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Welcome to the NepalGenWeb Project. This website
was designed to assist
researchers in their quest for their ancestry in Nepal.
History of Nepal
By the early thirteenth century, leaders were emerging whose names ended with the Sanskrit suffix malla ("wrestler"). Initially their reign was marked by upheaval, but the kings consolidated their power over the next two hundred years. By late fourteenth century, much of the country began to come under a unified rule. This unity was short-lived; in 1482 the kingdom was carved into three areas, Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhadgaon, which engaged in petty rivalry for centuries.
In 1765, the Gorkha ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah set out to unify the kingdoms, after first seeking arms and aid from Indian kings and buying the neutrality of bordering Indian kingdoms. After several bloody battles and sieges, he managed to unify Nepal three years later. However, the actual war never took place while conquering the Kathmandu Valley. Prithivi Narayan Shah was unable to defeat the powerful Newar kingdom of Kathmandu. In fact, it was during the Indra Ja-tra-, when all the valley citizens were celebrating the festival, Prithvi Na-ra-yan Sha-h with his troops captured the valley, virtually without any effort. This marked the birth of the modern nation of Nepal. A dispute and subsequent war with Tibet over control of mountain passes forced Nepal to retreat and pay heavy repatriations to China, who came to Tibet's rescue. Rivalry with the British East India Company over the annexation of minor states bordering Nepal eventually led to the brief but bloody Anglo-Nepalese War (1815–16), in which Nepal defended its present-day borders but lost its territories west of the Kali River, including present day Uttarakhand state and several Punjab Hill States of present day Himachal Pradesh. The Treaty of Sugauli also ceded parts of the Terai (which formerly belonged to Bengal but were claimed by Sha-h dynasty during the lawless years of late 18th century when East India Company was consolidating and extending its control) and Sikkim to the Company in exchange for Nepali autonomy.
Factionalism among the royal family led to instability after the war. In 1846, a discovered plot to overthrow Jang Bahadur, a fast-rising military leader, by the reigning queen, 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. Bahadur won and founded the Rana dynasty, leading to the Rana autocracy. 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 the British during the Sepoy Rebellion in 1857, and later in both World Wars. In 1923 the United Kingdom and Nepal formally signed an agreement of friendship, truth, and law, in which Nepal's independence was recognised by the UK.
In the late 1940s, emerging pro-democracy movements and political parties in Nepal were critical of the Rana autocracy. Meanwhile, China regained control of Tibet in 1950, making India keen on stability in Nepal. King Tribhuvan offered then Indian Prime Minister accession of Nepal on the condition that he be made President of India. Nehru refused but sponsored KingTribhuvan as Nepal's new king in 1951, and a new government, comprising the Nepali Congress Party. After years of power wrangling between the king and the government, the democratic experiment was dissolved in 1960, and a "partyless" panchayat system was instituted to govern Nepal. In 1990, the "Jana Andolan" (People's) Movement forced the monarchy to accept constitutional reforms and establish a multiparty parliament in May 1991.
Nepal is divided into 14 zones and 75 districts, grouped into 5 development regions. Each district is headed by a fixed chief district officer responsible for maintaining law and order and coordinating the work of field agencies of the various government ministries.
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