|Facts & Figures|
President: Ram Baran Yadav (2008)
Prime Minister: Khil Raj Regmi (2013, interim)
Land area: 52,819 sq mi (136,801 sq km);
total area: 54,363 sq mi (140,800 sq km)
Population (2010 est.): 28,951,852
(growth rate: 1.4%); birth rate: 22.4/1000; infant mortality rate:
46.0/1000; life expectancy: 65.8; density per sq km: 206
Capital and largest city (2003 est.):
Kathmandu, 1,203,100 (metro. area), 729,000
Other large cities: Biratnagar,
174,600; Lalitpur, 169,100
Monetary unit: Nepalese rupee
More Facts & Figures
A landlocked country the size of Arkansas, lying
between India and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, Nepal contains
Mount Everest (29,035 ft; 8,850 m), the tallest mountain in the world.
Along its southern border, Nepal has a strip of level land that is partly
forested, partly cultivated. North of that is the slope of the main
section of the Himalayan range, including Everest and many other peaks
higher than 8,000 m.
In Nov. 1990, King Birendra promulgated a new
constitution and introduced a multiparty parliamentary democracy in Nepal.
Under pressure amid massive pro-democracy protests in April 2006, King
Gyanendra gave up direct rule and reinstated Parliament, which then
quickly moved to diminish the King's power. In Dec. 2007, Parliament
voted to abolish the monarchy and become a federal democratic republic.
The transition to a republic was completed in May 2008, when the
Constituent Assemby voted to dissolve the monarchy.
The first civilizations in Nepal, which
flourished around the 6th century
confined to the fertile Kathmandu Valley where the present-day capital of
the same name is located. It was in this region that Prince Siddhartha
Gautama was born c. 563
enlightenment as Buddha and spawned Buddhism.
Nepali rulers' early patronage of Buddhism
largely gave way to Hinduism, reflecting the increased influence of India,
around the 12th century. Though the successive dynasties of the Gopalas,
the Kiratis, and the Licchavis expanded their rule, it was not until the
reign of the Malla kings from 1200–1769 that Nepal assumed the
approximate dimensions of the modern state.
The kingdom of Nepal was unified in 1768 by King
Prithvi Narayan Shah, who had fled India following the Moghul conquests of
the subcontinent. Under Shah and his successors, Nepal's borders expanded
as far west as Kashmir and as far east as Sikkim (now part of India). A
commercial treaty was signed with Britain in 1792 and again in 1816 after
more than a year of hostilities with the British East India Company.
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