Thapa became the first prime minister in 1806 and in 1809, Nepal troops laid siege to Kangra. 1814 saw Anglo-Nepalese War culminating treaty establishing Nepal’s current boundaries. After Bhimsen Thapa fell in 1837, Nepal started experiencing unstable political inconsistencies. From 1846, Ranas started ruling over Nepal. They were hereditary chief ministers. Kot Massacre took place where they took control over the kingdom dominating monarchy and to suppress the possible rebels they had cut off the country from outside world. Public politics emerged in Nepal from 1935 with establishment of Praja Parishad which was revolting against the Rana reign. Ranas had close relations with British Empire which resulted in military support to them in both first and Second World War. Nepal had her first constitution announced in 1948 by Prime Minister Padma Shamsher Rana however, his replacement, Mohan Shamsher Rana repressed the opposition. Anti-Rana movement had turned huge by 1950 resulting in the end of Rana rule in 1951. Monarchy came to power again. Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev ascended throne in 1952.

Apart from political history, 29th May in 1953 accounted as the conquest of human over tallest peak of the world. Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary became first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Nepal led herself to international society too with membership in the United Nations. The current scenario of politics of Nepal can be considered as the derivation of the political practice started then in 1959. Multi-party constitution was adopted after the first general elections. B.P. Koirala became the first elected prime minister. But, like the previous account in the history of Nepal, the power control was exercised again. King Mahendra was the one to seize control then suspending parliament and constitution too. In 1962, a new constitution was drafted which stated non-party system and Panchayat system was exercised and it was under kings sole power. King Mahendra was succeeded by Birendra in 1972. Lots of reforms took place and he appeared to be a people’s king bringing many significant changes that led to transformation of the nation providing benefits to both citizens and the nation.

In 1990, people’s movement took place demanding multi-party democracy again and panchayat system fell. In 1991, Nepali congress won first democratic elections and Girija Prasad Koirala became prime minister. With multi-party democracy into practice, public got involved in active politics leading to further unstable politics and power exercise. In 2001, a conspiracy was held that took life of King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya along with crown prince and other relatives. It was named Royal massacre. King Gyanendra was crowned king of Nepal. A domestic war started then as the Maoist rebels stepped up. After years of insurgency, peace talk between the state and Maoist rebels became successful and the rebels also participated in government formation. Political parties started looking for another way around since King Gyanendra had seized all the controls on his own. King was dethroned and Nepal was established as a republic state. Dr Ram Baran Yadav became the first president of Nepal.

Nepal has now been proclaimed as Federal Republic. Nepal is to be divided into several states but there is still dissatisfaction around with lots of issues. A new constitution has been promulgated but some amendments are being demanded.  History of Nepal has always been significant for nation as well as the citizens as the history influences the future too.


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