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Nepal - Country facts

Map

Small map of Nepal
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Flag

Country flag: Nepal

Capital

Kathmandu

Currency

Nepalese rupee (NPR)

Internet Code

.np

Location

Southern Asia, between China and India

Background

In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. A Maoist insurgency, launched in 1996, has gained traction and is threatening to bring down the regime, especially after a negotiated cease-fire between the Maoists and government forces broke down in August 2003. In 2001, the crown prince massacred ten members of the royal family, including the king and queen, and then took his own life. In October 2002, the new king dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet for "incompetence" after they dissolved the parliament and were subsequently unable to hold elections because of the ongoing insurgency. While stopping short of reestablishing parliament, the king in June 2004 reinstated the most recently elected prime minister who formed a four-party coalition government, which the king subsequently tasked with paving the way for elections to be held in spring of 2005. Citing dissatisfaction with the government's lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency, the King in February 2005 dissolved the government and assumed power in the Kingdom.

Climate

varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south

Terrain

Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north

Population

27,676,547 (July 2005 est.)

Ethnic Groups

Brahman, Chetri, Newar, Gurung, Magar, Tamang, Rai, Limbu, Sherpa, Tharu, and others (1995)

Religions

Hinduism 86.2%, Buddhism 7.8%, Islam 3.8%, other 2.2%
note: only official Hindu state in the world (1995)

Languages

Nepali (official; spoken by 90% of the population), about a dozen other languages and about 30 major dialects
note: many in government and business also speak English (1995)

Map of Nepal

Large map of Nepal
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