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sunnuntai 24. heinäkuuta 2016

Nepal, Cool Facts #129

<= 128. Bhutan                                                                                                          130. Maldives => 

1. Flag of Nepal 

Nepal is the only country in the world, which has a flag that is not quadrilateral. The current flag of Nepal was taken in use in 1962. The flag was a merger of two pennants, that had been used individually for the preceding two centuries.

Shah Dynasty = the moon is the symbol of the royal Shah Dynasty
Rana Dynasty = the sun is the symbol of the Rana Dynasty, who were the hereditary Prime Minister family in Nepal

Symbolism in flag: 

Blue = peace and harmony
Red = crimson red Nepal's national color and symbolizes the brave spirits of the Nepalese people
Two triangles = the Himalaya Mountains
Celestial bodies = permanence, the hope that Nepal will last as long as the sun and the moon
Moon = soothing and calm Nepalese people but also the shades and the cool weather of the Himalayas
Sun = the heat and the high temperature at the lower part of Nepal (Tarai)

Nepali flags in a demonstration

After the establishment of the Kingdom of Nepal in the late 1700s, the newly formed kingdom expanded to the present-day northern India and also to further north to the Himalayas. Nepal had some disputes with Tibet over the control of some areas. The Qing Emperor of China, who controlled Tibet had to start the Sino-Nepalese War against Nepal. The Qing Empire won and Nepal had to retreat and pay heavy reparations to Peking. 

In 1814-1816 Nepal fought the Anglo-Nepalese War against the British, which it lost. In the Treaty of Sugauli, Nepal had to cede one-third of its areas to British India and allow the establishment of a British representative in Kathmandu and to recruit Gurkha soldiers to the British.

The British had been surprised by how fierce fighters the Gurkhas were and that's why they recruited Gurkhas to fight for British India in 1857 in the Sepoy Rebellion and in 1982 in the Falkland War.

Greater Nepal map

3. Political changes of Nepal 

Timeline of political changes in Nepal 

1769-1846 Shah Dynasty
Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the Kathmandu Valley after the Battle of Kirtipur and created the Kingdom of Nepal.

1846-1951 Rana Dynasty
After the war against the British in 1814-1816 Nepal was in chaos. The order was restored when the Rana Dynasty started ruling the country. The title of the king was made titular and the Prime Ministers had the real power. The post of Prime Minister was made hereditary to the Rana Dynasty. Nepal isolated during the Rana rule and they were supported by the British.

1951-2007 Shah Dynasty
Opposition grew against the autocratic rule of the Shah Dynasty and in 1951 India supported the Nepali Congress to reinstate the power to the Rana royal family. The king arranged democratic elections in 1959 but a year and a half declared the failure of the democratic parliament replacing it with the panchayat system. The panchayat councils were chosen without parties and basically gave all the decision-making to the king.

In the 1980s the Communist Party started demanding for reinstating multi-party system. In the 1990s political parties were accepted again and free elections were held. The biggest conflicts in the 1990s were the expulsion of about 100,000 people to Nepal by Bhutan and the civil war, which started in 1996 by the Maoists.

2007 Nepal abolishes monarchy and becomes a secular state

After several truces after fights and general strikes the Maoists allied with the opposition parties to restore democracy. After weeks of protests the King agreed to restore the parliament, which abolished the monarchy in 2007. Nepal had transformed from the last Hindu kingdom to a secular state.

2008 Nepal became a federal republic 

In 2008 Nepal became a federal republic but since then there have been several failed attempts to create the new constitution by the National Assembly.

Prithvi Narayan Shah, first King of unified Nepal

4. Nepalese Royal Massacre

When and Where ? 

In 2001 in Narayanhity Royal Palace at Kathmandu. Around 21.00 o'clock during a dinner, that the royal family was having.

Who ? 

Prince Dipendra killed ten people including himself. He had several guns killing his parents, the King and Queen of Nepal, his siblings and other family members. Five people were wounded but survived.

Why ?

It was rumored that Prince Dipendra was angry over a marriage dispute. Dipendra wanted to marry a member of the rivaling Rana clan but his parents preferred someone else.

Conspiracy theory 

King Birendra's unpopular brother Gyanendra ascended to the throne after his brother's death. Rumors tell that Gyanendra had a hand in the massacre in order to ascend to the throne. There were also speculations over the involvement of the Indian intelligence agency RAW and of the American CIA planning the event. Birendra and his sons were popular among the people of Nepal while Gyanendra and his son were unpopular.

