Nepal has 30.3 million people. It is a landlocked country in South Asia, and borders India, Tibet and Bangladesh. Nepal has eight of the world’s highest mountains including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and the largest city. Hinduism is the predominant religion of the country. Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in Lumbini in southern Nepal. By the 18th century, the Gorkha Kingdom achieved the unification of Nepal. The Shah dynasty established the Kingdom of Nepal and later formed an alliance with the British Empire, under its Rana dynasty of premiers. Factionalism inside the royal family led to a period of instability. In 1846, a plot was discovered revealing that the reigning queen had planned to overthrow Jung Bahadur Kunwar, a fast-rising military leader. This led to the Kot massacre; armed clashes between military personnel and administrators loyal to the queen led to the execution of several hundred princes and chieftains around the country. Bir Narsingh Kunwar emerged victoriously and founded the Rana dynasty. The king was made a titular figure, and the post of Prime Minister was made powerful and hereditary. The Ranas were staunchly pro-British and assisted them during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (and later in both World Wars). Nepal, under the rule of hereditary Rana prime ministers favouring a policy of isolation, remained closed to the outside world until a palace revolt in 1950 restored the crown’s authority in 1951. In 1991 the kingdom established a multiparty parliamentary system. In 2008, however, after a decade long period of violence and turbulent negotiation with a strong Maoist insurgency, the monarchy was dissolved, and Nepal was declared a democratic republic. As a result of its years of geographic and self-imposed isolation, Nepal is one of the least developed nations of the world. The country was never colonised but served as a buffer state between Imperial China and British India. The Nepalese Armed Forces are the fifth largest in South Asia; and are notable for their Gurkha history, particularly during the World Wars, and have been a significant contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations.

  1. In about 2,000 words, I will describe major events that affected Nepal from 1900 to the present.
  2. 1900 – Nepalese were recruited into Bhutan as loggers.
  3. 1901 – Dev Shamsher Rana is forced to abdicate; Chandra Shamsher Rana becomes prime minister.
  4. 1911 – King Prithvi (36) passed away and his son King Tribhuvan (born 1906) ascended the throne.
  5. 1911 – King George V of Britain visited India. He went hunting in Nepal and from the back of an elephant bagged 21 tigers, 8 rhinos, and a bear.
  6. 1914 (to 1918) – Thousands of Nepalese citizens fight as soldiers for the British.
  7. 1919 – The Hindu practice of Sati, in which a widow sacrificed herself in the funeral pyre of her husband, is banned.
  8. 1923 – Nepal changed from British protectorate to independent nation.
  9. 1924 – Slavery is officially abolished.
  10. 1935 – Nepal Praja Parishad, the first political party in Nepal, is established.
  11. 1939 (to 1945) – World War Two. Tens of thousands of Nepalese citizens fight as soldiers for the British.
  12. 1940s – Newly emerging pro-democracy movements and political parties in Nepal are critical of the Rana hereditary prime ministers’ autocracy.
  13. 1947 – Nepali National Congress (NPC) is established through a merger of former All-India Nepali National Congress with Nepalese Society of Banaras and Gorkha Congress of Calcutta. Following the success of Indian Independence Movement, which Nepalese activists had taken part in, with India’s support and cooperation of King Tribhuvan, Nepali National Congress (NPC) was successful in toppling the Rana prime ministers’ regime, establishing a parliamentary democracy.
  14. 1948 – Prime Minister Padma Shamsher Rana announces first constitution of Nepal, then resigns; his replacement Mohan Shamsher Rana, represses opposition.
  15. 1950 – India and Nepal signed a treaty of peace and friendship.
  16. 1950 – King Tribhuvan seeks asylum in India after falling out with the Ranas, who incriminate him in a plot against them. Ranas install Gyanendra, then a toddler, as king.
  17. 1950 – Anti-Rana forces based in India form alliance with the monarch.
  18. 1951 – End of Rana rule. Sovereignty of crown restored and anti-Rana rebels in Nepalese Congress Party (NCP) form government.
  19. 1953 – New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepali Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  20. 1955 – Nepal joins the United Nations.
  21. 1955 – King Tribhuvan dies, and King Mahendra ascends throne.
  22. 1959 – Multi-party constitution adopted; first general elections held in Nepal.
  23. 1960 – King Mahendra seizes control and suspends parliament, constitution, and party politics after Nepali Congress Party (NCP) wins elections with B. P. Koirala as premier.
  24. 1962 – New constitution provides for non-party system of councils known as “panchayat” under which the king exercises sole power. The Panchayat rule modernised the country, introducing reforms and developing infrastructure, but curtailed liberties and imposed heavy censorship.
