The earliest significant state formation in the hilly region of Nepal was the
state of the Licchavid dynasty in the Kathmandu or Nepal Valley from
300-400-teKr. However, there are much older archaeological finds, including The
Ashoka pillar from 200 BC. in Lumbini in Terai, marking the birthplace of
the Buddha. From the Licchavi period, which lasted until the middle of the
700's, there are numerous monuments and inscriptions. During the same period,
Nepal became an important link between Tibetand South Asia. During the Mallady
dynasty, which ruled the Kathmandu Valley approximately 1200-1769, the valley
flourished as a cultural center. It was from the late 1400's. divided into three
kingdoms, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, all belonging to the Mallas
family. These city-states controlled the important trade routes from the valley
to Tibet and India.
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The rest of the territory now made up of Nepal was subject to a number of
local petty kings. During the second half of the 1700's. the king of Gorkha,
Prithvi Narayan Shah (1723-75), and his people, the gorkhalis, succeeded in
subduing all of present-day Nepal, incl. The Kathmandu Valley, which created the
modern Nepalese state, with Kathmandu as its capital. His descendants were kings
of Nepal until the abolition of the monarchy in 2008.
The continued expansionist policies of the Gorkhals led to the
British-Nepalese War of 1814-16. The Treaty of Peace of 1816 gave the victorious
British the right to representation at the court in Kathmandu and also to the
rule of a large part of Terai, which was incorporated into India.
In 1846, Jung Bahadur Rana (1816-77) proclaimed himself Prime Minister and
Commander-in-Chief of the Army, installed his family in important positions and
made both his and their positions hereditary. The Rana family thus gained a
monopoly of power, which they maintained until 1951.
India's independence in 1947 and China's occupation of Tibet in 1950 helped
strengthen the political opposition in Nepal, with King Tribhuvan secretly
sympathizing with the opposition's main force, the new party Nepali Congress,
NC. In 1951, there was a revolution against the Rana regime. The king regained
power and NC gained an important position in the administration.
The first years after 1951, however, became very turbulent, and King
Tribhuvan's attempts to make some kind of advisory assemblies work fell to the
ground, because the NC was plagued by internal tears, and because the
Communists had many sympathizers, even though the party was banned. Tribhuvan's
successor, Mahendra, had parliamentary elections held in February 1959,
although he was not very positive about the introduction of a parliamentary
system. It also did not take long before tensions between the king and the new
prime minister, BP Koirala (1915-82) from NC, developed into open conflict. In
December 1960, King Koirala was arrested along with most of NC's
leadership. Parliament was dissolved, the parties banned, and the king appointed
his own government.
In 1961-62, the so-called panchayat system was introduced, a special
political-administrative system that was to function without parties, with
elected councils (panchayats) at several levels and with indirect
elections to parliament. It was not until the 1980's that direct elections were
held for the various panchayats. In general, the 1980's were marked by
political unrest, internal rifts and uncertainty as to how far the court and
government would go to retain power.
The media reports of the collapse of other authoritarian regimes in 1989
contributed to a willingness to cooperate in the opposition to achieve change,
and Jana Andolan 'The People's Movement' emerged on the initiative of
the NC and the United Left Front, ULF. Bloody riots in Kathmandu, in which a
large number of protesters were shot down on April 6, 1990, contributed to King
Birendra lifting the ban on political parties and accepting a
temporary coalition government in which both NC and ULF participated. The
government was given the responsibility for drafting a democratic constitution
and for holding free elections. The new constitution was issued in November
1990, and the election was held on May 12, 1991. The result was that NC won a
modest majority, after which BP Koirala's brother, GP Koirala, became prime
Since the first democratic elections, the 1990's have been marked by a largely
unbroken series of political and economic difficulties, changing governments and
difficult cooperative relations between the parties.
In 1996, Maoist groups proclaimed a "people's war", which until 2006, when a
peace agreement was reached, cost approximately 13,000 people alive. The rebel
movement, which gained support from marginalized low-caste groups in rural
areas, was estimated to include 20,000 soldiers. From both the rebel movement
and the government army, systematic human rights violations were identified,
including widespread use of torture and abduction.
On June 1, 2001, almost the entire royal family died in a massacre at the
palace in Kathmandu, committed by Crown Prince Dipendra (1971-2001). Gyanendra,
youngest brother of the assassinated, very popular King Birendra, became the new
king. The massacre unleashed a massive distrust of the political system. King
Gyanendra's popularity was steadily declining from a not very high starting
point. The king dissolved parliament in 2002-05 and installed his own prime
ministers. In 2005, he took full power, but after massive nationwide protests in
2006, had to reinstate parliament. Subsequently, the king's political power was
severely limited. The Maoists and the government entered into a ceasefire the
same year, formally ending 10 years of civil war. In January 2007, the Maoists
entered into a transitional government. In an election in April 2008, the
Maoists became the largest party; one of the first tasks of the new parliaments
was to establish the republic, whereby Gyanendra was deposed as king. In the
2013 election lost, the Maoists declined sharply.
Since the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1990, Nepal has been in a
constant political crisis which, together with ever-increasing corruption, has
made it impossible for a coordinated effort to address the country's violent
economic and social problems. Nepal is thus among the poorest countries in the
According to DIGOPAUL,
on April 25, 2015, Nepal was hit by a powerful earthquake that caused great
destruction and cost more than 8,700 lives. In September of the same year, a new
constitution was introduced with more than a five-year delay. The constitution
sparked protests among certain peoples in the southern part of Nepal, and India
imposed an unofficial blockade, which triggered a serious shortage situation
throughout the country. The blockade was lifted in February 2016.