Dipendra in the left, next to his father King Birendra

5. Mountains in Nepal 

Highest Altitude
Nepal is a quite small country being the 95th largest country in the world, but it has eight of the top ten highest peaks of the world. The highest being Mount Everest, Sagarmatha in Nepalese, got its name from George Everest, the surveyor General of India between 1830 and 1843. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to climb on the top of Mount Everest in 1953. 

Tallest Mountain
Mount Everest's altitude measured from sea level is the highest in the world, but the tallest mountain in the world is actually Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Its highest point is only at 4207 but most of the volcano is under the water and its total size from the base to the summit is over 10,000m. 

Top 10 Peaks of the World

  1. Mount Everest - 8848m 
  2. K2 - 8611m - China-Pakistan border 
  3. Kangchenjunga - 8586
  4. Lhotse - 8516m
  5. Makalu - 8485m
  6. Cho Oyu - 8188m
  7. Dhaulagiri I - 8167m
  8. Manaslu - 8163m
  9. Nanga Parbat - 8126m - Pakistan 
  10. Annapurna I - 8091m
Highest peaks of each continent


500BC Small kingdoms and confederations of clans arose in southern regions of Nepal
250BC Maurya Empire of North India extended their influence to Nepal
200s Licchavi Kingdom governed the Kathmandu Valley
300s Gupta Empire ruled Nepal
1000s Chalukha dynasty of South India influenced Nepal. Hinduism became more popular than Buddhism in Nepal because the kings supported Hinduism
1482 Nepal was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur
1700s In the middle of the century the Gorkha king, Prithvi Narayan Shah, conquered the areas of Malla Dynasty and others to create the present-day Nepal
1769 After Battle of Kirtipur Narayan Shah conquered the Kathmandu Valley
1775 The Kingdom of Nepal was established and Kathmandu became the capital 
1788-1792 Sino-Nepalese War, The Tibetans and Nepalese fought but later the Qing Dynasty, which ruled Tibet was involved in the conflict driving out the Nepalese from Tibet and forcing to sign a peace treaty
1815-1816 Rivalry between the East India Company and the Kingdom of Nepal over annexing the minor states bordering Nepal led to the Anglo-Nepali War. Nepal had to cede parts of Sikkim and Terai, which they had captured recently
1846 After clashes between the military personnels and administrators loyal to the queen Jung Bahadur Kunwar emerged victorious and founded the Rana Dynasty. He became the Prime Minister, a post that he had made powerful and hereditary as the king became a titular figure
1857 The Rana Dynasty as pro-British assisted the British in India during the Sepoy Rebellion and sent some Gurkha soldiers to assists the British
1923 Great Britain and Nepal signed an agreement of friendship and Great Britain recognized the independence of Nepal
1924 Slavery was abolished in Nepal 
1940s Pro-democracy movements and protests against the Rana rule, which was marked by tyranny, debauchery, economic exploitation and religious persecution
1951 The Rana family was displaced from power and India supported the Nepali Congress to reinstate the power to the royal family as King Tribhuvan became the country's new ruler and the new constitution was accepted
1959 King Mahendra abolished the political parties after years of power wrangling with the government. Nepal became a Hindu monarchy and a "partyless" Panchayat system started governing Nepal
1989 The People's Movement "Jan Andolan" forced King Birendra to accept constitutional reforms and to establish a multiparty parliament
1990 Political parties were accepted and Nepal became a constitutional monarchy
1991 The country's second free elections
1991-1992 Bhutan expelled about 100,000 people of Nepali heritage to Nepal, most of whom have been living in one of the seven refugee camps ever since or moved to other countries as refugees
1994 The Communist Party of Nepal won the elections
1996 Nepalese Civil War started after the Communist Party wanted to replace the royal parliamentary system with a people's republic. The long civil war ended in late 2006
2001 Prince Dipendra killed ten members of the royal family including his parents, the King and Queen and himself. King Birendra's unpopular brother Gyanendra ascended to the throne after the massacre
2005 King Gyanendra dismissed the entire government assuming full executive powers to quash the violent Maoist movement, an act which caused a general strike and an uprising
2007 King Gyandendra had to reinstate the House of Representatives, which declared Nepal a secular state ending its status as a Hindu Kingdom
2008 Nepal was declared a federal republic and thereby abolishing the monarchy
2008 The Maoist party of Nepal won the elections
2015 Nepal introduced a new constitution changing it to a federal democratic republic
2015 Nepal was hit by two severe earthquakes within two weeks
2015 Bidhya Devi Bhandari became Nepal's first female president

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