Nepal Introduction

Capital: Kathmandu

Currency: Nepalese rupee

Prime minister: Khil Raj Regmi

Official language: Nepali Language

Government: Republic, Federal republic, Federation

Population: 30.49 million (2011) World Bank

Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 27 million (and nearly 2 million absentee workers living abroad), Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Specifically, the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim border Nepal, while across the Himalayas lies the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest city. The mountainous north of Nepal has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft above sea level. The southern Terai region is fertile and humid. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, is located in this region. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world's great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from as early as the 3rd century BC. Hinduism is practiced by about 81.3% of Nepalese, making it the country with the highest percentage of Hindus, Buddhism is linked historically with Nepal and is practiced by 9%, Islam by 4.4%, Kirat 3.1%, Christianity 1.4%, and animism 0.4%. Agriculture is the main occupation in the country besides other regular business and jobs.

The history of Nepal is chosen by its isolated position in the Himalayas and its two neighbours, India and China. Central Nepal was split in three kingdoms from the 15th century until the 18th century, when it was unified under the Shah monarchy. The national language of Nepal is Nepali, which is also the most-spoken language of Nepal. Nepal experienced a struggle for democracy in the 20th century. During the 1990s and until 2008, the country was in civil strife. Early in the history Nepal was not exactly a country. It was divided into 47 states and each had their own rulers until the great king Prithvi Narayan Shah from Gorkha stood up and took the task of unifying those states into a kingdom. Since then Nepal has been unified and unlike many countries has never been under any foreign rule.