Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1157

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803

NEPAL.

An independent Kingdom in tlie Himalayas, between 26° 25' and 30° 17' N. lat., and between 80° 6' and 88° 14' of E. long. ; its greatest length 500 miles ; its greatest breadth about 150 ; bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Sikkim, on the south and west by British India.

The sovereign is His Highness Maharaja Dhiraj Piithivi Bir Bikram, Shamsher Jang Bahadur Shah Bahadur Shamsher Jang, who was born on August 8, 1875, and succeeded his grandfather on May 17, 1881. The government of Nepal is a military oligarchy. All power is in the hands of the Prime Minister to whom it was delegated by the Maharaja Dhiraj when he came of age.

The Gurkhas, a Rajput race originally from Oodeypore in Rajputana, who had settled in the province of Gurkha in Nepal, overran the whole country during the latter half of the eighteenth century, and have maintained their supremacy ever since. About 1790 a Gurkha army invaded Tibet ; and to avenge this atfront the Chinese Emperor, Kuen Lung, in 1791, sent an army into Nepal, which compelled the Gurkhas to submit to the terms of peace, by which they were bound to pay tribute to China. This tribute used formerly to be sent at irregular intervals, but the last three missions have succeeded each other at intervals of five years. The relations between the Indian Government and the Gurkha rulers of Nepal date from the time of the Chinese invasion, when Lord Cornwallis endeavoured, but without success, to avert hostilities. A commercial treaty between India and Nepal was signed in 1792, and an English Resident was sent to reside at Katmandu, but was recalled two years later. A frontier outrage, in 1814, compelled the Indian Government to declare war ; and a British force advanced to within three marches of the capital. Peace was concluded and the Treaty of Segowlie signed on December 2, 1815. Since then the relations of the English with Nepal have been friendly ; and during the Indian JMutiny, the Prime ^linister, Sir Jang Bahadur, sent a detachment of Giirkha troops to assist in the suppression of the rebellion in Oudh. Jang Bahadur died in 1877, and was succeeded as Prime Minister by Sir Ranodip Singh, who was oveithrown and murdered in a revolution which occurred in November 1885. ^Maharaja Sir Bir Shamsher Jang Rana Bahadur, G.C.S. I., has been Prime Minister ever since.

In accordance with the treaty of Segowlie, an English Resident, with a small escort of Indian sepoys, lives at the capital ; but he does not interfere in the internal affairs of the State.

Area about 54,000 square miles ; jjopulation estimated at from 2,000,000 to 5,000,000. The races of Nepal, besides the dominant Gurkhas, include eailier inhabitants of Tartar origin, such as Magars, Gurangs, Newars, and Bhutias.

Capital, Katmandu ; po})ulation about 50,000.

Hinduism of an early type is the religion of the Gurkhas, and is gradually but steadily overla}ing the Buddhism of the primitive inhabitants.

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