Nepal – the country of Mt. Everest and Buddha

Nepal – the country of Mt. Everest and Buddha

Nepal profile

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 18, 2011

A chronology of key events:

Mount EverestThe world’s highest mountain – Mount Everest, known in Nepal as “Sagarmatha”

1768 – Gurkha ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah conquers Kathmandu and lays foundations for unified kingdom.

1792 – Nepalese expansion halted by defeat at hands of Chinese in Tibet.

1814-16 – Anglo-Nepalese War; culminates in treaty which establishes Nepal’s current boundaries.

1846 – Nepal falls under sway of hereditary chief ministers known as Ranas, who dominate the monarchy and cut off country from outside world.

1923 – Treaty with Britain affirms Nepal’s sovereignty.

Absolute monarchy

1950 – Anti-Rana forces based in India form alliance with monarch.

1951 – End of Rana rule. Sovereignty of crown restored and anti-Rana rebels in Nepalese Congress Party form government.

1953 New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepal’s Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

1955 – Nepal joins the United Nations.

Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund HillaryFirst to the top of Everest: Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary

1955 – King Tribhuwan dies, King Mahendra ascends throne.

1959 – Multi-party constitution adopted.

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.

1962 – New constitution provides for non-party system of councils known as “panchayat” under which king exercises sole power. First elections to Rastrya Panchayat held in 1963.

1972 – King Mahendra dies, succeeded by Birendra.

Multi-party politics

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.

Woman spinning a prayer wheelA Nepalese woman spins a prayer wheel, in a country where religion plays a major role

1985 – NCP begins civil disobedience campaign for restoration of multi-party system.

1986 – New elections boycotted by NCP.

1989 – Trade and transit dispute with India leads to border blockade by Delhi resulting in worsening economic situation.

1990 – Pro-democracy agitation co-ordinated by 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 new democratic constitution.

1991 – Nepali Congress Party wins first democratic elections. Girija Prasad Koirala becomes prime minister.

Political instability

1994 – Koirala’s government defeated in no-confidence motion. New elections lead to formation of Communist government.

1995 – Communist government dissolved.

Maoist rebels in trainingMaoists waged a bloody war against the monarchy

1995 – Start of Maoist revolt which drags on for more than a decade and kills thousands. The rebels want the monarchy to be abolished.

1997 – Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba loses no-confidence vote, ushering in period of increased political instability, with frequent changes of prime minister.

2000 – GP Koirala returns as prime minister, heading the ninth government in 10 years.

Palace killings

2001 1 June – King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and other close relatives killed in shooting spree by drunken Crown Prince Dipendra, who then shoots himself.

Mourners grieve over the death of Nepalese royal familyNepalese mourn the royal family slain in a shooting spree

2001 – Prince Gyanendra crowned King.

2001 July – Maoist rebels step up campaign of violence. Prime Minister GP Koirala quits over the violence; succeeded by Sher Bahadur Deuba.

2001 November – Maoists end four-month old truce with government, declare peace talks with government failed. Launch coordinated attacks on army and police posts.


2001 November – 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.

2002 May – Parliament dissolved, fresh elections called amid political confrontation over extending the state of emergency. Sher Bahadur Deuba heads interim government, renews emergency.

2002 October – King Gyanendra dismisses Deuba and indefinitely puts off elections set for November.

2003 January – Rebels, government declare ceasefire.

End of truce

2003 August – Rebels pull out of peace talks with government and end seven-month truce. The following months see resurgence of violence and frequent clashes between students/activists and police.

2004 April – Nepal joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

2004 May – Street protests by opposition groups demanding a return to democracy. Royalist Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa quits.

Direct royal rule

2005 February – King Gyanendra assumes direct control and dismisses the government. He declares a state of emergency, citing the need to defeat Maoist rebels.

2005 April – King lifts the state of emergency amid international pressure.

2005 November – Maoist rebels and main opposition parties agree on a programme intended to restore democracy.

2006 April – King Gyanendra agrees to reinstate parliament following weeks of violent strikes and protests against direct royal rule. Maoist rebels call a three-month ceasefire.

2006 May – Parliament votes unanimously to curtail the king’s political powers.

The government and Maoist rebels begin peace talks, the first in nearly three years.

Peace deal

2006 November – Government and Maoists sign a peace accord – the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – declaring a formal end to a 10-year rebel insurgency.

2007 January – Maoist leaders enter parliament under the terms of a temporary constitution.

Maoists join government

2007 April – Maoists join interim government, a move that takes them into the political mainstream.

2007 September – Three bombs hit Kathmandu in the first attack in the capital since the end of the Maoist insurgency.

Maoists quit interim government to press demand for monarchy to be scrapped. This forces the postponement of November’s constituent assembly elections.

End of monarchy

2007 December – Parliament approves abolition of monarchy as part of peace deal with Maoists, who agree to re-join government.

Former rebels queue to cast their votesFrom bullets to the ballot box: Former rebels take part in landmark elections in April 2008

2008 January – A series of bomb blasts kill and injure dozens in the southern Terai plains, where activists have been demanding regional autonomy.

2008 April – Former Maoist rebels win the largest bloc of seats in elections to the new constituent assembly, but fail to achieve an outright majority.

2008 May – Nepal becomes a republic.

2008 June – Maoist ministers resign from the cabinet in a row over who should be the next head of state.

2008 July – Ram Baran Yadav becomes Nepal’s first president.

2008 August – Maoist leader Prachanda forms coalition government, with Nepali Congress going into opposition.

Maoists leave government

2009 May – Prime Minister Prachanda resigns in a row with President Yadav. Maoists leave government after other parties oppose integration of former rebel fighters into national army.

Veteran Communist leader Madhav Kumar Nepal named new prime minister.

Gurkha veterans with at least four years’ service in the British army are given permission to settle in the UK.

2009 December – Four people are killed during clashes triggered by Maoist-led land grab in far west of country, giving rise to fears over future of peace process.

2010 May – Governing coalition and Maoist opposition agree to extend deadline for drafting of new constitution to May 2011.

2010 June – PM Madhav Kumar Nepal quits under Maoist pressure.

2010 December – WikiLeaks website publishes US diplomatic cables alleging that police were bribed by Chinese authorities into handing over Tibetan refugees trying to flee China. They deny the charges.

2011 January – UN peace monitoring mission ends.

2011 February – Jhalnath Khanal elected premier, ending a seven-month stalemate during which Nepal had no effective government.




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