History of Nepal – Ancient, Medieval & Modern

If you give your time to learn about the history of Nepal, then you can find most of the history belonging to Kathmandu valley. It has long and glorious history that can be traced to the thousands of years before the birth of the Christ. However, the scientifically reliable evidence that are available records the country’s history from the 5th century AD when the Licchhavi ruled the then kingdom. We have to be content with various legends for the authenticity of claim related to the earlier periods until more evidences can be found.

history of nepal
Nepal History – Patan Museum

According to the legend, 2700 years ago the kathmandu valley was covered with full of water and was big lake where the great and powerful serpent lived (Chepus). Later, the Manjushree with small group of people began to travel from his place called 5 peak which lies in Mahachin, China came to this place and saw the beautiful radiant Lotus flower that glowing on the surface of lake. After that, He decided to approach where the radiant lotus flower is glowing and hence drain the Nagdaha (lake of the spirited serpents) by cutting a gorge at Chobhar which lies south of Kathmandu valley. Later, the place where the radiant lotus flower was glowing is the site of the Swayambhu stupa. The valley then became habitable for the first human settlement in the Kathmandu valley, named Manjupattan.

Earliest History of Nepal

According to Gopal Vamshavali, the oldest ever chronicle in Nepal, which was written in 14th Century AD, states that Gopal were the first dynasty in the history of Nepal who were Aryan stock of people and ruled by 8 kings for 500 years before 1500 to 1000 BC. They were cow husbandry. The first king was Bhumi gupta and last king was Gin gupta.

Second Dynasty were Mahispal. They were also Aryan stock of People who ruled 161 years by 3 kings before 1500 to 1000 BC. But, they were buffalo husbandry ruler. First king was Sri – bar Singh and Last king was Tribhuwan Singh.

In turn, conquered by Kirat. Mongol stock of people ruled by 32 kings for 1959 years before 1500 to 1000 BC. Recent Rai – Limbu. After the down fall of Kirat, Rai-Limbu went to the east of Nepal and in Kathmandu – Newar. Yalamber was first king of Kirat which is mentioned in the Hindu epic of Mahabharata and last king was Khigu.

Then came the ruler of Licchhavi period in the history of Nepal who ruled from 1st century AD to 9th Century AD by 98 kings. They were Aryan stock of people came from northern India and overthrew the Kirantis. This period saw the great progress in the economy and trade and in the art of building temples, images, palaces. The remains of the temples, images of that period are found in the various places of Kathmandu Valley and some of them also have been renovated. Around 100 scripts were published. One of the legacy of Licchhavi period is Changu Narayan temple dated back 464 AD.

Medieval Nepal

After the Licchhavi period, Malla dynasty came to the power in Nepal history in an around 13th century AD and ruled the valley till 18th Century AD. It is considered to be a golden era in history of Nepal as art and culture flourished. Innumerable temples, palaces, idols and carving that are preserved in the valley speak about the excellence in art and architecture during that period. In addition, a famous Malla king Jayasthiti Malla introduced several grand breaking social system and practice in 14th century which helped shape the Nepalese society for centuries to come.

After the death of Yaksha Malla in 1481 AD the valley was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu (Kantipur), Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon) and Patan (Lalitpur). Total 14 kings ruled Kantipur after Seperation and 11 Kings ruled Bhaktapur and 21 Kings ruled the Lalitpur after the separation. Around that time, the Nepal as we know it today was divided into about 46 independent principalities.

Modern Nepal

After that the king Prithivi Narayan Shah, the great, of Gorkha started the eventful unification, defeated all the kingdoms in the valley. Afterwards, he decided to move his capital to Kathmandu to establish the Shah dynasty which ruled unified Nepal from 1769 to 2008 AD. He conquered various warring principalities and laid the foundation of modern Nepal which more or less constitute the boundaries of present Nepal. After the Prithivi Narayan Shah, the campaign of unification was continued by his younger son Bahadur Shah and proceeded further by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa. But, expansion came to halt when Nepal came into conflict with British East India Company, with which it had to sign the treaty of Sugauli in March 1816 AD. One third land we lost. British Residence in Kathmandu.

Moderation of Modern Nepal

Another crucial chapter of history of Nepal began after the emergence of Jung Bahadur Rana to power in 1846 AD. He established himself as the most powerful Prime Minister of the Country or de-facto ruler and made the post of prime minister strictly open to hereditary succession among his brothers. The revolution of 1950 AD brought an end to the 104 year long autocratic rana regime and the democratic system was introduced. The democratic government (multiparty parliament system) was practiced only for some years. But by 1960, King Mahendra had changed his mind and dissolved the cabinet of minister & Parliament, and imposed the party less panchayat system.

Contemporary Nepal

After a long period of effort while the political parties were kept away, they ultimately mustered enough bravery to commence a People’s Movement in the year 1990. Paving way for democracy, the then-King Birendra approved constitutional reforms then set up a multiparty parliament with King as the Head of Country and a managerial Prime Minister. In May 1991, Nepal conducted the first parliamentary elections. In February 1996, the Maoist parties announced People’s War against monarchy along with the nominated government.

Well then on 1st June 2001, a fearful incidence killed the whole royal family members. In addition, King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya together with many of their most personal friends and family. Having only King Birendra’s brother, Gyanendra and his family unit surviving, he was crowned the king. King Gyanendra abided by the chosen govt. for a short time after which ignored the elected Parliament to use total power.

In April 2006, another one People’s Movement was announced. Simultaneously, by the democratic parties concentrating most strength in Kathmandu which generated a 19-day curfew. Finally, King Gyanendra relinquished his power and reinstated the Parliament. On November 21, 2006, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist chairman Prachanda agreed upon the Comprehensive Peaceful Agreement (CPA) 2006, committing to democracy and peace for the development of the country and people.

A Constituent Assembly election was conducted on April 10, 2008. On May 28, 2008, the newly elected Constituent Assembly announced Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, abolishing the 240-year-old monarchy. Nepal these days has a President as Head of Country and a Prime Minister heading the Government.

If you are looking to travel in Nepal then read Best time to visit Nepal and Tours in Nepal

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