History of Nepal

Nepal is an independent nation located in South Asia, situated between China and India, with a rich and ancient civilization that dates back thousands of years.

Nepal's status as an independent state with a distinct political identity is evident in renowned Hindu texts like The Puranas and The Mahabharata, as well as through Jain and Buddhist sculptures. According to historical records, the Gopalas and Manishpalas were the earliest known rulers of Nepal, with Matatirtha serving as their capital located in the South-West of the country. The Kiratis, who triumphed over the Gopalas and Mahishpalas, ruled over the valley during the 7th and 8th centuries.

Nepal's recorded history dates back to the 5th century when King Manadeva of the Lichchhavi Dynasty inscribed his name in Changu Narayan Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Lichhavi Dynasty migrated from North India in 300 A.D., overthrowing the Kirats. Amshuvarma, an important Lichchavi monarch, established trade routes with China, and his daughter Bhrikuti played a significant role in the spread of Buddhism in Tibet and China. The Lichhavi period saw the beginnings of art and architecture in the Kathmandu valley, but it was during the Malla period in 1200 A.D. when the golden age of artistry arrived. The period between the Lichhavis and the Mallas is known as the transition period, which saw the early development of architecture and refinement of bronze and stone sculpture.

Starting in the 13th century, the Mallas dynasty reigned for over 550 years in Nepal, constructing magnificent temples and creating beautifully designed public spaces. The Mallas also initiated social reforms, such as the Sanskritization of valley inhabitants, and introduced new methods of land measurement and distribution.

The Kathmandu valley was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan in about 1484 A.D., ruled by different Malla rulers.  During this time, Nepal was divided into 46 independent principalities. The Shah was the ruler in the Gorkha Principalities, the western part of Nepal.  

The history of the Shah dynasty can be traced back to Gorkha, an area inhabited by the Magars, where Dravya Shah established a kingdom in 1559. Prithivi Narayan Shah, a descendant of Dravya Shah and a visionary ruler, conquered all the kingdoms in the valley by 1769 and moved the capital to Kathmandu Valley, establishing the Shah dynasty that ruled a unified Nepal. The Shah dynasty ruled Nepal from the late 18th century until 2008.

The contemporary era of Nepal began following the consolidation of the different provinces by Prithvi Narayan Shah, who managed to unify the country's diverse regions and ethnic groups under a single national flag. He expelled European missionaries from Nepal, resulting in the country's seclusion for over a century. 

Jung Bahadur Rana, the most dominant leader in Nepal's history, established the Rana Oligarchy and gave his brothers key positions in the country. This led to a hereditary reign of Rana Prime Ministers for about a century until they were overthrown in February 1951. This event marked the beginning of Democracy in Nepal, with King Tribhuvan regaining his monarchy power. The first multiparty democratic general election took place in 1959, and the Nepali Congress party won, forming a new government with Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala as Prime Minister. However, the democratic parliamentary system was dissolved by King Mahendra on December 15, 1960, and a Panchayat system was established. In April 1990, an interim government led by Krishna Prasad Bhattarai was formed, and the ban on political parties was lifted, leading to the restoration of multiparty democracy with the king as Head of State and an executive Prime Minister.

The Maoist insurgency began in Nepal in February 1996, with the aim of overthrowing the elected government and monarchy. On June 1st, 2001, a tragic incident took place in Nepal's history when King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya were killed, along with many others close to the royal family, in what is now known as the Royal massacre. Following this, King Gyanendra ascended to the throne. In April 2006, a People's Movement was launched by democratic parties in Nepal, with a focus on Kathmandu. Eventually, King Gyanendra relinquished his power and the Parliament was restored.

On 28th May 2008, the first constitutional assembly declared Nepal as a Federal Democratic nation. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist Chairman Prachanda in November 2006, which ended the Maoist movement and established peace for the country's progress. Subsequently, in April 2008, a Constitution Assembly election was conducted. The newly elected Constitutional Assembly announced Nepal as a Federal Democratic Republic on May 29, 2008, terminating the 240-year-old monarchy. However, the first Constitutional Assembly failed to complete its historic task of drafting a new constitution due to disputes between political parties on issues such as federal provinces and the form of government. Consequently, a second Constitutional Assembly was held on November 20, with a one-year deadline to complete the task of writing a new constitution set during the first meeting between different political parties.

The occurrence of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks in April 2015 resulted in a great loss of life, damage to property and infrastructure, especially in the mid-hills region of Nepal such as Gorkha and Kathmandu valley. 

The new constitution of Nepal was enacted on September 20, 2015, through an abundant majority of votes of members of the Constitutional assembly.