Nepal, the fabled land of Buddha, Hindu temples, and unrivaled mountain scenery, was controlled by a myriad of factions beginning in the 4th century.
Little is known about Nepal's early history. However, it is certain that the Kirant tribe inhabited the region more than 2,500 years ago.
Numerous small kingdoms laid claim to the region until 1482, when Nepal split into three separate divisions: Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur.
The modern Nepalese state began in the late 18th century when King Prithvi Narayah Shah successfully unified most of the individual ethnic groups and small principalities into one entity.
In search of additional lands, Nepal ventured into India, subsequently losing part of its own territory to British India, but retaining its independence.
Nepal, at the time, was controlled by a monarch (for life and by hereditary right). In 1951, the Nepalese monarch (under great pressure) ended that system of rule, and instituted a cabinet system of government.
Only one year after the country's first election in 1959, King Kahendra dismissed the cabinet, dissolved parliament and banned political parties.
Since 1990, turmoil in Nepal has included a bloody insurgency, a royal family massacre and assorted governmental conflicts and squabbles that have dominated the headlines.
In February 1996, a decade-long civil war broke out after members of the Maoist movement (Communist Party of Nepal) fought to replace Nepal's monarchy with a democracy.
As a result of the conflict, more than 15,000 were killed, and an additional 150,000 were internally displaced.
In early 2005 (once again), the king dissolved the government and assumed power. Little progress was made, and municipal elections held early in 2006 were widely regarded as "a backward step for democracy" by the European Union.
Change came in mid-2008, as the royal house was ousted by newly elected Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and President Ram Bran Yadav, the first ever for Nepal.
In this poor country, the tourism industry was once a significant economic force, as backpackers, river rafters, mountain climbers and nature lovers trekked to Nepal in large numbers.
In the 2013 elections, the dominant Communist party was routed and the political atmosphere shifted sharply to the right.
In February of 2014, Nepal's Parliament elected Sushil Koirala, as the new prime minister, and the country is working on issues as to the adoption of an executive presidency and how to divide the country into smaller political units.
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