Nepal was a monarchy throughout most of its history. In recent times, it resisted movements for more democracy as well as for a Maoist form of communism. In June, 2001, there was a massacre in the royal palace. The king and queen along with seven other members of the royal family were killed. The late king’s brother took over the throne, and in response to another democracy movement in 2006, he agreed to relinquish sovereign power to the people.
In April 2006 the House of Representatives was instated, and in May it 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” by “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.
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.