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An update from Evaneos

A history of Nepal, from its beginnings to today

Nepal has magical origins that stem from an age old myth. Throughout its entire history, the country has witnessed wars of succession, conflict and frequent periods of instability.

*After the devastating earthquakes of April and May 2015, the country is slowly getting back on its feet. This article was written before these catastrophic events occured.

From its origins to the end of the monarchy

In the beginning, Nepal was a huge lake that was home to a snake. A Chinese wiseman stopped on its banks to meditate, before emptying the lake and building the town of Kathmandu. That's the short version.

Between 700BC and 300AD, the country was invaded by the Kirats followed by the Licchvis. From this period to 700AD, Nepal was considered a wealthy nation. After the fall of the Licchavis, things became a bit more complicated. Instability rocked the kingdom, which at the time was divided into numerous small states. It was the King of the Gorkha, Prithivi Narayan, who took the first steps to unify the states under one banner. It wasn't a trouble-free exercise, but he did manage to unify 60 states.

In 1814 war broke out with India, a conflict that lasted 4 years until 1818. The result was the creation of a treaty that established British representation in Kathmandu. The country subsequently witnessed political conspiracies and massacres until 1848 when Prime Minister Jang Bahadur took power.

Durbar Square in Kathmandu

From the Rana era to today

From 1848 to 1951, The Rana Dynasty ruled Nepal, at which point the country shut itself off from the world. After years of conflict and war, the country finally declared its independence in 1923. In 1951, with India's help, King Tribhuvan took over and the Rana Dynasty was thrown out.

During the 1990's Nepal once again saw conflict due to Maoïst insurgencies. The situation became so dangerous that between 2002 and 2006 a state of emergency was implemented. By this time the MaoÏsts had already seen several electoral victories. Their campaigns aimed to end the caste system, give lands back to the people, establish equal rights between men and women and abolish the monarchy. Violence broke out across the country and members of the Royal family were assassinated. In 2008, the Maoïst leader, Prachanda was elected Prime Minister. Today, any political vying is done behind close doors - for the time being peace reigns. But for how long...who knows? Keeping the peace remains a delicate issue.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 6 October 2015
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