May 28, 2008 – Establishment of the Republic of Nepal

Nepal was a monarchy throughout most of its history. In more recent times, it resisted movements for more democracy as well as for a Maoist form of communism.

In April 2006, following years of of economic crisis and chaos, as well as strikes and street protests in Kathmandu, a seven-party coalition took control of the government and stripped the king of most of his powers. In May the coalition declared Nepal a secular state, ending its official status as a Hindu Kingdom. (Hinduism is nevertheless practiced by about 81.3% of Nepalis, making it the country with the highest percentage of Hindus.) Then, on December 28, 2007, a bill was passed to amend the constitution – replacing “Provisions regarding the King” with “Provisions of the Head of the State” and declaring Nepal a federal republic, thereby abolishing the monarchy. The bill came into force on this day in history, May 28, 2008.

mnepal

Nepal is one of the few countries in Asia to abolish the death penalty and the first country in Asia to rule in favor of same-sex marriage. LGBT individuals now have full rights, including the right to marry and to obtain citizenship as a “third” gender rather than as male or female. There are an estimated 3.5 million people who are part of Nepal’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) movement.

Nepal is also known for having the most unusual flag in the world, which consists of two stacked triangles.

cheap-calling-to-nepal-flag-787744

Most Westerners know Nepal, however, for being the home of Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain. It rises to 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) and is the world’s highest peak.(In fact, 8 out of 10 of the world’s highest mountains are found within the country.) The Nepali word for Everest is “Sagarmatha” meaning “Forehead of the Sky.” Local Sherpas (an ethnic group in Eastern Nepal) call Everest “Chomolungma” which means “Goddess Mother of the World.”

Himalayan Mountain Range in Nepal

There are 125 different ethnic groups in Nepal, with only 44.6% speaking the official language, Nepali. Cows are the national animal of Nepal, and slaughtering them is banned.

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