Brief History of Nepal:
Nepal is known as a land steeped with religion. In the 6th century BC, small kingdoms started to emerge in southern Nepal. One of these was the Shakya kingdom. A prince of the Shakya kingdom named Siddharta Gautama rose to power, but later renounced his status as prince. He went to lead a religious and life of self-denial. He became known as the Buddha, which means enlightened one, and started the Buddhist religion.
Later, Nepal would become part of the Mauryan Empire of India followed by the Gupta Empire.
In the 18th century, Prithvi Narayan united the country from his land of Gorkha. For some time the land was called the Gorkha Kingdom. In 1846 the Rana regime gained power. They isolated Nepal from the outside world for some years.
In 1996, Maoist extremists started a revolution against the monarchy. There was a 10 year long civil war. In 2008 the monarchy was abolished, but the country was left in a state of flux as different parties in the government have not been able to come to an agreement on how to govern.
The Geography of Nepal
Total Size: 147,181 square km
Size Comparison: slightly larger than Arkansas
Geographical Coordinates: 28 00 N, 84 00 E
World Region or Continent: Asia
General Terrain: Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Geographical Low Point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
Geographical High Point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Climate: varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Major cities: KATHMANDU (capital) 990,000 (2009), Pokhara, Lalitpur
The People of Nepal
Type of Government: parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
Languages Spoken: Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)
Independence: 1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah)
National Holiday: Birthday of King GYANENDRA, 7 July (1946)
Nationality: Nepalese (singular and plural)
Religions: Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
National Symbol: rhododendron blossom
National Anthem or Song: Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka (Hundreds of Flowers)
Economy of Nepal
Major Industries: tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production
Agricultural Products: rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
Natural Resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Major Exports: carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Major Imports: gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer
Currency: Nepalese rupee (NPR)
National GDP: $38,080,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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