  25. 1972 – King Mahendra dies and is succeeded by King Birendra.
  26. 1980 – Constitutional referendum follows agitation for reform. Small majority favours keeping existing Panchayat system. King agrees to allow direct elections to national assembly – but on a non-party basis.
  27. 1985 – Nepali Congress Party (NCP) begins civil disobedience campaign for restoration of multi-party system.
  28. 1986 – New elections boycotted by Nepali Congress Party (NCP).
  29. 1989 – Trade and transit dispute with India leads to border blockade by Delhi resulting in worsening economic situation.
  30. 1990 – Pro-democracy agitation co-ordinated by Nepali Congress Party (NCP) and leftist groups. Street protests suppressed by security forces resulting in deaths and mass arrests. King Birendra eventually bows to pressure and agrees to accept constitutional reforms and to establish a multi-party democracy.
  31. 1991 – Nepali Congress Party (NCP) wins first democratic elections. Girija Prasad Koirala becomes prime minister.
  32. 1994 – Girija Prasad Koirala’s government defeated in a no-confidence motion. New elections lead to formation of a Communist government.
  33. 1995 – Communist government dissolved.
  34. 1995 – Start of Maoist revolt which drags on for more than a decade and kills thousands. The rebels want the monarchy to be abolished.
  35. 1996 – Archaeologists in Nepal believed that they had discovered the birthplace of Siddartha, who in the 6th century BCE became the monk Buddha.
  36. 1997 – Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba loses no-confidence vote, ushering in period of increased political instability, with frequent changes of prime minister.
  37. 2000 – Girija Prasad Koirala returns as prime minister, heading the ninth government in 10 years.
  38. 2001 – Crown Prince Dipendra kills King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and six other members of the royal family, before shooting himself – due to an apparent dispute over his upcoming marriage. The king’s brother, Gyanendra is crowned king.
  39. 2001 – Maoist rebels step up campaign of violence. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala quits over the violence; succeeded by Sher Bahadur Deuba.
  40. 2001 – Maoists end four-month-old truce with government; declare peace talks with government failed. Launch coordinated attacks on army and police posts.
  41. 2001 – State of emergency declared after more than 100 people are killed in four days of violence. King Gyanendra orders army to crush the Maoist rebels. Many hundreds are killed in rebel and government operations in the following months.
  42. 2001 – The government outlawed discrimination against members of the lowest caste, the Dalits, who would be free to enter any temple or religious structure.
  43. 2002 – Parliament dissolved; fresh elections called amid political confrontation overextending the state of emergency. Sher Bahadur Deuba heads interim government and renews emergency.
  44. 2002 – Communist rebels kill 129 police, soldiers, and civilians. Security forces kill 12 Maoist guerrillas. The army killed 48 guerrillas and the parliament extended the state of emergency by 3 months. Maoist rebels called for a national strike.
  45. 2002 – King Gyanendra dismisses prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and indefinitely puts off elections set for November.
  46. 2003 – Rebels and government declare ceasefire.
  47. 2003 – Rebels pull out of peace talks with government and end seven-month truce. The following months see a resurgence of violence and frequent clashes between students/activists and police.
  48. 2004 – Nepal joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  49. 2004 – Street protests by opposition groups demanding a return to democracy. Royalist Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa quits.
  50. 2005 – King Gyanendra dismisses the government, restores an absolute monarchy, and declares a state of emergency, citing the need to defeat Maoist rebels.
  51. 2005 – King Gyanendra bows to international pressure and lifts the state of emergency.
  52. 2005 – Maoist rebels and main opposition parties agree on a programme intended to restore democracy.
  53. 2006 – King Gyanendra agrees to reinstate parliament following weeks of violent strikes and protests direct royal rule. Maoist rebels call a three-month ceasefire.
  54. 2006 – Parliament votes unanimously to curb the king’s political powers. The government holds peace talks with the Maoist rebels.
  55. 2006 – The government signs a peace deal with the Maoists – the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – formally ending the decade-long insurgency.
  56. 2007 – Maoist leaders enter parliament under the terms of a temporary constitution.
  57. 2007 – Maoists join an interim government, a move which brings them into the political mainstream.
  58. 2007 – Three bombs hit Kathmandu in the first attack in the capital since the end of the Maoist insurgency. Maoists quit the interim government, demanding the abolition of the monarchy.
  59. 2007 – Parliament approves the abolition of monarchy as part of peace deal with Maoists, who agree to re-join government.
  60. 2007 – Population numbers 28 million people. Brahmins, a priestly caste, and Chhetris, a warrior caste, comprised Nepal’s two highest Hindu castes. They make up about 28% of the population and have controlled the country since it was unified in the 18th century.
  61. 2008 – A series of bomb blasts kill and injure dozens in the southern Terai plains, where activists have been demanding regional autonomy.
  62. 2008 – Former Maoist rebels win the largest bloc of seats in elections to the new Constituent Assembly (CA) but fail to achieve an outright majority.
  63. 2008 – Special assembly agrees to abolish the monarchy to make Nepal a republic.
  64. 2008 – Maoist ministers resign from the cabinet in a row over who should be the next head of state.
  65. 2008 – Ram Baran Yadav becomes Nepal’s first president.
  66. 2008 – Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda forms coalition government, with Nepali Congress Party (NCP) going into opposition.
  67. 2009 – Prime Minister Prachanda resigns following a row with President Ram Baran Yadav over the integration of former rebel fighters into the military.
  68. 2009 – Britain announces that Gurkha veterans with at least four years’ service in the British army will be allowed to settle in the United Kingdom.
  69. 2009 – Four people are killed in clashes triggered by a Maoist-led land grab in the far west, giving rise to fears for peace process.
  70. 2010 – The Constituent Assembly (CA) votes to extend the deadline for drafting the constitution, the first of four extensions.
  71. 2011 – United Nations ends its peace monitoring mission.
  72. 2012 – The Constituent Assembly (CA) is dissolved after failing to produce a draft constitution.
  73. 2013 – The left-wing Nepali Congress Party (NCP) wins the second Constituent Assembly elections, pushing the former ruling Maoists into third place and leaving no party with a majority.
  74. 2014 – Nepali Congress Party (NCP) leader Sushil Koirala is elected prime minister after securing parliamentary support.
  75. 2014 – Sixteen Nepalese sherpa guides die in an avalanche on Mount Everest in the worst recorded accident in the mountain’s history.
  76. 2014 – Nepal and India sign a deal to build a US$1bn hydropower plant on Nepal’s Arun River to counter crippling energy shortages.
  77. 2014 – Nepal’s annual income per person this year was $692. This was below half the level for South Asia as a whole.
  78. 2015 – A 7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Kathmandu and its surrounding areas killing more than 8,000 people, causing mass devastation and leaving millions homeless.
  79. 2015 – 500 protest demanding Nepal be declared a Hindu state clashed with police in Kathmandu.
  80. 2015 – Parliament passes a landmark constitution, which defines Nepal as a secular country, despite calls to delay voting after more than 40 people are killed in protests.
  81. 2015 – K. P. Prasad becomes the first prime minister to be elected under the new constitution.
  82. 2016 – Government lifts fuel rationing after the ethnic minority Madhesi communities, partially backed by India, end a six-month border blockade in protest over the new constitution which they say is discriminatory.
  83. 2016 – Maoist party pulls out of the governing coalition. Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli resigns ahead of a no-confidence vote in parliament.
  84. 2016 – Parliament elects former communist rebel leader and Maoist party leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda as prime minister for the second time.
  85. 2017 – Three former soldiers are convicted over the murder of a 15-year-old girl during the civil war, the first time serving or former members of the army have been found guilty of crimes linked to the conflict. China and Nepal hold their first ever joint military exercise.
  86. 2017 – Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda replaced as prime minister by the Nepali Congress Party (NCP) leader Sher Bahadur Deuba under a rotation agreement.
  87. 2017 – Nepal has its first general election since the civil war ended and the monarchy is abolished. The main alternatives were centrist Nepali Congress Party (NCP) and the alliance of former Maoist rebels and the Communist UMP Party. The alliance of communists won the election, and Communist UMP Party leader Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli was sworn in February 2018 as the new Prime Minister. He had previously been Prime Minister. 
  88. 2019 – Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Nepal on a state visit for talks with Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli and both sides sign a deal expanding a railway link between the Himalayan nation and Tibet.
  89. 2020 – Nepali officials said millions of its citizens who work overseas will be given mandatory safety training before departure. About 1,000 out of an estimated 4 million Nepali migrants die abroad each year, mainly in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Malaysia where most work as domestic helpers and in construction.
  90. 2021 – Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli is replaced by Sher Bahadur Deuba after a constitutional crisis.
  91. 2020 (to 2023) – COVID-19 pandemic caused more than 12,000 deaths in Nepal.
  92. 2023 – Nepal has 30.2 million people.

© Comasters March 2023.

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